The thunder arrives, the lightning gushes out. This light and sound that frighten your dog. He can bark, scream, go around in circles, be stressed, anxious, agitated. Your dog may be hiding under the table under a bed. He will take refuge with you. The fear of the storm is classic in a dog. It is important for you to understand it and to remedy it. How? We explain the process.
Many dogs are literally terrified by storms . The sudden and deafening noises put them in a state of panic . Sometimes they discover this weather phenomenon and perceive a sign of impotence. The lightning associated with it does not help matters. This fear is completely legitimate , as it is in children, for example. It can have different origins, but it is not inevitable . Dog can help get rid of, often by confronting his fear, but by adopting an approach gradually to avoid aggravating his problem.
Why is your dog afraid of the storm?
The fear of thunderstorms in dogs can have a variety of origins. This may be due to a hereditarytrait . It may be, indeed, that in the ancestry of the animal, a tendency to fear facing this type of noise is manifested at each storm.
A storm sends a signal of distress to your dog. This is an abnormally loud sound . At this sound are associated vibrations , light . He finds himself helpless and helpless in the face of this situation, facing this invisible "enemy". Your dog will stress . This anxiety will make him more afraid of this episode. A vicious circle begins.
This fear can also be the result of a shock , such as having been exposed to a storm without being able to take shelter. Dogs easily record this kind of painful episode and an associationbetween the storm and the anxiety it arouses in its mind sets in place for a very long time.
Just as a young animal who sees and hears a thunderstorm for the first time in his life is likely to be stressed and scared. Here, the reaction is quite natural and the puppy will have time to get used to it, especially if he is surrounded by the affection and support of his master.
What are the signs of fear?
Your dog may feel the arrival of a thunderstorm even before it is triggered. Indeed, the dogs have this faculty to perceive the change of atmospheric pressure.
Moreover, your dog will seem agitated. His behavior will change radically. He could bark or moan. His breathing may accelerate along with his heartbeat . This is the sign of an anxious state well installed and tachycardia .
Your dog may sweat pads , have dilated pupils and hypersalivate.
Their way of sheltering differs. Your companion could stay close to you where he feels best. He could also go to a place in your home that he particularly likes. He can go around in circles, start agitating more than he needs.
Treating a dog's fear requires a lot of psychology , work and time. In the case of fear of the storm, it is around two major axes: socialization and desensitization . A properly socialized puppy will be less frightened by everyday noises. He has been accustomed to rub shoulders with people, congeners and other animals, at the same time he has been exposed to sound stimuli of all kinds (noise of cities, barking, various weather phenomena ...).
The sooner the teacher gets to it, the faster the puppy will have surpassed his phobia and stored up trust . Desensitization is just as important. This is to demystify , in the dog's mind, this unusual event that is the storm, as well as the associated elements (thunder, lightning, heavy rain ...). For example, you can skip the audio recording of a thunderstorm, but lower the volume while playing with it.
Caresses, encouragement and rewards greatly increase the chances of success in this type of approach. If no improvement is found after several attempts, it would be wise to seek advice from the veterinarian for possible medical management of the problem or to seek the services of a canine behaviorist.
What you should not do
In case of storm:
Do not transmit your fear to your dog. If possible, stay neutral in this situation. You will bring your serenity to your companion.
Let him join his favorite shelter if he has one. Do not put any barriers because it is important not to add stress to your already obvious stress.
Do not punish him . A phobia is uncontrollable and punishing it would only add a fear to another: the fear of being punished after being scared.