Stormy weather

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by bonster, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. bonster

    bonster Disappointed :(

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    I've seen some other posts about dogs+storms on here.
    Now I think I tempted fate the other day by saying that Bonnie wasnt used to rain... since yesterday we've had the biggest storm in ages - its been abosultely torrential with almost constant rumbling thunder.

    I saw in another post it might be an idea to get a CD with storm sounds to de-sensitize, but my question is --- is it right that you aren't supposed to pet your dog when they are scared in case you re-enforce their fear?

    That's hard - especially in a long storm when the poor doggie must think the world's coming to an end :eek: :eek: :eek: cowering, trembling, wimpering and hiding away! Normally we wake to brilliant sunshine even when its colder... today its still dark at lunchtime and Bonnie is even scared of walking out in the rain!
     
  2. tl_ashmore

    tl_ashmore Spoiled Rotten Dog

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    I've never heard that you aren't supposed to pet your dog when they are scared. When my dog is scared like that, I bring her on the couch with me and she gets real close and cuddles up with me. I would think that the dog would feel better if you are right there with her, petting her, and telling her that it will be ok.
     
  3. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I've had a few that were terrified by thunder on some very elemental level and they just gave you no choice about whether petting them was the "correct" procedure or not. Mickey and Bear were the worst; thunder was the ONLY thing either was afraid of. Mickey would find a bed to hide under, and Bear would go to the exact center of the house where there were no windows and hunker down there. Sometimes he would lay at my feet, as long as he wasn't near a window, and just shake. Mickey taught Purdue to be afraid of thunder, and he'd try to follow her under the bed. The only one he could get under was my sister's old fashioned bed that sat higher from the floor. German Shepherds do not - DO NOT fit well under beds, lol!

    Thank goodness Bimmer and the girls aren't afraid of thunder . . . can you imagine Shiva trying to get under the bed??? :eek:

    I would think that a good way to desensitize a dog would be to initiate some games and give favorite treats while playing the storm CD; turn a storm into a time for special fun. Some dogs just aren't going to buy into it, though, and are just going to be afraid of thunder. The best you can do is to make sure they have a place they feel is safe that they can go to even if you're not home.
     
  4. Debi

    Debi Moderator

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    I've always heard conflicting ideas regarding storms. I understand the theory that you wouldn't want to make a big fuss when the dog is so stressed..that could reinforce the behavior. But, being an emotional person...pretty hard for me to ignore Addie completely when she looks at me with those big brown eyes...I cave and don't have a problem trying to comfort her. I do keep it at a very calm level. Sometimes that isn't enough for her, and she finds a place to hide. She is better in storms since we brought Hammie into the family....probably her alpha pride...determined not to let him see her fret. Altho I keep things calm.......I will confess that during a very bad storm, I like them both in to comfort ME. lol
     
  5. fennash

    fennash Border Collie Lover

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    Fennash

    One of my boys was very scared of thunder and fireworks. I tried one of the sounds cds. You have it playing really really quietly to start with and turn it up a little at a time as the dog starts to ignore it. I found it worked REALLY well. the other thing I did (which seems really daft) is something my dad suggested, he's a dog behaviourist and that was to go and stand outside, saying WOW LOOK AT THESE LOVELY FIREWORKS or thunder (yes I know you can't see thunder but you know what I mean) I had to make it sound really exciting and interesting, I also stood in the pooring rain bouncing Ash's favourite ball, (I must have looked pretty silly but I don't care it worked)eventually he decided that if I wasn't scared then it must be ok. He's much much better now.
    Lynn
     
  6. smkie

    smkie pointer/labrador/terrier Staff Member

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    I would hope someone would hold me if i was scared..and i bet if they went out with a ball and showed me there was nothing to worry about, i would look at them as my hero!
     
  7. Renee750il

    Renee750il Felurian

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    I'm afraid mine would look at me like I'd lost my mind and pull me back in the house, lol!
     
  8. CreatureTeacher

    CreatureTeacher New Member

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    Regarding the "don't encourage fearful behavior" thing: This is one of those left-over-from-when-it-was-okay-to-beat-your-dog-days myths that REALLY irritate me. First of all--and you can take this from a professional--a dog that is that afraid is in no mood to learn how to manipulate his person. The thought that he's cowering, shaking, and wetting himself to get your attention is absurd. In the past (and even today), a lot of people had problems accepting the fact that dogs are emotional beings capable of the entire range of feeling that humans enjoy, and owning a dog was just that--owning. The relationship that developed was almost adversarial, and folks pictured their dogs as needing to be constantly oppressed into their "proper place". Why would you cuddle a frightened slave?

    It is possible, however, to upset your dog further in trying to comfort him. You should try not to make a big deal over it. Your dog will "feed" off the emotions you display in a tense situation. If you are calm and controlled, he will be too. Smile and be cheerful, but don't go nuts. If he wants to snuggle, snuggle him. If he's left to his own devices, his panic can feed on itself and compound with the stress he's experiencing from being ignored. He can literally turn into a drooling mess of terror. So lead by example.

    I love the idea of "playing" out in the noise where he can see or hear you. And I know from experience that the desensitization CDs can also help. But the only way to cure it is to develop a really strong leadership position with your dog; a "It could be dangerous--I'll go first!" sort of thing. He'll learn by watching and respecting you that if you're not worried, there's no reason for him to worry either.

    I would continue to ramble, but luckily for all of you I have a training appointment. :)
     
  9. bubbatd

    bubbatd Moderator

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    Fennash....I did what you suggest. Years ago I had a female golden that was terrified of storms....she had gone through a tornado like storm with trees crashing etc. After that when we had pups around during their 1st storms, we always took them out on our covered patio and made a game of it with Whee!!!! Wow!!! and dancing around. Haven't had a scardy- cat since...... 30 yrs.
     
  10. bonster

    bonster Disappointed :(

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    Thanks for all the ideas + feedback .. of course you just can't ignore a scared dog -- I was just concerned in case they get to depend on you being there in a storm too much ---- what happens if you are out when there's a bad one?
    i think the game idea is cool - to make the dog realise they'll be OK and distract their focus from worrying about the storm -- I'll try that next time, but hopefully it will be a while :)
     

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