While I'm blessed with a pooch who doesn't even flinch at thunder, everyone is not so lucky. Just yesterday my pal FitSugar shared how scared her pooch gets during the recent storms we've had in CA. While there are many products available for purchase (such as calming tonics and collars), if a storm sneaks up, there's no time for shopping. Since I can't stand to think of a scaredy dog, check out tips to limit the stress.
- Distraction If you're home, this is the best place to begin. Special treats and toys (like a stuffed Kong) will help distract him before the storm really starts. As noise builds, his attention may waver, but playing games to keep him occupied will likely delay the reaction.
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- Seclusion Never ever let (or force) a dog scared of thunder to stay outside. Bring the pup indoors and as far away from the noise as possible. Some pups seek shelter from the sounds under a desk or table so make sure they have easy access to that spot they consider safe but don't restrict them there!
- Desensitization Similar to my fireworks strategy, you can buy or download sounds of thunder to play at increasing volumes for a pup. During this time, offer a lot of praise and reward him constantly. Play a game, give him a treat, and help him not associate the sound with being scared.
Remember, your reaction is key. If you act agitated, your pet can sense it — and thus increase his distress — so stay calm for both your sakes!