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Wolfs/Dogs & Thunder

  1. Nov 7, 2005 #1
    Hey all,
    I have been trying to find an answer to this for ages.
    Why is it that dogs are scared of thunder? (or should i say most dogs are)
    I understand them being scared by fireworks, because they are not a natural phenomenon, but thunder... i figure wolfs in the wild would have to learn to deal with it at some point?
    I have googled till my fingers and eyes hurt, but have found nothing concrete.
    does anyone have any ideas/suggestions as to why or where to find out more about this?
    Cheers
    Sarah
    p.s.
    This is mainly because my dog starts shaking when there is even small amounts of thunder, and i am quite worried :S
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2005 #2

    Evo

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    When it thundered my dog would collapse sideways onto the floor and foam at the mouth with his eyes bugged out and rolling in his head. It was terrifying. I was always afraid he was going to have a heart attack. I've never seen a dog do that. Happened every storm.
     
  4. Nov 7, 2005 #3
    wow, thats intense :( is he still ok?

    this is why i want to find out more about why this kind of thing happens to dogs. You would think someone somewhere would have done a study into it at one time or another?! :P
     
  5. Nov 8, 2005 #4
    From petcaretips
    http://www.petcaretips.net/dog_afraid_of_storms.html

    An article in the July/August 2001 issue of the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association describes an Internet survey of the owners of storm-phobic dogs. The authors discovered that some breeds may be predisposed to a fear of storms.

    Herding dogs, such as collies and German shepherds, and hounds, such as beagles and basset hounds, seem to be more likely to develop a storm phobia than other dogs. The phobia is also common in sporting and working breeds.

    The study suggests that this tendency may be explained in terms of the dogs' genetics. For example, herding dogs have been bred to react quickly to stimuli, such as a calf wandering away from the herd, but not to be aggressive. It could be that herding dogs have a strong reaction to the startling noises and flashes of a storm, but they repress any aggressive response to it, causing anxiety.

    The JAAHA study also showed that rescued dogs--dogs adopted from shelters or rescue organizations--may also be more likely to develop storm phobias. The article suggested that these dogs are more likely to have had unpleasant, scary experiences prior to being adopted. They may have been abused or abandoned by a former owner, or they may not have been well socialized or exposed to a wide variety of sights and sounds. These kinds of early-life experiences can make dogs more anxious and prone to all kinds of phobias.

    My dog, which is a working dog, heads under the bed, but the cats tought her that.
     
  6. Nov 8, 2005 #5

    thanks for that, that link looks good! :)

    yeah my friends dog is not scared of thunder but goes nuts when even a small cap gun goes off a few blocks away
     
  7. Nov 8, 2005 #6

    Evo

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    My dog died recently but he was a Brittany Spaniel, many people use them as hunting dogs, which coincides with the finding from the study Hypatia posted.
     
  8. Nov 11, 2005 #7

    Ouabache

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    I used to have a dog that was scared of thunder and firecrackers. I think she was whippet x terrier mix. She was an amiable dog and liked to run. I would even describe her personality as a bit high-strung. Whenever there was thunder or even firecrackers going off outside, she would tremble, whine and then crawl underneath anything I was sitting on. The bed or couch were her favorite choices. It was amazing to see her squeeze herself under the couch, the space did not appear accomodating to her size. Whippets were once used to hunt rabbits and also to race, the latter just like their close-cousin greyhounds. As a hunter or sporting dog, mine also falls inline with the breeds prone to this phobia according to that study.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2005
  9. Nov 11, 2005 #8
    Dogs have been domistacted for 14,000 years I think they probally got use to being in shelters during thunder storms.
     
  10. Nov 11, 2005 #9

    Ouabache

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    Our vet prescribed tranquilizers, to give our dog when she totally wigged out.. Some DVMs claim having a successful therapy to treat canine noise-phobia.

    Two basic techniques of behavior modification are routinely employed in treating dogs with noise phobia: desensitization and counter-conditioning. reference (look towards the end of that webpage)
     
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