Your dog’s fear of storms won’t get better on its own. Help him to learn there is nothing for him to worry about, and that he can rely on you to keep him safe.
Monsoon season—lasting from mid-June through September–can bring an array of wild weather. A typical pattern begins with a massive dust storm followed by drenching rains, severe lightning and thunder, and strong winds.
That’s pretty scary stuff for us humans! – and it can be simply petrifying for some dogs.
Fear of storms is common in dogs. A dog’s keen sense of hearing enables him to hear thunder from miles away, and his sensitivity to the rapidly falling barometric pressure can escalate his anxiety well before the storm.
A dog left alone during a storm–whether he’s indoors or out–can panic to extremes, causing him to run away, become destructive, or even hurt himself in attempts to escape the fierce weather.
Here are some tips on how you can help your dog feel safe and calm during monsoon season.
Prepare Now for Storms Later
Be sure your dog always wears current ID tags secured to his collar AND in the form of a microchip implant. Keep your dog updated on vaccinations to ensure his good health in the event he gets lost. And always use a leash to walk your dog.
Because of rapid weather changes, bring your dog indoors when you are away from home, for even the shortest amount of time. A loose dog in a storm can easily become disoriented and lost, or swept away in a flash flood. A dog caught in a dust storm may later catch valley fever, a serious fungal infection that affects the respiratory system.
When a storm looms, lead your dog to a safe place inside your home to help him feel calm and protected. A crate is ideal for this situation. With an
innate desire to den, a dog in a crate will naturally relax and feel calmer. Cover the crate with a blanket to help muffle loud sounds and bright flashes.
Dogs can become destructive when overly upset. This is another reason a crate is the best way to keep your dog safe AND to keep your possessions undamaged too. If you don’t use a crate, remove anything in the room which your dog could ruin or which could injure him if he chewed them.
During a Storm
Even if you are home, be prepared that your dog’s overt fear could cause him to become incontinent. If this happens, just clean up the mess but don’t react.
Since your dog is sensitive to what you are feeling, you should remain calm and matter-of-fact. Allow your dog to stay close to you, and distract him with fun activities like play or brushing. Avoid using a sympathetic tone to talk to your dog—he may perceive there is truly something to be afraid of.
To lessen noise and flashes of light, keep windows and blinds/curtains closed. Turn on a radio or TV to soft music at normal volume to distract your dog and help him relax.
Keep your dog away from the front and back doors. A dog experiencing substantial stress could dash outside or harm someone entering the house.
Know How to Manage Your Dog in Future Storms
Dogs that panic during storms may require reconditioning. This is done by creating an artificial storm with sound recordings. While it can be time-consuming, this process has a high success rate.
Call me at 520-440-8848 to discuss how this method, used together with confidence building and leadership training, can help your dog.