Why we don't care... or understand? And why ears are big part of the dog?
'The only workshop that did not sell well was about noise sensitivity'... This is what I heard when discussing options and programme of our next Bravery Boost Workshop. When looking at the statistics mentioned in few episodes before ( only 1/3 owners of dogs suffering from noise sensitivity look for any help) I kept asking myself why we don't care? Scrolling facebook I was able to find some posts asking what to do with a dog terrified of fireworks (especially in this time of the year, after New Year's festivity we will not hear much about the issue until the next Bonfire Night). What was the response to those? There are fewer answers with any good (or bad ;) ) advise than for questions such as 'what coat shall I choose for rainy weather?' Conversation usually finishes: poor thing, he is what he is. So why there is so little interest about the subject when so many dogs suffer from it? The answer is simple: We cannot relate! People in general have no excessive fear reaction to noises. In human world only 10% population suffer from phobias but that includes all: snakes, spiders, small spaces, height etc. I'm sure you know someone who is terrified of spiders or snakes...but with noise sensitivity... I myself really don't know anyone. It was shown in studies that kids under 7 years have high prevalence of noise sensitivity but gradually it diminishes and does not retain until adulthood. Dogs' fears and phobias, on the other hand, are mostly related to noises. Why? Dogs use eyes to identify prey and hearing system as a monitoring system to identify threat. Responsiveness to sounds in dogs is an essential warning system therefore noise sensitivities and phobias have much higher prevalence than in humans. That is why ears are big part of the dog.
We put sweaters on long hair dogs as soon as the leave house when is 15 degrees outside because WE don't like to be cold, we feed or overfeed because WE don't like to be hungry, we spend fortune on groomers and 'beauty' products as WE like to look good. We do amazing things for our dogs to let them live happy and relaxed life as long WE can relate that to our world. Yet we do so little to make them more confident. We need to remember they can perceive things we cannot even imagine - this stupid toaster that your dog is running away from is like a big black spider under you bed and fireworks are like tigers roaring in front of our door (this reminded me when I got lost on the safari without a guide and had to spend a night in the car with all the white bones of eaten animals around it...nobody left the truck... even for second...even for a wee ...until morning...)
Thanks for reading,