Our expert says:
This is a common problem because a dog's hearing is so much more acute than our is. (Personally I don't like bangs and high-pitched whistles either!) I think it is often the other things associated with the noises that add to the fear, like pressure change, being wet (thunder), gunpowder smell, people running about excitedly etc. The best thing to do is confine your dog to a safe and relatively sound-free area (like inside the house). If you know beforehand about the noise then get some tranquilizers from the vet or have some Rescue Remedy drops handy to give him about 20 minutes before it starts. You can give a dog the same dose as a human in a t-spoon or on a biscuit. When he starts to show signs of fear either ignore it (Don't try to comfort him) or try to cheer him up with a treat or a game. You can try to desensitize a dog to noises by playing a tape-recording of them at very low volume every day while he's eating. If he won't eat, the volume is too high. Gradually increase the volume over a few weeks and see if he gets used to it.
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