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took mags to the park and we got caught in the rain. a thunder storm... lets just say it was death to mags, she was yelping and whinning trying to get under the pinic tables while i was trying to get her to the pavilion.. it was full blown panic mode. a friend was with me, she has a 6 yr old husky. once we got her to the pavilion we clapped for her we pumped her up with how good she was doing. i have no idea if this will help reduce fear during the next storm. she is 14 weeks old she hates the rain this storm just really freaked her out. any suggestions on how i can make it easier for her. is this just an age thing...hoping she will grow out of it..

she was already wet from playing in the water. climbing rocks to build confidence. and running in the streams.


shes pooped out!!
 

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We live in northern Newfoundland, where thunderstorms are indeed rare. Just today Sheba (who is just shy of 10 months old) experienced thunder for the very first time, and she was quite scared... but understandably so, as she had never in her life heard this type of sound. Admittedly it was kinda comical to see our 86 lb beast's eyes bug out and immediately jump right into my arms for protection... and just a few seconds later, a second loud clap sent her flying up the stairs and into our bedroom, trembling with fright. I suppose that if thunderstorms were a regular occurrence here, she would quickly grow accustomed to them, but we only have these storms perhaps 1 or 2 times each summer. (she has no trouble with heavy downpours though... or blizzards! )

Glen
Focus On Newfoundland

 

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She is amazing! so beautiful!!! Wow Glen!! great looking pup!


Yes this was mags 1st thunderstrom to be caught in it. litterally pouring down on us. but storms in MD are different all the time and can be anything from light rain to 20min of hail.
i felt so bad for her she was so scared and all i could do was tell her it would be okay.
omgosh yes she ran and tried to jump up for me to carry her.
the people in the pavilion prob thought i was nutz holding her.....
 

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I try to keep some very high value chews that are just for thunder. We use bully sticks as "thunder treats." Get them chewing a few minutes before the storm hits, so that they're in "the zone" when the thunder booms. Not only is chewing an excellent distraction (because it's self-regulating relaxation), but the treats practice counter conditioning -- creating a happy association with the storm (favorite treat!).

Some dogs respond positively to thunder shirts, but not all do. Some respond very mildly to calming pheromones (there are several brands marketed as "dog appeasing pheromones, or DAP), but I don't think they'll help dogs that get terrified. Some also respond to calming essential oils in a diffuser (I especially like Aura Cacia's "Mellow Mix" blend, as it seems to cause some dogs to just sack out).

Overall though, none of these products is a magic bullet, and so it's very important to read up on "Classical Counter-Conditioning." If all else fails, get them into the bathroom (in the tub, or between the tub and toilet), where the pipes act as grounding. They're not just reacting to sound but to the electrical charge in the air -- many dogs go into the bathroom for "self-help" during storms once they figure out it's a good room to be in. Patricia McConnell's site has lots of good info:

Thunderstorms can be scary for dogs with anxiety | Patricia McConnell | McConnell Publishing Inc.

I also want to warn that this can be a learned behavior. I have a dog with pretty good nerves who watched our little scaredy-dog female have storm meltdowns. Now he mimics her -- he didn't used to care about storms, but she convinced him its something to worry about.
 

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I also think it is a temperament/nerve issue. When I was in the first grade, 5 or 6 years old, my first grade teacher brought in the clothes her husband was wearing when he was struck and killed by lightning. He had a camera around his neck and his clothes were burned through. I am terrified of thunder and lightning.

My dogs, however are not, even though they have seen me tremble and shake and even run into the house or car. So, they really do not take their cues off of me. It just doesn't phase them. And that is from puppy on up.

I was at a GSD club meeting when a conformation judge was speaking. She said that the first thing they look at is temperament. It was thundering and lightening outside. She said, of course on a night like tonight, they would take that into consideration. Well, I thought, guess who has thunder sensitivity in her lines.

I think your best bet is to watch your weather reports, and if there is a possibility of thunder or lightning, you are at home with her, with the AC on if possible, where she is most comfortable. Some dogs with storm phobias need medication. Lots of people swear by the thunder shirts.
 

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I grew up in Oregon, and where I lived it was a special treat to see lightning bolts, most often the lightning we'd see was what is called sheet lightning, where the whole sky lights up but no cool bolts.

When I was a kid, probably 3rd grade, I was walking home from school and got caught in a thunderstorm. The lightning was of the sheet variety, but the thunder that followed literally knocked me to the ground, it was so immediate and loud! I was scared a little, but I distinctly remember getting up with a huge grin on my face! I ran home, of course, but to me that was an awesome experience!

When I moved to Colorado, where lightning storms are an almost daily occurance during the spring and summer, I literally spent more time watching storms than looking at TV! I freaking love it! Coincidently every dog I've had, loves storms as well, so maybe they do get some of that from us, who knows.

I know my current puppy was not bothered by thunder the first time she heard it. But I agree with what others have said about keeping your dog out of storms if it bothers them. Hopefully all the positive reinforcement you did afterward will help!
 

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Interesting thoughts on the subject.
I had a dog who was afraid of thunder, we would crate him and turn a radio on to drown out the sound.

However, when I had other pups in the house with him we would take them outside to sit in the gazebo during storms and get treats and play tug. I did not want them infected with his fear.
Shadow still heads for the door when storms hit. We either sit on the steps or out in the gazebo since I love storms. The badder the better! Particularly bad claps will sometimes startle her but they don't frighten her.
 

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I do NOT think it’s an age thing - I say that because when Rollo was 8 weeks old I was taking him out to use the bathroom and thunder immediately started booking down and Rollo took a step back looked around and then went on to use the bathroom..never made a noise! He is 6 months now and loves being out in the rain and thunder.
 

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She is amazing! so beautiful!!! Wow Glen!! great looking pup!


Yes this was mags 1st thunderstrom to be caught in it. litterally pouring down on us. but storms in MD are different all the time and can be anything from light rain to 20min of hail.
i felt so bad for her she was so scared and all i could do was tell her it would be okay.
omgosh yes she ran and tried to jump up for me to carry her.
the people in the pavilion prob thought i was nutz holding her.....

Hi fellow Marylander!



Yesterday I had to take my dogs out for their "last walk of the night". I could hear thunder in the distance. My two really didn't care at all and would have stayed out longer. I don't think they realized my sense of urgency to do their business and get back in. But we did get in before a big thunderboomer hit.

I had a little mix breed that didn't like thunder and fireworks. I took her to a fireworks show one summer when a storm was coming in. The organizers decided to start the show early so people could watch it and then get home in time to avoid the storm. No one expected the first volley so not only did it make a huge noise but about a thousand people jumped in surprise all at once. Scared the dickens out of my dog.


I taught her that if she were sitting with me she was fine. She kinda- sorta accepted it but was never truly comfortable until the noise passed. Petting and kind words and proximity helped her deal with it a little.



I had a cat that would calmly walk to an interior room (a bathroom) right before a storm. She knew it was coming before we did. When she sauntered out from behind the toilet where she patiently waited, we knew the storm was nearly over.

So I find that if my animals are a bit nervous with a situation, it can be that they don't know what to do about it. I give them something to do, for instance sitting next to me. They may never like all the noise but they may learn that they can survive it.

Same with a vacuum cleaner. My big-boy loves barking at it. I had to tell him what to do. In this case jump up on the couch or bed and bark at it from there. My gal-dog watches from a distance. I suspect the noise of the machine combined with the noise of my boy's barking might hurt her ears, it is so loud.
 

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I grew up in Oregon, and where I lived it was a special treat to see lightning bolts, most often the lightning we'd see was what is called sheet lightning, where the whole sky lights up but no cool bolts.

When I was a kid, probably 3rd grade, I was walking home from school and got caught in a thunderstorm. The lightning was of the sheet variety, but the thunder that followed literally knocked me to the ground, it was so immediate and loud! I was scared a little, but I distinctly remember getting up with a huge grin on my face! I ran home, of course, but to me that was an awesome experience!

When I moved to Colorado, where lightning storms are an almost daily occurance during the spring and summer, I literally spent more time watching storms than looking at TV! I freaking love it! Coincidently every dog I've had, loves storms as well, so maybe they do get some of that from us, who knows.

I know my current puppy was not bothered by thunder the first time she heard it. But I agree with what others have said about keeping your dog out of storms if it bothers them. Hopefully all the positive reinforcement you did afterward will help!
Tim, that shows that you have a stable temperamant:grin2:
 

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I do think it's a nerve thing to an extent. Some dogs are more sensitive to loud sounds too, and I often think it's because it worries them because they don't understand it won't do harm. Kind of like when pots drop and clatter on the floor - some dogs come running because they think, "Food!" And some dogs go running because they think, "Danger!".

When Ryka was a pup, she had zero issues with thunder. During Canada Day I took her outside while the fireworks were going and she just ran around trying to chase our soccer ball, lol.
 

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I'm a big believer in the "desensitization" method!

The first few times I vacuumed, Rumo would uneasily get up and trot out of the room. I just ignored him and did my thing. After a few more times, he stayed in the same room.
These days, I can vacuum a few inches away from his paws, and he lazily lays there! I have to tell him to move so I can vacuum where he was laying (kind of like a teenager...)!

When we had guinea pigs, they used to run for their hidey holes at the sound of the vacuum.
Eventually I would see them munching on hay calmly while I was vacuuming right next to their cage!

I wasn't really "trying" to train them to not be afraid, but I feel like this can be applied to most things that animals are afraid of...
the gradual consistent exposure, until that 'scary thing' becomes boring to them, like background noise.
 

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We lived in an area in South Africa growing up that had the most fantastic, loud, scary electric, thunderstorms very often during the summer... I looovveed!! I miss them so much. Nowhere I've lived puts on a show like I used to get as a kid. I would sit by the window and love every bolt of lightening, they are natural fireworks.
We don't really get thunderstorms here, we occasionally get some loud thunder but it really is nothing to me. I think Kaiser picks up on my MEH attitude to the storms here because he isn't phased by them either.
Its so important not to make a fuss of the dog if they're scared by the storm - if you're giving them attention its like you're praising them for their scared behaviour, confirming that this is the correct way to behave during a storm.
 

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We lived in an area in South Africa growing up that had the most fantastic, loud, scary electric, thunderstorms very often during the summer... I looovveed!! I miss them so much. Nowhere I've lived puts on a show like I used to get as a kid. I would sit by the window and love every bolt of lightening, they are natural fireworks.
We don't really get thunderstorms here, we occasionally get some loud thunder but it really is nothing to me. I think Kaiser picks up on my MEH attitude to the storms here because he isn't phased by them either.
Its so important not to make a fuss of the dog if they're scared by the storm - if you're giving them attention its like you're praising them for their scared behaviour, confirming that this is the correct way to behave during a storm.
Exactly. A little comforting can be fine, to let them know "I'm not worried and you don't have to be either" but a lot of petting and cooing and treating may actually send the wrong message. I think that is how my little mixed breed learned to relax a little during storms.Having been a stray for part of her life she learned that soaking rain and t-storms were a bad thing..no place to get out of the storm and get warm and dry. It took a little simple contact from me over time to desensitize her enough that she could exist during a storm..but she never liked them or fireworks.
 

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Sometimes max will bark at really loud booming thunder he will look for the perpetrator in the sky. I will leash and he is settle down and I could swear sometimes I could feel the house shake. Topper our chihuahua is very sensitive to air pressure change and shakes like a leaf until the storm passes we often know when it does. You can try putting music up or the tv louder the only thing that helps we wrap topper ina blanket and cover him this helps until the storm passes.
 

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When she turned 8, Zora (IW) developed severe thunderstorm anxiety, literally overnight. During the worst of a really bad straight line storm, she became progressively agitated, frantic panting and unable to settle down. First time that ever happened. It got so bad that I ended up wrapping her in a wet beach towel which brought her anxiety down to reasonable levels (I was afraid that her panic would trigger bloating, frankly) and we got through the rest of night. Next day, I went out and brought some melatonin which I administered every time a t-storm appeared. She did much better and generally slept through the storm. As a side note, it's not uncommon for IWs to develop fear responses as they age, though it was a first for me. Here's a link to the utility of melatonin in this application.

Melatonin for stress « WebCanine.com

Aly
 
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