View Full Version : Thunder Storms

26th June 2007, 01:18 PM
Oliver seems to be getting more and more fearful each time a thunder strom comes through- which tends to be frequently during the summer in Atlanta! When he was a baby he didnt pay one bit of attention, but now he really gets scared. He is 2 and a half. I came home yesterday just as a storm was starting up and found him cowering under the bed. I got him out and he sat on the bed shaking like a leaf. I try not to give him too much attention when he does this because I dont want to reward this behavior and make it seem like he really should be afraid, but its really hard not to cuddle him when he's scared!

About an hour after the storm passed and he had calmed down, I took out his harness to take him outside. Well, just the sight of it and the thought of going outside had him shaking all over again, even though it was perfectly calm out at that point! Once I got him out, he was fine.

Anyone else have this experience with storms? How do you handle it? I feel so sorry for him that he is so scared!

26th June 2007, 01:30 PM
I know it is hard but DON'T CUDDLE. :thmbsup: This rewards the behaviour and will only tell him he is right to be afraid because you reward his frightened reaction. He will take much of his cue on how to respond from your own response.

Just ignore him, go cheerfully about your work, don;t focus on him at all. It helps to turn on a radio to block out noise and leave it on some soothing classical music or talk radio perhaps when you are gone during the day.

You can also buy a DAP (dog appeasement hormone) dispenser or spray; this naturally helps calm a dog. I have used the cat equivalent and it is very relaxing for them. You can buy it onlne -- costly but useful. A spritz around his bedding would be an idea and anywhere he likes to go. Does he have a crate to retreat to, with a cover over it to make it like a den? He might prefer something like this, with the door removed, to ending up under a bed.

It is extremely important never to cuddle or fuss over a dog that has this type of scared reaction though as it only further embeds his response as the correct response.

26th June 2007, 01:35 PM
I think thats what happened....Oliver is my first dog that I have owned alone...and I cuddled and coddled when he was a baby because I didnt know any better! The trainer at obedience training cautioned me against that. I dont do that anymore.

He does have a crate- I will put a blanket over the top of it so its more "den-like". I suppose thats why he went under the bed.

I have learned so much about dogs and dog behavior in the past two years!

26th June 2007, 01:38 PM
My Boxers are scared witless by electrical storms. I have actually started to wonder if the change in barometric pressure causes them pain as my two will start to go crazy long before a storm arrives. Often their behaviour is the very first clue I get that we are in for a storm.

I try to act as normally as possible, but recently I have found that by putting the television on, relatively loud, that this settles them down a bit. I think the noise of the loud tv distracts them from the storm.

Neither of mine were afraid when they were puppies and seemed to develop more of a dread as they got older. I think it is a fairly common problem.

26th June 2007, 01:40 PM
Where do you get a DAP? I will look online but would a store like Petsmart carry that?

26th June 2007, 01:44 PM
We have only had a couple of storms but they have not bothered Barney yet.

26th June 2007, 01:49 PM
There are desensitisation CDs to get a dog used to things like fire works and thunder (http://www.dogtrainingireland.ie/shop/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=197). You start off playing it very softly and gradually make it louder.

I have never tried it - usually I just put the radio or TV on loud if there are fireworks, but if you get storms frequently it might be something you could try. DAPs are great too.

26th June 2007, 01:51 PM
Thats a great idea- I may try that! Thanks!

26th June 2007, 03:16 PM
Cedar and Holly aren't bothered by thunder, but Willow gets stressed during storms. I've found that if I set up a kennel and cover it with a blanket, she goes straight in and settles down quickly. It's almost an instant cure for her anxiety.

Cathy Moon
26th June 2007, 05:23 PM
We have a similar situation - India and Geordie don't mind at all, but Chocolate makes a beeline for the kitchen crate. I keep a crate in the kitchen next to my desk, so they have a place to go chill out and feel safe.

26th June 2007, 07:19 PM
We had a Yorki 'Toby'who sadly passed away last year, and he used to be petrefied of thunder, so much so that I used to think it would give him a heart attack. My reaction used to be to put him on my lap and cuddle him. Then one day I was watching a dog trainer on the TV talking about thunder storms. Her advise was....NOT to pay any attention to your dog...do NOT make eye contact with him,dont fuss, pat,talk or stroke your dog. Also she said to keep yawning as though you were bored .....I was very sceptical, but the next thunder storm we had, I followed what she said......even though I felt very guilty ignoring my dog.....''BUT'' it worked straight away :) . Toby just lay by my feet, and every time there was a crash of thunder he looked up at me ( I turned away) and he just lay quietly by my side.................
Now we have Ellie who is 7 months old, and last week we had a mild thunder storm, I could tell she was getting a bit worried, so I followed the advice and she stayed nice and carm.....
It does seem cruel to ignore your beloved dog when he/she is scared, but it really does work....( ''Mummy isn't scared, so why should I be'' ):)

26th June 2007, 07:31 PM
Our beloved Charley used to be terrified of storms and would shake a lot.

We put him on Remedy Relief (a natural remedy) and it worked very well.

I'd give him a few drops.....it really decreased his nervousness.

We bought it in a Health Food store.

I think it's fairly common for dogs to have reactions to storms, as someone said, the barometric pressure affects all animals.

Good luck.:)

matties mum
26th June 2007, 08:20 PM
My Mattie was very scared of thunder he would clinb as high as possible
You could always tell when there was a storm coming because he started to go up high
----Aileen and the gang (Jazzie--Barney---Sam)

26th June 2007, 10:12 PM
Can't offer any advice here that hasn't been offered already, my cuddle have never really reacted to thunder storms. Agree on not cuddling, and would most likely try the CD first if it was me!! Good Luck!! :thmbsup:

27th June 2007, 12:38 AM
Thanks for all the great advice! :)

27th June 2007, 10:02 AM
When my Giant LOL 12 lb Toby hears thunder, he lunges toward it and barks like crazy. He isn't one bit afraid. I don't know why. My other dogs are running under the beds, but Toby is standing at the door and will certainly give that thunder the scare of it's life if it comes thru the door.

He is really a very brave boy.

27th June 2007, 08:57 PM
China used to react to thunderstorms by running around madly and barking. She also used to want to go out in the rain to bark at the "intruder". Her extreme reaction surprised me since she'd spent her early years in Florida where there are thunderstorms every afternoon during the summer. Possibly it reminded her of rain hitting the roof of the building where she lived. She hadn't been a house dog.

I bought several CD's and relaxation tapes with gentle rain and thunderstorms and played them on sunny days. At first she became upset when hearing the thunder, and did her usual running around. But after a while she learned that it was just another sound. It did help her become less frantic the next time we had a real storm.

Can still remember her expression when she first heard the taped storm and ran out to see brilliant sunshine. She stopped dead in her tracks and was very puzzled. The other dogs were snoozing away and I was working on the computer pretending to ignore her. Once she was satisfied that all was well with the world, she relaxed. Uncle Huey bowling in the sky didn't bother her nearly as much.

If a real storm is super close, I'm a bit nervous too, so after all is unplugged, we pile into bed, or sit on a couch with a quilt and the dogs burrow under and cuddle together. That would not have been possible pre- China listening to the tapes during sunny days.

28th June 2007, 08:06 AM
LOL Pansy, you reminded of of the first time that my Cedar, (my dearly beloved doggy who is now gone) saw rain. It doesn't rain here, pretty much from May till November. Anyway, Cedar had to go out to potty, and it was raining buckets. So he ran his normal direction to the closest stairs off the covered deck, felt the rain, kinda looked puzzled, then ran to the other end of the deck and headed to those stairs, stopped, looked at me, like what the heck is this? I said yes, puppy it is raining on that end too. He came back to the door, came in the house and peed, right in front of the door.

Later that year I got Toby. He was a flatlander dog. When winter came, the first snow, Toby wanted to go outside to go potty. He followed the earlier path of Cedar exactly. Walks to the closest steps, steps into snow, looks at me like what the heck, runs to the other end of the deck, steps in snow again, runs in the door and pees.

30th June 2007, 06:41 AM
hi holly--- indy hadn't heard thunder before we moved here and he is also afraid of it. he used to also bark at 'the intruder' but now he just gets upset. i have tried turning on a very strong fan that i use to create 'white noise' at night. it blocks out the sound of the thunder and really helps but only works if indy is staying in the room that the fan is in. i'm also looking forward to following the advice in this thread. good luck!


30th June 2007, 03:03 PM
If you read the advice on my previous post......what I forgot to add was.
My vet asked me to type out the advise, and now when people go to him asking for tablets to carm their dogs, he obviously discusses each pet with there owner but he gives them the chance to try out ( the no tablet option first)........
After all, it isnt just thunder that worries our dogs, its also fireworks, that people dont just let off on the 5th of November anymore :mad: and the same advise works for fireworks too........ So it is well worth giving it a try. Lots of my friends with dogs have tried it and so far it has worked for all of them.
Remember NO eye contact with your dog and keep yawning ( even though it seems an odd thing to do);)