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I have a 4 year old Border Collie and she is very sensitive to noises. Not just loud noises, but any sort of "bassy" noise. These noises often occur while I'm out walking her, and when they do, she will drop everything that she's doing (any balls or sticks she's playing with, other dogs etc) and run back towards the house or car, totally ignoring my calls for her to "stop" and "stay".

When we first got her, training her more on recall seemed to help a bit. I can now sometimes get her to stay in one spot if she's running away, but in general she will ignore my commands until she's run back to whatever place she considers safe.

I'd like to know what methods I should be using to correct this behaviour. Obviously I don't want to tell her off when I catch up to her, because then she will think that she's being told off for not running away. I also try to ignore her fear of the noise in order to not confirm it, and I will put her on the leash and walk her back in the direction of the noise, but she often will just sit and totally refuse to move.

This wasn't a huge problem until yesterday when she ran into a road and forced cars to stop, so now it's become a safety issue.

  • My cat was exactly same. Even beard trimming machine frightened her and she would take cover under bed. – Sonevol Nov 11 '17 at 5:02
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    You should not let her off the leash until she reacts to you even if she is frightened. You could use a very long leash during the training process. It is not nice, but better than producing accidents. – Haras Brummi Nov 11 '17 at 17:48
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Treats and slow introduction into areas where these noises occur.

First practice the recall, always treat her when she comes to you when you call. Then take her somewhere where the noise she doesnt like is very far away, to the point where she might hear it but not feel threatened, then treat her. Slowly move closer to the noise and treat her as you do that. If she stops responding then move it back to where she feels safe.

It's all about building the confidence and letting her know the sound isn't harmful. But its a very very slow process. I have a fox terrier who is terrified of many things, sounds, people, other dogs. And I know how frustrating it can be when you try to control your dog in a situation but that look of fear and that low body posture just takes over and the dog bolts.

You need your dog to trust you and feel confident enough to know that nothing can go wrong. What helped mine massively is to do obedience training at a local dog school, he soon learnt to focus on my voice more than outside stimuli.

Good luck and don't give up

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  • Thanks, I will try this. The difficulty is that it's such a wide range of noises, it's hard to find a quiet enough place where they don't happen (or happen very far in the distance). We are enrolling her in a dog training class so hopefully that will help, as it did with your terrier. – Chris White Nov 10 '17 at 9:23
  • @ChrisWhite great, good luck with the classes, it definitely will make a massive difference, if anything the teacher should spot behavior traits that they might suggest ways to treat. – po10cySA Nov 13 '17 at 13:52

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