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This is Shiner's new thing, thunder-phobia, or maybe a general noise-phobia. Shiner is a 5 year old border collie and this started about a year ago and seems to be getting progressively worse. When I first noticed it, he just seemed nervous if there was a thunderstorm, some pacing, panting, but he would eventually lay on the couch and settle. Then it got to where if I wasn't home and he was crated, he would try to bust out of the crate. This past may he busted out of the crate two nights in a row, the second time breaking his foot in the process, so he is no longer crated. This has seemed to work out fine, even during storms. I don't know what he does when I'm not there but I haven't come home to anything horrible yet.

His behavior when I am home is getting worse for sure though. July 4th he seemed to have an issue with fireworks, which I know is common. I let him out after they had stopped to potty, but he still opened the gate (yep, he opens the gate) and ran out. I got him back the same night.

Fast forward to last night. There was a pretty loud thunderstorm about 1 am, and he was absolutely beside himself. Panting, shaking, whining, pacing. On the bed, off the bed, pacing on the bed, sitting up, laying down. Laying next to me and inching closer and closer until he was on me, then jumping up and pacing again. At one point he was laying and sitting over and over and the cat, who was on my pillow, reached over and slapped him.

I told him to lay down a few times and he would, but only for a minute. When he layed next to me I was putting my arm or hand on him, but after a bit I remembered reading that you are supposed to ignore this behavior, so I rolled over facing away from him. this seemed ok, he was still shaking hard enough to vibrate the bed, but then one loud clap of thunder and he literally jumped onto my head and drooled in my eye. At that point I yelled at him to get off the bed and he went somewhere and I fell asleep. Ugh.
 

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Try giving Melatonin at the first sign of an impending storm. It works really well, and doesn't make them dopey. You can buy it in the vitamin/supplement section (or sleep aid section) of grocery/drug stores. Dosage is 1 mg per 20 lbs up to 3 mg. Giant breeds like mastiffs can get up to 6 mg. It's safe for dogs, but if your dog is elderly, pregnant or has medical problems, check with your vet.
Be aware that it comes in 1, 3, 5, and 6 mg strength.
 

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Abbylynn mysteriously broke out of her crate a couple times last year while I was gone from the house ... I could not figure out why as she was perfectly crate trained and happy!

Fast forward ... She has thunderstorm phobia BIG time!!! Sounds just like your Shiner!

Abbylynn weighs 65 pounds and I give her 3/4 of a 3mg melatonin tablet ... sometimes the whole 3mg depending on the severity of her anxiety. It has been working wonderfully for us. :) She is much more relaxed and still a bit wary ... but not foaming at the mouth, panting, whining, trembling fiercely, and pacing anymore.

Be sure and ask your vet first though! Good luck if you try it! Keep us updated please.
 

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. Panting, shaking, whining, pacing. On the bed, off the bed, pacing on the bed, sitting up, laying down. Laying next to me and inching closer and closer until he was on me, then jumping up and pacing again. At one point he was laying and sitting over and over and the cat, who was on my pillow, reached over and slapped him.

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This made me laugh. I keep picturing the dog all worried and the cat slapping him and saying "GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF, DUDE! IT'S JUST A STORM!!!!!"
 

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There was a really good thread on the BC boards about thunder phobia recently. It's a really common issue in border collies. Maybe go look there?
 

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We have had an unusually large number of thunderstorms this year. Up until now, other than Susie doing a lot of panting and wanting into the house, the other dogs have not really bothered that much. This year Kiska is a total basket case when the thunder starts. I was outside and she tried to climb into the canvas drum that I keep their toys in. She put her leg and head through the handle, twisted it round and round and when I came into the house, she was wrapped up in it, around the table leg and choking herself. I cut the handles and she was alright. Later on I was in the bathroom and a big clap of thunder came along and she leaped into the toilet, not realizing the lid was open. She does the same thing as Sheltiemom's dog and wants to climb all over me.

I finally phoned the Vet and they sold me a product called Zylkene. I haven't given it to her yet as the thunderstorms seem to have cleared off for a while. You have to give it ahead of time which makes it a bit awkward with the thunderstorms but I will use it for the fireworks and see if it works.
 

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My beagle/basset mix, Rocky, is petrified of thunderstorms. You can see the poor guy shaking from across the room. He pants, drools, chews his paws, walks around in circles, everything because he's so scared. And we live in northern New Jersey, and anyone who lives by the Meadowlands knows how common these flash thunderstorms seem to be. They rarely last for more than 30 minutes, but during that time my dog is so scared that nothing can get done. Then it'll take him an additional 20-30 minutes to calm down. Rocky was always scared of thunder, but recently he's gotten extremely bad.

What I've personally found helps is trying to calm him down by wrapping my arms around him and cuddling him because my mom's friend says that pressure helps calm dogs down. He becomes more pre-occupied with licking my face and calms down a little quicker. I've also heard that wrapping your dog in a towel or a blanket helps. It's what my mom's friend does to her dog when he developed a thunder phobia after being shot. :(

If all else fails to calm my dog down, we'll give him a single benedryl tablet so he doesn't chew his paws apart.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I checked out the thread over on the border collie forum too, some good suggestions, I just hope I can nip this before it continues to progress because it does seem like it gets progressively worse from the stories I've heard. I did try holding him tightly and holding him down gently last night and that seemed to help for a few minutes at a time, so maybe he would respond to the thundershirt. Another thought I had, he used to go under a desk I had in the bedroom alot, but I moved it out last week because it wasn't being used. I'm wondering if he got so bad last night because the desk was not there for him to go under.

And by the way, the thing with the cat was just as funny as it sounds. I also imagined her saying, "cmon, pull yourself together!"
 

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i recommend the thundershirt! I have one for Kiley who is very very nervous, it helped her alot, now Courtney's mommy is borrowing it to help her with thunderstorms, seems to be helping so far!
 
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