How to help dogs that fears thunder
Summer t-storms may be stressul to your dog
Is your dog dependent on what the weather forecasts predict?
When summer storms approach and the abundant down pours give relief to the dogs day of summer,actual dogs may be shaking and trembling out of fear. If your pooch heads under the bed at the first sign of an upcoming storm and you live in an area where all summer long there are bolts and rumbles, you will certainly have an unpleasant season to come.
After all, let's put ourselves in our dog's outfit for one moment. Rover's hearing devices are very sensitive as they pick up the slightest noises, so let's imagine what a loud rumble of thunder may feel like to a dog. Plus, add the vibrations carried along with the loudest rumbles and soon you will get the idea why your dog is hiding helplessly in a corner desperately seeking an escape route.
Helping a dog cope with thunder is not an easy task. Some dogs may get extremely anxious even up to a point of requiring sedatives from their veterinarians. It is not unusual to hear a veterinarian call in a prescription for sedatives to a local pharmacy for dogs that are extremely fearful during summer storms of for the Fourth of July fireworks.
However, before getting to a point of becoming destructive and extremely anxious, owners may help their dogs overcome this fear if taken care of before it becomes an annoying habit.
This means exposing your dog gradually to the noises until he/she becomes accustomed to it. However, how can you organize a thunder storm? In such cases, audio tapes come in handy. There are many New Age tapes that replicate thunderstorms often accompanied by music for a soothing effect. Expose your dog gradually to the noise. Try to put the tape on at your dog's dinner time so that he associates the thunder with the pleasant sensation of eating.
- White noise
When a thunder storm approaches, turn on the television or a radio. This underlying mumbling white noise may help cover up some of the thunder, making it appear less threatening. White noise also plays a reassuring effect as the television on is something the dog is already accustomed to and that may give a reassuring effect.
- Distraction, the power of counter conditioning
The weather forecast announces approaching thunder storms? Time to get out your dog's favorite toys! Before your dog gets too much involved in becoming fearful, don't allow your dog to get a chance to pay much attention to the outside concert. Get the tennis balls out and play a good game of fetch and make the game fun and exciting. Or if your dog is very food oriented, stuff a Kong with the best treats ever or invest in a bully stick..
As mentioned, your vet may prescribe some medications that may calm your dog down. While these meds are helpful, they work best if associated with behavior modification techniques so your dog may be weaned off the medication gradually. Try also thundershirt.
One of the main complications of dogs that fear loud noises is that they tend to expand their fear to other areas. For instance, a dog that fear firecrackers will shortly thereafter also fear the person that is tossing them, and so a dog fearful of thunder will fear lightening or gloomy dark clouds. Action, therefore, must be taken before the fear becomes a phobia and takes over your dog's well being. A dog behaviorist consultation may be necessary in severe cases.
Just because the weather man has predicted a not so great forecast does not mean it is predicted for your dog to become a shaky, little fellow hiding under the blanket. With proper treatment, if caught early, you may turn your dog into a dog that cares less about all mother's nature fuss.
For further reading
- Dog Behavior: The Power of Counter-Conditioning
Dog counter-conditioning is behavior modification technique that goes to the root of your dog's problem by changing your dog's underlying emotional response.
- Dog Behavior: Can you Reinforce Fear?
We are always told not to pet, cuddle or comfort a fearful dog because this may reinforce fear. But can you really reinforce fear in your dog? Learn what the experts say about this.
- A Guide to Dog Behavior Modification Techniques and ...
Say NO to coercion and say YES to rewards. Learn effective modern based dog behavior modification techniques. As the words imply, behavior modification entails modifying a dog's behavior for the purposes of increasing or decreasing wanted and...