How do you calm your pets during thunderstorms? Last night was the last straw. My dog broke out of his kennel twice (emphasis on broke), he tried chewing his way in the house and out of the garage.

Fear during thunderstorms is quite common in dogs. They feel trapped and the response of owners stresses them out. Here are some practical tips and options to keep your dog quiet and calm during a storm.

The Thundershirt wraps tightly around your dog, still enabling him to move freely, but giving him a sense of security and protection. The results are quite astounding.
Sedatives can prescribed by your vet. However, usually once the sedatives kick in, the storm is already passed. I firmly believe that there are other ways to calm your dog without the use of sedatives and would use these only if your dog is causing bodily harm to a person or itself and you are unable to restrain the dog.
You can help your dog overcome its fear of storms by making sure you’re not unconsciously rewarding the behavior by feeling sorry for your dog or becoming frustrated with him. Petting a fearful dog actually encourages fear because, the way the dog sees it, you’re rewarding their state of mind; same thing with saying “It’s ok, you’re ok, don’t worry”. You’re actually saying “Keep being fearful and I’ll give you attention”.

Helping your dog move forward does a world of good. When your dog is fearful, place a leash on them and calmly lead them around the house as you go about your business (no tension on the leash, though). If they stop and shut down, apply gentle constant pressure to the leash until they take a tiny step forward, then reward them with a loose leash again. Keeping the brain moving forward keeps it from getting stuck in fear. I do this with dogs who are afraid of the vacuum. I leash them up and have them walk/stand next to me while I vacuum. It gives them a job instead of allowing them to be stuck in fear.

If even the sound of thunder will send your dog in a tizzy, one thing you could try is making that sound positive. Play the sound of thunder while your dog is eating to creative a positive association. When you take your pup on a walk, bring along some thunder sounds so they associate it with moving forward and doing something enjoyable.

Also worth mentioning is the indestructible crate. It’s impossible to get out of, thus your dog won’t be in danger by trying to escape, but it comes with a pricetag.

I can’t stress enough the importance of YOUR reaction to your dog’s fear.  Don’t anticipate and don’t respond with soft or nervous energy/body language. Remember, your dog is not going to die from shaking, in fact shaking helps expel energy and makes them more calm more quickly. If you normally coddle your dog when he’s afraid, try ignoring and being calm.  If you have taught your dog to ride the treadmill, by all means put them on when it’s storming! By doing so, you are helping your dog confront his fears and create a positive association of exercise at the same time. How much better to help your dog get over his fear than enable him to live in it for his lifetime. You can do it!
Good luck! Be calm and assertive and lead your dog to submission!
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