We’re sure you would have heard all about white noise apps and machines to help us sleep, but did you know white noise can be good for our puppies too? In fact white noise can be good for puppies for a variety of reasons. 

In this article, we’ll drown out the noise and give you the nitty gritty on what white and other coloured noise is and does, how white noise can help a puppy, and how you can use white noise with puppies in many situations.

Using muffling noise can help many dogs and puppies with problems with fireworks and thunderstorms. We also have comprehensive lessons on habituating your puppy to noises and sounds in our Zigzag puppy training app. There’s also our team of puppy training coaches available to help you 7 days a week. 

man carrying puppy on arm
Photo by Chris Becker on Unsplash

What is white noise?

So, what exactly is white noise? Different noise frequencies make up a sound spectrum, and all these frequencies together make white noise. White noise is that crackling, static-like TV interference sound that allows outside, or disturbing noise to be muffled or buffered, so that it isn’t so jarring. 

In humans, it’s often suggested that people listen to white noise to help them sleep. The random, but constant, noise means you get less disturbed by other external noises (hello dripping tap or ticking clock!) and can focus on the white noise instead.

We tend to lump together various colours of noise frequencies and call them all white noise, so when you read white noise, do realise we’re talking about a spectrum of noises in this article. In actual fact there are several colours of sound or noise, and each colour sounds different and will work best at masking or muffling certain noises or frequencies. 

Check out this handy white noise table for puppies to get up to speed.

Types of white noise commonly used in puppies and dogs:

NameFrequency Sounds likeGood for
White noiseEqual across the rangeStatic TVGeneral noise masking
Pink noiseMid range – low frequencyWind or steady rainfallGeneral Anxiety
Brown noiseLow frequencyRoaring river or strong winds – clangy dirty or rustly soundingThunder storms

Sound is typically measured in:

  • Frequency – how low or high pitch a sound is
  • Decibels – how loud a sound is, and what we think of as volume
  • Waves – short wave vs long wave sounds 

White noise for puppies – how does it help

White noise for puppies can be a really useful tool to help your puppy cope with outside sounds. It’s often sounds that we might not actually hear ourselves. In fact, a dog’s hearing is around four times as sensitive as ours, that’s why they can ALWAYS hear a dog treat packet being opened in another room and come running!

Reacting to outside noises when you’re at home

This can be related to a fear of specific noises, which may have been paired to something your dog doesn’t like. Common reactions are a gate opening, a car backfiring in the street, and the jangling of dog tags. 

Noises can easily set your dog off into a barking frenzy, so masking the outside sounds for persistent barkers can be a good choice. You can also read up on how to stop my puppy barking for more tips.

Separation issues

White noise is commonly suggested for puppies with separation issues as there is a small amount of research that it can help to lower their heart rate. While white noise won’t fix separation anxiety on its own, the soothing sound can help to relax a slightly angsty dog, or puppy, or one who alarm barks to noises outside.

White noise for puppy sleep issues 

If you have a puppy who is easily woken, then white noise can help muffle those sounds so that you all get a peaceful night’s sleep. Just like in humans, white noise for puppies provides a buffer between the outsides crashes, bangs, twit twoos or meows that can keep our puppies, and us, up at night.

Everything at night seems louder doesn’t it? That’s because there’s no background daytime noise to buffer or muffle noises, so some puppies will find a white noise machine useful to bring the ambient volume up a notch. Puppies aren’t used to silence so can find it hard in the early weeks when it all goes quiet at night.

White noise for sound aversion or sound sensitivity

White noise can be effectively used to both counter condition and muffle noises to help dogs with sound sensitivity or sound aversion. Best to talk it through with a qualified behaviourist though so you can be sure you’re doing the right thing, or of course contact the puppy coaches via the Zigzag app.

Noise phobia and white noise

Noise phobia is a clinical condition and you should consult a qualified behaviourist who may suggest some white noise in addition to other treatment options.

brown and white dog
Photo by Matt ODell on Unsplash

How do I use white noise for puppies?

If you have a puppy who seems to react to outside noises and barking has become a problem, they seem jumpy or intently listening, then white noise is worth a try. 

Here’s how you can use white noise for puppies. Just follow these steps to get set up

  1. Find out what frequency the sound is that you’re trying to mask

All sounds have a frequency. A sound like thunder will have a low frequency, whereas the clattering of next doors postbox will have a high frequency. You can download apps to your phone to help you measure the frequency.

  1. Choose a white noise colour that matches the frequency

In order to effectively mask the sound that you don’t want your puppy to hear, you’ll need to find the corresponding colour of frequency. White, pink and brown are commonly used in dogs, so pick the one that closest matches the offending audio.

  1. Download a white noise app or buy a white noise machine that allows you to choose the frequency

You can get free or paid apps, as well as specific white noise machines. When considering white noise for puppies, it is important that you can choose the colour or frequency that will best mask the outside sounds.

  1. Measure your puppy’s response to the white noise

You’ll need to figure out if it’s working of course! Did the sound masking help? Did you get the right colour? Was the volume loud enough for your puppy, or was it too loud for you to cope with hearing in your house? 

Some pups and dogs, particularly those who are sensitive to thunderstorms, may sense the approaching storm based on barometric pressure. It’s still a good idea to sound mask in these situations, but you should be aware that you may need to do more, such as counter conditioning and desensitisation, to help them overcome their anxieties.

Similarly, if you’re using a white noise machine to help a puppy with separation-related problems, then using white noise might not be enough. Make sure you have a camera set up to see how or if it’s working, and work with a trainer or behaviourist who specialises in separation anxiety.

Not sure if the white noise is helping? Check out our puppy body language article to understand how and what they’re communicating.

  1. Don’t leave the app or machine running all the time

No one needs to hear white noise all day and all night. Make sure you give the white noise a break. 

ginger dog sat in field
Photo by Francesca Di Pasqua on Unsplash

Hopefully, some of that sunk in, and wasn’t all white to YOU! The fact is white noise works for some puppies and doesn’t work for others, give it a go and see. You might also want to have a read-up on how to calm a puppy down, if you’ve got a bit of a lively puppy, or maybe it’s worth settling your puppy into a reliable day to day routine. 

If you’re looking for the best in training advice, socialisation and habituation lessons, or one on one live support from dog trainers, look no further than the Zigzag puppy training app. Some of the leading organisations endorse us, and we have a team of puppy training coaches from these organisations to answer any of your questions. Download a free trial today and give it a go.