German Shepherds Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just recently, my 8.5 y/o U.B. has started cramming himself into small spaces. He doesn't like thunder and always went behind hubby's recliner, but came out as soon as the storm is over. Now, he's always behind either one of our recliners and up against the wall. He's also jamming himself into a very small space between an end table and plant table. I don't even know how he gets himself in there. He's always been a free range dog and usually slept on his bed or in the middle of the room where I am. These small spaces are either right behind me or next to me.

Has anybody experienced this behavior before with their GSD? If so, have you done anything to change it, or just accept it for what it is? Nothing has changed in our lives. Things that make you go hmmmmmmm :confused
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
424 Posts
Not with a GSD, no, but it's not breed specific behavior.
My parents' aussie used to do this. She would cram herself behind the toilet in the bathroom. She even learned to open the bottom cabinets in the kitchen to hide in there. She didn't start this behavior until she got older-before then she just paced and panted furiously. At the time, thunder shirts weren't around but I'd recommend them now. They're great but they don't fix the issue.

Fear of storms is a conditioned behavior-it's not innate or inherited. You have to essentially desensitize your dog.
My Malachi (GSD) doesn't like storms either, here's what I'm doing with him:

Obviously you can't wait until a thunderstorm is coming to work on changing this behavior, so I went and downloaded Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyone Suite (though there are TONS of thunderstorm tracks to download)..
First I do a lot of 'sit' and 'stay' IN the house. And reward him.
Then put the music on really low and repeat the sit and stay exercises. Make sure your dogs not stressed by the music
The idea is to gradually increase the volume of the track while reinforcing calm behavior. If he becomes upset, I go back and turn it down and start again.
Eventually you should be able to get to the point where you can leave the house and leave the track playing.

Then I always try my best to be home with him during a storm so I can continue the exercises in a real life scenario. Trust me, this requires listening to weather constantly, and sometimes rushing home from wherever I am to get to him. Fortunately, we've had a LOT of storms lately so I've been able to really work on it with him. He's coming along well and did a LOT better during the last storm.

Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,379 Posts
Because he's an older dog, and this behavior has just come up, I'd check for any medical problems. If your dog has always hidden during times of anxiety, and now he's doing it 24/7, there could be a medical problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
280 Posts
If this is a sudden change in behavior I would also recommend going to the vet for a checkup.

My pup has always been fond of little caves and hidey holes. She always sleeps in corners, under chairs, and when she was small enough, under the bed. It isn't an anxiety thing, she just likes to be in small spaces. She never just lays in the middle of the room.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
153 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input and the storm suggestion. He has a vet appt. next week as we're dealing with PF, so I'll mention it to her to make sure he gets a good going over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
424 Posts
let us know what your vet has to say..good luck to you!
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top