Tips to calm your dog in a storm
Storm season is here and already we are seeing a lot of storm activity. Some dogs are very anxious during a Thunderstorm so what do you do to minimise anxiety and help keep them calm?
Tips to Calm your Dog During a Storm
- Give your dog a safe place to go during a storm. When dogs are afraid, they go where they feel the most safe – a kennel, the closet, under the covers in the bed. Place your dog’s crate and/or bed in the most sound-proof room of your home. A crate is a natural, psychological defense for dogs and can have an incredible influence on their comfort level. It’s also helpful to close the blinds to shelter your dog from the visual stimulation of a storm.
- Be Home With Your Dog – It’s not always possible, especially if a storm hits when you are out For a dog who already fears thunderstorms, being alone will only worsen the anxiety. If bad weather is in the forecast, try to be home or have someone stay with your dog during the storm
- Be calm yourself. Consoling your dog when he’s scared can reinforce his fearful behavior. Be present. Don’t fuss too much. Distract him from the noise by giving your dog attention in the form of something he likes. Try a calming massage to help your dog relax during the storm.
- Try a Thundershirt – This snug shirt wraps around your dog and applies gentle, constant pressure, similar to swaddling a baby. It can sooth some dogs into a calmer state.
- Try some music – behaviorists say classical music works magic on scared pets. Or compete with the noise by utilizing a radio or white noise machine. Dog calming music can also be helpful for the highly nervous dog to muffle the sound of the storm.
- Distract them – Instead, offer a positive stimulus, such as gentle petting, to distract and calm your dog. If your dog will still engage, try a game of indoor fetch, tug, or offer a high-value chew.
- Practice Desensitization – Try to desensitize your dog to the sound of storms by utilizing a thunderstorm sound CD. Start by playing the CD at a very low volume while offering your dog plenty of high-value treats and positive interaction. By slowly increasing the volume over several weeks, desensitization will lessen or completely eliminate anxiety during storms.
While storms can cause dogs to wreak havoc on your home and themselves, try using some of these techniques to lessen their anxiety and increase their comfort level. Hope it helps.