Thunderbolts and lightning – could be very very frightening for your dog
With a serious risk of thunder and lightning tonight a few quick tips for all our lovely dog owners.
Do not leave your dog in the garden in a thunderstorm. If they get frightened they will try any route to escape.
In case the very worst should happen, make sure your dog is wearing an ID disc on their collar. This is a great time to remember to check that your dogs is micro chipped and that micro chip is registered to you!
Be at home in the house with your dog. Having you nearby will make them feel a whole lot safer.
Keep your dog busy, this is a great time to break out that stuffed kong or to do some quick training exercises. This will help tire your dog out, so all going well, if thunder hits he will already be tired and relaxed.
Make a den – your dog’s crate is ideal for this. If you do not a crate, perhaps a small room, possibly the utility room, in the house. Put their bed in the den area, leave them access to some toys, water, maybe a nice treat. This is a safe area for your dog to go to when they get scared.
If you have some lavender candles, these are supposed to help aid relaxation maybe light a few around the house. It can’t hurt anyway!
Swaddle your dog. Try wrapping a garment or putting a small t shirt around your dog or let your dog snuggle under your arm on the sofa. Your dog may feel reassured by the added pressure, much like a baby feels safe when swaddled.
Block the noise, have the TV on, or the radio in the room the dog is in and pull all the curtains.
Desensitise your dog. To teach your dog that loud bangs such as thunder or fireworks are nothing to fear, play a recording of a thunderstorm on very low volume for several hours, once a week. Pair this sound with a lovely frozen treat
Encourage calm behaviour. Give your dog a treat or a toy when it shows calm behaviour during a storm/fireworks, or when he/she responds to a cue despite their fear. Train your dog to respond to a "relax," "calm," or "settle" command.
Anticipate occasions where noises may be an issue – fireworks, thunderstorms, the neighbours bull dozing down a wall. All of these events can have a massive impact on your dog so if you are aware that there will possibly be a few hours of unusual disruption for your dog plan their walks, meals and training in advance.