Storm Phobic Dogs

0 Comments Posted by admin in Pet Care on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013.

 

      Summer Storms & Your Dog

    Summer time is here. It’s time for cookouts, picnics, camping and family fun… However, along with that come fireworks, thunderstorms and other fearful noises. While these times are fun for us, Bidwell the beagle says, “No Thanks!” 

          During the summer months, we as humans are used to the pop up thunderstorms, but that doesn’t mean our pets are. To some dogs, extremely loud BOOMS and BANGS can be extremely stressful and cause behavior changes. Whether it is a thunderstorm, lightning strikes or fireworks, these unexpected noises often times cause Bidwell to become uncomfortable. Here are some common signs and helpful tips to keep your companion and yourself calm during these times.

 *KEEP HIM CALM*

Some dogs may tremble and hide under couches, beds and even in the bath tub or in their crate. To them, this feels safe and is naturally their comfort/safe zone. He will stay there until the storm or loud noise is no longer a threat. To get him to come out, try to speak to him in a calm and soft voice, this will help make him feel more comfortable and relaxed. If you get him to come out, give him his favorite treat. Always reward for good behavior. 

*DESENSITIZE*

Keep working with them during storms. It may help them to get a storm CD to play, so they get use to the sounds. Make sure that every time he reacts positively; reward that good behavior with praise. Common training commands such as sit, lie down, or even teaching him to calm down can aid in this process. Remember to never yell or scold him, but also don’t baby him either. Both of these actions will only make things worse. 

* CREATE A SAFE ROOM FOR HIM*

Before you see that a storm is coming, he may already be pacing, whining, barking or even drooling. This is because dogs are very sensitive to the drop in barometric pressure and the shift of the static electric field that happens when the weather changes. He can also smell when the rain is coming, long before we may even know one is coming. When you start seeing any of these signs, create a safe room for him. A basement or room with no windows works perfectly. Sometimes things as simple as playing music or running a fan help to distract him from the noises outside. 

*REDIRECT HIS ENERGY*

Instead of acting scared, some dogs try to escape, have destructive behavior, or show aggression. To prevent this from happening, try wearing him out. Take him on a long walk before it’s going to storm, or play ball. This will lower his energy level, tiring him out. You may want to redirect his focus if you notice him trying to tear something apart. Try teaching him a new trick, playing with toys in the house or even give him a bone or Kong to chew on. Sometimes doing these things will help him focus on what he’s doing and not what it is doing outside. 

If none of these options seem to work for him, consider talking with your veterinarian about the options available to ease his stress and anxiety.  

 

Hope everyone has a great summer!!

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