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By Hearts1 from San Diego, CA
There is a new product out called "Thunder Coat" or something like that. It is a snug-fitting jacket that they wear. I've talked to people who use them and they say they are wonderful. You can google it.
I also have a dog afraid of loud noises. We got him a "thunder shirt" which did help. For really bad times, like to 4th of July fireworks, the vet gave us a prescription sedative called alprazolam, gave him 1 pill a half hour before the shooting of fireworks started. He fell asleep and never knew it happened! This is a last resort fix, not to be used on a regular basis, but it sure made our holiday more fun.
The absolute worst thing you can do is coddle your dog and pet it. What you are doing is reinforcing that it is ok for your dog to be afraid. Just act calm and self assured and your dog will pick up on it. Thundershirts, medication, etc may sometimes be necessary for difficult cases.
I have a five year old Shih Tzu that I would walk three times a day everyday. We recently had a pretty large thunderstorm, and my dog is terrified of thunder. However, the noises aren't what bothers him, it is the vibration of the ground. We live near an airport, so he feels the vibration from the airplanes and connects that with the vibration of the thunder, and becomes extremely afraid.
He panics, and refuses to go outside because we have an airplane come by at least every 10 minutes. We've had thunderstorms before, worse thunderstorms even, but now he is confusing the vibration. This also happens with motorcycles and the like. In the event that I can get him outside, it's usually about less than a minute before he tries to escape back to our home, he has even pulled off of his collar and sprinted back. It's devastating to watch, because my dog used to love being outside, and bring his leash to me when he knew it was time to go out.
I'm worried what this fear can do to his health, and afraid that my dog won't be the same again. And seeing as I live in apartments, I have to take him out, or he will soil inside. I've tried playing multiple clips of thunder and the sounds of airplanes overhead at multiple volumes and areas, but neither sparks a reaction from him, he simply ignores it. What can I do?
The sound clips aren't working because the sound doesn't come with the vibration. Stomping on the floor will probably provoke the reaction, but you live in an apartment and don't want to be kicked out.
Take your dog to a friend's house where you won't be interrupted by planes or loud noises. Stomp to provoke a mild reaction. This part is very important: Wait until the reaction is completely over and the dog is behaving normally to give a treat. Never give the treat when the dog is still scared because you'll reward the wrong state of mind and actually make it worse.
Continue the exercises until you can stomp a lot with both feet and the dog doesn't react but just waits for the treat. Then you can start the exercises at home. (Do not start at home before this time. Again, you run the risk of making it worse.)
At home: The at home exercises should consist of waiting until a plane flies over, then waiting until the dog completely stops reacting and is back to normal, then give the treat. You can also say "Good girl" and so forth.
Other points: Never pick her up and hold her when she's afraid of a vibration. Never attempt to calm her with words of sympathy at this time. I know that goes against humans' feelings but dogs are not humans. Human children must be comforted when afraid of loud noises. Dogs will simply learn that there really is something to be afraid of because you seem to think so, too.
My dog is 6 years old and we got her 1 week ago. She is so scared of loud noises like the vacuum, when trucks drive by, and little shining decorations for Christmas. She is scared of the turtles and boys, when she sees it she barks so loud or runs away from it. She is so sweet though. What should we do?
By Juster from Phoenix