Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Franco, unfortunately this type of behaviour can get worse, with the dog showing more and more fear and it can spread to include other noises, so you do need to address is as soon as possible.
What I would suggest you try, and start off when she is hungry and have her cubes in your hand, as well as some nice treats.
Either put the phone a good distance away or else smother the phone with a pillow, cushion etc. Remember that dogs have much better hearing than we do, so even if you hardly hear it the dog will - take this into account.
When you have discovered what distance away it can be without her reacting to eat, while it is ringing, offer her a treat and praise,over and over, feeding her whole meal to her in this way.
When she is comfortable with this, (very) slightly increase the ringing tone slightly and do as above.
If she cannot handle this, then just start with the phone being held in your hand without it ringing and go to the step above when she can cope with this.
This type of work has to be done very very slowly and the dog must be able to cope, so dont go too quickly and rather do in short periods of a few minutes throughout the day, rather than an hour at a time.
At the weekend, or when you are home, you can take her whole days allowance and practice as above. This is a way of desensitizing a dog to a noise in a way it can cope with and is very effective. What you are actually doing is showing the dog that a previously frightening object can in fact be rewarding.
What is very important during this process is not to expose the dog to the ringing unless you are working on desensitizing her/him, so for now, put your phone on silent with the vibrate function so the dog does not stress.
i would also suggest that you have a look on my website in the Dog Stuff section for an article under H-House Rules. these are designed to that you become the leader in the combined human/canine hierarchy and they serve to make the dog feel more secure, which is so important in interactions with dogs, especially when they are fearful.
Let me know how it goes and if you get stuck, just give me a shout. the website is www.friendsofthedog.co.za Good luck!
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