If you’ve got a dog who’s afraid of storms, you know the drill. Once they realize it’s storming, they freak out. This can include shaking, panting, shivering, whining, pacing, and other unwanted behaviors.Not only is it miserable for the dog, but it’s not pleasant for you, either.
Here is a list of 5 ways to help your anxious dog during a thunderstorm!
REWARDING CALM BEHAVIOR
The most important thing you can do to help your fearful dog during a storm is to reward their calm behavior. Have they stopped shaking, panting, or pacing? Tell them Good dog!and give them some love. You might even consider breaking out a favorite toy to distract your pup and then praise them when they focus on playing instead of being anxious.
A SAFE ZONE
All dogs love having their own space. It’s one of the benefits of crate training. Their crate can serve as a “safe space” during the storm. Cover it with a blanket, make it dark and protected, and encourage your dog to go in by putting their favorite toy inside. Remember to praise them when they go inside during the storm!
LIGHTS AND BACKGROUND NOISE
Something that you might not think about doing, but that is very helpful, is to keep some lights on and some background noise going. Having your bedroom lights on or keeping the TV going at a good volume can create the illusion that things are somewhat normal.
WRAP ’EM UP!
A great thing to do for a fearful dog is to wrap the dog. Either use a scarf or an actual vest that’s designed for calming anxious canines. You can purchase these on Amazon or at your local pet store. You can also find a tutorial of how to wrap a dog in a scarf at https://barkpost.com/diy-anxiety-wrap/.
IGNORE UNWANTED BEHAVIORS
This is the hardest thing to do on this list. Ignoring your pet’s unwanted behavior means ignoring them while they shake, shiver, whine, pace, or pant. It can be excruciating because it seems like the dog is suffering, and while they may be uncomfortable, they aren’t in danger. In the long run, giving them attention when they perform the unwanted behaviors will only prolong their storm anxiety.