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Hi I don't post on here very much but I love to read what everyone else has posted and have learned alot. Casey (3 1/2 years old) has always been afraid of any loud noises however it seems to have gotten worse. Last night we had a thunderstorm and he was VERY upset - shaking, panting, walking around looking for a safe place, etc. The storm last night did have a lot of thunder, lightning, loud rain, etc. Since we live in South Fl we will have quite a few of these storms throughout the summer. He has never reacted to the extreme he did last night. I have noticed he gets even more scared of other loud noises, not just storms, then he did in the past. Any suggestions on how to help him? I am planning on speaking with our Vet however I thought I'd see if anyone here has any suggestions prior to my calling her. As I'm sure you all understand it is heartbreaking to see your little boy so scared and not know how to help him.
Carol
 

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awww i dont know how to help u , maybe cuddle him n offer treats .. .maybe you'll get better suggestions , hope u stay n post about ur pup post pics.
 

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Oh I wonder why some fluff are scared and some are not. Myah is not scared of storms or thunder. We have had several storms lately and I was so suprised that she did not bark nor scared of the thunder.

I wonder if it is because when they were younger they had storms at the breeders and just got use to them or what?

It will be interesting to see how many are scared. I hope you can find out how to calm your baby.
 

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Nikki is not afraid of storms, but my friend's dog is. She's training her dog to ignore the sound of the storms. She will start playing with her dog and treating it as soon as the storm starts. She is teaching him that when the noise happens, good things also happen at the same time.
 

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Nikki is not afraid of storms, but my friend's dog is. She's training her dog to ignore the sound of the storms. She will start playing with her dog and treating it as soon as the storm starts. She is teaching him that when the noise happens, good things also happen at the same time.
Exactly what I was going to say.

When a storm comes have a special toy nearby and start interacting with your dog. Make it all positive. Play a game, give out treats, feed them dinner. Maybe have a frozen, stuffed kong and/or other treat dispensing toys. They will soon see that storm noises = good stuff happens.

You can also use desensitization cd's (something like this) so you don't have to wait for a storm and you can control how loud the "storm" is.

They also make a ThunderShirt that is supposed to help ease the anxiety.

The thunder shirt, cds and Rescue Remedy items are really only helpful if you also do the training along with it.
 

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Cosy is afraid too. She never was until about two yrs. ago when we had a sudden burst of lightening close by and of course immediate bang of thunder. Louder than I've ever heard myself. She was asleep and it woke her with a start so much so that she jumped out of her bed. Since then the slightest sounds of rain or thunder and she's glued to me. I've tried a lot of things but nothing seems to change it. I keep hoping she'll forget, but so far, no luck.
 

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When my Naddie first came, she had the worst case of 'Thunder-Phobia" I had ever seen. She was absolutely frantic and trying to distract her was impossible. Her only focus was to find a means to 'escape' the noise and she'd run scratch doors, jump toward windows she could reach etc. I feared she'd have a heart attack! Thankfully it was fall when she came so only had a few storms to contend with before winter .
I did use a de-sentisizing CD over the whole winter, starting with matters of seconds and lowest volume. Did this several times a day then gradually increasing time..then went to higher volumne and back to short duration.
It absolutely helped her a LOT. The first 'real-thing' in the Spring she was so much better. Still not 'content' with them but not in panic either.

Then I think it was second season of storms we happened to be outside when a strom approached. I was working in my flowers and she on her line. I watcher her and she didn't seem to react. I hurried to try to finish up and by then the storm was very close and loud. Still she didn't seem to be upset. We headed in and I noticed she was doing very well. I had wondered if having been outside at the onset helped her 'understand' what it was. next storm I purposely took her outside at onset and she did act better.

There have been many now since she's been here and they still 'concern' her, especially those in the middle of the night, but she 'copes'. By the way if I tryied to 'soothe' her she would start trembling more! I later read it's usually best to act 'normal' and not over-nurture' the fear.

Now she usually goes to her bed and curls into a ball and waits it out. I have given a treat or tried to start a 'play' but she usually isn't interested.

Quincy isn't bothered by them... he may bark at an exceptionally loud bang but he's not fearsome.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thank you so much for your suggestions! I will definitely try the de-sentisizing, treats, etc. I really hope it works, I hate seeing Casey scared. I also read that Maidto2maltese mentioned not to over nuture the fear - this is something I will have to work on!
Sorry I didn't reply sooner to thank everyone for their suggestions. My other dog, Cosmo, got stung by something in the yard this afternoon and we had to make a trip to the vet. He still seems to be in some pain but definitely much better then he was a few hours ago.
 

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One of the hardest things I found was to not just grab Naddie and hold and cuddle her.
Poor dear, wasn't here but a few days and faced her first storm the next day or day after. This was mid-week. By the week-end she was settling into her new home and what happens but town 'community day' ending with fireworks!! I put a radio on real loud and went to the most 'insulated part of the house. I didn't 'cuddle her but did talk top her in happy voice. it meant nothing to her she was scared! I took a magazine and sort of stretched out on the couch and she jumped up . I told her she was being 'silly girl' in happy voice but didn't actually cuddle her. She did lay by my feet which was Ok ( that would be normal anyway) and i could feel her trembling...it broke my heart! ) BUT!! I did notice about half way thru the fireworks she trembled a lot less and just sort of layed there by me.
I do believe if they have a 'comfort-zone' place they tend to retreat to... that's Ok. I've always had 'scardy-cat' dogs with storms and many with fireworks but never with the reaction Naddie had. With the others each had a 'special place they felt comfortable to be at to 'ride out' the storm/noise. One used to go to the basement. When I'd check.. they'd be laying and concerned but not petrified. Most just wanted to lay somewhere near me or my husband and they 'coped".
 

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You've been given great advice.

My Crisse is older. I adopted her when she was 8-10 years old. Crisse starts freaking out long before a storm even starts. She doesn't play with toys. Call me a whack job, but, what I do is hold Crisse to the window{we live on the 33rd floor}, yes, it's guarded. I calm her down by saying "no hurt my Crisse. See, no hurt my Crisse". It helped a lot last night during a storm we had. At times, I've held her and taken her out in a storm, saying the same thing.

Good luck.
xoxoxoxo
 

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I have learned with all the dogs I have had that it worked best to act as if nothing special was happening when thunderstorms occurred. I have had 2 dogs that were afraid of them. Being inexperienced at the time, I would coddle them.

One of the vets in the course of my lifetime told me to act as if nothing was going on and continue like usual...ignore their behavior.

I'm sure there is updated thought on this issue, but I continue to just ignore the behavior. It has been effective for me with the first thunderstorm. After that, no big deal...Mommy isn't paying attention to it, so must be ok.

I know it is terribly hard not to pick them up and hold them to make them feel safe, but in the long run....they do feel safe, and there is no work involved in it. Just a very natural way to deal with it.

I think it was when my German Shepherd was afraid of thunderstorms and wanted to sit in my lap EVERYTIME IT RAINED that I came to the realization that the coddle method was not the way to deal...lol
 

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I had read that when cuddling them during their 'panic' is read differently to them than what we thinnk...at least with some dogs. These 'some' read that as YOU being just as afraid and they you both are 'huddling-together' in fear. Not to say this is with all, but for some.

My reasoning with Naddie and the not to cuddle as a way of soothing is because here storms come up quickly. I worried that some would crop up and we not be home with her to be able to comfort her. I wanted her to learn to cope and not be so fearful so if indeed she was home alone when a storm arrived she'd get over the panic mentality.
 

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yes, that is exactly it. They figure you must be coddling them for a reason...and "it ain't good" lol.

Ignoring the behavior is terribly hard. It works fast, but with women and our dang nurturing tendencies....we feel guilty about it. It is hard not to want to comfort them. The thing is though that in this case, our "comforting" causes more harm than good. We are helping them more by walking away.

It makes sense too because you will not always be home during a thunderstorm. A scared dog can act out in other ways diverting its attention in a negative way.

We want them to be ok even when we can't be with them. It is sort of like with a baby, they do have to learn to comfort themselves sometimes. Most new moms will run to them with every sound they make. They have to learn to soothe themselves. It is a lesson that goes throughout life.

Hang in there. I know it makes you feel bad, but you can help with it.
 

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Scooby used to be terrible with storms too, he was similar to Naddie in that he would shake and pant in such a way I also thought he would have a heart attack. He would turn in circles at our feet and climb our legs in total terror. I also found it very difficult to sooth him and not pick him up and cuddle as I heard this may be felt as a reward and possibly encourage the reaction. Petting and saying good boy without actually picking him up for no reaction has helped too.
Eventually we told our vet about it and she suggested trying a ¼ of an Ace pill to take the edge off his nerves so we did that a couple times and once he realized he wasn't going to be harmed by the noise he was fine. Also Koko just barks at the noise and isn't bothered at all and I think for some reason this has rubbed off on Scooby too as now he does the same, like he is following Koko's lead.
Another thing that really still upsets Scooby is high pitched beeping from smoke alarms etc. He still goes into panic with them and when we change the batteries now I usually take him outside away from the noise till the job is done.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Over the weekend we had more storms and I treated Casey the way I would normally. I tried not to over-indulge him during the storm and I think it is helping. He is still VERY scared but it doesn't seem to last as long. I think he gets scared when the thunder first starts but then sees I don't think anything of it so he starts to calm down. I'm really hoping this will help as we have a long summer with a lot of storms. I'm at work now and it is starting to thunder so, of course, I'm worrying about him. I have a feeling Casey will get the hang of this before I do!
 

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Exactly what I was going to say.

When a storm comes have a special toy nearby and start interacting with your dog. Make it all positive. Play a game, give out treats, feed them dinner. Maybe have a frozen, stuffed kong and/or other treat dispensing toys. They will soon see that storm noises = good stuff happens.

You can also use desensitization cd's (something like this) so you don't have to wait for a storm and you can control how loud the "storm" is.

They also make a ThunderShirt that is supposed to help ease the anxiety.

The thunder shirt, cds and Rescue Remedy items are really only helpful if you also do the training along with it.
Good post Mandy. However, CDs won't work for Tstorms, generally peaking because dogs know when a storm is coming, sometimes 48 hours before you see signs of it. They feel the barametric pressure change and they also pick up static electrical charges from the air. You can put a dog in the bathtub, next to the toilet or next to a washing machine and it will help "ground" them so they don't get "shocked".

I'm not familiar enough to recommend the thunder shirt but the very first one of its kind is the anxietywrap (my Labrador is actually one of the testiminonials on Susan's website www.anxietywrap.com) I've used them for clients for years and they truly do work wonders.

Rescue Remedy or Valarian root can help also, but not always. The RR is one of those things, might help, can't hurt. Valarian is an herb with calming properties and if dog is on no other meds to interact with a supplement that has this sort of property, it can be highly beneficial.

I've read here on a few posts, not to coddle and to ignore. Correct. "Oh poor baby" can cause the dog to reinforced for its anxiety. However, if you calmly hold the dog and not be stressed or worried, that is fine. Sometimes, for some dogs, you can redirect but you need to make sure you are not causing or rewarding anxiety.
 

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Scooby used to be terrible with storms too, he was similar to Naddie in that he would shake and pant in such a way I also thought he would have a heart attack. He would turn in circles at our feet and climb our legs in total terror. I also found it very difficult to sooth him and not pick him up and cuddle as I heard this may be felt as a reward and possibly encourage the reaction. Petting and saying good boy without actually picking him up for no reaction has helped too.
Eventually we told our vet about it and she suggested trying a ¼ of an Ace pill to take the edge off his nerves so we did that a couple times and once he realized he wasn't going to be harmed by the noise he was fine. Also Koko just barks at the noise and isn't bothered at all and I think for some reason this has rubbed off on Scooby too as now he does the same, like he is following Koko's lead.
Another thing that really still upsets Scooby is high pitched beeping from smoke alarms etc. He still goes into panic with them and when we change the batteries now I usually take him outside away from the noise till the job is done.

I'm sorry but I HIGHLY recommend caution with recommending acepromazine. It can have the opposite effect (make the dog extremely anxious) at the very minimum and it can really cause physical problems, such as elevating blood pressure, heartrate and body temperature as well as cause seizures in dogs that have epilepsy. I'd never give ace to a dog, let alone a small Maltese.
 

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Good post Mandy. However, CDs won't work for Tstorms, generally peaking because dogs know when a storm is coming, sometimes 48 hours before you see signs of it. They feel the barametric pressure change and they also pick up static electrical charges from the air. You can put a dog in the bathtub, next to the toilet or next to a washing machine and it will help "ground" them so they don't get "shocked".
If the dog is afraid of the sound of thunder/storms then why would the CDs not work? You would be desensitizing to the sound of the storm. It will not help with the environmental changes, but it does for the sounds.

The thundershirt is similar to the anxiety wrap, only less expensive. I've also heard to use a tight fitting shirt/sweater since it gives a similar feeling of being wrapped and decrease anxiety.

I read somewhere (can't remember which book now) that the idea of not comforting your dog during a storm is a myth. It stated that the dog is anxious about the storm and you aren't necessarily reinforcing the anxiety. The example was: If someone was to break into your house while you were sitting there eating ice cream would that be less stressful to you than if they broke it while you were just sitting there? Did the ice cream really make that event less stressful for you since you like ice cream? Not likely. Same principal applies to your dog. I wish I could remember what book this was... Not sure how true it is or to what extent, but it makes some sense to me. :)

Luckily we don't really get storms here and my dogs aren't bothered by the small ones we do. It sure can be a tough thing to deal with.
 

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Good post Mandy. However, CDs won't work for Tstorms, generally peaking because dogs know when a storm is coming, sometimes 48 hours before you see signs of it. They feel the barametric pressure change and they also pick up static electrical charges from the air. You can put a dog in the bathtub, next to the toilet or next to a washing machine and it will help "ground" them so they don't get "shocked".

I'm not familiar enough to recommend the thunder shirt but the very first one of its kind is the anxietywrap (my Labrador is actually one of the testiminonials on Susan's website www.anxietywrap.com) I've used them for clients for years and they truly do work wonders.

Rescue Remedy or Valarian root can help also, but not always. The RR is one of those things, might help, can't hurt. Valarian is an herb with calming properties and if dog is on no other meds to interact with a supplement that has this sort of property, it can be highly beneficial.

I've read here on a few posts, not to coddle and to ignore. Correct. "Oh poor baby" can cause the dog to reinforced for its anxiety. However, if you calmly hold the dog and not be stressed or worried, that is fine. Sometimes, for some dogs, you can redirect but you need to make sure you are not causing or rewarding anxiety.
on an off note here, I love your picture !!
 
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