I went to Wallingford show today with a goal of getting a clear round with Rhyme.
When queuing for the class Rhyme became concerned about the noise of the seesaw. His ears were right back and his eyes were wide in alarm. I could get no calmness from him.
I decided not to run him at the time (a very big thing for me as I had booked in and was nearly at the line). As his recall took some getting I knew that the fear he was experiencing would be bigger than the strength of recall I have and he would run. Running at a big show would only become even more alarming with people trying to catch him.
I went back to the van and got Torro out and walked back up to the ring. The idea was that Torro would not show any sign of fear so would allay Rhyme's worries.
Success - I ignored Rhyme's panic and played with Torro and eventually Rhyme joined in. Luckily the other ring had finished and were walking the next class too so there was no more noise close by. He did still react to a seesaw in a ring further away.
On the start line he was totally focused and worked extremely well so the result was much better than if I had tried when he wasn't able to work. We also achieved our first clear round :)
It is hard to work through a dogs fear as it is a balancing act of increasing intensity whilst not going overboard and creating a full blown phobia.
I personally don't think saturation is a kind training method and can even result in an incurable problem. So I will be doing lots of "outside the box" games with Rhyme to create another reaction from him when he hears that kind of noise.
Noise sensitivity is a strange thing as it effects dogs so differently. I have also heard comments such as "it's in the line". Is it something that can be inherited or just the way the puppies are brought up?
Our dogs are very different with noises.
Flint is great out and about except for air rifles which has now also gone into crow scarers and other gunfire - living on Salisbury Plain we do walk opposite a firing range. We played a bang game with him so when a gun goes off we say bang and make a game and joke of him worrying. This has worked to a good degree and he can cope with it. Inside he hates the noise of the iron and nothing on earth would ever ever make him want to be in the same room as it. Perfectly understandable LOL Conversely he loves watching action films with fighting and gunfire and explosions, the more the better.
Kodi is not bothered by any noise in any way. He was born a couple of weeks before Nov 5 and his breeder says it is because he experienced the first lot of fireworks when still with Mum who wasn't bothered by them either.
Torro is uncomfortable with thunder and some noises but not scared. He just puts his ears back and puts on a brave face.
Devo too is unconcerned except if he notices Flint being scared which gives him a reason to herd Flint (very weird).
Rhyme has been scared of noises since a pup and his hearing seems sharper although the other dogs probably hear the same but don't react.
I do believe the more you ignore anything that worries them then the sooner they will realise it is nothing to worry about but sometimes his reaction is so strong that it is close to hysteria and he couldn't care less about whether anything else doesn't like it just that he has to escape :(
This is where some people may be encouraged to use drugs or herbal remedies and although some people have had success I have also heard that the fear,is still there but the drug inhibits the dogs ability to show a reaction. Ultimately this can cause the dog more distress.
So for me it is off to think of ways to create a new reaction to a banging metal noise to help my gorgeous boy feel happy around the rings.
Apparently Simon Cowell likes dog acts - a steel drum playing dog has got to be a first. Watch out for next year's Britain's Got Talent :) :)