Fear of Thunderstorms?
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Thread: Fear of Thunderstorms?

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    RoxyRoo's Avatar
    RoxyRoo is offline Junior Member
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    PostFear of Thunderstorms?

    My 9 year old Lab Mix, Teddy, is terrified of thunderstorms. He honestly has been since I got him over 5 years ago, and I have not had any luck with this at all other than trying to make sure he is not alone, and comforting him during the storm. This dog has gone through my drywall before during a severe storm when I wasn't home. (I don't crate him, but he has a crate that is open for him to go inside for comfort if he wants to). Honestly I am unsure that I would be able to change this in him, however, my last lab didn't seem to be afraid of storms in the beginning, but later seemed as if he was mocking Teddy when a storm would come. They would both jump on the bed, try to bury their heads under my pillow or in my armpit. Well, I think Teddy will always be this way, but wondering if anyone has any tips or suggestions to try to help him, or at least keep my now 4 month old Chocolate Lab puppy from copying him or getting worked up when he has anxiety? Any suggestions or ideas welcome~!!
    ~Laurie~


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    Sophie is afraid too. She freaks when someone shoots a rifle up on the hill behind our house too. Our 12 yr old we lost last year was soooo afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks. She never did outgrow the fear.
    ~Pam



    Sophie DOB 04/13/2011 6 mo


    8.5 mo.

    Sophie 15 months, with Skye

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    You know, I have heard so many things, such as wiping them down with dryer sheets before the storm when they are first starting to get anxious (Maybe helps with the static)?? And I have seen that they sell those special vests for dogs when it storms. However, those cost a lot and I am not going to spend that kind of money on a vest to wear during a storm if I don't even know that it works! There has to be an easier way! LOL!
    ~Laurie~


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    slackercodemonkey is offline Senior Member
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    I would suggest not babying them at all. I don't care that she doesn't like something, but whimpering and or destructive behavior should not be allowed. In your case I think I would put a leash on the dog and put them in a down stay while totally ignoring them.

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    Hi Roxy

    Lexi, my 8 year old Lab, is afraid of thunderstorms & fireworks too. I try not to baby her & if I know it is going to be really bad, I'll give her some benadryl. Yup, regular old human over the counter antihistamine. I don't give her enough to make her sleepy, but just enough to take the edge off. Lexi weighs around 65 lbs & I'll give her one 25 mg dose. (I use the capsules, you can pull them apart & mix the medicine into their food, etc.)

    With respect to the thundershirt, I have not tried it, but understand from a number of people that it does work. Most people I know use them for fear of storms, but another person used it for separation anxiety.

    I've been thinking about giving it a try for Lexi. I just recently saw it on QVC, so if I go that route to get it, they have a 30 day money back guarantee. For where I am this is the perfect time of year to try it as thunderstorms are common in PA throughout the summer months.

    My pretty girl, Lexi!

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    Belles mom is offline Senior Member
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    There is a Thunder Storm conditioning CD available at Gun Dog Supply. I got the Gun Conditioning CD and the Thunderstorm/noise shy cure CD for a pup in for training. (The owners had a previously gunshy dog, and said this current pup was thunder and noise shy. So far I see none of what they were so concerned about, and we have gone through the gun conditioning tape played full volume right on top of her crate. It takes anywhere from 1-6 weeks to go through, depending on the dog).

    Might be something to try. I have not tried the Thunder/noise shy one yet, as the pup seems just fine. Where in Michigan are you located?


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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Noise fear usually gets worse as a dog ages - not something a dog grows out of. What Belles Mom suggests (conditioning program) is the way to go to undo it and get your pet to the point where she can cope with noises - but - it takes time and dedication on your part.

    I would not be concerned about your younger dog learning to be anxious from the older one. I had a noise fearful dog in the house when my Lab was a puppy and he did not develop any noise fear of his own.

    Noise fear is sometimes a side effect, BTW, of using training techniques that involve sudden noises. Like - the pennies in a can trick.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    I have heard that giving them something to focus on...like obedience exercises can help. Of course you can't try this after they are in full blown panic mode. You have to start before the storm hits.
    “If I know every single phone call you’ve made, I’m able to determine every single person you’ve talked to; I can get a pattern about your life that is very, very intrusive. And the real question here, is what do they do with this information that they collect – that does not have anything to do with al-Qaeda? And we’re gonna trust the president and the vice president that they’re doing the right thing? Don’t count me in on that.”
    Joe Biden, 2006

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    THUNDERSHIRT!!! I have several friends who got this for their dogs and it solved the problem.
    Thundershirt | The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment



    ______________
    ~Amy
    Califon, NJ
    Hunterdon County
    "Each is a creature of Earth and is entitled to reside on it with dignity"

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    A technique such as Belle's Mom & BigBrown Dog's suggested would be most effective when properly employed.

    It's more accurately called a deconditioning procedure and it's a standard therapeutic procedure that's been successfully employed by therapists with patients for many years.

    Google it to familiarize yourself with the process.

    Briefly, it's "counter-conditioning."

    The fear of loud noises such as thunder and fireworks is a conditioned (i.e., learned) fear response.

    So counter-conditioning or deconditioning involves repeated exposure at VERY low intensities of the feared stimulus. Absolutely SO low that the fear response is NOT provoked AT ALL, and often with pleasant stimuli present (treats, petting, favorite games, etc.).

    THEN the feared stimulus is VERY GRADUALLY increased, NEVER EVER so much as to provoke ANY of the fear response.

    BUT there IS a VERY great danger in YOU doing this on your own: if you make a mistake (which is VERY easy for an inexperienced person to do), you can end up conditioning your dog to be fearful of treats, or being petted, or whatever the pleasant stimuli is/are.

    For that reason, I strongly recommend that you work with an experienced certified behavioral therapist. You can check Dr. Patricia McConnell's website for suggested therapists or a College of Veterinary Medicine.

    My first Lab, Bess, was very much afraid of the noise of thunder -- so much so she'd shake and quiver with anxiety attacks. I would have deconditioned her but, 40 years ago, I wasn't aware of any recordings available. So I asked a physician friend for a prescription for a low dose tranquilizer and he wrote a scrip for 5 mg. of Valium. That relieved Bess's symptoms (we gave her a pill when the thunder was still mild); that diminished but didn't cure the problem.

    Puff shares somewhat similar reactions to loud noises but nowhere near as intense as Bess. When it thunders, Puff leaves me (from whom she usually NEVER wants to be separated or out of sight) and heads straight for our bathroom which is also secretly a tornado shelter with concrete reinforced floor, walls, and ceiling (we live in Tornado Alley). That muffles thunders' sounds considerably.

    Good luck.

    Last edited by Bob Pr.; 06-04-2012 at 01:13 PM.
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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