Thunderstorm Season: How to Help Your Dog Cope with Fear of Storms

Thunderstorm Season: How to Help Your Dog Cope with Fear of Storms

If your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, he or she may try to hide, whine, pant, or even attempt to escape the house by chewing or pawing at doors or walls. It can be quite disturbing to see your dog in such obvious discomfort and feel powerless to help.

The good news is that there are several things you can try to help a dog who is afraid of thunderstorms. This article will take a look at what may be causing the problem, as well as a few possible solutions that often work to help dogs cope with Astraphobia, a.k.a. fear of thunderstorms.

What Causes Fear of Thunderstorms in Dogs?

Despite multiple research studies on canine astraphobia, the exact cause of fear of storms in dogs is not entirely understood. Many theories have been developed, and it may be the case that different canines come by their phobia in different ways.

Some of our canine companions may be more susceptible to noise related phobias thanks to their genes. Certain breeds may indeed be more sensitive to loud noises or just have a higher level of vigilance. For example, fear of thunderstorms is a common problem that many people with German Shepherds report. However, this is only anecdotal evidence and has not been confirmed by scientific research.

Another factor that may play a role in the development of this common phobia is how much early socialization and exposure a dog gets as a puppy. Dogs that are given positive reinforcement and praise in many different environments when young may be more confident as adults, and less prone to developing phobias later in life.

Trauma associated with loud noises can also play a role. For example, dogs are very sensitive to the emotions of their people. If they pick up on your nervousness, thunder can be something they learn to fear.

Some dogs seem to be afraid of the loud noise of thunder, while others seem to be picking up on barometric pressure changes that signal an oncoming storm. If your dog seems to get nervous before the storm is even audible, the latter may be the case.

How Can I Calm My Dog’s Fear of Thunderstorms?

There are several things that you can do to support your dog during a thunderstorm to help them cope with their fears. Here are a few great ideas:

Provide a Safe Refuge

One of the easiest things you can do to help your dog during a thunderstorm is to make sure she has a safe and comfortable spot to retreat to. For example, some dogs like to lay under a blanket or hide under a table.

If your dog is already crate trained, her kennel may indeed be the place she already goes to when a storm approaches. If so, allow her to go where she feels comfortable and don’t try to force her to come out and be social during a storm.



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