Helping your pooch get over a fear of thunderstorms
July 30, 2012
While the summer weather offers plenty of wonderful opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, head to the Dog Parks at Bideawee and make the most of the season, your pooch may not be as excited about the season's other qualities. Thunderstorms are a regular occurrence during the summertime, and the loud booms of thunder and flashing lightning could be a scary experience for your furry friend. However, there are ways that you can get your pooch used to these noises, and help him or her ride out storms during the summer without suffering from major anxiety. Here are a few tips on how to get started.
1. Play natural sound effects. Introducing your canine to the sound of thunder in a controlled setting is one of the only ways that he or she will be able to get used to storms. DogChannel.com suggests investing in an audio recording of rain and thunder, ideally with a bit of mood music in the background. When you put the CD or DVD on for the first time, put it at a very low volume, then continue going about your business in a normal manner. Dogs have a far more refined sense of hearing than humans, so starting on a low volume and building up gradually will help your canine associate normalcy with the sound effects.
2. Create a safe zone. During thunderstorms, your pooch probably has a place that he or she will go to ride it out. If this is a basement or a bedroom, give your dog access to this area and consider creating a safe haven, reports Paw-Rescue.org. Place extra pet bedding, a few toys and treats inside this area and spend time with your dog during these moments to help him or her associate good thoughts with being in the space. This idea doesn't work for all dogs, but it might be a good idea if your dog feels the need to run and hide.
3. Distractions. If all else fails, keeping your pooch occupied is one of the best methods to ride out a thunderstorm. Do something that your dog loves, like playing with a tennis ball, tug-of-war with a rope or break out your canine's favorite chew toy. If your dog can channel some of that nervous energy into a favorite activity, he or she will be far less likely to experience major anxiety during a storm.