How to calm a scared dog during a heavy thunderstorm
Many of you would have noticed that even way before the rain and thunder comes, your dog has probably already started behaving frantically; that’s assuming that your dog has a fear of rain and storms. While calming a frightened dog during a thunderstorm can be a challenge, a few simple steps that address health, training and behavior can make a significant difference.
A healthy dog is a happy dog!
A dog’s diet is the first factor in its ability to face challenging circumstances. The better the nutrition, the better the prospect of a calm dog. A healthy dog that is blessed with a thriving immune system is more mentally and physically equipped to handle surprises and adverse events.
Dog Behavior and Heredity
One contributing factor in thunderstorm phobia is a dog’s sense of hearing. It is far more acute than a human’s and what might sound merely loud to a person can be painful to a dog’s sensitive ears. If the sound hurts, a clap of thunder can rattle even the most calm, cool and collected dog.
Some dog breeds are born with a more anxious demeanor than others, but this does not necessarily translate to thunderstorm phobia. When the extraordinary hearing of a dog is involved, any dog can react with fear to sharp, explosive sounds.
Calming the Fearful Dog
While some dogs may react favorably to cuddling and cooing by their human, it may be far more effective to transform the moment into a totally different experience.
Diverting your dog’s attention from his fear with a rousing game of tug-a-war or a round of hide-and-seek with his favorite toy or delectable treat can change a dog's outlook. Distract your dog. Dogs follow their leader. If their leader isn’t concerned with the rumblings in the heavens, then it’s less likely he will be.
Relying on a dog's training to redirect his focus helps. A well-trained dog that responds with trust to its owner's commands is more likely to respond favorably to that owner's lead in times of adversity, like during a storm. For more details on training, see http://www.apawz.com.sg/ our training partner's website, for more details!
If a dog must be left home alone, it can be a challenge to keep the shivering fear of a thunderstorm at bay. Filling the house with gentle music or the drone of a TV gives the anxious dog something other than the storm to listen to. And every dog needs a “hide-out” of its own - a blanket-filled open crate, a cozy place behind the couch, or a comfy bed under a desk can all serve as the dog’s very own sanctuary. It’s his own private place to stash his toys, take a nap, and feel safe.
Dogs Need Their Humans
Just like humans, dogs can have very real fears that require very real attention. There is one important thing to remember in easing a dog’s fear of storms. If the thunder is rolling and the lightning is sizzling; patient, loving attention counts most.