My dog has a BAD BAD BAD storm phobia! PLEASE HELP ME!

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by shastakiradog, Jul 13, 2008.

  1. shastakiradog New Member

    I live in arizona and july is monsoon season where we get MILLIONS of thunder storms!My dog who was a stray for 2 years of her life is deadly scared when ever the wind starts blowing. I didnt use to be to bad until this 4th of july which was windy and overcast. She is now scared to go outside at night, starts whining and shaking when ever the clouds come rolling in or the wind starts blowing.. she also has become destructive at night and when the wind blows. :dogsad: please give any advice on how to help her get through the storms or any ideas on why this phobia was triggered all of a sudden!


  2. bellapup Well-Known Member

    Hi, I'm from Arizona as well.

    My puppy just experienced the rain and she's being slowly acclimated to the monsoons by playing with her in the rain and giving her some treats each time she ventures out under the drops. We haven't had really loud thunderstorms here on my side of town so I'm not sure how she'd react. :dogunsure: I wonder if there's something I can do to ensure she doesn't develop a phobia toward them.
  3. suerkaplan New Member

    Hi - We are in Chicago and July 4th was the worst! Fireworks or thunder cause the same reaction, Buddy goes under my husband's desk and really STAYS there. Buddy was part of Katrina and we have no idea what he may have gone through. Lately, if a storm is far away and it is still dry here we also take him out and play, give treats or just talk soothingly. No idea if it will work but it makes sense if we can assocaite good things with thuder maybe it will be less threatening.

  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    You can also check with your vet for natural sedatives. I have no idea how effective they are as I've never had to use them. Mudflap has storm anxiety as well, but has slowly improved. If I'm home, she sticks to me like glue during storms. If I'm not, she usually goes to her kennel. Big crashes of thunder usually scare the daylights out of her and she'll run to her kennel or whimper, but nothing huge. I think the advice given to you should help. Other than that I'm not sure. If the natural sedatives are effective, then it would really help settle her while you are trying to improve her attitude toward storms. Good luck to you!!!
  5. good_doggie New Member

    try to keep your dog busy.try not to make him unbusy because he will jusk keep on barking.Just a little piece of advice.
  6. cppugs New Member

    suerkaplan is right about trying to associate good things with thunder. That is an excellent suggestion. A couple of things come to mind about this. I went to a handling seminar several years ago. Often show dogs get stressed at all the sounds and excitement at dog shows. Shows are very noisy when indoors, a lot of barking dogs, talking, PA system etc. I have not had to try either of these things, but here are two things the person giving the seminar suggested and said that it would work for other fears such as thunder. A very small amount of peppermint oil (get from health food store) gently rubbed on the pads of the feet is a natural calmative. The other suggestion was to put a little Vaseline on your finger and rub it on the inside of the ear, down near the ear canal. This is suppose to buffer the noise so that it is not so intense to the dog.

    Personally, I am just mean I guess. When Kelsey recently decided to rip a hole in the wall during a thunder storm. I decided that was not a behavior I wanted to deal with. So, the next storm when she started pacing, panting and carrying on, I made her down and stay and would ignore her until she calmed down. I then gave her a chew toy and again ignored her. If she started to get stressed again, I would put her in the down position and go back to working on the computer. When she saw I was fine and ignoring her, she chewed on her toy a while, then decided a nap was in order. The next storm she was fine, but luckily I nipped it in the bud.
    Good luck, I know this can be very frustrating when your dog is so upset about something.
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    You could try having playtime and/or a leisurely walk on a moderately overcast, somewhat windy night. Of course, I would NOT recommend going alone. Make it as fun as possible. However, you'd have to wait on the weather.
    You can purchase CDs specifically for socializiation that will help ease their fear of storms. I know I have a link somewhere but I can't seem to find it. I'll google it and find a supplier. Basically these are just recordings of storm sounds. You can play them (at LOW volumes) at first, at random times. For instance, turn the CD on with the volume barely audible or just louder, and play with her. Leave it on and let it repeat. If she's anxious, you could turn it down a little more. Once she's completely fine with it at that volume(which could take hours, days, weeks...depends on the dog), then turn it up just a little more. Again, once she's used to it at that volume, turn it up more. Keep going until she is comfortable at loud volumes, and then see how she is going out in it(starting with a mild storm). I do suggest dicussing natural sedatives with your vet, or peppermint oil as has been suggested. I know they make ear plugs for horses for the loud environment of horse shows, but I really have no idea if they do this for dogs. You can use cotton though to muffle the sounds of the storms if you have a storm in the middle of her progress. You don't want her to regress.
    I'll go find that link. :dogsmile:

    Edit Aha! Okay, you can go to and search "storms." The results are a book called "THE BIG BANG! How You Can Help Your Dog Cope with Thunderstorms and Fireworks" by Claudeen McAuliffe, and a "Sounds Good" CD specifically for thunderstorms. The "Sounds Good" line of desensitization products are the cheapest that I've found, but I haven't bought them.

    This is actually sold by a horse trainer, but would be good for dogs too. However, this one is not just thunderstorms.

    This is made for dogs, a 52-minute CD of thunderstorm sounds.

    Audio CDs when used correctly along with natural sedatives can do wonders for dogs with storm anxiety(or horses who just don't like noise). ^^ Good luck to you!!!
  8. fickla Experienced Member

    People have made great suggestions about trying to desensitize her and teach her that loud noises equal treats. However, i found that storm phobias are the hardest phobia to treat. Because with most dogs it is not just the loud noises that scare them, but everything else that comes with storms. They sense the pressure dropping, the static electricity in the air, and who knows what else.

    If your dog will take treats that's great, but if her phobia is that bad she probably will be to anxious to take any treats. You can also try the storm tapes, but again it's just the noise and doesn't replicate the exact storm. It may make her phobia lessen but it will likely still be there. I would also remain calm and don't coddle her during storms as she can sense your anxiety as a reason to be more afraid.

    Honestly, if her phobia isn't that bad most of the techniques above will work. But if she has full blown anxiety there's not much you can do except provide her a place where she can hide and maybe consider drugs. Some dogs feel safer in the bathtub with one theory saying it's because of the static electricity in the air.
  9. merlin New Member


    My dog is a basket case too! Thunderstorms and fireworks! I have read alot on it and "they say it's very hard to break this cycle. and that you should not reassure the dog that it's ok - to just ignore it and act like normal (really hard to do when your poor dog is frightened!)
    I did find a recording of a thunderstorm that they said to play at a very low volume while you are doing something funwith your dog and to SLOWLY increase the volume after they get used to it. I haven't done it enough yet to know if it works.
  10. jasperaliceuk Experienced Member

    Have you ever tried putting a T-shirt on the dog, wrapping it closely and fastening with a safety pin? The close feeling is supposed to calm them down. On a similar vein there is an elastic bandage marketed by Tellington Touch which has the same effect. I bought mine in the UK but I presume similar is available in the US.

    I used both on my previous dog who didn't like any loud noises - she would still be scared but she would just lie down quietly under a table wearing either of the above.

  11. leema New Member

    I support all posts about desensitisation (CDs, etc), 'rewarding' calmness in storms and seeking some type of medication, natural or otherwise.

    I'd also think about what you do when it's stormy - do you worry? Try to be as calm as possible so you don't rub off 'bad vibes' on the dog.

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