Nasty Noises from Cowering to Calm by Dr Erica Cosijn


New book By Dr. Erica Cosijn to help you understand more about why Dogs are scared of noise and she will introduce us to strategies from the Tellington TTouch toolbox along with other strategies she uses to help noise-sensitive dogs. Whilst this book has been written as a stand-alone book it is also the companion book to Erica’s two-day noise-sensitivity workshop.

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Dr. Erica Cosijn  has studied Mathematics, Physics and Philosophy at graduate level and Logic, Ethics and Information Science at Postgraduate level. She has worked as a badly paid philosopher, information specialist, university lecturer, noise impact assessment consultant and lately as a Tellington TTouch Practitioner and content developer for Information Literacy at tertiary level. She is the author of many articles on Information Retrieval, is co-author of a book on Information Literacy and has written over 200 Noise Impact Assessment Reports. All these skills combined perfectly for the development of the Nasty Noises course and subsequent book. Dr Erica lives in Pretoria, South Africa with her elderly rescued dogs and is quite well known for her love of orange-eyebrowed dogs.

Content of the book (subject to change)

Section One

Understanding noise, sound and hearing – This section will address sound as a physical phenomenon, the physiology of hearing and the differences between sound and noise. The differences in human and animal hearing will be also be discussed.
Section Two
Understanding the physiology and psychological impacts of fear, phobia and anxiety – The differences between fear, phobia and anxiety will be discussed in some detail, drawing from the research of Jaak Panksepp, Frans de Waal, Brian Hare, Gregory Burns and John Pilley. Other risks factors such as breed, history, socialisation, gut health and separation anxiety will also be discussed
Section Three
The components of a thunderstorm –Thunderstorms are complex phenomena with many elements that may cause fear, anxiety and phobia. Many animals are not scared of the noise as we commonly assume, but are rather triggered by changes in air pressure, electrical charge in the air, the smells associated with storms, visual shocks such as lighting flashes, ground-borne vibrations, etc. These elements will be discussed, as well as some clues to look for when determining what the animal is afraid of.
Section Four
FAQs and myths regarding noise phobia – Free advice on noise phobia is abundant on social media, but many of these are detrimental to the well-being of the animal. It is important to be aware of misconceptions regarding this potentially debilitating condition, so this section will deal with scientific research published on early and late-onset phobia, hereditary factors, mimicking behaviours and the possibilities of mitigation.
Section Five
Health issues that might exacerbate the fear response – Fear and anxiety are not always psychological responses, and there are many health factors that may cause fear responses. The following will be discussed: Illness and pain, viral CNS infections, vaccinosis, canine cognitive disfunction, exposure to toxic substances, diet and gut health, and endocrine diseases.
Section Six
Environmental control to mitigate the triggers – Controlling the environment to create a safe space for the animal is something that is easily achievable by most households. This is dependent on engaging as many of the senses as possible – sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. We will discuss the effects of furnishings on reverberation and standing sound waves, ways to shut out visual stimuli, mitigate auditory stimuli, use scents and treats to engage the senses. We will also look in some detail at the research done the types of background sound and music to help noise-phobic animals.
Section Seven
Emotional assistance to mitigate the fear response and calm the animal – In this section we will discuss prescription medication available, natural remedies, aromatherapy and zoo pharmacognosy. We will also look at the way that play, exercise, chewing and body pressure can play a role in calming the animal. The main part of this section will be the use of TTouch techniques and tools suitable for preparing animals to be in physical, emotional and mental balance so that they can weather a storm or noisy situation with confidence.
Section Eight – Discussing a case study
“Nasty Noises: From Cowering to Calm”, was written from my experience as an acoustician, a Tellington TTouch® Practitioner and Bertie’s human. I wrote this book for dog guardians who experience the trauma of living with a “noise-phobic” dog.

Pet parents are guided through an explanation of the difference between sound and noise, and the differences between fear, phobia, and anxiety.  Understanding the issues from the dog’s perspective is also important: a dog’s senses differ from those of humans, and to really help our animals, we need to understand what they see, hear, feel, because it is not the same as what we see, hear, or feel.

Although Bertie was storm-phobic, many other events that we perceive as noise events, are multi-sensory experiences.  Fireworks, for example, are not only noisy, but there are also smells like sulfur, saltpetre and gunpowder, the explosions cause physical shock waves, and there are sudden flashes of light. If we look at the use of a vacuum cleaner from a dog’s point of view, it is not only noisy (and there are sounds that they can hear that we can’t), but there are also smells, snaking cords, and the pet parent attached to the monstrosity.

The approach is that if we understand the physics of sound, and the physiology and psychology of fear, we can apply this knowledge to manage the environment and support the emotions of the animal. Examples of managing the environment include the use of white sound and certain types of music, dog laughter, soft rooms, and ways to reduce static electricity in the air. The chapter on supporting the dog’s emotions deal with the use of prescription medication (under the guidance of a veterinarian), as well as many natural alternatives, such as various supplements, homeopathy, aromatherapy and Tellington TTouch®.

This book answers many questions, for example:

“Why does my dog hide out in the bathroom during a storm?” (Answer: Your dog is scared of the electrical charge in the air and the bathroom is earthed through the pipes going into the ground)

“Why does my dog not want to lie in his own bed, but rather in the middle of the passage during fireworks displays?”, (Answer: His bed is next to a wall where reverberation and standing sound waves cause the sound to be much louder)

“If one of my dogs are noise phobic, will he also teach the other dogs in the household to be noise phobic?” (Answer: Most likely not)

“My dog has never been scared of gunshots and now she is. What’s up with that?” (Answer: Studies show that noise-sensitivity likely increases with age)

“Will it help if I play really loud rock music during fireworks display to drown out the noise?” (Answer: No, if your dog is already noise sensitive, it will only make things worse. Soft, slow, simple, single instrument music is much better for calming)

“What about wrapping a scarf around my dog in a criss-cross manner?” (The book explains how this works, the correct way to apply the wrap, and the type of wrap to use)

One of the chapters is dedicated to two case studies – a full analysis of the specific triggers and phobias and possible solutions. This will offer pet parents the know-how to compile a treatment plan for their own pets

This book is published in the UK by Cetacea Publishing

Approximately 120 printed pages, A4 sizes

Additional information

Weight 0.3 kg
Dimensions 21 × 0.5 × 29.7 cm


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