With the thunder and lighting looming, I thought of my dear friend Dexter, a former Little Italy pup with crippling thunder anxiety. It was horrible seeing him so afraid but both his mom and I did whatever we could to ease his fears; small spaces, a thunder jacket and moderating our emotions at this stressful time.
Here are some tips if you and your 4-legged friend are struggling as well:
Use a Thunder Jacket
This unique dog anxiety wrap is designed to provide gentle, constant pressure to your dog's body, producing a calming effect. Bonus: it can help with other loud noises, like Fireworks!
Be There, Be Calm
Make the effort to be with your dog if the forecast is showing thunder
Give your dog the comfort and attention she needs to calm her anxiety. An anxious dog is unable to learn due to being overly stimulated and emotional, which means comforting is not rewarding the fear. .
If a dog is punished or ignored during a frightening event, it’s likely to worsen the anxiety. Instead, offer a positive stimulus, such as gentle petting, to distract and calm your dog. If your dog will still engage, try a game of indoor fetch, tug, or offer a high-value chew.
Offer a Safe Place
Place your dog’s crate and/or bed in the most sound-proof room of your home. A crate is a natural, psychological defense for dogs and can have an incredible influence on their comfort level. It’s also helpful to close the blinds to shelter your dog from the visual stimulation of a storm.
Compete With Noise
When a completely sound-proof room doesn’t exist, compete with the noise by usinga radio or white noise machine.
Try to desensitize your dog to the sound of storms by using thunderstorm CD.Start by playing the CD at a very low volume while offering your dog plenty of high-value treats and positive interaction. By slowly increasing the volume over several weeks, desensitization will lessen or completely eliminate anxiety during storms.
Work with A (Force Free) Trainer
She or he can help show you the way, one and one, and see if there is a more general anxiety to work with as well.
Stay safe, calm, and enjoy the weekend with your dogs!