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Thread: Thunderstorms

  1. #1

    Default Thunderstorms

    We had a thunderstorm yesterday arvo and we were very close to the action, lightning was striking ground within 400 metres of our house.
    My pup started acting up which is very out of character as he is normally very calm and collected when he's inside (except the first minute or so after coming in)

    He was barking very loudly and I tried twice with the "no bark" command but it didn't work which is out of character too, and when I checked on him he was showing signs of distress.

    I didn't want to baby him or reinforce the behaviour in any way so I ignored him for a while, but he was getting more frenzied by the minute.

    I don't want a dog that goes silly in storms so I thought it would be a good opportunity to help correct his behaviour.

    I couldn't think of much else so I decided a training session would be a good distraction and at least he wouldn't be fretting while I was training him.
    I got a handful of treats ready and just started a training as normal, he was more enthusiastic than normal (because of his high stress levels I think) and he responded to the training better than ever. I put a few long stays with food in his sight and his focus changed to the food.
    It worked great for a distraction and calmed him down a lot, then we had our usual post training tug of war, I told him "over" like I always do after we finish anything and he gave the rope back and went to sleep on his bed.
    The storm lasted for around another 15 minutes and it got even louder at one stage and he just slept calmly on his bed the whole time.
    It's too early to say he's storm proof, but I think he's well on his way.

    Has anyone else got any advice to break the cycle of fear from storms & fireworks etc ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Southern NSW


    What you did is how I work my rescue newf. We get a lot of storms and she was dreadful, head under the bed (she does not fit) and such. So we work at the beginning of a Storm. She now goes to our screened in verandah when a thunder storm start, because she thinks it means training. So we always do a short session and she goes about things normally afterwards.
    Personally I think it works well for some dogs, sounds like it did for you
    Pets are forever

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Perth, WA


    I know of some people who have used the thundershirt. It seems like a fantastic tool to help dogs overcome stress and anxiety.

    The Pet Directory: World's largest online pet directory

    It works on the principles of that tellington touch stuff / body wrapping. It helps to reinforce the calm feeling from the last time the shirt was worn, so the next time the dog is in a stressful situation (wearing the shirt) it is more relaxed than the last time. Sorry if I haven't explained that very well. It has worked on a dog that loves to annoy the cat... when the dog wears the shirt she totally ignores the cat!

    I haven't used it (haven't had the need to yet) but if the next dog I get is stressed with fireworks/storms etc I will definitely give it a go!

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