Dipping a toe in to sound.
Noises, noises everywhere!
This blog has some fantastic info from Eileen Anderson who I came across after reading a brilliant book by Malena De Martini-Price (whom I one day hope to study under!) The points I wanted to share with you are to offer support to the noise phobic anxious dogs out there. Like many things when it comes to dogs, a lot of well known methods are out dated and simply have no scientific backing.
There are things we can do for our dogs to set them up for success. By manipulating the environment the dog is in, we can set new standards and help them in a much kinder way.
Introducing SOUND MASKING!
(This doesn't mean turning your music up louder to drown out everything else - that's blocking. We want to harness the power of masking.)
Always consider how comfortable your dog is with these sounds in the first place - if you use one scary thing to mask a terrifying thing you're creating more of a problem and not helping at all.
All round sound mask: White noise. This will need either a white noise machine or quality speakers.
To mask low frequencies e.g. thunder.
To mask high frequencies e.g. the neighbouring dog's tags or whistling.
Bluegrass. Baroque. To mask human voices e.g. kids walking past the gate.
If you are planning on using sounds to mask triggering sounds, stick with the above examples. If you use TV, movies, radio - most of this is out of your control and could even contain the sounds which set your dog off. A handy wee tip: all those wonderful compilations on Youtube which advertise themselves as "calming, soothing, relaxing." This is a simply nice marketing without any evidence of masking capabilities. By all means if you want to leave something on for your canine companion(s) and they don't have any issues with sounds you could use them but they are not specifically for the phobic, anxious, sound alert woofers.
Another handy wee tip: the answer is not always behaviour modification training! Sudden changes in behaviour, including sound sensitivity require a vet check over - your dog could be reacting to sounds because they are in pain.
Finally, peace and quiet go hand in hand. I know I love the quiet - being surrounded by constant noise would be subconsciously tiring so have a truly peaceful zone is important for our mates too!