Q: Why is my dog so sensitive to noises and sudden movements and what can be done to treat this?

Original Question: "My daughter has a new baby and we have her Bull Terrier but this dog has a nerve condition of some kind. If something moves ever so quietly, for example, I dropped a very small plastic cover this morning and she skittered across the hardwood floors. What so you think the problem is? Is there something I can give her to calm her down? Please help." - Rhonda

Vet Certified Answer | Answered: January 8, 2018

Hi Rhonda,

Thanks for your question.

It sounds like you have a lot going on and I commend you for taking care of your daughter’s dog. It is certainly possible she has some sensitivity to loud noises or sudden movements – a common behavioural issue seen in dogs. I also wonder if she could be feeling more anxious and on edge because she is not in her normal home environment. I think there are some things you could do to reduce this – perhaps adding carpeting so she doesn’t slide so much on the floor, provide her with a quiet, safe hiding place in the home, and ensuring she has lots of exercise to burn off any extra energy. Beyond this, it would certainly be reasonable to consult with your veterinarian about medications or supplements that could be used to reduce her level of anxiety. These are more temporary measures, however.

A more long- term solution would involve behavioural modification training, ideally under the guidance of a professional trainer or behaviourist, to reduce her reactivity. If this is something you are interested in, your veterinarian will be able to guide you further on how to start this training.

I hope this gives you some insight.


Dr. Kim Hester

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