Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...
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Thread: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

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    Member howbout's Avatar
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    Question Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    We've had our pup for about 3 months now. We got her from the shelter when she was 7 months old (it will be 3 months on the 22nd). She is the sweetest thing and has done AMAZINGLY well with her training - she is house trained, we trained her to go out in our back yard (despite some setbacks which I had posted about), she is well behaved, etc. HOWEVER....ever since the 4th of July and all the fireworks, in addition to some REALLY awful thunderstorms we have had, she refuses to go out without major coaxing on our part or us actually forcing her to go out. (She used to comeout NO problem as soon as we said "do you need to go potty?") We take her out WITH us so it's not like she has to go out alone....but when we start to take her she will run out of our reach, try to hide under a desk, etc. It's not that she doesn't have to go, she DOES and once out she WILL. In fact, sometimes she REALLY goes so it's obvious she has been holding it. But it's still a battle and I don't know how to end it! I wasn't sure if I should put this in training or here, I guess it will depend on the responses I get! This was NEVER an issue before, but she was already skittish before this ever happened, and once it did she absolutely FREAKED. In fact, the other day I finally got her out and roofers next door were using a nail gun and when it went off she freaked out and came BURSTING through her doggy door inside to the point she almost hurt herself. When we take her out we speak softly to her, say comforting things, encourage her, etc. But STILL she refuses. HELP PLEASE!

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    Senior Member RenaRose's Avatar
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    Re: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    Hello Howbout. My dads dog Sabre is the very same way. And he is a GSD, which is strange b/c GSDs are supposed to not be gun shy or anything. But he is the biggest baby. Anytime there is thunder or fireworks or gunfire he runs to me or my mom, sometimes he trys to crawl in the bed with us. He will hide under tables and desks. If he's out in the backyard during the 4th of July or hunting season he will bang on the back door or my moms window till he gets let in. He has been this way all his life. We've never been able to break him of this fear. When the loud noise is gone he returns to nomal.

    I really don't know how to corect this behavior. I know puppies are supposed to be introduced to loud nosie when their young to prevent this. The breeder I got Vita from would toss metal doggy dishs around on the concret floor and bang things around daily so they would get used to it.

    Sorry I can't be more help.
    Professor~The Loyal~10 yrs~Pomeranian
    Chewbone~The Jovial~12 yrs~Lab/Golden
    Vita~The Spirited~4 yrs~German Shepherd
    Sabrehaggan~The Faithful~9 yrs~German Shepherd
    Stella~The Obnoxious~3 yrs~Pomeranian

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    Member howbout's Avatar
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    Re: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    Quote Originally Posted by RenaRose View Post
    Sorry I can't be more help.
    Oh, NO problem, just nice to have you post...it's VERY frustrating b/c I KNOW she has to go out - in fact I just had to drag her out AGAIN and she peed and pooped BIG time so I know she had to go....she kept nosing at the doggy door and whining but REFUSED to go out on her own (another thread I started!) and even when I went to take her out...NO GO! I FINALLY put her leash on her and led her out until we were in her "spot" and then I took it off and she did her thing. I just HATE HATE HATE the thought of her #1 having to hold it (I can't imagine doing that myself so....!!!!) AND having to drag her outside like that! It's just AWFUL especially when she used to go out so willingly.

    Like I said she IS a rather skittish pup (don't know if that would have been her normal temperment or a result of living in a shelter for so long) and this is just taking it to the nth degree...

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    Senior Member skelaki's Avatar
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    Re: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    1. Do not console her, talk softly to her or reassure her in any way when she's acting fearful. While this is a natural human reactio, what you are doing is rewarding the fearful bbehavior. You need to act calm, confident and matter of fact.

    2. Make/buy a recording of different sharp noises hat she fears or might fear. Every day play the recording starting at basically no volume. While playing it do things such as training and fun games with lots of praise and rewards (as long as the dog is not reacting to the noise). Very gradually, over time, increase the volume. This should help desensitize her to the noises.

    3. When a storm is expected, give her herbal and/or homeopathic remedies such as Melatonin and appropriate Bach Flower remedies (possibly Rescue Remedy).

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    Member howbout's Avatar
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    Re: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    Quote Originally Posted by skelaki View Post
    1. Do not console her, talk softly to her or reassure her in any way when she's acting fearful. While this is a natural human reactio, what you are doing is rewarding the fearful bbehavior. You need to act calm, confident and matter of fact.
    How do I do this? I have tried simply saying "time to go out and go potty" and when she runs simply repeating it and telling her to come (which she USED to do!) but she still runs. So it kind of seems like I HAVE done it though maybe not in the correct way?

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    Senior Member Durbkat's Avatar
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    Re: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    Just act like its a normal thing. Like for example have a tape recording of the sound she is afraid of and only let it make the noise once and say "yay" and act real happy and give her a treat. Or maybe just talk in a high and happy tone to try and calm her.
    Last edited by Durbkat; 07-12-2007 at 07:52 PM.


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    Super Moderator cshellenberger's Avatar
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    Re: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    There are sevaral ways you can help your dog. Someone already mentioned Melatonin, 3 mg will help calm her, it works best given around 30 minutes before a storm or exposure to to other loud noises.

    Then, if she's crate trained, allow her to be in the crate (it's often used as a den and can be a secure feeling place for nevous dogs) with a stuffed frozen Kong and some soothing music or the TV on.

    You can wrap her upper body an ace bandage (do not make it tight, just barely snug) or put a close fitting Tshirt (onsies turned backward so the tail sticks out work well on toy breeds) on her. For some reason it seems to calm them in this situation.

    Then just IGNORE her. DO NOT soothe her or otherwise try to comfort her
    Carla
    "A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control" Proverbs 29:11

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    Senior Member digits mama's Avatar
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    Re: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    Hi there...

    Boy I wish I woulda found this website years ago when I was doing the wrong things with my Digit when it came to Thunderstorms. He wasnt always skiddish of the storms until I moved here from Louisiana. Someone told me since I lived so close to the gulf now (3.5 miles) the echo reverberated more than what he was used to. He was already 11 when I moved here so I didnt really know what to do except comfort him. To the point if I seen a storm on the radar I would be sure to be here with him from the beginning. Over the course of the years it is what he expected from me. I would get under a blanket with him and hold on tight as she shuttered with every crackle of thunder.. And it got worse. Not Knowing what I was doing was more harm then good. Well I lost Digit due to a storm. I went out of town and he was left in the care of my son. He has been gone for 36 days now. I wish I could go back in time ....and do it all over again...because I sure miss my lil hunny. Good luck with your baby.

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    Member howbout's Avatar
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    Re: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    digits mama...I am SO sorry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I feel so badly for you...

    A few days ago a storm was moving in and we were sitting outside to watch it roll in (I LOVE FL storms). Brandy came out and sat with us (she follows me wherever I go). We were very matter of fact with her - she sat right next to me, seemed a bit nervous, but better than before. We have also sat on our front porch to do the same thing and she will sit with us....I am thinking in time she will probably get better with it, probably never really LOVE the storms, but maybe not freak out completely when they come if she has been exposed to them with us there and no one is unduly bothered!

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    Re: Dog traumatized by fireworks and thunderstorms...

    My dog shadow is terrifierd of storms too. He pants and shakes like he's haveing a seizure and make himself throw up he gets so scared.

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