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Dealing With Thunderstorm Phobia In Dogs

Misoprostol online pharmacy There are few things sadder than watching your dog turn into a frightened, shivering mess in the face of an oncoming storm. No one really knows for sure what causes thunderstorm phobia in dogs. Some scientists say it’s a response to the barometric pressure changes in the air, while others point to the increase in static electricity. It could be any number of things that our dogs are reacting to—until they can tell us, we won’t know for sure.

buy viagra online ireland When it comes to dealing with a dog’s thunderstorm phobia, you may need to try a combination of approaches to calm your dog. A dog’s fear of storms is not rational, and we can’t just explain to our pups that there’s nothing to fear. However, there are a few things you can do to ease your dog’s fear and potentially train and desensitize them to future thunderstorms.

Teach & Reward Calm Behavior Year-Round

Trying to calm or console a fearful dog in the midst of a storm may work in the short term, but may make them more panicky for future storms, as their clingy behavior intensifies. However, that does not mean punishing them for this behavior either!

Training your dog to settle and be calm on command can help your dog learn to calm themselves in stressful or frightening situations, including storms. To do this, put your dog on their leash inside and practice having them lie at your feet calmly, rewarding them intermittently for being settled and patient. By practicing when there’s nothing going on, your dog can learn the routine. Then, when there is a storm, your dog will know what to do when you ask them to lay calmly next to you.

Instead, practice getting your dog to settle on command. Sherman advises clients to put a special “inside” leash on the dog and practice having the pet lie at their feet while praising the calm behavior.

Provide Distractions

While it’s not a long term fix, you can sometimes get your dog distracted away from their fear by offering to play with a favorite toy, or offering treats in exchange for the calm execution of known commands.

Give Them A Safe Space

Your dog’s safe space may be their crate, or a lower floor where they can’t hear or see outside. Some may prefer an interior room, or a room where there are other noises like the television or music playing. Whatever it is, let your dog decide where they want to be, and allow them access if possible.

Because some dogs can become more anxious when confined, try not to pen your dog in such a way that it exacerbates the problem. You could end up with serious damage done to your home and your pet.

Consider A Pressure Wrap

A snug fitting pressure wrap is certainly worth a try. Thundershirts and other pressure wraps and garments are meant to have a calming effect through the use of pressure. Scientific evidence that these products work is still only anecdotal, but some owners swear by them, and I say whatever works for you is just fine.

Try Desensitization

You can try to desensitize your dog to storms by playing recordings of thunderstorms at low volume, while rewarding with treats or playing a game. Gradually increase the volume over the course of many training sessions, always stopping if your dog becomes anxious. The goal here is to slowly get your dog used to the sound of thunder, and to associate it with good things happening.

Remember, success with desensitization may be limited because you can only recreate the noise, and not the other issues bothering your dog, such as static electricity or changes in barometric pressure.

Ask Your Veterinarian

If nothing is helping and you find your dog is really suffering from their storm phobia, it may be time to call the professionals. Your vet may have more ideas for behavior modification and can assess whether or not medication may also be needed to help.

Lucy Bennett

Lucy is a writer, artist, and Hufflepuff currently living in Atlanta, Ga. When not making things, she enjoys costuming, tabletop games, and digging in the dirt.

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