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I know I’ve written about this before, but I wanted to revisit the subject especially since I’m experiencing it with one of Yankee’s good friends, another golden retriever named Miles. Miles is spending some time with us while his “parents” are on vacation.
Over the last week or so, we’ve had some pretty good thunderstorms. I was sitting in my sun room when the rain started. Miles, immediately got up from where he was lying and tried to get into a corner near where I was sitting. He was definitely uncomfortable, he started panting, but I didn’t make a big deal of it. I softly put my hand on him. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t pet him; I just kept my hand steadily on him. As the storm worsened, he climbed up on to the couch where I was sitting and I put my arms around him, again, not petting him, not speaking to him. In a few moments he relaxed somewhat, despite the continued thunder.
During another thunderstorm, I broke out the essential oils, and let Miles sniff a few to see which ones he was drawn to. Then I made a mixture of 3 drops of each oil (3 oils total) in 5mls of sunflower oil. I let Miles sniff them as much as he wanted. After a short time, he laid down and went to sleep, seemingly no longer concerned about the thunder periodically booming outside.
So what can you do for your dog to help him through this fear? Most important is to not make a big deal of the fear so you don’t reinforce the behavior. Place a steady, calming hand on your dog and don’t say anything that might support the fear. Give your dog the freedom to go hide wherever he chooses. You can also try some calming essential oils or flower essences. Depending on the dog, frankincense and valerian, 1 to 3 drops mixed with 5mls of carrier oil such as sunflower oil, are known to help with some noise phobias. But it depends on the dog. I’ve also seen reduction in the fears with acupressure treatments.
Wraps such as Thundershirts often work, it gives the dog the sense of being held similar to what I was doing with Miles on the couch. There is also a product called a calming collar that’s filled with herbs that calm the dog. We’ve heard of great success with this collar. If you want to try one, go to www.calmingcollars.com and enter “rockys” in the coupons field to receive a 10% discount.
Hopefully some of these suggestions can help diminish your dog’s fears. Give them a try and let us know your results. We’d be happy to print them!