Friday, May 17, 2013

Fear of Thunder

Hi everybody,
We want to talk about a serious problem today. Are you  afraid of thunder and other loud noises? Don't be embarrassed, lots of doggies are. But now we're going to face our fears and join a new support group on Stella's blog. If you have a noise phobia, join us. Mom will tell you about our experiences.

We've had lots of experience with noise phobias and we've had some minor successes. First was Bentley. He was afraid of all loud noises, but especially thunder. During daytime storms he'd get as close to me as possible as if attached to my leg. If I sat down he climbed on my lap, all 66 pounds of him. If a storm started at night, he'd wake me. Then we'd go downstairs, turn on lights and turn the TV on loudly and wait it out. He never got over his fear though as he grew older his hearing wasn't as sharp and he didn't react quite as badly to loud noise.
Next was our very worst case, Monty. That poor boy had been tortured as a puppy. He was beaten and who knows what else. He was afraid of everything. Even small noises like the snap of a three ring binder would cause him to drool, tremble and try to hide. He couldn't tolerate loud voices and would whine if anyone argued in his presence. 

There was little we could do for Monty. We consulted with our vet and tried giving him valium during very bad storms and on the 4th of July. The best thing we did for him was teach him to sit in a closet during storms. At first I would sit in the closet with him and sometimes the other dogs would join us, but eventually when a storm started he would disappear and I'd find him sitting bravely in the closet trembling.

Morgan learned to be afraid of storms from Monty. He was her best friend when she was a pup and she saw how upset he was, so she became upset too. 
Morgan would go into the bathroom and jump into the tub. She'd sit there till the storm was over. She continued this until she hurt her knees a couple years ago and couldn't jump anymore. Now she buries herself in her pile of toys and usually falls asleep there.

When Samba's pups were born Rob and I wanted to make sure they weren't afraid of noise. As soon as their ears opened we started exposing them to all sorts of noises. Their pen was in the kitchen and they heard the mixer and the food processor and the vacuum.  When Rob worked in his shop in the garage, the pups went with him and heard power tools and pounding noises. They paid no attention and we were pleased that even during storms and fireworks, they paid little or no attention.

Last year something changed. We had a really bad thunderstorm, the kind that shakes the house and makes everything rattle. The dogs all barked, but since then both Bailey and Lola have shown fear of thunder, fireworks and even the vacuum. I'm not sure why this happened later in their lives and I'm not sure what to do about it.

I'm worried that they may be picking up on my feelings. When I was a little girl my grandmother was terrified of thunder and she passed her fears on to me. I'm not as bad as she was, I don't unplug everything in the house and sit in the dark, but I am anxious and I'm sure the dogs pick up on it.

Then the younger generation. Sebastian arrived at our house on July 4th and we thought that might have something to do with his being lost. He's mildly frightened of thunder and fireworks. He shows some anxiety but doesn't get crazy. He'll just get close to one of us and follow us around. He refuses to go outside if her hears those sounds.

Mac is now afraid of loud noises. A few weeks ago she was outside with Rob when out of nowhere there was a super loud clap of thunder right overhead. Mac jumped and ran for the house. She spent the whole evening sitting on my lap staring at the front door. Now she's attuned to every noise. The funniest is whenever an airplane goes over, she stops, sits down and watches it. We tell her that it's a drone coming after her for misbehaving. During thunder storms or if one of us is vacuuming, she climbs on a lap for safety. I hope she'll outgrow her fear.

So you see, some of us have problems with loud noises. This can be a serious problem. Our vet knew of a dog that jumped thru a window during a thunder storm and the window was closed at the time. The poor dog got all cut up. Other dogs have run into the street and been hit by cars.

That's why Bailey, Lola, Sebastian and Mac are all joining Stella's thunder support group. We'll discuss various ways of dealing with our fears. We'll hear from those who use thunder shirts and those who take drugs and even those who just hide under the bed.Together we can learn to deal with our fears. Our next meeting is the second Saturday in June. Join us if you need help.

Your pal, Fudge (who isn't afraid of anything)


scotsmad said...

We aren't really afraid of loud noises. We don't have thunder much and if we do, I Daisy, just bark loudly as it startles me.
But Bella becomes very upset: trembling, trying to climb HER when the wind causes a door to open and close...not even very loudly. Strange.

XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

Jo's World said...

Thanks for the great post, you guys!

So many of us are so scared, and we have been forecasted for thunderstorms tomorrow and most of the coming next week. My Mom thought because SHE wasn't scared of storms, I would follow her cue and stop being scared. Maybe I am a little better, but it hasn't gone away!


Anonymous said...

Yep we got the whole range here from Shadow who take spills, then falls asleep, then me who gets in Dads chest in bed, and Bites, who can sleep through anything and just don't give a flip!

The Mad scots

Mr. Pip said...

I am afraid of lots of things, but for some reason storms have never bothered me. My assistant has never really figured this out ...when she first took me home I was afraid of EVERYTHING. I couldn't even go outside without shaking. The first fourth of July she worried I would be afraid of the fireworks, but I was fine as along as I was inside. She even had my hearing checked, but it's fine!

The group sounds wonderful! I hope it helps!

Your pal, Pip

Sam said...

Hi, both my brother (Owen) and I are afraid of thunder. We pant alot and my dad and mom have to comfort us. I don't like the sound of rain as our car splashes through puddles. Makes me nervous.

♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Mom thinks Ciara is bothered by loud noises, but nothing to a really bad extreme. And of course, we all know Phantom has his issues with thunderstorms. But Mom doesn't think it is the noise at all. She is convinced that he suffers some sort of migraine in advance of the storms when the pressure are changes. That in turn upsets his tummy. We hear we are in for some very bad weather on Sunday night, and so far it seems like he is in agreement:( We hope all the pups at your place and everywhere will be able to find some comfort when the storms come.

Woos - Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

Ruby said...

I'm not afraid of loud noises usually, like your peeps, Ma exposed me to alot of different noises and fireworks and stuffs when I was a pup.
Ma's Sheepdog started gettin' sensitive to certain noises when she got older, too. She couldn't figure it out, except that maybe when she got older, some of her senses dulled, and some hightened. Ma thinks her eyesight was diminishing, and so she tuned in more to her hearing, thus making loud noises more startling to her.
Don't know if that was really the case, butts it seemed the best she could figure.
I hopes Mac can work it out.

gMarie said...

Oh Sue - I wish I knew the answers. Dudley was terrified of big noises and big men. Beau has always been afraid of big noise. He would have been a horrible hunting dog. It started in agility, the first time he went over the teeter and it went bang - he was Done! The day we had a new teacher and she made them walk around the teeter in a heel while she banged it on the floor. That was the end of his love of agility and I'm very angry still about it. The girls have never cared. :) g

Mad about Craft said...

I'm lucky with Meg, she isn't bothered at all by loud noises or thunder but our last dog, Jess, was terrified. She would get behind your legs.

Two French Bulldogs said...

We are lucky we rarely get thunder boomers here. But my Lily doesn't like loud diesel trucks or motorcycles
Benny & Lily

Marjie said...

I always attributed my dogs' fears of thunderstorms and fireworks not as fear, but as the extra loud noises hurting their sensitive ears. I'm glad to hear that loud boomies don't bother Fudge, and hope he can inspire his pack to be as calm as he is. In the meantime, I think the meetings in Stella's cozy closet sound like a fine support group!

rottrover said...

I hate the wind! We live at the base of a very big canyon and it can really blow at our house. I just stay close to mom or get into her tiny shower. Otto heard his first thunder the other day since being with us. He seemed a little freaked, but we all (even mom and dad) stayed calm, and he seemed OK


Life with Wrigs said...

Good luck with your support group! Thankfully, Wrigs isn't afraid of thunder, but one of my previous dogs was. It's so hard to see them in distress. We tried many things and none was truly effective.

Susan and Wrigs

Mitch and Molly said...

I never used to be afraid of thunder and fireworks but I've changed my mind. They scare me to death and I want to be right next to mom or dad to be comforted.

Love ya lots♥

Nichole said...

The biggest baby in our house has the biggest fear of thunder... which has also turned into a nervous energy when HOCKEY is on now as well........ oops.

SissySees said...

You know all about Gg and her anxieties. Sis doesn't mind noises, but she can't stand an upset Dadaw and will leave the room if she senses tension even. Mugsy was never afraid of anything until we had a major lightning strike at the house. We think the "charged air" must have been too evident for him at that time, because after that, all of the pack had to get in our bed and he wasn't happy if he wasn't touching all of us... somehow.