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Dog your dog get nervous when there’s a thunderstorm?
Perhaps fireworks cause terror in your dog? Some dogs are not bothered by unusual noises at all, while others can shiver and shake and cower in corners, and generally behave like real sooks. And the sad thing is that we can’t explain to the dog that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
But I suppose it’s like phobias with people. I confess – I’m terrified of spiders. I know they can’t hurt me (the non-poisonous ones, anyway), and I know they’re a fraction of my size so I could beat them in any fight! But nevertheless, I become a blithering idiot if I even see a spider anywhere near me. It’s a totally irrational fear.
The same with dogs who are afraid of loud noises, I suppose.
My Rottweiler, Kara, was one of those dogs afflicted by an irrational fear of thunder, fireworks, and any sudden, loud noise.
It was a bit embarrassing, really – you’d expect a Rottweiler to be fearless. But mine was a pussy when it comes to this sort of thing!
One New Year’s Eve when I was away, Kara dug her way under the house and escaped (due to being terrified of the fireworks which were going off).
My neighbors had to pick her up from the pound the following morning. Apparently the dog catchers are out in force on New Year’s Eve because they round up many dogs and impound them! A nice little revenue booster for the local authorities. From memory it cost about $100 to get her back.
So what causes a dog to jump a 6 foot fence or burrow their way out under the house when you thought it was impenetrable? It’s anxiety. Dog anxiety.
I’ve found that peppermint oil applied to the pads of her paws has some calming effect.
And a natural stress remedy also works very nicely.
Anxiety in dogs can be caused by any number of things – illness, travel, thunderstorms, death in the family, separation, or they may develop unexplained phobic or neurotic behaviour, or barking or other antisocial behaviour.
If you can identify the cause of the anxiety, then the best solution to the problem is to remove the cause.
This is not always possible, though. If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety every time you leave the house, and you work full time outside the home, you’ve got a problem! I suppose you could give up work and stay home with your dog, but sometimes we need to be a little realistic!
For this particular problem there are a number of things you can do to alleviate your dog’s anxiety when you leave – many people have found that playing soothing music while they’re out works wonders.
Mozart? – that certainly used to calm my hyperactive son down a little, so Mozart would be my personal first choice, but there are many soothing classical and new age, or even some light rock or jazz music might work – try out whatever you have in your CD collection for starters.
Another wonderful idea I read about recently is making a tape recording of your own voice and playing that on a continuous play while you’re gone.
Some years ago, before I became interested in natural remedies for dogs – actually it was following the fireworks incident I mentioned earlier – Kara became quite determined to continue escaping, for some reason.
I suppose once she realized she could get out, she just kept on trying. It became a behavioral issue – a compulsion, even.
Ever heard of a dog with obsessive compulsive disorder? (Just kidding, but it really was becoming a serious problem). She was even destroying part of my house in her determination to try to get through the thick wooden boards I had put up to prevent further escapes.
So I took her to the vet, as I was at a complete loss to know what to do with her. She was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication. This made Kara quite dopey, and seemed to take some of her personality away somehow. In other words, I suppose she appeared drugged. I didn’t like it at all.
Now I know that there are much more pleasant, all natural anxiety treatments for dogs, which have no nasty side effects. And they really do work just as well as the drugs.