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  • Writer's picturePlay With Purpose

Noise Box - A Confidence and Noise Sensitivity Game

If you have a dog who is sensitive to noises, it can be a difficult thing to live with – both for you and your dog. Every knock, bang and thump can send them into a fit of barking which can not only be disruptive in the house, but also causes stress levels in your dog to sky-rocket. Some dogs may not recover quickly from these kinds of reactions and then react even more to subtle sounds that may follow in the hours afterwards. I have a noise sensitive young dog and in addition to managing her stress bucket and spending a lot of time promoting calmness, we play confidence games on a daily basis and one in particular has made a huge difference.

Noise Box is a great game to help build confidence and decrease noise sensitivity. By putting your dog in control of making noises themselves and getting rewarded for it by finding treats at the same time, you help create a positive association between unexpected noises and the treats.

How do you play?

🐾 Grab anything that you can put objects into...this could be a cardboard box, laundry basket, kiddie pool etc.

🐾 Add random, safe objects that make different noises when moved to the box...plastic bottles, metal spoons, crumpled newspaper - basically it can be anything you have lying around the house that will not injure your dog as they snuffle about.

🐾 Sprinkle treats (or some of your dog’s daily food allowance) inside the items and box and allow your dog to explore! Add more treats as needed.

Watch for signs of hesitation, and signs of confidence. Your dog may be hesitant to nose some objects, but not others. They may dive in with all 4 paws, or simply stick their head in and nose around. All of this is information for you. The more your dog plays this game, the more confident they will become with it and the less reactive they will be when hearing unexpected noises...they learn that movement, noises and novelty result in something good:-)

All dogs learn at their own pace, so do not be worried if your dog is hesitant at first. If they want nothing to do with the box, simply remove an object or two, place it on the ground and sprinkle food around it for them to get on their own terms. Slowly build up to using the box, maybe just with one item in at a time. They will get there...!

Change up the noise box every time you play – novelty is important! Choose new objects, a new ‘box’, play in a new space (yes…this can make a huge difference in confidence levels! A dog may be totally fine playing in the living room, but take it outside and you may see different behaviours due to all the distractions.)

Have Fun😊

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