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)