Well it finally had to happen. Today we are having our first real thunderstorms since we brought Midnight, our black Lab, into our home.
We’ve been curious as to whether she’d be one of those dogs that were afraid of thunder or not. I guess we kind of have an answer now.
Early this morning at maybe 6 a.m. there was a crash of thunder outside. I was up and so was Midnight as she’d begged to be let out of her crate. When the thunder rolled above she just stopped what she was doing, her ears went down and she ran to where she thought the noise had come.
Now all the puppy training books and sites say not to coddle your puppy when they seem frightened of something so I just stood where I was and talked to her about the thunder. Like she understood me. Uh huh.
There wasn’t any more thunder so we just went back to what we were doing, but she seemed a bit subdued.
We had some more thunder at 2:45 pm today too.
It’s a warmish day here in Toronto so I’ve got the windows and doors open. Unfortunately our enclosed back porch has one of those sheet plastic roofs (can you say gaudy?). The nice thing about it is that you can really hear the rain coming down when it falls. Every drop.
Midnight heard her first real rain on that roof earlier today too. I think it frightened her more than this mornings thunder! She was running all over the main floor to figure out what the sound was, barking and looking a little worried.
Again I stood in place and tried to reassure her by acting normal and not looking worried or stressed myself. I shut the back door and that lessened the sound of the rain. After she started calming down we heard thunder again, and again she acted like she was frightened by the big sound.
I decided to give her a cookie hoping that the thunder would sound again as I was feeding her, her favorite food. Apparently giving a puppy something they really like when they are frightened, like a treat, helps calm their fears and makes them associate good things with things that once frightened them.
It seems were only having a one thunder at a time kind of day. The sound makes her nervous, but I think that if I stay calm and work with her when she hears thunder again she won’t end up being a dog that’s terrified of the sound.
I certainly hope she doesn’t end up being afraid of it as we get an awful lot of thunderstorms here during the summer.
Is your dog afraid of thunder?