when we have thunderstorms. Never before but the last week she has about come unglued when she hears the thunder. Try cleaning the bathroom with a black lab wedged between you and the tub, you and the sink, you and the toilet. : It doesn't work too well. What a PITA. Does anyone have any ideas how to over come this? I was thinking of playing a recording of a storm at a very low volume for a while until she gets used to it and gradually increase the volume until it doesn't faze her. Has anyone ever tried this? It is really upsetting for her and for me. I can't seem to comfort her so I just ignored it and she eventually settled. Suggestions???
Sorry no ideas here, but am curious to see what others might suggest.
Lexi is afraid of thunderstorms too! In fact she senses them long before they actually start & will hide.
My pretty girl, Lexi!
I don't have much advice accept that to "comfort" her is giving her the signal that it's ok to act that way...... she is being rewarded with your attention, when she acts scared......... ignoring her is "probably" best. ..... other than that, I have no advice on how to fix the problem.....
He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.
my golden girl cody was terrified of thunderstorms too.
i agree with melissa, i've heard that you should definitely not comfort her etc..b/c that reinforces the anxiety, i.e. telling her "it's OK" and "it'll be alright", "you're fine" actually reinforces her belief that there's something to be anxoius about etc i know it's really hard not to do b/c i too felt so bad when cody was so anxious and skittish during storms.
with cody, i ignored her which like you said is hard b/c she tried to shove herself under me! the only thing that helped with cody was theo. since day one, nothing really rattled him, and it was so amazing b/c cody must have taken some cues from him and soon she was not nearly as bad during storms as she was when she was an only-dog. does rush get anxious during storms?
i've never tried the densensitization method you described but seems like it may help. maybe have the storm play in the background and do a lot of positive things, playing etc?? but it may not be just the sound of a storm that is tipping boo off, but the physical things that she senses too that go along with a storm etc which may be harder to duplicate?
That is right, by telling them it's okay, reassuring them at all, is tellling them there is something to worry about. Act like nothing is wrong, do everything as usual, and they will learn there is nothing to fear.
It's hard, I know. I had a Great Dane that would hide before the storm ever came. If no one was home, she would go into the farthest back corner of my closet, or into the bathtub behind the shower curtain if she couldn't get the closet door open. If I was home, she was glued to me, panting and shaking. I made it worse by coddling her and reassuring her. :-\
Jackie, Champ, and Buddy
Hershey could care less about the thunder, but a driving rain against the house really concerns her. The dog I grew up with feared thunder. Straight for the bedroom and under he bed which he barely fit under. He was also not allowed in any bedroom. But when the thunder came, there he was, not about to come out, and I had a magic fingers bed if the storm hit at night.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
That is why in any situation I always try and remain calm. That way he won't think there is something to fear.
Can't help on how to desensitize tho.
I agree with the above posts, but have to add one thing...
I would definately proceed with the desensitization. However, I remember reading somewhere that it wasn't the actual noise that upsets dogs so much, but the change in pressure.
BUT, my mom's wheaten was definately afraid of the noise.... but she was afraid of ANY loud noise....
I took Peanut (and Baloo!) to firework displays when they were puppies to help to desensitize them to loud noises, I also took Baloo to my mechanics last week, lots of loud noises there too! ;D ;D
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
First thing, I don't actually have any first hand experience with this... just going by what I have read other places about training and discussions with other owners.
I agree with the posts about not reinforcing her behavior. Also, your plan about using recordings to desensitize Boo sound reasonable. The method is very similar to the way that gun shy dogs are treated. The gun is fired very far away so that the sound is only barely audible then over time brought closer. The only thing I think that may make this harder with Boo is that unlike gun shyness the sound of the thunderstorm can't be associated with time to go for a nice exciting hunt.
Best of luck and please let us know how it goes.