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My dog is afraid of thunderstorms and lightning. He keeps hiding under the bed and gets anxious. I have tried several medication to calm him down but nothing seems to really work. Is there any solution to this?
 

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anxiety medication for dogs...
ask a behaviorist or something. I'm sure there's some better way of training him to be more comfortable with loud sounds than drugging him.

try introducing mildly loud sounds and increasing the intensity gradually so he can get used to the loudness?
 

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I don't know how to counter the fear, but I do know that by coddling the dog (petting, holding, etc) you would be reinforcing the behavior.
My dog is afraid of fireworks, but she is as yet still OK during storms.
I do not intend to medicate her if her fear of loud noises increases.
Just off the top of my head, I would think that there are ways to get your dog to calm down during storms without drugging it.
 

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+1 on not coddling.
that makes it soooo much worse.

however heartbreaking it is to watch and hear, ignore the whining and hiding.
praise him lavishly when he's calm.
please don't drug your dog for that kind of thing btw. it's not helping and it's unneccesary.
you wouldn't take pills if they didn't do anything to help your problem, right?
 

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Yeah, drugging the dog will not get rid of the problem. It will mask it. Some kind of behavior modification, mindset change is what is needed.
 

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slightly off topic but not really - my sister's vet actually told her to put her dog on what she called "puppy prozac" because she thought the dog was depressed. just turns out she's an incredibly mellow dog.

if it's not going to fix or prevent a physical problem, chances are it won't do ANYTHING but mask the problem.
I don't really believe in drugs for mental conditions in dogs unless the mental condition also manifests istelf physically.
I don't know for sure, but I'd think those drugs could mentally hurt a dog.

/rant
 

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Even my dog faced the same problem of fear of lightning and thunder for many years. My friend suggested I try something called a thundershirt which is just like a shirt you put on your dog and i bought one and it seemed to work really well for my dog. It is a pressure wrap and it really calmed my dog down while travelling in the car and when there were loud noises. You'll can check it for yourself at the following link: http://www.thundershirt.com/
 

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+1 on not coddling.
that makes it soooo much worse.

however heartbreaking it is to watch and hear, ignore the whining and hiding.
praise him lavishly when he's calm.
please don't drug your dog for that kind of thing btw. it's not helping and it's unneccesary.
you wouldn't take pills if they didn't do anything to help your problem, right?
:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

Behavioral researchers back in the 1940s, conditioned rats to jump to the other side of their enclosure in order to avoid the shock that followed a buzzer. In the next phase of training, the researchers changed the sequence so that cheese followed the buzzer and the shock was discontinued.

Over multiple experiences with cheese follows buzzer, even as the rats attempted to jump to the other side, do you think the rats became more fearful and increased their jumping behavior? That's what would happen if you believe the jumping behavior (and therefore the fear) was reinforced by the cheese.

Just the opposite occurred. The rats' fear decreased, the jumping stopped and they began to eat the cheese. This is an example of classical conditioning changing behavior by changing emotional state rather than operant conditioning rewarding fear.
http://fearfuldogs.com/fearstudy.html

FYI, Drugs, when used properly, CAN aid in the desensitization of a dog to various scary stimuli.
 

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FYI, Drugs, when used properly, CAN aid in the desensitization of a dog to various scary stimuli.
Just curious, would you please explain this?

Systematic Desensitization should be carried out gradually starting at a point where the fear-inducing stimulus...is...well not fear inducing.lol. How is drugging the dog supposed to help? From my understanding SD shouldn't be done while being exposed to the fear causing level (e.g. DURING the thunderstorm) it should be done before, in order to prepare for the final stage.

Yet in the end the stimulus used during SD may not be the same as when, let say, the real thunder storm gets there. In which case medication would be warranted. But one should try before resorting to a quick fix.
 

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It's tricky in the case of something with a higher level of randomness, like a thunderstorm, because you don't know when it's coming and thus can't always administer the medication before the thunder starts.

But, for argument's sake, let's say the thunder WASN'T random and you COULD always administer the drug before hand. The drug calms the dog down such that they feel less anxiety and you can work on desensitization/counterconditioning. My preference in doing so is the use of treats to re-associate the thunder with something pleasant.

Eventually, you wean the dog off the drug slowly, while continuing the DS/CC ritual, in the hopes that less anxiety will be present even when no drug is present in the body.

I do not agree with drugs used to just "mask" an issue, especially for regular things that occur on an almost-daily basis. For things like fireworks, thunder, etc., it would be optimal to use both meds AND counterconditioning if the counterconditioning won't succeed without the meds.

All that being said, I still haven't used drugs for my dog's own noise phobias, but wouldn't hesitate to if I thought it was necessary. Unfortunately, my vet prescribed me a medicine that I did not wish to use and didn't think was appropriate for my situation, so Marge went through the 4th of July undrugged.
 

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It's tricky in the case of something with a higher level of randomness, like a thunderstorm, because you don't know when it's coming and thus can't always administer the medication before the thunder starts.
We always have the reliability of our weather stations don't we?:D:Djk

But, for argument's sake, let's say the thunder WASN'T random and you COULD always administer the drug before hand. The drug calms the dog down such that they feel less anxiety and you can work on desensitization/counterconditioning. My preference in doing so is the use of treats to re-associate the thunder with something pleasant.

Eventually, you wean the dog off the drug slowly, while continuing the DS/CC ritual, in the hopes that less anxiety will be present even when no drug is present in the body.

I do not agree with drugs used to just "mask" an issue, especially for regular things that occur on an almost-daily basis. For things like fireworks, thunder, etc., it would be optimal to use both meds AND counterconditioning if the counterconditioning won't succeed without the meds.

All that being said, I still haven't used drugs for my dog's own noise phobias, but wouldn't hesitate to if I thought it was necessary. Unfortunately, my vet prescribed me a medicine that I did not wish to use and didn't think was appropriate for my situation, so Marge went through the 4th of July undrugged.
Put that way, it make sense. However I don't think we are talking about the same mode of SD/CC. Because we don't reach the fear threshold there is absolutely no need for medication during SD. Then again you are also talking about desensitizing right before a storm, correct? Some would opt to do it on any day as part of/in pose of regular training sessions. Which would, once again, not warrant any medication.

I guess it has a lot to do with the way you opt to go about training the fear out of thunderstorms and fireworks. Luckly for me, both my dogs only whine for a few seconds and then stop:cool:....earthquakes...there's a different story.rofl.
 

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Meh we had a dog like that. All we really did was ignore her and she pretty much got used to it. Every now and then wed kind of yell at her but really nothing more than that. Such a shame we had to get rid of her due to moving to apartments...thats been a good 11 years ago though.
 

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Melatonin worked great for one of my dogs and was vet recommended. 1 mg per 20 lbs of weight up to 3 mg. Large dogs (over 80 lbs can get up to 6 mg).

You can get it at any pharmacy over the counter (where natural sleep aids/etc are). Be aware that it comes in both 1 or 3 mg tablets.

It works best if given before the storm hits. Won't make the dog act tranquilized, but just makes them not care. It also worked on my old barn owner's GSD that used to crash through windows during storms.
 

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I've heard that it's electrified air along with the noise that scares a dog. Kind of makes since since my dog feels fine in the car. Doesn't really explain firecrackers though.

If your dog seem to feel safe under your bed and isn't making a mess i'd say just let him hide. My dog jump into my bed and hides under the covers :).

I've also heard there are some natural supplements that help with anxiety. But my vet believes that drugging should be that last resort.
 

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We always have the reliability of our weather stations don't we?:D:Djk

Put that way, it make sense. However I don't think we are talking about the same mode of SD/CC. Because we don't reach the fear threshold there is absolutely no need for medication during SD. Then again you are also talking about desensitizing right before a storm, correct? Some would opt to do it on any day as part of/in pose of regular training sessions. Which would, once again, not warrant any medication.

I guess it has a lot to do with the way you opt to go about training the fear out of thunderstorms and fireworks. Luckly for me, both my dogs only whine for a few seconds and then stop:cool:....earthquakes...there's a different story.rofl.
Nope, I'm talking about desensitizing during a storm using classical conditioning. If a dog is so unbelievably scared during a storm that he cannot even function, there is no way the conditioning will work because he won't take the treats. By giving him medication, it calms him down some, he's below threshold and thus and you CAN do the conditioning because he will respond to it.

Such is the premise for conditioning a dog to other types of fears as well. When the fears are unavoidable and it is impossible to reasonably keep the dog under threshold, then I think medication has it's place. For example, I know one person who has a dog afraid of household sounds. Tried CC/DS, didn't work appreciably alone. Factor in meds, it helps the dog calm down so that CC/DS has some effect. Then wean off the medicine as the positive association grows stronger.

I've heard that it's electrified air along with the noise that scares a dog. Kind of makes since since my dog feels fine in the car. Doesn't really explain firecrackers though.

If your dog seem to feel safe under your bed and isn't making a mess i'd say just let him hide. My dog jump into my bed and hides under the covers :).

I've also heard there are some natural supplements that help with anxiety. But my vet believes that drugging should be that last resort.
I think it could be either, depending on the dog. One member here had a lot of success with one of those Storm Cape things. I've yet to try it, but I have a feeling it's more of the sound that scares my dog than anything because certain types of loud noises all elicit the same reaction, not just thunderstorms.

I agree w/ you that drugging shouldn't be taken lightly and other options should be explored first. But some people talk about drugging like it's an inhumane practice that does no good.
 

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I've heard that it's electrified air along with the noise that scares a dog. Kind of makes since since my dog feels fine in the car. Doesn't really explain firecrackers though.
Yes this is actually a factor as to why some dogs get really nervous particularly during thunderstorms. The charged air, the atmospheric pressure changes, and the noise make many dogs uneasy. As to why some react more severely than others...who knows, maybe genetics? None of my dogs react negatively to thunderstorms...then again we don't get them that often here in So Cal.

Firecrackers are most likely to cause fear in dogs because A) The noise's origin is usually nearer than thunder. B) Noises aren't limited to pops, but range from whistles to bangs. C) Because the noise is unexpected. With thunderstorms changes in the environment warn a dog that something is coming, fireworks provide no warning prior to the frightening noise.


I agree w/ you that drugging shouldn't be taken lightly and other options should be explored first. But some people talk about drugging like it's an inhumane practice that does no good.
Heh, I don't think that I would agree with that extreme either!:p But it is an undeniable truth that many dog owners(usually those that aren't knowledgeable), resort to medication without first having tried to eliminate the root of the problem. However, medication to alleviate fear responses shouldn't be looked down upon.
 

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Firecrackers are most likely to cause fear in dogs because A) The noise's origin is usually nearer than thunder. B) Noises aren't limited to pops, but range from whistles to bangs. C) Because the noise is unexpected. With thunderstorms changes in the environment warn a dog that something is coming, fireworks provide no warning prior to the frightening noise.
Hm, I guess that explains why my dog seems more afraid of firecrackers than thunder.
 
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