How To Stop Puppy Biting: Training Puppies Not to Bite
How to Stop Your Dog from Being Frightened During a Storm
Does your dog act like it is the end of the world whenever a storm hits? Does he or she cower, run, and hide at every clap of thunder? This response to a storm is an involuntary fear response, which makes it very hard to eliminate completely.Fortunately, however, there are ways to minimize this behavior and decrease your dog's fear.
Using Behavior Management During a Storm
Do something fun with the dog.The best way to change your dog's fearful behavior is to sidetrack it with an activity it enjoys. What does your dog like to do the most? Maybe it's tugging on a toy or playing catch. Whatever it is, try doing it during a storm.
- You, and your dog, may get wet from walking or playing in the rain, but it will be worth it if your dog is sidetracked from its fear.
- If your dog is behaving well, and responding to commands correctly, this is a great time to give it a treat. This will reinforce the good behavior, and not the bad.
Give your dog a "sacrifice" item during the storm.If your dog tears things up out of fear during a storm, then give it something to focus its destructive attention on. This could be a stuffed animal, a chew toy, or a rawhide bone. Whatever you give your dog, make it something that will grab its attention and allow it to focus its nervous energy.
Do not focus all your energy on consoling your dog.Do not cuddle and act as its protector. This doesn't mean that you can't give it a pet, give it some comfort, and act nicely towards it as usual. You just shouldn't act as if it does have something to be afraid of. If you do this, it's going to assume that protection is needed.
- In addition, if you act like the dog needs protection, your dog will also assume that you are available to protect it whenever it acts nervous and scared. This can lead to an escalation in bad behavior. If it learns that cowering in the corner during bad weather yields hugs and kisses, it may form the habit of doing that every storm.
- Some animal behaviorists disagree with the idea of not comforting a distressed dog. They say that you should comfort your dog in any way that you can. This comforting should be combined with redirection, so that the dog is sidetracked from its fear.
Don't scold your dog for showing fear during a storm.Just as you don't want to overly comfort the dog, you don't want to punish it for being scared. That only gives your dog another reason to be afraid. Remember that fear is a
- Instead, go about your normal routine and act as if everything is normal. This doesn't mean ignore your dog, it just means that you should interact with it as normal.
- Ignoring the thunder and lightning, as well as the dog's nervousness and fear, will eventually teach your dog that nothing is wrong. This can be hard to do, however, as the dog's behavior is the meantime may be erratic and fearful.
Desensitize your dog to loud noises.A dog that has extreme reactions to loud noises may respond to gradual desensitization. This means that you expose the dog to a variety of noises, gradually increasing the volume so the dog gets used to it.
- There are CDs that you can purchase that make the noises of a thunderstorm. Play them at various times of day, starting with the volume very low. Make it louder and louder until the dog is used to it. This will only partially desensitize the dog, since there are also electrical disturbances in a storm that can't be mimicked by a CD.
- Expose a young dog to a variety of noises from an early age. If your dog is very young and is experiencing thunderstorms for the first time, you will have a much easier time keeping it calm if it is used to a wide variety of noises already.
Managing Your Dog's Environment
Block out as much of the noise and light as possible.If you can minimize the amount of the storm that the dog experiences, it may reduce the dog's discomfort. Close curtains, especially if you have blackout curtains, and move the dog to a room in your home where you can hear the thunder the least.
- Doing this in combination with distracting the dog with its favorite toy or game can really alleviate a dog's fear response.
Drown out the impact of the storm.For example, if your dog is afraid of lightning, try turning on a light in the room your dog is in. This will minimize the impact of the lightning.
- Turn on music, or some other kind of noise, to drown out the noise of the thunder. If your dog can't hear it very well, the dog is likely to be less fearful.
Give your dog a safe space to hide in.This may be its crate or under the covers in your bed. Dogs naturally look for a den to hide in, so give it that space.
- If your dog goes into its crate, consider covering it with a blanket to muffle the sounds of the storm further.
- Make sure that your dog can get into its den area without your assistance. This will allow it this comfort whether or not you are home.
Put a body wrap on the dog.There are several products on the market that are basically coats to put on your dog. These coats put gentle pressure on the dog's body, which calms it immensely.
- Calming body wraps are sold in most pet stores and online. When you are purchasing one, be sure to get the correct size for your dog.
Use dryer sheets to eliminate static on your dog's coat.It may sound weird, but many dogs dislike lightning because it causes static in their fur. Rubbing your dog down with a dryer sheet will help make the uncomfortable sensations go away. It may even help the dog get back to sleep if it wakes up due to the storm.
- Do not let the dog chew dryer sheets. Once you rub it on your dog's coat, put it out of reach of the dog. It can make a dog very sick.
Medicating Your Dog During a Storm
Try using pheromones.There are medications on the market that use natural dog pheromones to calm your dog. The come in plug-in diffusers and can also be applied to a bandana around your dog's neck.
- Researchers are investigating which hormones work best for calming distressed dogs. One researcher has used a hormone emitted by mother dogs to calm their puppies to great effect with dogs scared of storms.
Give your dog natural calming remedies.There is no scientific evidence that calming tonics, such as homeopathic remedies. However, many pet owners swear by them and they are worth trying if they can possibly calm your dog.
Consider medicating an extremely fearful dog.If the dog's anxiety level is so high that it destroys the house trying to find refuge from the storm, or it spreads anxiety to other dogs in the house, ask a veterinarian about having a sedative on hand to deal with this. To get a strong medication for your dog, you will need a prescription from a veterinarian.
- Sedated dogs may have a difficult time traversing stairways, so be careful! Carry your dog up stairs, if at all possible, or walk lower on the stairs relative to them, to stop them if they slip and fall.
QuestionMy dog chews on my doors and windows during storms. How can I stop this?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can try giving him chew toys or a comfort him during the storm the best you can.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I get my chi to go out in the rain for potty time?20DragonGirl17Community AnswerIf he has a coat, put that on him. Otherwise, go out with them to let him know that it is okay.Thanks!
QuestionMy dog is 3 years old and has always hated the rain and thunder. He is an outside dog and is not house trained. He has broken two doors already when trying to get inside the house during a storm. What do I do to stop the crying and chewing during the rainy season?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou need to find a way to comfort your dog. This means giving it a safe space to hide from the storm, as well as giving it physical comfort. An outside dog should have a substantial dog house that has a good degree of insulation from the storm (and from hot and cold temperatures). This will help to minimize the impact of the noises of the storm. You should also try putting an anxiety wrap on the dog, which is basically a coat that puts a bit of comforting pressure on the dog's body. In addition, spend time with the dog during the storm. If you have an outside dog, it doesn't mean that you don't have a responsibly to give it emotional and physical support. Try to sidetrack your dog by doing an activity with it that it loves.Thanks!
QuestionOur dog is so scared of storms and fireworks. Is it bad for her health to get so freaked out?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt could be depending on how scared she is. If the fear is that bad, you should consult a vet.Thanks!
QuestionMy 3-year-old dog has been around tractors and loud trucks all her life, she has in the last year become very scared of storms and fireworks, running away and breaking through fences. How do I help her deal with this when I can't always be home?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMaybe try creating safe spaces. Try finding the quietest room in your house and putting a crate in there, then crate training your dog. It provides a safe space for your dog that is wonderful if you've got a skittish or scared dog. If you are totally averse to crates (dogs with a history of abuse don't respond well to crates), a bed in the quietest room may also provide a similar result, to a lesser extent.Thanks!
QuestionCould the place for them to hide be in my bed?20DragonGirl17Community AnswerThanks!
QuestionMy cat is scared of rain, thunder and lightning, heavy snow, loud wind and fireworks. How do I keep him calm?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFind out if any of that is going to happen ahead of time. While it is happening, go into a room that has a door and shut the door and spend time giving your cat affection.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I stop my dog from running away in a panic during thunderstorms? Fencing will not stop him.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBring him inside when you think a thunderstorm will occur or put him in an outdoor dog kennel.Thanks!
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