Behavior Tip of the Month
Thunder and Lightening
During thunderstorms my seven year-old Golden Retriever runs to me and trembles. I pet and reassure him, but he seems to be getting more and more scared. What can I do?
Like your poor pet, many dogs suffer from thunderstorm anxiety. It is understandable that you want to make him feel better. However, petting and consoling our frightened pets may actually make them more fearful. We as our dogs' leaders need to be up-beat and model confidence. Next time your dog comes to you and trembles during a thunderstorm, start singing the "Happy Birthday" song. Try to laugh and divert your dog from his fears. Play his favorite game or do some obedience and be liberal with his treats.
Another approach that may be helpful is to play a sound effect tape. See if your dog is fearful of the tape. If he is, start by playing the tape very softly while doing something he loves. Each day turn the volume up just a little. Make sure he's not scared at each increase. Hopefully, this will desensitize him to the effects of the real thing when it occurs.
Finally, some dogs may have particularly severe symptoms and not respond to the above approaches. For these dogs, anti-anxiety medication may help. If your dog acts frenzied in spite of diversion and the tape program, talk to your veterinarian about medication.
I hope these suggest ions will help prepare you and your dog for that proverbial rainy day. Good luck.
Best Friend Behavior Counseling and Training
San Diego, Ca.
"Positively teaching pets and their people since 1977"
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The information contained on this site is in no way intended to replace that of proper veterinary advice, diagnosis or treatment.
It is meant to provide resource, so that we can better understand canine health related issues.