Guest Post by Tilda Moore
If you’re a first-time dog owner, you may not realize that some dogs have thunder phobia, and you may not know how to handle your pup when she cowers at the sound of thunder or goes running off during a hurricane. Preparing your dog for the fears she may face during extreme weather is important if you want to keep your dog safe. Some dogs are more sensitive than others, but being prepared is always best. Here are a few ways you can handle a weather-sensitive dog.
- Buy the Necessary Supplies
Being physically prepared for any extreme weather is a key aspect of being a pet owner. You should have enough pet food to last several days, a “safe space” for your dog, and first aid supplies. A kennel, favorite bed, or one of your worn clothing items (so that it has your scent, which is comforting to your dog) are some options for preparing your dog’s safe space.
Dogs that fear thunder may also benefit from anxiety aids such as calm drops or treats and Thunder Shirts. Dogs that have temperature sensitivities will need garments such as coats, vests, rain jackets, waterproof boots, and paw protectors. You might also consider putting up a pet gate to keep your dog secured in a safe room.
- Know Your Dog
Getting to know your dog is critical in anticipating how she will react to extreme weather. You should know your dog’s breed as well as personality in order to identify what fears and behaviors are likely. Certain breeds like Chihuahuas cannot handle extreme temperatures of any kind and do not tolerate water well, for instance.
You should always have weather-resistant and temperature-regulating clothing on hand for dogs sensitive to extreme temperatures, rain, or similar situations. Your dog, even if purebred, is unique and may react poorly to the sounds or sights of extreme weather. Be sure you know how your dog behaves when exposed to alarming stimuli.
Make sure others who may take care of your dog are aware of your dog’s sensitivities and behaviors as well. For example, if you hire a dog walker, advise them accordingly.
- Focus on Proper Training
A well-trained dog will not bolt even when she is afraid. Your dog should have proper obedience training from you or a professional. She should know basic commands and should be reliable in the face of dire circumstances.
For example, a well-trained dog may hear thunder during a severe storm but will continue to obey its owner, keeping it safe from the storm, while a poorly or untrained dog may dart into danger, possibly becoming lost or injured. The last thing you need during extreme weather is to be out looking for your terrified dog.
Your dog should also know any safety procedures. For example, if your family evacuates to a storm shelter during a tornado warning, your dog should learn a command to follow the family into the shelter and stay put. If your dog has been trained how to react to severe weather, she will be calmer for the duration of the event.
Keeping your new pup safe during extreme weather can seem like a daunting task. As a new owner, you might not know what your dog needs from you to feel safe during these frightening events. The most important things you can do are be physically prepared, observe your dog and her personality so that you may better predict her reaction to weather, and keep up with obedience training. With these precautions, your dog will be much safer and happier in the event of extreme weather.
Tilda Moore’s mission is aligned with that of Open Educators (http://openeducators.org/), providing engaging educational resources to teachers and parents.
Image via Pixabay by Republica