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Question
Posted by: Momof 3 | 2007/04/25

Doberman Scared of lightning and thunder

Hi We have a Doberman bitch who is almost 5yrs old.
We live in Cape Town and we dont have many thunderstorms.

Yesterday at about 4am our dog was so frightened by the lightling and thrunder that she forced herself though a metal pole pool fence (broke one of the poles )and bumped at a sliding window that was slightly open to my 18ry old sons room.We have 3 teenagers. causing the window to move more open and she forced herslf in through the window by pushing her head in and then the rest of her body.

She was so frightened she came to our room and I tried to calm her down.I put a blanket on the floor next to our bed but she would Not settle and I kept my hand hanging off the bed. She kept on pushing her head under my hand so my hand would cover her one ear.She tried to force her way between the bed and the bedside table.Not very wide-only her head could go in.
( I would almost say ,similar to fire work scare)

As I was dozzing off she jumped onto the bed and tried to cule up on top of my legs.She is a very athletic dog(streamlined,loves to swim in the pool, but still very heavy.)
We could not sleep so she and hubby went to sleep on the couch in the lounge with her at his feet as it was alomost time for him to get up for work anyway,he said.

They predict more thunder and stormy weather tomorrow night(Thursday).Any advise on how to handle her?
She normally sleeps outside in her kennel even during winter and comes in and out the house during the day. No other problems.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

There is a medication calle Clomicalm available from your vet and it is also advisable to have a DAP vapourizer installed in your home where she can spend time. In the long term she may need to undergo desensitization with a behaviour counsellor.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Mon | 2007/04/26

Thanks I will try that behavious thing, i tried the vaporizer it did'nt seem to work. My yorkie is so scared, I know its going to rain before it even starts, she senses it and then goes and hides underneath somewhere. And I always go comfort her with hugs and kisses (oops), she has lots of favorite things, food being the MOST favorite, but I have tried and she refuses to play or eat anything when she is so scared. She won't even go outside if the sprinkler is on, or if its drizzling. If we have bad weather for an entire day she will just hold it in and not go wee once. She's only 2 so I ma sure I can teach her not to be scared. How do they 'learn' to be scared and why is my other dog not bothered by it? Does anyone know?

Reply to Mon
Posted by: WR | 2007/04/25

Hi there!

Yes, the best thing to do, and thus completely avoid this situation is to train your dog(s) not to be gun-shy - meaning not to be scared of loud noises etc. Many of these dogs learned this 'scared' behaviour. It is however not always an easy thing to remedy.
Some would suggest getting a DAP Vapourizer, using Remedy and behaviour modification training. A combination of these three would probably work best.

As far as the behaviour modification training goes; Natasha did already mention the easiest way to do that.
But, let's start at the beginning - When you notice that your dog is scared or reacts to a loud noise - you must completely IGNORE this behaviour. If the reaction is a severe one - like the Doberman's - get his/her favourite thing (toy, treat or whatever) and play with that or feed it to him/her. Now remember - this must be something that the dog usually goes quite mad for! If your dog doesn't have something like this, your best bet would be to ignore the behaviour - and start 'creating' a favourite treat/ toy - I say create - but I actually mean that you must get something and make him/her love it - anything EXCEPT petting, or 'loving' or kisses. The moment you pet your dog when there is a storm or even fire-crackers going off - you are creating the problem yourself.
Personally; I used Beenos and the tennis ball when the dogs where still puppies - and obviously ignored their first 'skrik'! My first dog was a complete wreck as soon as he smelled rain.....until we started ignoring his shivering and whining. He stopped this behaviour in a matter of days - and never had a problem again. (It must be added that he was a wreck till about the age of 9 - so you can teach an older dog too).

Hope this helps!

Ciao!

Reply to WR
Posted by: Natasha | 2007/04/25

Hi Guys
My one daxie is also pretty scared of storms and thunder. What I am trying is to play games with him during the storm. I take his little rope and play tug of war or fetch or something like that and it seems to be helping a bit. In the beginning he just would not play, and I had to physically pull him out from under the couch or bed. Now he does play and just stops for a few seconds when there is a bug thunder, and then carries on playing. It is actually helping both of us cause I am also scared of storms (what a ninny !!) so keeping us both distracted seems to help !!

Reply to Natasha
Posted by: Mon | 2007/04/25

My yorkie is also petrified of the thunder and lighting, we live in JHB so it happens a lot more often. I have given her rescue remedy and some other homeopathic calming meds from my Vet. I don't know what to do, i read somewhere that it is a behaviour thing and you can teach them to not be scared, by associating good things when there is thunder, for example giving them a treat together with the noise. I ahve tried this but she wont eat anything when she is scared. I let her climb inside my cupboard or under the blankets in my bed, as long as she is covered she seems ok. My other yorkie (her real sister juts 2 yrs older) does not even notice the thunder, she will even go outside and run in the rain while its storming, she doesn't seem at all bothered. Weird! Anyone got any answers?

Reply to Mon

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