Thunderstorm, thunder and lightning - these elements can not only scare animals, but also cause real horror. Moreover, they can be afraid of not only small decorative dogs, but also dogs of impressive dimensions and a fierce appearance. Of course, after the weather, the pet will recover, but fear can cause serious stress. In addition, panic often develops into a phobia - fear of loud noises. Why is the dog afraid of a thunderstorm, and how to react to the owner when his brave guard, hearing a sharp pop, pinches his tail, ears and crawls into the booth?
Aggravation of feelings
Many animals feel the approaching change of weather long before the first manifestations occur. Frogs begin to croak actively, loudly and non-stop - in heavy rain, the fish in the aquarium have gathered on the surface - wait for the weather, the birds have crowded on one tree and sing songs - it will be sunny and warm, the cat will choose a more cozy place - a thunderstorm is expected.
As for the dogs, they also react to the approach of the storm - the pet may refuse to go for a walk, on the street it will tend to quickly return home, worry and even whimper, with ears folded and tail tail. Some dogs climb under furniture or settle down at the owner’s feet, twisting as compactly as possible into a “ball”.
The origins of the problem
It is not known for certain why many dogs experience fear during a thunderstorm. Perhaps they are disturbed by sudden changes in pressure, electrified air, smell. Usually, if a dog is afraid of a loud sound, he also reacts in other situations - during salutes and fireworks, if he hears shots, the noise of construction equipment, etc.
Among the most common causes of such fear, the following phenomena can be distinguished:
- bad experience of the past - perhaps the pet, while still a puppy, experienced severe stress during the storm, fell into an unpleasant situation, running away from home, etc.
- owner misconduct - the dog was scared, and the owner in every possible way felt sorry for him and took care of him. Therefore, it is not surprising that in the future the dog will each time react in the same way, believing that this behavior is encouraged;
- animal adopts human behavior - if the owner is afraid and nervous during the storm, the dog can also behave - not because of fright, but rather - solidarity.
Of course, we must not forget that fear is a natural natural reaction of the body that allows wild animals to survive in a cruel world. But it is worth distinguishing it from a phobia - an obsessive state, or cowardice.
How does phobia manifest
Owners should be alarmed by the following symptoms of uncontrolled fear in a pet:
- aimless wandering;
- frightening attempts to escape - sudden movements, the dog may jump out the window or frantically gnaw through the door;
- increased salivation;
- cracking, intensive licking of paws;
- aggressive attacks, including on the owner;
- severe trembling, up to convulsions;
- dilated pupils;
- long barking, howling.
If a thunderstorm causes a similar behavior in a dog, then we are talking about a phobia that negatively affects the general health of a four-legged friend. In the dog, the work of the cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous, respiratory system may be disturbed, digestion, metabolic processes often occur.
The condition of the animal during the manifestation of a phobia is akin to a human panic attack. Horror literally obscures the mind, and the dog cannot control its own actions.
How to help a four-legged friend
Even experts do not give a 100% guarantee that the animal will be able to get rid of the phobia, but still it is quite possible to reduce the intensity of its manifestations. First of all, the owner should choose a certain tactic of behavior:
- during the manifestation of fear, you should not pay excessive attention to the pet;
- the dog can not be praised, caressed, scolded, apply physical punishment;
- the owner is encouraged to behave calmly, as if nothing is happening;
- master's confidence is the key to success;
- You can offer the dog a mundane business that gives him pleasure - comb it with a massage brush, play, distract with the usual commands.
Most often, a phobia requires medical treatment. He is appointed by a veterinarian who will give all the necessary recommendations. But sometimes a correction of behavior and a change of scenery is enough:
- Experts advise reducing the impact of irritating factors on the pet - of course, it is impossible to prevent a thunderstorm, but you can’t force the dog to take noisy events and walks during fireworks.
- A tired dog will react less intensely to noise - if meteorologists warn of a thunderstorm, it’s worthwhile to reduce the pet to worsening weather conditions on the training ground, take a longer walk with it, and play. With physical activity, the production of serotonin is increased in the body, and the dog becomes calmer.
- You can help the dog get used to the noise - a working air conditioner, range hood and other household appliances weaken the phobia.
- In case of a thunderstorm, it is advisable to close the dog in a room with curtains drawn, and cotton balls can be placed in the ears. Some small dogs are more likely to survive stress while in a carrying bag.
- If the dog is crammed under the bed, bathtub or in the closet, you should not pull it out of there. When the weather improves, it is enough to call a pet, and he will come out.
- A sick animal reacts more sharply to stressful situations - pain, discomfort make it nervous and irritated.
How to adjust pet behavior
There are many techniques that can change the behavior of a pet, or rather, its reaction to the cause of causeless fear. First of all, it is worth using the method of opposition, when the negative association associated with noise is replaced by a positive one. In this case, before the weather, you can offer your pet something pleasant - a favorite game, a treat, caress it or take it for a walk and swimming in a pond.
The second technique is desensitization, when the pet's strong reaction to noise gradually wanes. Initially, he is accustomed to quietly noisy devices, then louder devices go into business. In a calm environment, you can do the following exercise:
- go to the resting dog and stroke him, repeating "quietly";
- if he starts to get up, be active, the action should be stopped;
- when the dog settles down, again start to caress him and at the same time say "quietly";
- You can treat your pet a tasty treat, but only when it is completely relaxed;
- this should be done regularly to get the expected result.
It is recommended that the dog listen to the thunderstorm in the form of an audio recording, starting with a moderate volume and gradually increasing it. If the dog scares the sound, you need to turn down the volume. To make the situation more similar to the original, you can close the curtains, dim the light. Was the dog scared of this? You need to stop everything, but do not show your interest in the behavior of the dog. You can’t feel sorry for him, scold him, pay too much attention to him.
You can record on a timer so that the dog listens to him alone. Regular sessions will be enough for the dog to stop reacting sharply to them. And when the weather really turns bad, you should do the same as with training sessions.
Watch the video, if the dog is afraid of a thunderstorm, how to help
Sudden storm - what to do
Most often, dog owners do not have time to prepare a pet and prepare themselves before a future event - a thunderstorm, fireworks, etc. Therefore, they have to act suddenly when the pet shows all signs of horror:
- First of all, if a dog, frightened by noise, escaped toward the house, you should not run after it, "headlong" - you need to wait time and calmly approach it.
- You can not let the dog off the leash, hoping that he has learned all the previous lessons. He can run away where his eyes look and get into trouble.
- The shy four-legged one should be equipped with a chip and an addressee.
- When the dog is in a panic, you should speak with him in a calm tone, without showing nervousness or anger.
If a thunderstorm has overtaken the owner with the dog in an open area, one should not forget about their own safety. It is necessary to find shelter - away from ponds and closer to the ground.
All dogs are different - some are very stress resistant, while others react to any noise. Therefore, when raising a pet, it is necessary to take into account the peculiarities of its psyche and apply appropriate tactics.