Stormy conditions such as thunder. lightning, static electricity, barometric pressure changes and rumbling that only dogs can hear can terrify your dog so much that it can severely hurt itself or damage its surroundings. It will also display its phobia by hiding or howling. Train your dog not to fear storms when it is still very young. Even when it is older, with a simple steps, you can teach your dog to accept storms as non-threatening occurrences.
- Spend time during thunderstorms cuddling and talking to your dog. Offer treats so it begins to think of them as good times.
- Remember not to punish your dog if it damages your things out of panic. You will only end up making its anxiety worse.
- You probably have a crate or a room where your dog feels secure. Put it in there with an extra treat to calm it.
- If there is a closet or a bathroom or any other section of your home where the sounds are not so loud, allow your dog to hide in there.
- Place a radio or music player close by. You could also place a machine with white noise so it can focus on these sounds instead of the thunder.
- Try to sensitize it to storms by playing the sound of thunder at a very low volume even where the weather is clear. Raise the volume as your dog adapts. In this way, when the real storm hits, your dog is likely to simply ignore it.
- If your dog reacts too severely to the storm, try anti-anxiety medication so it doesn’t harm itself.
- Some experts might suggest the use of dog-soothing pheromones or other scents to calm your pet.
If all these measures don’t help, talk to an expert on dog behavior and ask about what more you can do to break your pet out of its fear.