A dog’s fear of thunderstorms is as real for the dog as it is heartbreaking for his owner to watch.
While there are many theories on what causes “storm anxiety” (changes in pressure, a rumble humans can’t hear, static electricity) there are proven training techniques that help keep your dog calm. Remember, storm anxiety treatments are like most other training techniques. They are not immediately effective and take patience, consistency and plenty of love and treats!
Reward Calm Behavior
It’s important that your dog’s nervous behavior is not rewarded. Instead, use treats and petting to reward calm behavior. This positive re-enforcement will encourage the behavior you want to see. This technique can be used in other situations and should be used consistently! Start bringing treats along for situations you know may trigger stress such as car rides or vet visits. For a better understanding of dog triggers check out this blast from Pawderosa’s past, Better Training: Understanding Canine ‘Triggers’.
Create a Doggy Safe Zone
Dogs react better to storms when they have a safe zone to retreat to. When creating a safe zone for storms try to pick a place within your home that is furthest from any noise and visual stress triggers. A tip to pick the best spot for a doggy safe zone is to pay attention to where your pet naturally retreats to when a storm hits. You can also help make their safe zone extra comfortable with a soft blanket or favorite toy!
Consult with Your Veterinarian
All dogs are different and your veterinarian may have a solution to any extreme behaviors. Anti-anxiety medication may be a solution for those dogs suffering from severe storm anxiety when other calming techniques have not worked in the past.
We know you love your dog, and you’ll do anything to keep them healthy and happy. We feel the same way! Learn more about our dog daycare and dog boarding kennels in San Antonio and Schertz, where we strive to make your pet feel like they never left home no matter the weather!