Storm Watch & Storm Success, Part 6 – Phobias & Emergency Management

This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Storm Watch

Okay, so you’re well into your new conditioning plan, with graduated protocols in place to reduce your dog’s noise fears or phobias. You’re taking it slowly and making good progress. But suddenly it’s Independence Day or Guy Fawkes, with fireworks going off all around, and a thunderstorm rolling in to boot, and you know you’re not ready for all this. How do you survive tonight? Continue reading

Storm Watch & Success, Part 5 – Drugs & Alternative Therapies

This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Storm Watch

You’ve tried everything — desensitization, counter-conditioning, safe places, and more — and it’s not enough? Or you know your panicked dog needs relief now while you start other protocols? Here are some more tools to consider.

Continue reading

Storm Watch & Success, Part 4 – Safe Places & the Mental Continuum

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Storm Watch

As I write this post, thunder is rolling overhead with enough resonance to shake the house. As I write this post, a Doberman is curled up at the foot of my bed. That’s our only storm coping tactic at the moment. How does this work? Continue reading

Storm Watch & Success, Part 3 – Desensitization & Counter-Conditioning

This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Storm Watch
Storm

Storm (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

So you’re ready to get started combating storm fear, right? Of all the various tools we’ll cover, these will be the most generally useful for the most cases.

Desensitization and counter-conditioning are often confused, and indeed they can be similar. Both involve starting at a very low level of exposure to the trigger and gradually raising it. But they are different processes. Continue reading

Storm Watch & Storm Success, Part 2 – Carry-on Allowances & Emotional Baggage

This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Storm Watch
Figure 15 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...

Figure 15 from Charles Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Caption reads “FIG. 15.—Cat terrified at a dog. From life, by Mr. Wood.” Author’s signature is at bottom left. See also figures 9-14 and 18 by the same author. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before we start with the nuts and bolts of helping pets with storm fear or phobia, we really have to discuss the emotional aspects of  fears and phobias. No matter how much has been written or described on this, I still encounter an amazing amount of misinformation which slows or counters owners’ best training efforts. Continue reading

Storm Watch & Storm Success, Part 1

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Storm Watch
Protecting our dogs from storm phobia (and bad Photoshop)

Protecting our dogs from storm phobia (and bad Photoshop)

It’s been a very stormy year across the country, and in the Midwest in particular. Since I have three dogs with three variants of sound/storm phobia or sensitivity, my former love and thrill for dramatic weather has degraded to a dejected, “Oh, more storms?!”

But storm fear or sound phobia doesn’t have to be the end of the world for your pets or the end of sanity for you. There are many options now to help fearful or sensitive dogs (and cats!), and no reason to tolerate unnecessary suffering in animals or humans. In the next few posts, I will share what is working well for us and for others, and you can be the hero in your own household! Continue reading