Is Your Dog Terrified of Storms? 

Overcoming fear of storms in dogs can be challenging if you don’t know how your dog is perceiving your actions.

All Dogs Are Different 

First and foremost, every dog is an individual.  They think different, learn different, and react different.  You know your dog, and should troubleshoot with these “guidelines” integrating them to your dog’s personality.  I specifically used the word “guidelines” because there are no hard fast rules and no “one way” to do things. With that being said, let’s move on to the meat and potatoes.

You Get What You Pet  

There is an old dog training saying, “you get what you pet.”  For example, if your dog jumps on you and you start petting him (or in some cases just using your hands to push him down), you are telling your dog to keep jumping because he’s getting rewarded. The same is true for thunderstorms.  A little tough love goes a long way for our canine companions.  For minor reactions to thunderstorms, do not pet your dog when they shudder or hide, but rather call him out of hiding or fearful behaviors with distractions. For example, say “that’s enough, go get your toy,” in a playful, fun tone.  Engage them to play and forget the storm.  If they continue to play until the next rumble, that’s progress!  Just repeat with distractions until they play through it.

 Start Small 

For more fearful cases, you have to start with the foundation and work your up.  Start building your communication and trust with your dog through obedience.  Make the commands simple and work your up through the level of distractions. Begin with walking circles around your dog while they hold the sit command.  If they try to get up, correct and say “no,” and try again until you’ve mastered it.  Then move on to higher and higher distractions, mastering each one before you move on:  dropping kibble, dog treats, toys, bouncing tennis balls, throwing toys, knocking at the front door, etc.  Make a distraction ladder to work through for every command you teach your dog.  This is what builds that relationship to get your dog through tough or unsure times. 

 Ideal Reaction to Thunderstorms 

After you have mastered a few commands, when thunderstorms come you can work your dog through it by exercising commands and eventually telling your dog “that’s enough” and to “go lay down” on their bed and  your pup will do so trusting that you know there’s nothing to worry about.  


 Need Help? 

If that’s not enough, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional local dog trainer in Fort Wayne.  That’s what we’re here for.  

 CONTACT US to learn how you can have your dream dog! 


 

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