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Abbylynn is petrified of thunderstorms. I have been trying to counter condition her to them by treating calm behavior with dog treats and taking her to a room full of windows and noise of the rain on the roof. It works for a bit.

I have gone ahead and given her an all natural calming aid a couple hours before a storm comes. This only works a tad.

I can take her outside on the deck while it is thundering and raining and she is fine!

How do you think I should address this without making matters worse?

Once we go back into the house the anxiety of panting, trembling, and pacing begin.

We have lines of storms all day and it is now storming as I type this ... a good time to commence counter conditioning.
 

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Honestly, counter conditioning during thunderstorm season is very difficult because you can't control 1. When thunderstorms occur, and 2. The intensity of a thunderstorm. When you are counterconditioning, it's very important to work under thresh hold, and it's just too easy for a dog to get over their thresh hold because of things that are totally out of your control, then you're right back to square one over and over and over again.

What I would do is work on counterconditioning during the "off" season (winter here), using CDs of thunderstorms so you can control the timing and intensity 100%. Do what you need to do to get through this season (thundershirt, calming aids or CDs, drugs, whatever) and start working hard come fall/winter for next spring/summer.
 

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Great idea sassafras! Thank you for reminding me about the CD's. I think I actually have one I bought years ago to sleep by! :) Now ... just to locate it! lol! :)

I think the CD is the best idea .... as we had "Thunder Snow" this last winter. :/
 

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Did you have Abbylynn since he/she was a pup? Luna had her first thunderstorm a few days ago. She was surprised, but I ignored her and she fell asleep after a while.
 

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Did you have Abbylynn since he/she was a pup? Luna had her first thunderstorm a few days ago. She was surprised, but I ignored her and she fell asleep after a while.
No ... I rescued Abbylynn (Dobie/Rott) when she was 5 months old last summer. The odd part is that she is now almost 16 months old and she was fine last year. This is a new fear.
 

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It's strange how that happens, our Rottweiler Boris used to be really afraid of thunderstorms as well... so much so that he and his 60kg's would try to crawl underneath the 15cm high space beneath the couch... I am not sure how to treat it, I only know that whilst raising the dog it has helped to not fuss about the thunderstorm yourself as Luna reacted well to this. But - the CD sounds like a brilliant plan. What technology allows us to do now :p
 

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It's strange how that happens, our Rottweiler Boris used to be really afraid of thunderstorms as well... so much so that he and his 60kg's would try to crawl underneath the 15cm high space beneath the couch... I am not sure how to treat it, I only know that whilst raising the dog it has helped to not fuss about the thunderstorm yourself as Luna reacted well to this. But - the CD sounds like a brilliant plan. What technology allows us to do now :p

I agree with the CD idea.

Abbylynn hides underneath the kitchen table ... in which she barely fits. :/

I know she is not feeding off of me because I like thunderstorms ... good to sleep by. :)
 

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Have you considered a thundershirt? Don't work for every dog (what does?). But they are guaranteed. so if it doesn't work for her, you can return it for a refund and they'll send the used shirt to a shelter or rescue. The last thunderphobic dog I had made counter conditioning difficult because he keyed more off the drop in barometric pressure and visual (lightning) than just on thunder. I swear, he knew from Central Oklahoma if there was a storm in Colorado!
 

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Have you considered a thundershirt? Don't work for every dog (what does?). But they are guaranteed. so if it doesn't work for her, you can return it for a refund and they'll send the used shirt to a shelter or rescue. The last thunderphobic dog I had made counter conditioning difficult because he keyed more off the drop in barometric pressure and visual (lightning) than just on thunder. I swear, he knew from Central Oklahoma if there was a storm in Colorado!
Yup!!! The barometric pressure is what she also feeds off of. I noticed it the last time it stormed. The sun was still out and not a cloud to be seen yet. She started her "neediness" smashing herself up against you and the constant following you around.

I am really considering a Thundershirt also. I looked at one at Pet Supply Plus a couple weeks ago. They were only $50.00 ... but would be well worth it if it worked. My Dad just laughs at me .... he means well ... he just only ever had one dog in his life as a young man .... a Husky. :/ Poor dog!!! Just kidding! :)
 

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866-892-2078 is phone number of Thundershirt and it's 39.99
I just Googled it but for whatever reason could not get link.

Most of time the CD program does not work.
 

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I would think the CD would have little impact at this stage. We start conditioning our pups to thunder from when they are still in the whelping box.
If she has already got to the stage of picking up on the pressure drops you may need to resort to a combination of aids. Google DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheremone). This comes in a spray dispensing bottle and collars (Sentinal Pheremone Collars).
I think you may have better short term result with the spray but put a collar on for the duration of the storm as well.
Thunder Shirts will assist a dog with a low level of stress but, used alone, has little impact on high stressed dogs.
If it is really bad, then Thunder Shirt, DAP spray and collar, and a natural calmative ( some people go as far as Valium), combined should give the animal some relief.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Abbylynn and I say thank you to all for the info. I will definitely check it all out. She is pretty bad ... poor thing shakes something awful. :( ... and that is with the calming aid in her too.
 

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PetCo nad PetSmart are now carrying the Thundershirt, it worked pretty well on Angel for her travelling anxiety.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you!

I know that Pet Supplies Plus had them for the $50 and that was supposed to be on sale. :/
 

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Cracker has severe thunderstorm issues (and firecrackers). The thunder issue only came up in the past year or so but the firecracker problem has been ongoing. I have conditioned a thundershirt for her (be careful not to ONLY use it when there are storms or it becomes a conditioned punisher, not a conditioned reinforcer/calmer). It helps somewhat. But we have had to go to valium (diazepam) for when storms are predicted. She gets extremely stressed. It is important for everyone to recognize that dogs BECOME sensitized to storms etc over time..and many thunder issues etc come up in adult dogs that have been fine for several seasons.

I commend Nev for conditioning her pups right from the beginning..BEFORE the issues start as this is like an innoculation against the fear.

So, for Abbielyn, I would highly recommend you talk to your vet about meds. NOT ACEPROMAZINE. Diazepam or Xanax given an hour or so before the storm hits will help manage and reduce the stress so counterconditioning may work better. Try the thundershirt and maybe try doing a training session or favourite game (tug?) during the storm. The cds can be great. Victoria Stillwell and Through a Dog's Ear have a good combo cd with the calming music and graduating levels of thunder sounds...

Good luck. I used to love thunderstorms...not so much anymore. For my dog's well being and health I do all the above things, because without work it does not get better, it gets worse.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Cracker - Thank you so much for the detailed info ... this helps tremendously. :)
 

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You are very welcome. Fear and anxiety in dogs I am very familiar with..though I wish sometimes I wasn't...lol

Be very clear if you talk to your vet that you don't want Ace. Many vets still prescribe it without knowing it has been contraindicated in situations of fear and anxiety.
 

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You are very welcome. Fear and anxiety in dogs I am very familiar with..though I wish sometimes I wasn't...lol

Be very clear if you talk to your vet that you don't want Ace. Many vets still prescribe it without knowing it has been contraindicated in situations of fear and anxiety.
Speaking of . . . I got a nice, short link on Ace with Dr. Overall on a list I am on today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-GsmrFYHKk
And also this discussion on anti-anxiety meds: http://dogaware.com/articles/wdjanxiety.html
 

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