Author Topic: Another behaviour question~ thunder!  (Read 4607 times)

Offline Tazz

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Another behaviour question~ thunder!
« on: May 21, 2008, 11:13:01 am »
Rella has made great progress in her "fear" and was steadly working toward going back to her easy going self. Now we have THUNDER! She is terrified, barking, growling, drooling and pacing the house. The other dogs look at her as if she has gone mad, lol. So far I have just used the "calming voice" telling her to hush (like that worked ::)) and ignoring the behaviour....s ince this is not working I thought I'd ask what anybody else has done for the dog who just hates the boomer season. I do leave her crate open so she can get into it but so far she has acted like she wants no part of it while the storm is ongoing and I would hate to crate her and have her spazz out and hurt herself.

She is now 15 months old. Ideas?

Offline Tazz

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Re: Another behaviour question~ thunder!
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2008, 06:17:29 pm »
Thanks. I am not against medication IF all else fails. I'm hoping by not making an issue, and the other dogs not getting all upset, she will settle down. I just wanted to be sure I was doing everything I could be doing.

Offline seaherons

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Re: Another behaviour question~ thunder!
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2008, 07:50:18 pm »
Cirra is reactive to thunderstorms and we would like to become members of "weather radar watchers anonymous" however we still are tracking the weather radar on the computer when storms are expected.  The goal is to keep Cirra's anxiety down as much as possible.  She tries to get out of our sliding glass door which she can open even when it is locked.  Of course each dog is different and we have tried many things.  Being calm yourself is not easy however is helpful.  We have not liked the after effects of melatonin.  We have tried rescue remedy with little effect however is helpful for the humans.  Currently we are using TPLN Anxiety - a homepathic remedy.  It seems to be the most helpful of the all the things we have tried when used before Cirra gets anxious.  She has an herbal "calming collar" which also seems to help sometimes - much to our surprise.  We used to put her in a t-shirt however recently purchased an anxiety wrap which also seems to help.  It really seems to help her recover sooner.  Again the t-shirt or anxiety wrap is most helpful when put on prior to the storm.  Also the dog should wear the wrap sometimes when there is not a storm so they won't associate the two.  We will put a no pull harnass on Cirra if the storm is bad and we feel as though she needs to be on a leash - that way she is not pulling on her neck.  It can be helpful to cover the windows to reduce the flashes. Sometimes I will turn on the clothes dryer for background noise.  We try not be comfort her and keep things as "normal" as possible however we need to keep her safe.  The Big Bang by Claudeen McAuliffe is short booklet with some helpful hints.  We seem to be managing better this year than last.  We are on the coast of Maine and generally don't get a lot of thunderstorms however last year it seemed as though we had one every other day.  Any other helpful hints?

Offline Tazz

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Re: Another behaviour question~ thunder!
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2008, 06:29:44 am »
Thanks everybody, you have been most helpful. I am not worried (yet) about her hurting herself. She seems to be in "protect" mode when the storms hit. Door to door, window to window panting and drooling with the excessive barking. I just don't want it to get bad enough that she gets to the point of freaking out and hurt herself or one of the other dogs. Maybe I should put her leash on her to try and stop her pacing?

Offline pyr4me

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Re: Another behaviour question~ thunder!
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2008, 06:46:14 am »
Jenny also reacts to thunderstorms--pacing, whining, unable to settle, etc. I use the TPLN Anxiety homeopathic remedy, too, and it has been really helpful for her. I ordered it online from www.onlynatura lpet.com.
Jennifer

Tipper (8 1/2 yrs) Golden Retriever/Sheltie mix
Jenny (4 yrs) Great Pyrenees
Gabriel (14 yrs) Sealpoint Himalayan cat
Melanie (11 yrs) Domestic medium hair cat

"You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us."
~Robert Lewis Steven

Offline sc.trojans

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Re: Another behaviour question~ thunder!
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2008, 02:34:28 pm »

There is a lot that can be done while the dog is young to desensitize to noise and help decrease noise phobias.  Ignoring it and acting like nothing wrong however does not work.

Take a look at this article which is very helpful:


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25267200/


It is important to not coddle during the fear so as not to reinforce it, but also critical not to ignore it. 

A big thing that helps is putting a tight fitting t-shirt on the dog to help decrease the barometric pressure (which is a big part of the danger signal and fear).  Also, before resorting to hard medications, which are usually reserved for serious cases in adult dogs, try natural relaxants like
Serene, which includes GABA and valerian:
http://www.bestforyourpet.com/prod/serene.html
Sometimes Rescue Remedy helps some, but valerian and GABA are much stronger and usually more effective.

The other key thing to do is to mentally engage the dog - this shows that the rest of the pack does not see the issue as "danger" and that playing is therefore ok.  Ignorning fails to demonstrate this.  So engaging your dog in a treat based activity helps.  I have one dog who is frightened of fireworks and this is including all booming noises like thunder.  I shaped her as a puppy with shaping exercises and we can now play a hot/cold game whereby she has to identify an object in the room that I am thinking of by marking it with her nose - she gets treats for getting warmer and big rewards for nailing the item....we can play this game for a long time so it keeps her mentally engaged and she loves it, not focusing on the noise at all. 

If all else fails, put the dog in the car and drive with relaxing music cranked up.  The movement helps to eliminate the pressure they feel as well and usually do best in a car as a result.

« Last Edit: August 27, 2008, 01:50:10 pm by sc.trojans »
SC Trojans
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