Ask a Vet Online – ‘I have got 2 staffies 1 is afraid to go out at night even on a lead. How can I help him?’
Question from Anji Bradley
I have got 2 staffies 1 is afraid to go out at night even on a lead. How can I help him.He stopped going out after he heard a car back-fire and he thought it was a firework.
Answer from Shanika Winters MRCVS, Online Vet
Hi Anji, thank you for your question about your dog’s fear of going out at night. What you are describing would fit with being a noise phobia.
What is a noise phobia?
Noise phobia is a fear response which is triggered when a particular sound is heard, in this case banging sounds similar to those produced by fireworks. Dogs are intelligent animals and soon make associations to a stimulus, in this case the stimulus is a sound and the response associated with it is a reluctance to go out for walks in the night for fear of hearing the scary sound.
From what you have described I have assumed that your dog already was fearful of fireworks prior to hearing the car back-fire. If this is the case then hopefully the following will be useful information.
How can I help my dog with his noise phobia?
In order to deal with a noise phobia you will need the help of your vet or someone trained in dog behaviour and plenty of patience.