In order to really learn how to calm a dog who is scared of thunder, you need to first determine why he is so fearful. There are a few reasons why dogs are scared of thunder and you will want to know what they are before determining the best way to deal with them.
One thing that I came to understand is that, just like me, my dog can be scared by the sound of thunder. He can also get scared by other loud sounds that he hears, other than thunder.
Dogs can hear sounds at ultrasonic frequencies that are beyond the human hearing range. When you are outside, it is important to realize that the ultrasonic sound of storms and other weather can be very frightening for your dog.
The difference in loudness is huge, and that is what makes it so hard for a dog to process what is going on.
The very first thing that you would need to do is to do an assessment on your dog. Is he over reactive? A dog that is reactive will respond to the sound of thunder and will often run and hide in the middle of the yard or in other places he feels safe.
There are a number of things that can cause a dog to react in this manner. Being overly excited or depressed can all be the contributing factors. If your dog is reactive, you will need to take a different approach to training in order to get your dog to react in a more positive way.
Takes your dog’s personality into consideration. You can’t just expect your dog to calm down if he is reacting aggressively to thunder. One way you can teach your dog to deal with thunder is to make a loud noise and let it ring out. The dog will react to the sound and will either calm down or become more excited about “new” situation.
Another tip will be to distract him by throwing “things” at him. A toy such as a rubber ball can be very distracting for a dog and he will eventually forget about what is causing him to be scared.
Some dogs may even sit on their hind legs in order to avoid being shaken by thunder. If that is happening on your dog, you can get a toy truck or an old doll and shake it at your dog to get his attention so that he will not “focus” on the thunder sound.
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of distracting or having a toy ready to toss at your dog, then you could try yelling “Thunder!” repeatedly. This should be done in a clear voice, to catch his attention. Once your dog had calmed down, he will be less fazed by thunder.
In order to teach your dog to calm down during a thunder, it is important that he “sees” the funny side of thunder. It may be hard for him to understand but don’t be afraid to show him funny reactions to the situation.
Your dog will become more comfortable with thunder if you start laughing at him and making silly noises. This can be done by pointing to thunder and clapping your hands together while giving him a laugh. You can also clap your hands when lightning strikes. All these actions is to make him feel at ease with the thunder noise.
Thunder can be a very scary sound and your dog does not want to chase after anything that he thinks may cause him harm. Having a crate at your home will be an ideal place for him to calm down during the thunder as dogs often view crate as his den – a place where they feel safe and secure to be in.
My dog will usually panic each time he hears a loud thunderstorm. His initial reaction is to seek safety in his lovely crate. This typically occurs just minutes before the first lightning bolt hits.
He will go into his crate and stay in there where he feels safe from the lightning and the thunder. After a few minutes when he finds relief from the noise of the storm, he will then move out from the crate and roam in the house.
Some vets suggest that you shouldn’t let your dog have a treat when it is stormy. I do not really agree with this as I find that giving treats is a good way to distract my dog from his anxiety. At the first sign of storm, give your dog a treat and reassure him that everything will be just fine.
If offering treats is not your preferred choice, another idea to ease your dog’s storm anxiety is to distract him using toys, opening windows, and some other things to divert his attention. Do your best to focus your dog’s attention onto something else when your dog reacts to loud noises.
If you keep these things in mind when you are training your dog, you can get rid of his fear of thunder within no time. Thunder can be very intimidating for your dog but with patience and consistency, you will have an amazing friend that you can take anywhere with you.