Friday, October 29, 2010

Calming Common Dog Fears

On a dark and stormy night as the thunder rolls in, do you find your dog cowering under the table? You’re not alone! Fear of loud noises, including thunder, is a common issue with dogs. Your pup can develop sound sensitivities between the ages of two and four, and they tend to get worse with age. Dogs that are afraid of thunder usually are triggered by some external force. They can sense that a storm is coming by the increasing wind or even the darkening sky. The American Kennel Club® offers the following tips on how to calm your dog’s fears.

* Try a desensitization program. Get a tape recording of the sound of thunder and introduce the noise at a very low level, gradually increasing the volume and giving praise when your pooch does not run and hide from the noise. This does require a great deal of time and patience on your part.

* Divert your dog’s attention from the noise by playing a fun game with her at the right moments to turn the bad triggers into positive ones.

* See if your pup will eat her favorite treats during the storm. If she does, then giving her one will help keep her engaged when the thunder strikes.

* Your veterinarian may suggest treating your dog with tranquilizers or herbal mixtures before a storm approaches. Sometimes these work, but they are not guarantees.

Additional information on caring for your dog can be found on the AKC website at www.akc.org.

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