reversing fear of thunder...possible? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 05-07-2010, 12:56 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2008
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reversing fear of thunder...possible?

Our 8 yr old German shorthaired pointer, Ace, is terrified of thunder. Has been since we got him at a year and a half old. Since his buddy, Bear, died (two years ago now, I think) and he'd been alone it's gotten worse. Well, now we have a wirehaired pointer pup that we are afraid he will influence. We've had two or three storms in the two weeks we've had the pup and we've been bringing her into the kitchen (even though they're not indoor dogs) because he goes into panic mode and will claw, dig, chew his way out of the kennel. He shakes and pants and just wants to hide under the deck. I don't want her to feed off his behavior and become the same way.

Does anyone know if there's a way to reverse a behavior that's been going on for so long? Or does anyone recommend sedation who has done it successfully with their dog? Thanks in advance!

Stella - sweet, timid, elegant, lovely, lively, amazing
Luna - large, unattractive, naughty, adored
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post #2 of 6 Old 05-07-2010, 01:04 PM
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I dont know if there is a way to reverse it or not. Our pharaoh hound has a horrible fear of thunder, fireworks and things like that. Shes so destructive we have to sedate her during the 4th of July or she tears herself apart trying to get away.
It may or may not catch on to your puppy. Our pharaoh hound picked it up from a german shepherd she used to live with but our 2 other dogs havn't picked it up. I would suggest keeping her away from the puppy during storms so that they're not in contact.
You may want to ask your vet but I don't think sedating him during every storm is healthy for him.
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post #3 of 6 Old 05-07-2010, 01:48 PM
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I've heard good things about DAP (dog appeasing pheremone) for issues like this. You should use this in conjection with advise/training from a behaviorologist. Talk to your vet for recommendations or your university may have a clinic.

Here is a link (I didn't read all of it yet)
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post #4 of 6 Old 05-07-2010, 02:08 PM
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I've read and seen on TV that a dogs fear of thunder is usually a reaction to the electricity in the atmosphere from the storm. Has something to do with the way their coat reacts to it and they apparently feel a prolonged "shock"... similar to when we drag our feet on the carpet and get shocked when we touch someone.

the show said if you pay close attention, the dog will start acting strange before the storm has even arrived.... because they can feel the static. Both TV and Show said to rub the dog down with dryer sheets.

I've never had a dog with this problem, so I've never tried it. But, it's worth a shot!
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post #5 of 6 Old 05-08-2010, 11:12 AM Thread Starter
Green Broke
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Thanks for your thoughts everyone! Interesting tip about the dryer sheets. I'm willing to try anything. I'll look into the DAP, too, and report back on anything that works. :)

Stella - sweet, timid, elegant, lovely, lively, amazing
Luna - large, unattractive, naughty, adored
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post #6 of 6 Old 05-08-2010, 11:26 AM
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Really talk to a behaviorologist too. My Mo is terrified of thunderstorms/firecrackers/guns/etc and the behaviorlogist had some good suggestions (blankets over him, commands, NO coddling, etc) that really helped. He lives outside right now or I'd try the DAP too.
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