The other weekend we had quite the fire alarm fiasco. As many of you know, loud noises can bother fearful dogs immensely. Fear of loud noises usually worsen over time, can be learned, or have a deeper cause like genetics. Oreo is definitely genetically predisposed to being fearful, but she was not always so fearful of the fire alarm.
It all began one Saturday evening. My husband and I were running around doing chores and cleaning up the house. We finally ate and sat down to watch a nice movie until…BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, goes our fire alarm. We live in a newer home, so the fire alarms seem to be unusually LOUD. The first time the alarm went off Oreo followed my husband to where the fire alarm is, jumped up, and checked it out.
We sat back down to enjoy the movie, and literally we just got through the previews…BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. This time Oreo whines and follows my husband to the fire alarm while he turns it off.
Again, we sit down and start the movie. By the way, this is a movie that I’ve been waiting to watch for quite a while. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. This time Oreo barks and follows my husband.
You can understand the pattern, each time the fire alarm goes off Oreo gets more upset. Meanwhile, we don’t understand why they are going off, but know that the fire alarms have a history of acting up in the neighborhood.
The next time it goes off Oreo now barks and whines, walks in circles and runs around.
The final time Oreo can’t take it, barks, whines, follows us upstairs, and pees.
I know it’s bad when she pees. She doesn’t pee in the house. She use to do that a long time ago when we first got her-she would pee whenever we turned on a hair dryer or anything else that sounded like it-but she isn’t afraid of that sound anymore.
However, with the large amount of loud fire alarms going off in such a short time, Oreo was exposed to the sound too much. I did treat her, do tricks, and try “having a party”, but she was too anxious after the second fire alarm.
You may wonder why we didn’t just shut them off. We tried, they are like SUPER fire alarms, made so no one can take them off! We did eventually get them off, wrapped them in a towel, and threw them in the car. Not the safest decision, but for our sanity, and Oreo’s we did it. Later we found out the batteries were dying, which should have just triggered a one beep, not a full fire alarm, but who knows.
Signs your dog may be afraid of loud noises:
panting, whining, pacing, urinating, circling, trembling, running away/jumping to avoid
There are much more serious signs where your dog may actually injure themselves because they can not handle how anxious they are. Many dogs try to hide, especially in the tub. Oreo is not afraid of thunderstorms…yet, so I do different things during thunderstorms. I make sure I play games and do tricks for treats during thunderstorms. Some other things you can do are play soothing music, put a fan or something on that will hide some of the noise, have a treat party (throw high value treats around your dog to make a positive associate between the storm and good things), try to desensitize your dog, or see your vet about medications if it is severe.
We are happy the fire alarms are fixed. Coincidently as I was just finishing writing this, the show my husband was watching had fire alarms going off. Oreo raised her head from her sleep and looked, but luckily the alarms only lasted about 2 seconds!