No dog is a fan of loud noises, but Beagles can be especially fearful of them. Even routine sounds such as thunder, lawn mowers, and slamming doors can terrify this sound-sensitive breed into destructive behavior or running away. Left untreated, the problem can make everyday life more stressful for you and your dog.
Although there is no simple cure for your Beagle's sound sensitivity, these strategies can help you reduce his fear:
Work on desensitizing your dog
Figure out what noise frightens your dog the most and record the sound. Play the recording at a very low volume for a few minutes while keeping your dog focused on another activity. Reward him with praise and treats for calm behavior. Repeat this daily until your dog no longer pays attention to the sound. Then increase the volume and duration until your dog is desensitized to the sound.
Create a safe place
Give your dog a quiet spot, such as a crate, where he can go whenever he hears noises that frighten him. Make it a positive experience by providing him with a favorite chew toy to occupy him.
Distract him with games
When you first hear a noise that could bother your dog, try to immediately interest him in an activity he enjoys such as playing ball. Reward him with praise and treats for engaging in the activity. If you can't hold his attention as the sound builds, and your dog becomes fearful, stop the process.
Things to avoid:
- Don't pet, soothe, or give treats when your dog is afraid. He may see that as a reward for fearful behavior.
- Don't punish your dog, as it will only make him more fearful.
- Don't force your dog to be close to the sound that frightens him. He may become aggressive and attempt to escape.
Remember, consistency is the key to success when it comes to desensitizing your Beagle. If over time the situation doesn't improve or worsens, consult your vet. He or she may be able to prescribe medication to help make your pooch less anxious during predictably loud situations such as thunderstorms and fireworks.