It’s 2am you’ve got an important day at work tomorrow--it’s that big meeting that could mean the difference between getting that promotion you’ve always wanted or staying in the same miserable position you’ve been in for years. You’ve never needed a good night’s sleep so desperately, but then it happens the dog starts howling... and then you hear the thunder. Do you love your four-legged friend desperately, but are sick of being woken up in the middle of the night or having to clean up the carnage left behind by their fear-of-thunder-fuelled rampage? Then it’s time to take matters into your own hands and train your pooch to stop being afraid of thunder, for both of your sakes.
Although not a command as such, it is important to train your pupper to stop being afraid of thunder, as very anxious dogs often do damage to themselves and their surroundings during a thunder-fuelled panic attack. They can destroy furniture and injure themselves in the process, for example, which puts your pooch in danger and could make for some very expensive vet bills and concern over your pooch's wellbeing. Although you want to train your dog to stop being afraid of thunder as soon as the initial problem develops, as you are more likely to have success this way before it becomes a permanent and learned behavior, you can try with older dogs also. However, if the problem is very severe you may need to enlist the help of a veterinarian, medicating your pet accordingly, if they are a risk to themselves. This will be a difficult task to achieve, as it is difficult for pooches to overcome fear and the time it will take is very much dependent on the particular pooch.
There are a few different ways to try and stop your pupper being afraid, and the equipment you’ll need depends on the approach you’re going to take. Toys and treats can work as a pleasant distraction from the scariness of a storm; it can also be a good idea to have items that you don’t mind being destroyed, such as an old toy or rawhide bones, which your pooch can focus his energy on. Over the counter medications from the vets may also be worth a try, such as pheromone diffusers or anti-anxiety tablets. Create a comfy place for your pooch to hide in; if you’re going to manage his environment, it could be a good idea to have a little sound proof den for him. Most of all, remember to be patient and not to reprimand him as this will only increase his sense of fear, instead be reassuring, calm and patient.