“Training noise tolerance is important with puppies and young dogs for performance work or as a safe pet,” says trainer and gundog competitor Deborah Abbott of Lebanon, Ind. “I reward with food around unusual or loud noises.” Abbott’s methods include:
- During thunderstorms, treat generously. Let it rain dog biscuits.
- If training for hunting, give treats when distant gunshots fire and gradually work closer.
- Use events like small parades as a training opportunity. Treat your puppy when marching bands, drums, and fire engines with sirens pass. Avoid environments such as fireworks displays where constant extreme noise may prove overwhelming.
- Set the example and don’t act alarmed if your puppy reacts. Tell her she’s fine and offer treats in a matter of fact way.
Rule of thumb: If your puppy refuses treats, wait for her to accept them and progress more gradually. Some puppies inherently handle noise better than others.