how to deal w/ a dog that freaks out over thunder?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Dipsy Doodle Doo, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. I'm at a loss.
    She goes all panicky: open mouth panting, trembling, and the worst is she climbs (Hubby or I) --- how can sitting on my HEAD make her safer?
    She is a house-dog (in when I'm in and out when I'm out, usually), great with all the birds, not 'crate-trained' and is a delightful pup EXCEPT when we have weather --- she just falls apart.
    Breed-wise, we have no idea --- she (and her bro) wandered up here when they were about 8 wks old).
    She *looks* Border Collie-ish.
    Any ideas how to deal w/ this?

    (excuse me while I pry this dog off my head)
  2. countryboy

    countryboy Songster

    Oct 31, 2007
    hi dipsy, we have had a dog like that and my mother has one also like that they start shaking and do a growling whine, we would put a throw blanket over the dog which would usually crawl up next to someone when this was happening. my mom does the same thing for her dog and the dog uasually stays on the floor then, it makes them feel like its their cave i guess and their more content. hope it works for you.
  3. Henrietta23

    Henrietta23 Songster

    Oct 20, 2007
    Eastern CT
    Quote:We had a rough collie/shepherd cross who was like that. She would try to dig into the walls. If she was outside she would jump the fence and run to the front door. She was a mess on the 4th of July. The vet prescribed a sedative that we could give her when we knew a storm was coming. She had an area in the kitchen where she was confined if there was a chance she'd be in trouble and we weren't home. I wonder if it is common in the herding breeds in particular?
  4. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    You need to desensitize her to the sound. Burn a cd with thunder sounds on it and start playing it at low volume during your cuddle time. Over the course of weeks gradually increase the volume and the length of time it plays for. We did this with one of ours and it worked like a charm.
  5. Frozen Feathers

    Frozen Feathers Songster

    May 4, 2007
    Quote:I like that idea. I definitely believe having them deal their fears can work better then letting them hide.
  6. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    My close friend had to resort to medicating her dog. The dog senses thunder
    an hour before we do. She starts to druel & shake. Eventually she will attempt
    to dig through walls and has done a lot of damage. My friend finally consulted
    with the vet and put her on some type of dog tranquilizer. It helped some but
    didn't completely fix it.

    As a dog owner and lover I frown on, or resist medicating an animal. A few things
    I've learned with anxious behavior, like what it sounds your dog is going through,
    is to not acknowledge the behavior. Petting the dog and saying "it's ok" just
    reinforces the negative behavior. I would try my best to excercise the dog and
    distract her with a toy or even a walk on the leash around the house if it is raining

    Good luck with her. Bordie Collie mixes are wonderful and intellegent dogs.
  7. Yogiman

    Yogiman Songster

    Feb 2, 2008
    South Louisiana
    Desesitizing her is really sound advise. She actually suffers as a result of this fear which is very real to her. You would be doing her a great service to proceed immediately with it. The longer it goes, the worse it gets. The CD idea is excellent.
  8. Sherry

    Sherry Songster

    Apr 8, 2007
    Southern WV
    Desensitizing is correct. Had to do the same thing with my boxer as puppy, but ours was "garbage truck noise therapy". [​IMG]

    Purple chicken is spot on re: saying ok reinforces the negative bahavior. My sisters boxer hides under the bed anytime it thunder. She always tells her "it's ok". I ignored thunder with my pup and now she ignores it too.

    I agree on not sedating a dog. However, having said that and owning a boxer, [​IMG], you don't need to go to the vet for a sedative. If needed, I use, vet recommended, Benadryl. My vet laughed and said she's never met a boxer owner that didn't know about Benadry. [​IMG]
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Desensitizing is indeed correct. Thunder played at very low volume and increasingly louder as the dog becomes desensitized is the right script.

    I believe this is one of the techniques recommended by animal bahaviorist Warren Eckstein. You can call him free on his radio program Saturdays from 4 till 6 EST - google WOR710 Radio for more info about him and for the station phone number (it changes from time to time).

    Homepathic Rescue Remedy (Bach Flower Remedy) comes in a mist spray and has a natural calming effect. This can be a generally handy thing to have around for stressful times. Used for humans, dogs, cats and beyond.
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    My husband's dog never got over the thunder. Nothing helped the problem either. In the end she was 11 yrs old and every storm sent her reeling and hiding and shaking and quaking. If she was outside she nearly tore the doors down trying to get inside. When inside she paced, ran up and down the staircase. We would have to make her lay down and stay put -which was not an easy job. She was just in a panic.

    Sorry you are having similar troubles.

    I am even more sorry there is nothing I can do or say to help you.

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