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Thread: Thunder & Lightning

  1. #1

    Default Thunder & Lightning

    Well, our 'perfect' dog had to had a few flaws and it turns out that she's afraid of thunder.

    It's not a massive overreaction, she goes into alert status with heavy panting and lots and lots of drool. She also tries to "herd" us back to the living room if one of us tries to leave the room, then she sits between us and not on her bed.
    My wife briefly went to the shops and the dog whined and whined until she got back (more drool)

    We've tried exaggerated yawning to indicate that we're not concerned about the thunder.
    I've tried playing with her, she'll happily do her trick repertoire for treats but never stops panting and goes straight back to anxiety mode once we've finished.
    My understanding is that we're supposed to act normally to indicate that there's nothing to worry about, but we both feel like we should be doing something to help.

    I know we're not supposed to pet her or offer consoling words.

    I'm aware that at some point we'll be away during a thunderstorm and this is what I'm worried about. We've no idea what she'll do.
    Is there anything else we can try? Or will it lessen over time if we show no concern?

    If it makes any difference, she's a Cattle dog cross and is normally very easy going and placid.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Western Sydney


    Hi thant,

    How worrying! I assume she has under cover area in the backyard. Can she access to the house or some where she feels secure while this is happening? My second dog was meant to be sensitive about thunder but I have not noticed. Perhaps he has been with my first dog who is not reactive towards noise like that. It is a difficult one. I hope other members can give more specific ideas....

    I love cooking but I love eating even more.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Middleton SA


    hi, my dog is terrified of thunder also, he is 12 now and I have not managed to stop his fear, if I know a thunder storm is coming and I am going out, I always make sure he is inside the house so I know he is safe

  4. #4


    Cheers for the replies

  5. #5


    We also have a dog that has a fear of thunder/storms even heavy rain.
    We have tried many things over the last couple of years.
    All we do is if we are home to let her in. We ignore her but if she wants to be with us we don't make a fuss. Our backyard is safe, we have a large covered decking area and we have a kennels around the place. I have had to pad the back door as she jumps up against it and has taken the skin off her knees.
    We have spoke to vets and behaviorists but to no avail.
    I dread summer with the storms as we seem to have more of them.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Kurrajong / Hawkesbury


    S: There are a number of therapies that often show good improvements over time with Thunder Phobic dogs.

    Escape solutions:
    The dog has a way to escape the storm by coming inside (Dog door), or having various kennels as Molly has said.

    Often a kennel that music playing can be very helpful too, the music can be triggered by the dog entering pretty simply.

    Behaviour Solutions:
    Using counter conditioning, (changing the value of the storm) can be very successful in settling the dog during storms, this is usually done via a Sound Phobia CD, diet supplement which contains Group B Vitamins and Tryptophan (Supp called Calm) and often a pressure or anxiety wrap worn by the dog.

    Each one is added when there is no storm and the dog becomes comfortable with the program, supplement and behaviour modification program.

    It is then applied when the CD is playing until habitual response or target behaviour is obtained.

    Then it is only ever used when a storm is coming.

    The unpredictability of the weather can make the program more difficult, but not impossible.

    Miss Jayne, some older dogs develop storm phobias because they are in pain (arthritis etc) or because their hearing has deminished and the storm is felt as a silent vibration, which the dog may not be used to and is fearful of.

    The supplement and wrap can be great for these older guys.

    Problem with storm phobes is that during extended storms, they can flight and escape and run many kilometres away attempting to escape the storm.

    The storm ends and they think they have out run it, this means going back home can be frightening or they may have lost their way in the panic.
    Steve Courtney, K9 Pro - The K9 Professionals

    Official Forum Trainer and Behaviourist

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