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Thread: Escaping dog scared of thunder and fireworks

  1. #1

    Unhappy Escaping dog scared of thunder and fireworks

    Hi, I live in a suburban area on a small 450m2 block. When I first moved into the house I did the sensible thing for my lifestyle and house and adopted a 2yo pomeranian... and them i let my younger brother stay with me. He came home with a puppy one day, he moved out a year later and left the dog with me. This dog is "Rumble", a 4yo Mastiff x Irish Wolfhound weighing around 60kg.

    He is not desexed but also hasn't shown any "mating" tendencies like humping etc.

    He is a beautiful dog now and very obedient when I am home, however he is petrified of fireworks and thunder, so much so that I have to let him in the house, but if I am not home he will jump a 5ft fence to get out.

    Short of re-fencing my entire perimeter I am not sure what to do? I've tried to tie him up but he's that full of andrenalin that he gets off.

    I was considering installing a ping fence or a radio fence to deter him but not sure how effective either would be whilst he was full of fear induced adrenalin.

    Has anyone had a similar problem, got a solution or have any feedback on these types of barrier fencing?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    I'd think a frightened 60kg wouldn't be to put off by a 'ping' fence or any of those those elctrified fences to be honest. My old dog would throw himself through glass to get away from fireworks.

    I'd be trying to let him in the gargae and play some loud radio or music so it disguises the rumblings a bit. There are also 'Thundershirts' which some people have had a lot of luck with. I've never tried it myself. My dogs arent scared because i never made a fuss about it to begin with but it might be a bit too late to help your guy change his ways now.

    Watch the video in this link and see what you think.

    Thundershirt | The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment


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  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I had a Wolfhound x and she was absolutely petrified of thunder and fireworks and in the end any loud banging noise. It is kind of cruel to leave him outside when there is a chance of thunder. And quite dangerous to tie them up as they could really hurt themselves when they get into that sort of a panic.

    I would advice you to either leave the backdoor open for him or install a (gian!) dog door or something for when you go out. Or give him access to some other hiding place where he feels safe. My Wolfie x seemed to feel more safe under the house for example.

    I have also heard very good things about the thundershirt, so that could be worth a try.

    And Sean, a dog that is truly petrified of storms isn't the result of being fussed over in storms when they were young. If you have ever seen that kind of blind panic in a dog, you'd understand. You could possibly have some luck desensitising a dog that has the tendency to be like that if you catch it early enough, but it would require lots of work.

  4. #4
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    Renee I can't comment on the fencing options you suggested. I haven't been in that situation.
    I'd suggest getting advice from a dog behaviourist.
    It seems unfair that you have this worry and possible expense because your brother left the dog with you. Would he be prepared to pay for help for his dog?

    A thundershirt is an option, but only useful if you are home when the storm is imminent. Not something you would put on your dog every time you leave the house 'just in case'.
    Last edited by grevillea47; 02-12-2013 at 08:18 PM.

  5. #5
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    I'm pretty sure there was someone here who did use a thundershirt on her dog daily for general anxiety. Can't remember who, but you could try a search.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for your help Sean. I did try the garage the other night, and he managed to push my tilt-a-door open... Got a phone call from a neighbor with both my dogs lol. I have seen the thunder shirts but still wondering whether it would work if he wore it regularly (hubby and I both work 5 days)
    Thanks again

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by grevillea47 View Post
    Renee I can't comment on the fencing options you suggested. I haven't been in that situation.
    I'd suggest getting advice from a dog behaviourist.
    It seems unfair that you have this worry and possible expense because your brother left the dog with you. Would he be prepared to pay for help for his dog?

    A thundershirt is an option, but only useful if you are home when the storm is imminent. Not something you would put on your dog every time you leave the house 'just in case'.
    Thanks grevillea.... No my brother is a typical selfish 24yo... It's not so much the expense that is the problem it's giving him more time and a good quality of life :-( I feel terrible if I can't walk him. I will have to look into some professional help I think

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beloz View Post
    I had a Wolfhound x and she was absolutely petrified of thunder and fireworks and in the end any loud banging noise. It is kind of cruel to leave him outside when there is a chance of thunder. And quite dangerous to tie them up as they could really hurt themselves when they get into that sort of a panic.

    I would advice you to either leave the backdoor open for him or install a (gian!) dog door or something for when you go out. Or give him access to some other hiding place where he feels safe. My Wolfie x seemed to feel more safe under the house for example.

    I have also heard very good things about the thundershirt, so that could be worth a try.

    And Sean, a dog that is truly petrified of storms isn't the result of being fussed over in storms when they were young. If you have ever seen that kind of blind panic in a dog, you'd understand. You could possibly have some luck desensitising a dog that has the tendency to be like that if you catch it early enough, but it would require lots of work.
    Thanks Beloz. My prob is that we both work 5 days and this weather lastly has been so unpredictable in Sydney...

    He has a kennel, and a garden shed and he jumps our 4ft glass fence into our pergola, but I think he remains distressed until he finds human company... Ahhhhh the dilemma

  9. #9

    Default Anti-jumping harness

    Has any one had any successes with anti-jumping harnesses or would I be wasting time on a dog this big? Also I'm struggling to find a shop that stocks them in his size (maybe super large doesn't exist lol)

  10. #10
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    Some of our members have had luck with giving the dog a tight cave like hidey hole to go to when it does storm. I would maybe contact a behaviouralist to come and have a look at him and see if they can help out with some better suggestions!

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

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