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Discussion Starter #1
I am wondering if Lightening would freak a GSD out ? We don't get it often here and this would be Duke's first experience with it but he went nuts and was even tearing things up pretty badly so I just wondered if his behavior was caused by 1, us not paying close enough attention & 2 him just being plain scared ?
 

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In my Cal's (RIP) case, it seemed to be the thunder part of storms. Hearing fireworks from many miles away also freaked him out. He would scratch at doors and walls, whine, pant, and pace. In his later years, he would hide in the bath tub!

I don't know whether it was coincidence, but after he had a blood test that revealed he was hypothyroid and he went on levothyroxine, he seemed much better able to tolerate storms that included thunder and lightning.
 

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Kacie is afraid of storms, but she just wants to be with me at the time, or in the bathroom. She has never tore anything up, luckily. She was a chained outside dog before she was rescued so I believe her fear has to do with that. I can only imagine what she must have gone thru before coming here, poor girl!
 

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Was this last night?
For a bit it seemed the storm was right over my house, thunder loud enough to actually shake my windows and seemed to cause the house to "shudder".
Dante usually doesn't care but last night's thunder did cause him to pace a bit. I actually ignored him until he laid down between "claps" and then gave him a "scritch" and a quiet word. I perhaps am over the top with not doing anything during the pacing but I have a friend whose dog is SO bad when it comes to loud noises (Has been known to soil the bed turning fireworks) that I have a fear of creating the same thing in Dante.

Ever since I got Dante on the 4th of July I've gone out in the backyard with his favorite toys and we've played played played while fireworks were going off in the area in an attempt to show that loud noises are an ok thing.
 
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Depends on the dog. Dutch was very much afraid of thunder and lightning and would try and hide somewhere in the house when storms hit. Other dogs would get a bit keyed up from it but be reassured by my presence. Odin actually likes it. He'll sit by the sliding glass door and stare out at the flashes with interest and delight.
 

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I have had 3 storm phobic dogs. All 3 started out just fine and then it kicked in when they got older (probably between 5 and 7 years old). They are/were equally terrified during fireworks and during thunderstorms. In both cases I completely ignored them based on recommendations. In neither case did my ignoring them help with their behavior. I know people with dogs who have to be sedated during storms so that they don't hurt themselves or their environment.

There are a variety of things you can try: rescue remedy, walnut (I think that's the one for thunderstorms), DAP plug ins and, if it's really bad I would recommend the anxiety wrap.

Chama wants to be near me when it storms (and now that her hearing is going she still gets upset when she sees the lightning and feels the barometric pressure changes) and both Massie and Basu wanted to get behind/in things. Basu would always get in the bathtub during storms. This was hilarious at my cottage because there is only a very narrow plastic shower. My sister came out of the bathroom one day and said, "Did you know your dog is in the shower?????"


Anyway, my experience has been that you need to figure out what works for your dog (a hiding place, being close to you, holding them, etc.) and then be sure they are able to get that during the storm.

I think Val (Wisc Tiger) has an extremely storm phobic dog so hopefully she'll weigh in.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, yea it could have been the thunder part of it too didn't think of that.

Barb - Yes this was last night I am talking about. That's a good idea about the 4th of July, I will go out and play with him so he can used to it and know its ok.

Makes me chuckle having them hide in the bath tub, LOL.

Our last GSD was fine with the weather and 4th of July so I guess I didn't think he could be scared though I've heard of it before.

He is usually always by my side so I am sure it was freaky for him.
 

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luc is good w/storms outside, though he was initially terrified, especially of the thunder.

i didn't ignore HIM, but i did ignore his fear. we had our first storm experience a week after i adopted him backpacking in killarney. we sat under the tarp then went into the tent. he shook and drooled, and i read aloud cheerfully making inane comments.

the next time we had a storm, luc almost ignored it. that worked really well for him.
 

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I like melatonin for storms or vet anxueties. It doesn't work for all dogs, but I have had great success with it.

Here is some info I sent to someone else earlier by PM with a couple of links about melatonin. ------------------------

Whole Dog Journal did a series of articles a few years ago about dogs and noise or situational phobias. Melatonin was found to be a safe, relatively fast working way to help the dog relax and stop stressing.

I used it successfully with Solo at the vet and for my late, elderly dog that suddenly became fearful of storms.

You can find melatonin almost anyplace, but I prefer to buy it at a health food store. I feel better about the consistency of the tablets.

Melatnoin is sold in little 2.5 mg tablets. You can give 1 for small dogs, or 2 for larger ones about half an hour before a vet appointment and they should be calmer at the vets. For storms, use it as soon as you hear the storm gearing up. Then work with your dog - obedience, tricks or chasing a toy in the house so they are distracted.

It isn't a tranquilizer so the dog will just relax and react to you. It is extremely safe.

If you google 'melatonin supplement dogs' you will find lots of info about it's use. Here are a copule of sites:


http://www.dogaware.com/specific.html

http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/melatonin.htm
 

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I am struggling to deal with Sam, one of my rescue Labs who is thunderphobic and who is deteriorating rapidly. The first storm of the year he just panted and shook, the send and third he ran round the house, and the last he pulled down the baby gate, ran upstairs and pulled/tore up a large portion of carpet and cut his front feet as he tried to dig through a closed bedroom door.

Sam has been to see a behaviourist who is concerned at how rapidly he is deteriorating and who has started him on medications (Clomipramine and Alprazolam) and a training regime where we put on an anxiety wrap (I use a tight t-shirt) and find a safe place for Sam to go when he's afraid. I have also started him on melatonin - he gets 3mg every evening and will get an additional tablet when a storm is approaching.

As others have mentioned, I think the key is finding what works for your dog and making sure they have that available when a storm hits.
 

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Oh dear, Joanne. I knew a gsd who was like that. She would tear down doors, poor girl.

Have you considered buying the real wrap? I have heard that it really does work better than a t-shirt. I know several people who have tried both.
 

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I should have mentioned too that a couple of years before we knew about Cal's thyroid problem, my vet prescribed valium for him. I only used it a couple of times because forecast storms don't always materialize, and I didn't want to give him meds unless really needed. The valium did take the edge off for him.
 

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Have had one GSD that feared storms... she would get upset long before I was aware of approaching storm. Guess they can feel the weather changes.

Jack and Sofie, however, have no fear of thunder, lightening or rain. We had a few terrific storms this week and they didn't seem to notice.
 

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As a person who has a severe thunderstorm phobic dog, DeeDee the best thing I found to help her is to get her to what she considers to be her safe place. This summer I am going to rearrange things in my large walkin closet for, that is her safe place, back in the corner.

I tried the Melatonin, doesn't work on her.
 

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I had a GSD who was very fearful of thundstorms. He would start shaking, and if he found my father (his safe spot) he would not budge. He'd cry sometimes too. So, we usually put him in his crate at my father's bedside, or he'd lay at his feet.

I saw this a week or so ago on the Animal Planet. There was a trainer, I forget his name, but you've probably seen him before. He was dealing with thunderstorm phobic dogs and he said you can almost train them out of it by having a cd of the storm and playing it. Very low in volumn at first, and as the dog gets used to it, slowing increasing the volumn over time. I've never tried it, but it's a sugestion.

As for Apollo, he acts as if the thunderstorms aren't even there. Zeus hasn't been thruogh one yet, so I don't know his reaction, but I assume it'll be much like Apollo's. Ignorant of the storm.
 

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Re: Storm & Lightening ?

Ris is afraid of thunderstorms though she has improved over time. I've only had her just shy of 2 years and her confidence overall has improved. I imagine that has helped decrease her phobia.

However, she still doesn't like them. We were out on a walk Friday in the rain and thunder started as we were getting close to home. She pulled a bit more on lead but wasn't crazy about it. She spooked pretty good when she saw a bolt of lightening (which frightens her MORE than the thunder). Other than really really wanting to get inside again, she was fine.

Most of the time (and this is based off last year's reactions since we haven't had any storms yet this year) she paces and pants. Generally, she avoids hanging out in the livingroom or will only lay on my side of the couch (farthest away from the windows). I usually find her hiding in the bathroom where there are no windows. I have caught her hiding under my bed on a couple of occasions.

I pretty much ignore her behavior and talk to her like I normally would. If she wants to stay out in the livingroom with me, I will pet her slowly to calm her down but I don't force her to stay. I have also made it a point to play tuggie with her during storms. It's hard to be afraid of something while you're engaged in a rousing game of tug!

Last year, during the 4th of July, I put her kennel in the bathroom, blasted music, and closed the door to try and drown out the fireworks (which were only about 2 blocks away). She was still pretty unnerved though. This year, I'll probably do the same except give her some Rescue Remedy as well.
 

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Max hates thunderstorms. Living here (eastern Oregon) is a blessing in that regard as we have rare T-storms here. I think the last one was last July? Generally when we do have one he hides in the closet and we simply leave him alone and don't draw attention to them. The last one we had he did better. We were in the yard and I heard the thunder a long way off and he did not react so I played fetch with him until it got bad. When he did finally start to get frightened we just quietly went in the house and acted like it was no big deal. Good thing he did not live in Oklahoma with us.

Kayos could care less, Havoc has not experienced one yet.
 

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Jake developed storm phobia about 1 yr after I adopted him due to a VERY near lightning strike(he really ignored storms prior to this).I am NOT the role model for not being afraid of lightning but I kinda spent a LOT of time controlling my reaction and then started to get Jake to 'GET it"and running out toward thunder WITH him.Kinda nuts maybe I could have been struck-but D--n jakers and I together 'ROWR-ROWR'at storms.he will rabsolutely head in direction storm is coming and we both run together to "get it".If it happens in middle of night I praise Jake for barking and a RARE thing ask him up on my bed to ROWR off the storm.Sounds kinda silly but it worked for us!
 

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Our female, age 9 is VERy storm and noise phobic and it has gotten worse as she has aged. Ignoring her or comforting her really makes no difference. She is not destructive IF she can get in a safe place. She will stay in our narrow but deep or the best is the laundry room with no windows.. In the laundry room I turn on the light to minimize lightening flash reflections and I have a radio in there. I close the door leaving it open just a crack for ventilation.
Our boy age 2 1/2 has not been bothered by noise or storms but seeing her all distraught makes him pace a bit. I have taken him out to walk and play in the rain as I do NOT want him to learn her fear. So far that seems to be working.
 
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