If your dog displays any of these signs when there’s rain, thunder and lightning outside, they are likely suffering from noise phobia:
- Restless pacing
- Hiding away
- Digging, scratching or general destruction
- Barking more than usual
- Increased thirst
If your dog has a noise phobia, here are some useful ways of easing their anxieties when the weather’s at its most frightening.
Stay home: Your dog will really appreciate your company!
Make them a den to hide in: Perhaps a room, a crate, or even an old cardboard box.
Use food as a reward: Treating your dog after a loud noise from outside will help them learn to associate the noises with positivity and rewards.
Turn up the volume: Loud TV, audiobooks, classical and reggae music are all great at distracting your dog from the noises outside.
Keep them busy: Consider playing games or doing some training – just make sure you allow your dog to come to you and retreat to their safe space as and when they want to.
Use a therapeutic product: We recommend Vetpro: Stress & anxiety, it’s made by vets to help dogs and cats stay relaxed during stressful situations!
And remember… NEVER punish or scold your dog for fear-related behaviour such as making a mess or breaking something. Shouting at them will only make their anxiety worse.
Better luck next time?
You can also train your dog so that they get used to the sounds of thunderstorms. This will involve playing thunderstorm sounds at home, starting out on a really low volume and increasing the volume as your dog continues to get used to the sounds.
Once your dog is happy with the sounds being played on a volume loud enough to mimic an actual storm, begin the process again but this time, do something fun with your dog while the sounds are playing. Try a game, or offering them treats. Repeat this little and often for a few weeks and they’ll grow to associate thunderstorm noises with fun!
Note: This process, known as sound therapy, can take months to complete. Go nice and slow with a little bit of training each day.
If your dog is extremely scared of noises, they may need the help of a qualified behaviourist. Don’t hesitate to give us a call, we’d be happy to advise further!