For many, one of the best parts of about spring is the thunderstorms that comes with it. There’s something refreshing about the smell of rain when the skies grow dark, as well as the resounding light show that Mother Nature puts on afterwards. While the bright flash and loud crash is something that we as humans can understand and enjoy, the same might not be true of your favorite four legged friend.
There are a number of dogs who aren’t a big fan of thunderstorms, and once the skies start rumbling, they start running. So what is it about thunder that can petrify your poor pup? Here are three possible reasons why your dog is afraid of thunder.
While this seems like the most obvious answer, it does bear mentioning. While it might take some training to get your dog comfortable around the common noises that occur around your house, thunder is something completely different. Thunder has a way of being bigger and more intimidating (especially if the storm is close) than any other noises, which can be terrifying for dogs.
Never Exposed to It
New experiences can be scary even for people. For a dog who doesn’t have the ability to process things rationally, something new can often mean something scary. Those first few experiences with a thunderstorm can determine whether or not your dog will be afraid of thunder. Often times, just being around to comfort and reassure your dog can make a difference in how their phobia does or doesn’t develop.
Fear By Association
Sometimes it’s not just the thunder that can frighten a dog but other noises of the storm as well. If your dog is terrified of thunder, they might start to associate other noises such as wind and rain with the fear of thunder. When this happens, a coming rainstorm could be terrifying for your dog, even if there isn’t any thunder to go with it.
What Should You Do?
It can be heart wrenching to see your dog panic, especially when there is little you can do for it. If your dog has a fear of thunder it’s important to remember that they need love and affection above all else. Negative reinforcement at this time will only serve to worsen their fears making the situation that much worse. Instead, try petting them and offer some soothing words, use music or television to help drown out the noise, or try playing with them to help distract them.
If all else fails and they attempt to hide, make sure they have a clear path to their favorite hiding space (many dogs prefer being under the bed, in the closet, or even behind the toilet) and let them weather out the storm.
All in all, the important thing to remember is that you need to be patient. This is one of the challenges dog owners might face that doesn’t have an easy solution. Just give it time and remember, much like the storm. This too will pass.
+Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the http://www.greenfieldpuppies.com/greenfield-puppies-blog/” target=”_self”>Greenfield Puppies website.