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Thread: Sudden thunderstorm phobia?

  1. #1
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    Sudden thunderstorm phobia?

    Within the last few months Jack (who is 3 and a half) has become fearful of thunderstorms. He starts getting anxious now when it starts raining. The other night I was kept up because he was panting, shaking and right on top of me once the storm started. Granted, it was a bad storm and we we did have tornado warnings and flooding but I eventually put him in his crate where he stayed quiet until morning. I have never seen him that bad before. This is a dog who sleeps through fireworks (well, who knows this year I guess).

    But I'm worried. Within the last few months he has developed an irrational fear of strange men and loud noises. I'll have to talk to my parents further to see if they could be related? (I do know he "attacked" a man on the street and the man kicked him several times, but I'm not 100% sure his fear of men is linked to that). My once stable, bombproof dog is slowly loosing it.

    So what I'm wondering, with your experience, if you have a dog who has thunderstorm phobias (or others) has the fear always been present, did something happen to give a rational explantion of the phobia or did it occur spontaneously?

    A couple Jackie Loo pictures for good measure

    On the lookout [for minibears]


    Grass Eating Monster


    "Fishing" is his new favorite hobby






    That's all I'll bore you with for now.
    Thanks for any insight into his [many] issues!

    Ashley & Crossbone ("mini ACD")
    Living with my parent's: Jack (Lab/Beagle), Micki & Mini (JRTS)
    RIP Kyra: 07/11/04 - 11/3/12; Shadow: 4/2/96 - 3/17/08

  2. #2
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    Cassie, our dalmatian, barks and barks at thunderstorms and has all of her life...I don't know why. She gets over it pretty quickly, though. I think the thunder hurts her ears....Was your dog ever in a thunderstorm, maybe outside or something? My sister's sweet dog, Kiska, was in their house when a tornado came through. It blew out some windows, and blew the fence away. She was never,ever the same after. They tried everything to help her, but she never got over it.
    Shannon, Boomer, and Sooner

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by k9krazee View Post

    Within the last few months Jack (who is 3 and a half) has become fearful of thunderstorms.

    Within the last few months he has developed an irrational fear of strange men and loud noises.
    (I do know he "attacked" a man on the street and the man kicked him several times,
    but I'm not 100% sure his fear of men is linked to that).
    Cinder has always been the *barker* - she'd act like Killer Dawg at the shop whenever
    a customer arrived; but as soon as they called her bluff, she became a 'pet-me' pest.
    Thunder storms always make her 'nerbus' and send her under a desk, table, or bed.

    Smokey, a one-year old dump-off at the Ranch, came with a dreadful fear of MEN ...
    for the first year he had three male buddies - me, Unka Pat, and Doc Mike.
    After a year, he added our Shop landlord, PT's Mr. Ralph, a couple of the Fire Guys,
    and the BIG male Charge Nurse at Mom's retirement village to his short list of men-friends.
    At the end of about 18 months, he'd pretty much walk up to ANY 'strange' man and stick his
    head out for a *pat*. If it felt OK, the guy had a new freind for life.

    Smokey does fear thunderstorms ... a *flash* of lightning will put a halt to an outie
    in mid-step ... with an immediate tail-tuck an a dash for the nearest door.
    Once inside, he alternates between on my feet and under the bigbed.

    They both have a deep fear of GUNshots. Even the *snap* of a .22 cal will turn
    them both for home in a tail-tucked dash. The *crack* of a high-power gun or *boom*
    of a shotgun will bring them back in a blind panic.

    How to "fix" these fears?
    Best way is for the 2-Legger to try to totally IGNORE the fearful pup.
    Don't even acknowledge that 'something's wrong' - means YOU have to not *shudder*
    when the house shakes from the thunder BOOM, but with practice you can bluff the
    FurKids into thinking that it's to hear the dishes rattle in the kitchen.
    Annnd ... we go to at least one good (noisy) 4th of July Fireworks Show every year.
    The fireworks help with their fear of gunshots and the Flash & Bang of a thunder storm.
    We park far enough away that the concussions of the fireworks aren't loud enough
    to be painful; and after a few aerials go up, I've caught Clipp & Clopp actually
    sitting up on the back seat and *watching* the show.

    Take Jackie Lou with you as often as you can, and expose him to as many "guys" as possible;
    hopefully he'll re-learn that most of us are pretty much OK.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Layla is afraid of thunderstorms, but always has been, I sure don't know why. After last nights storms I'm definitely going to have to look into something to calm her. I might add though, she is afraid of all kinds of noises, the 4th is something I'm not looking forward to.

    Forever in my heart...Lacey,Sassy,Mandy,Corey,Ginger,Casey

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Christy's Dalmation, Destiny is very scared of thunderstorms. She is always a velcro dog but during a thunderstorm she becomes velcro dog with shivers. We usually put her in Jack's crate when it storms because it is not near any windows that she can see the lightening and she seems to do all right in it. Christy says that the people who had her before them kept her outside all the time so she thinks she was outside during some and has come to fear them from that. She was just over a year when Christy got her so I imagine a young pup would fear being out in rain and thunder. Her other dog, Sierra, is also afraid of storms but she is also afraid of any loud noises. She runs and hides though in the laundry room if she can get in it or the bathroom where there are no windows at all.

    We have had Jack from 5 years now and I think that it has only been in the last couple of years that he has started to react to thunder and lightening. He sleeps on a bed under a window on Carl's side of the bed. When he gets scared he comes around to my side of the bed, needs a few ear rubs and he lays down and sleeps on the floor next to me. We know he was left outside a lot too when he was younger. If it is a really long, loud storm, Taggert will start barking like he can make it stop.

    I did copy an article for Christy about storms and dogs and it said what Phred said about basically ignoring them and not acting nervous yourself. I think our dogs do pick up alot on how we react - if we seem to be anxious - you know running around looking for flashlights, radios, bottles for water - then they seem to pick up on it and are anxious too. If we just go about our normal business they seem to settle down quicker. That really doesn't work very well for Christy's dogs - but I am pretty sure letting them near fireworks or other loud noises won't work either. Sierra escaped from Christy and I one time and I didn't think we would ever catch her - she was so panicked she wouldn't quit running or let anyone near her!

    "That they may have a little peace, even the best
    dogs are compelled to snarl occasionally."
    --William Feather

  6. #6
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    By the way, you never, ever bore us!

    "That they may have a little peace, even the best
    dogs are compelled to snarl occasionally."
    --William Feather

  7. #7
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    Oh Jack, you have GOT to be the cutest fishermen I've ever laid eyes on!

    My Buddy has a MASSIVE fear of loud noises and has had that fear since I adopted him.
    We've passed up Acepromazine, and now he's on Valium.
    Regular human Valium.
    In order to keep my house, myself and Buddy in one piece through a storm, I have to give him 2 1/2 pills 2 hours before a storm but that doesn't always happen. Once he starts freaking out, it's already too late to give him pills because his adrenaline is already pumping and the pills are useless.
    He barks his full head off, scratches and jumps at doors, bites door handles, jumps on me, etc. I've been bruised and battered many times! He's broken out glass windows and has gotten stitches. He's no different if he's in his crate; he's broken out of his crate several times during a storm.

    I've had a reading done with Nancy and she says his fear comes from when he was young. He was found in the woods, like someone had dumped him off so he was in the woods with no shelter from storms, or maybe he was shot at when he was running? Who knows... I may never know for sure.
    But I now spend my day checking the weather channel 10-15 times a day watching for storms to pop up, or figuring out when to run home and give him his pills.

    Often times people say to use a cd with the sounds of a storm to desensitize the dog to noises, that works well.... as long as it's only the actual noise that the dog fears. In Buddy's case, he'll start freaking out an hour or so before a storm because he reacts to the pressure change in the atmosphere. Just last night, my hubby was watching movie and there was thunder and lightning in it and Buddy never even flinched.

    But Jack... being that it's started out of nowhere makes it a weird. (then again, he IS weird and that's why we love him! )
    Also with his fear of men...
    I wish I knew what to tell you.

    Maybe a reading with Brody's Mom could help!
    ~Angie, Sierra & Buddy
    **Don't breed or buy while shelter dogs die!**

    I suffer from multiple Shepherd syndrome



  8. #8
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    Keegan just started getting anxious during thunderstorms last year, when she was 6!
    I think it came up rather sudden, we got some pretty severe storms and it caused a lot of Flooding in Findlay, so I don't know if it was the intensity of the storms or what. She just pants, paces, and scratches the floor. She likes to go into the bathroom when there's a storm I dunno why b/c there is a window in the bathroom, altho it is a small one.
    She has never been around fireworks so I am not sure what she would do, but I don't want to find out either! I took Keegan to a parade once and she was freaking out big time, especially when the Band and the Fire Trucks and Ambulances went by with the sirens on.
    My neighbors have a 10 pound shih tzu that is TERRIFIED of storms and loud noises. Air compressors, fireworks, car backfires. She has to be medicated during storms and it with her being so small, you can give her the pill whenever and it relaxes her, but may not be before she has torn up linoleum on the floor. My neighbor called me a few months ago to ask me to go over and give her a pill. They don't usually go anywhere over the 4th of July and they are BIG TIME campers, b/c of the fireworks people let off at the campgrounds.
    Air Compressors have caused her to take off like a bat out of you know where and there has been a couple times when there is a loud clap of thunder that is unexpected, she has taken off and they have had to get in the car and find her and a couple times people several streets over have found her in their garage! But she is like Buddy as well, she reacts to the air pressure changes.
    I agree with Angie, maybe a talk with Brody's mom or Nancy would be in order.
    Keeganhttp://www.dogster.com/dogs/256612 9/28/2001 to June 9, 2012
    Kylie http://www.catster.com/cats/256617 (June 2000 to 5/19/2012)
    Kloe http://www.catster.com/cats/256619
    "we as American's have forgotten we can agree to disagree"
    Kylie the Queen, Keegan the Princess, entertained by Kloe the court Jester
    Godspeed Phred you will be missed more than you ever know..

  9. #9
    Ashley, were you at the cabin when this happened?

    Because, I wonder if it was the fact that the thunderstorm happened in a place that he doesn't quite view as "home".

    Andy's parents watched our two this past weekend and both Saturday and Sunday night, the dogs woke up and started barking in the middle of the night. Shortly after the barking started, the thunderstorm hit.

    The in laws said Kia and Chip were panting and stressed.

    They've never done that at home with all the severe weather we've had, so I wonder if it was being away from home that had them spooked.

    Something to consider with Jack.
    ~Kimmy, Kia, Chipper, Zam, Logan, Raptor, Nimrod, June, Mei, Jasper, Esme, Lucy Inara, & Morla

    Thanks Kfamr for the sig!

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  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone for the comments!

    Kimmy, that make a lot of sense, seeing as the first time he acted differently in thunderstorms was in the hotel room in Findlay. I didn't take into consideration that I removed him from the only environment he really knows and dumped him into a strange home where he's now the only dog. I guess it'll be interesting to see how he acts with the storms when he goes back to my parent's house for the school year.

    I do know that I can't bring any attention to his behavior, that's why I ended up crating him that night, and I'm crossing my fingers that it won't escalate.

    I did get home yesterday and he tore a huge hole in the screen of two of the windows (in an attempt to get out?)! *hits head* He's a different dog now, and it's driving me crazy. He has NEVER been destructive. Well, unless I put him in a crate, but that's another story.

    I'm debating about sending him back home where my little sister is home all day (and loosing the only companionship I have) because it might be less stressful on him. I do know that he doesn't take to change very well, but I didn't think it would be this hard for him to adjust.

    However, classes end in a week so things will calm down then and I'll get to spend much more time with him. For the last 4.5 weeks I've been in class all day and then doing studying/homework until bedtime. I'm looking for a job up here, but if I can't I'll be moving back to my parent's house anyway. I guess I'll wait it out and see what happens once I start working and he's home. But if he's any more destructive to the house, one of my Aunt will make him leave anyway (we share the cabin with 2 of my Aunts/Uncles).

    We've had readings done from both Nancy and Brody's Mum and both told us the same things. He doesn't react to change well and while he seems like a confidant dog, he's actually really insecure.

    Ah. He's lucky I love him so darn much.

    Ashley & Crossbone ("mini ACD")
    Living with my parent's: Jack (Lab/Beagle), Micki & Mini (JRTS)
    RIP Kyra: 07/11/04 - 11/3/12; Shadow: 4/2/96 - 3/17/08

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by k9krazee View Post
    Ah. He's lucky I love him so darn much.
    Oh how true and they don't even know it!!

    I spent a few hours last night sleeping on the basement floor next to Bud's cage just to keem him quiet while a storm blew through at 2:45am.


    Yes, that does make sense now, about him being in a different place.
    Oh the poor guy! Don't you just wish that for 30 seconds they could understand everyword you say!!
    ~Angie, Sierra & Buddy
    **Don't breed or buy while shelter dogs die!**

    I suffer from multiple Shepherd syndrome



  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by k9krazee View Post

    I did get home yesterday and he tore a huge hole in the screen of two of the windows ...
    He has NEVER been destructive. Well, unless I put him in a crate ...

    Does Jack not do well in a crate? What does he do?
    Is there any other way to "secure" him where he won't chew or claw in a destructive way?
    Maybe try him in the crate while you're studying.


    But if he's any more destructive to the house,
    one of my Aunts will make him leave anyway
    (we share the cabin with 2 of my Aunts/Uncles).
    Is there an Aunt / Uncle there at the cabin while you're off at school?
    Can / will Auntie or Uncle "dog-sit" with Jack - so he has both companionship AND
    someone to keep him out of trouble?

    C'mone, Jack ~ Straighten Up & Fly Right!


  13. #13
    Silly Jack. Being destructive is not cool, okay?

    Hoipe he settles down soon.
    ~Kimmy, Kia, Chipper, Zam, Logan, Raptor, Nimrod, June, Mei, Jasper, Esme, Lucy Inara, & Morla

    Thanks Kfamr for the sig!

    Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Weight Loss Tools

  14. #14
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    Ashley, I don't know if this will help or not, but several sibe owners swear by it - put a snug T-shirt on the dog during the storm. They say it helps calm them down. Meeshka's storm shirt and storm shirt again

    Star's always been afraid of thunder & lightening. We've had several storms lately & I think Jack is reacting to her fear, cause he's getting all clingy & weird now too. Last night it was lightening and both of them tried to squeeze into the corner between my computer desk & the wall. (a space about 1' wide x 3' long. Jack ended up climbing onto the bottom shelf under the computer.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by cyber-sibes View Post

    Last night it was lightening and both of them tried to squeeze into the corner
    between my computer desk & the wall. (a space about 1' wide x 3' long.

    Jack ended up climbing onto the bottom shelf under the computer.
    WOW, Jack!
    THAT's a purdy Serious Hidey-Hole!

    Have you guys ever considered seeking refuge UNDER the BigBed??
    MUCH more comfortable than the puter desk shelf!


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