If your dog is fearful of thunder he or she is exhibiting one of the most common phobias that affect dogs.
Dogs also react to lightning, explosive noises, hot-air balloons and many other noises that are part of a dog’s life in a human environment.
If your dog is sensitive to thunder, the nine point plan below will help.
For solutions to noises other than thunder please work through our Noise Fear Pet Pick.
1. Predict the problemWhen you compare your dog’s fear of thunder with other noises that may worry it, thunder is different. Thunder is reasonably predictable if you listen to weather forecasts, the radio or look at weather or radar websites.
2. Be home with your dogThe worst problem is when your dog experiences a thunder fear when you are away from him or her.Your dog will be much more fearful if left alone during a thunderstorm. So, if you have predicted that a storm will occur, be home with your dog at that time if at all possible of have someone care for your dog.
3. Remove your dog from your gardenDogs left outside during a thunderstorm are much more seriously affected than dogs which are inside. Dogs left outside will attempt to escape form your yard or to ‘inscape’ into your home. While the damage to your fences and your home can be extreme and costly it’s the damage your dog could do to itself that is dangerous – or deadly.
The best location for your dog is the most sound-proof area of your home.
4. Place your dog in a sound-proof DenYou know thunder is noisy, looks scary, smells a lot and your dog will feel it if outside. So an obvious move is to move your dog to a sound-proof room inside your home where he or she will not hear, see, smell and feel the storm.
This room is called a Den and more infomation is available on this member's file Denning Principle.
Go from room to room to find the most sound-proof location but you are likely to find that:-
Play a radio in the Den or better still, use our Frightful Noises Audio CD to teach your dog not to react to thunder and then use the thunder tracks on the Audio CD to mask the real thunder noise. (More details below).
6. Use Pheromones
Dog pheromones (called the Dog Appeasing Pheromone or Adaptil) can be very effective for calming noise-fearful dogs with up to 70% effectiveness. The diffuser, the collar and the spray can all be effective but there are different strategies for each. You will find more details, including podcasts, on our Pheromone Pet Pick.
7. Use medication where neededIf your dog is seriously affected, your vet will be able to prescribe medication that may help. Generally speaking a ‘when you need it’ occasional use medication can be helpful but ..
Combining Adaptil pheromones with Homeopet Storm Stress provides science-based solutions for dogs suffering fear of thunder and fireworks and gives a double-up benefit that can provide the most powerful non-medication approach to noise fear solutions. We now have Noise Fear Packs available to help.
8. Practice calming strategiesWhen your dog is panicking, it needs to develop a calm demeanour.
Thus, your job is to do whatever you need to do to create calmness.
Sometimes that DOES mean giving the dog comfort and attention when it’s panicking. Many advise that ‘praising the fear’ by giving a panicking dog attention rewards the panic.
This is nonsense.
A panicking dog is not able to learn. He or she is far too ‘emotional’ to consider you may be rewarding its fear.
You may be able to calm your dog by:-
I welcome your comments and opinions.