A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...
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Thread: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

  1. #1
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    DefaultA question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    My SIL's sister's chocolate lab, Riley, is deathly afraid of thunderstorms, fireworks, or any noise that sound like these (cars backfiring etc). Two nights ago, we were all out walking and someone dropped a handful of lumber a few houses away and Riley froze. Literally. He wouldn't budge, tail tucked between his legs. Henery, on the other hand, didn't even flinch.

    Whenever it storms, or, as it has been all weekend, fireworks-ing, he tries to climb into his humans' laps, or, if they're in bed, on top of them, preferably their heads. One time, my SIL's sister came home to find that Riley (in his terror) had had diarrhea and had peed everywhere in the house due to a rather spectacular storm.

    She knows not to coddle him through storms, and does her best to act like everything is normal. Last night she tried something similar to Rescue Remedy but it didn't work a bit.

    Do you guys have any ideas?? ??? Thanks, in advance, from Lori!

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  3. #2
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    DefaultRe: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    Our Nikko is deathly afriad of storms to the point where we have to give him a sedative (Ace)

    We have taught him to find a safe place - an interior room with no windows (laundry room) or a closet - or even a corner behind a door

    He now goes and finds a safe place even before we hear anything - that's how we know a storm is coming - without the sedative I am afraid he would give himself a heart attck

  4. #3
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    DefaultRe: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    I don't know. Cierra is like that she shakes for hours (and I mean hours) when there is a thunderstorm or fireworks. Cinnamon on the other hands loves to watch the lightening and the fireworks in the sky. I have seen Cinnamon lay on top of Cierra during a storm to try and calm her down. We give her melatonin if we know a storm is coming, keep her in an interior room and turn the TV up real loud. Or if it going to be a real bad storm they tranquiler her.

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  6. #4
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    Oh. :'( I feel so bad for him! Poor boy. It's so hard that you can't just explain to them, it's just a this or that.

    How about that DAP plug-in thing?

    The only other thing I can think of is desensitizing him very slowly and gradually. Start with very small noises, far away, and reward as long as he's not reacting. When he starts reacting, back up, it's going too fast for him.

    This method would take an awful lot of time and patience (and training skill too). I guess there's no real easy answer. :-\

    My aunt's dog is afraid of storms, so I know where they're coming from. Simon was afraid of loud noises at first, you might have heard me mention. We couldn't even turn the television up, especially if there was a show that involved gunfire or anything like that. I hate those kinds of shows anyway, so it was a good excuse for me to tell Kevin to change the channel. :P But he eventually got so that it doesn't bother him at all now. I'm not sure what did it. I know I made a very conscious effort to never coddle him, never act like anything was wrong.


    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

  7. #5
    lablover is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    We are having trouble with Fudge ... something that is new this year. We have no idea what started it. Funny, when it get windy it bothers him. The other strange part ... SU gets his guns out to target shoot and Fudge loves it. He will set up pop bottles and shoot at them. We can then tell Fudge to go get them after Mike has hit one and Fudge will smell around until it finds it and brings it back. I figure that there has to be a different sound to thunder and fireworks than gun fire.

    I will be waiting to see if anyone has suggestions also.

  8. #6
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    I think there are now some CDs with thunder noises on it that could be played at a level below that creating anxiety and very gradually increased.

    My Bess was terrified of thunder storms and close by lightning strikes, so much so that we gave her 5 mg. Valium when a bad one approached.

    Puff doesn't like them either (thunder or 4th fireworks) but doesn't have as much anxiety as Bess did.

    Loud music at home may drown out fireworks or storm sounds.
    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

  9. #7
    Rushpuppy's Avatar
    Rushpuppy is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    Rush couldn't care less about loud noises but Boo, between fireworks & storms she is a basket case. I'm going to try the thunderstorm cd's and see if we can desensitize her to that. Fireworks, well who knows. Our state just legalized fireworks for 9 days a year. What a dumb move that was. Now they buy the big boomers and set them off and it disrupts everyone's peace. I've noticed that it's the people who don't have a pot to pee in or a window to throw them out of that are the worse offenders. Go figure. :


  10. #8
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    Paddysmom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    I don't know if this will be much help, but I'll try.

    Our labs do just fine, but it took me 2 years to desensitize our female beagle to thunder and other such loud bursts. In short, it was redirect, redirect, redirect. NO CODDLING! Sweet, happy "let's play" voice and then by golly find something to play with. No matter what... just grab anything at hand and distract until there is firm interest in the new activity.

    It's not easy, it doesn't happen overnight. She now gets a bit clingy, but the terrible shivers and trembling do not happen any longer.

    For the immediacy of the problem, if your lab enjoys listening to people talk, get conversation going... even if you just recite the alphabet to one another with expression. Include your dog's name in the conversation!

    Seamus and Flynn

  11. #9
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    DefaultRe: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    Quote Originally Posted by lbradorabl
    Our Nikko is deathly afriad of storms to the point where we have to give him a sedative (Ace)

    We have taught him to find a safe place - an interior room with no windows (laundry room) or a closet - or even a corner behind a door

    He now goes and finds a safe place even before we hear anything - that's how we know a storm is coming - without the sedative I am afraid he would give himself a heart attck
    I have a shepard/boxer mix that is the same way. In fact yesterday we had a violent thunderstorm and when I got home from work she had vomited several times. I have a dog bed in my walk in closet and after she gets the sedative she is off to sleep through it.


  12. #10
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    DefaultRe: A question about thunderstorms/fireworks...

    Some people swear by the stuff called Rescue Remedy.. I picked some up at the pet food store the other day to try tomorrow night. My English setter and one of my goldens is really afraid of storms and the setter i know hates fireworks so thought i would give it a try this year and see how it goes..

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