10 Tips for Managing your dogs fears of Thunderstorms - Dog Training Tips
1. Always keep proper identification securely fastened to your dog's collar in case they get out. Consider talking to your veterinarian about implanting a universal microchip in your pet for lifelong identification. Remember to update your veterinary clinic and animal shelter with your correct contact information.
2. Give your dog a safe place to stay during storms. Inside your home, create a quiet den-like area where your dog can feel secure. A properly introduced crate or kennel can be a calming refuge for them. When a storm is brewing, lead your dog to their special place to help them feel calm and protected.
3. If your dog lives outside, cover their doghouse or dog run with a blanket to shield them from the bursts of lightning. Outside dogs can get lost or even injured if they escape their fenced yards in fear during storms.
4. Dogs can pick up fear or discomfort with storms from their family pack members, so it is important that you develop a calm, matter-of-fact attitude. Let your dog stay close and try to distract them with activities like play or brushing. Do not try to reassure them in a sympathetic voice-this will sound like praise and may increase their nervousness and confusion.
5. Some dogs become destructive when frightened. A crate is always the best way to keep your dog safe and your belongings intact. If you don't use a crate, remove any items in the room your dog could destroy or could hurt them if they chewed them.
6. During a storm, keep windows and curtains closed to reduce noise and bright flashes. Turn on a TV or radio playing soft music at normal volume to distract your dog and help them to relax.
7. Keep your dog away from doors that lead outside. Your dog may be under significant stress, which could result in unnecessary injury to others entering your home or cause them to dart outside and get lost or injured.
8. Your dog may become incontinent due to their extreme fear and the rush of adrenaline they experience during a storm. Be prepared for this, and don't react if it occurs.
9. Dogs that continue to panic in thunderstorms may have to be reconditioned by creating an artificial storm with environmental recordings. While reconditioning can be a time-consuming procedure, it can have a high success rate. A qualified Bark Busters dog behavioral therapist can help your dog be calmer during storms.
10. In the most extreme cases, medication in conjunction with training may be the best solution to help your dog cope with their fear of storms. Consult with your veterinarian about possible treatments.