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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There鈥檚 no right or wrong answer, I鈥檓 thinking about my options if this situation arises.

Most important goal: poodle puppy who is not afraid of thunder and lightning storms.

Considerations:
puppy sleeps in a crate in a pen at night
puppy is allowed free run of bedroom and is safe
puppy takes occasional naps and spends time on bed before lights out
puppy may need to be crated post operation if he is neutered
puppy appears to do well, not fearful during fireworks and most thunderstorms.

Last night we had an exceptionally bad thunderstorm, lightning strikes close to home, heavy rain and winds, lots of noise with flashing light. Puppy seemed to be mildly uneasy, slightly restless. He was up on the bed with us.

Storm passed before we went to sleep. Puppy was put to bed as usual in crate. He went to sleep and woke to potty at normal time.

Question:
What would you have done if you had to turn out the lights and go to sleep knowing the storm would continue for awhile?
 

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We don't really care about storms, here. The initial crack of thunder makes Dublin startle but he mostly ignores it once it gets going. We were just getting to bed when it started last night. He was already in his crate and i had just turned the lights out. After the initial crack he settled so i left him in his crate. Pretty sure he fell asleep before i did lol.

His sister, on the other hand, was always incredibly anxious and nothing would really settle her during a storm. We just gave her a safe space to hide and let her comfort herself until it was over.

IMO i don't think storms are anything to make a big deal out of. The more YOU make a big deal out of it, the more THEY are going to think there's something to be worried about. If i know a storm is coming or there are severe storms predicted then i'll take Dublin for a slightly longer walk at some point prior to the storm so he can burn some more energy, but that's about it. It's otherwise business as usual.

I actually love storms, so when i hear one is coming i kinda get excited and as a result Dublin doesn't see it as anything bad.

Kiley only hated them because (and this is complete guess work on my part) i made the mistake of bringing her to a fireworks display when she was younger. We weren't super close to it but apparently for her it was close enough. She hadn't had issues with loud noises prior and from then on she would be a mess during fireworks (even far off) and thunder storms.

If your dog is only slightly restless and responds well to distractions you can always give them something high value that they don't always get - stuffed kong, bully stick, puzzle toy, etc. Instead of making it something to be fearful of, make it something they look forward to. Provide a safe place for them to go to if they get anxious, like a dark bathroom or their crate or even your bed. Maybe turn on the TV or play some music as a distraction, or do some light training exercises if they enjoy that.
 

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Agree with above. Just want to add that Mia only reacts to storms when there's the potential for a tornado, making her an effective barometer when deciding when to heed a warning and when to carry on. Warnings are issued county-wide, so a tornado warning may be issued for the entire county when the conditions exist only in a far-flung sliver. Her two most noteworthy reactions were when a tornado touched down 3 miles away and when one drifted up a street less than 1 mile away, but never touched ground. Both times she herded me to the hallway and practically sat on top of me, quaking.
 

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Same here. I don鈥檛 do anything particular when we鈥檙e having thunderstorms. The less you worry about it (sincelrely, because dogs know fake), the less your dog will care.
 

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I would keep treats by my bed. I assume it's the same protocol for thunderstorms as emergency sirens or the brake crack from a bus.

(Sound) (treat)

Then again, I live in the PNW on the side of the mountains where we don't witness thunder and lightening on the regular.

We get an occasional jet or chinook helicopter that buzzes the city.. maybe Basil thinks it's a loud bird, idk lol.

So... Fwiw.
 

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Ritter is now advanced enough in his housebreaking that I can let him loose in the bedroom at night. We were woken last night by a great crack of thunder around midnight. I don't know if it's the right way to handle it, but I invited him up onto the bed. He plastered as much of his body against me as possible and laid his head across my legs. I let him lay there, occasionally stroking his ears after a big boom, and let myself fall back into a doze. Eventually, when the storm was over, he decided he was too hot and jumped back onto the floor. I'm hoping my nonchalant reaction to the storm will give him a reference point for future storms.
 

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Asta is pretty much bomb proofed - he will sleep even when there are thunderstorms. We have a tin roof and I love the sound of rain. He doesn't react.
 
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I live on Florida where thunderstorms are frequent. We have hurricane windows so thunder isn't as loud as it was before they were installed. The biggest thing has been blackout drapes for the bedrooms. For both children and dogs, the bright light while they are trying to sleep seems to bother them more than the loud noise. We also have HEPA filters running which makes a white noise.
 

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I think there鈥檚 something to be said for sticking to a routine. It can be very comforting. But I鈥檇 also be flexible, meaning if puppy wasn鈥檛 settling in the crate, I鈥檇 probably not force it. I don鈥檛 think one night out of the crate鈥攊f a puppy really is generally comfortable in there鈥攊s going to throw off his training.

Peggy slept on the bed for a few nights after her spay and she couldn鈥檛 wait to get back to the crate. Then again, she鈥檚 much older and her routine is very firmly established. We also keep the crate dark, and it鈥檚 not against an outside wall. It really is her safe place.
 

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Happily, Normie's not bothered by thunder or fireworks, but let a car with a bad muffler pass on the highway a mile away at 2 AM and he barks to warn them off.

What to do? Do whatever you plan to continue doing because Puppy is going to insist on it.
 

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Phoebe doesn鈥檛 prefer to be outside when there鈥檚 big thunder, so I do watch the radar to try to catch a break in the storms to plan out her potty breaks, but she has paid no notice to it when inside. There have been some storms that woke me up from a dead sleep, and I鈥檓 not easy to wake up, and Phoebe has been sleeping soundly in her crate. If she was worried about it, I would probably just put her in bed with me until she or the storm calmed down.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It鈥檚 interesting reading about everyone else鈥檚 experience. I need to think some more about what to do in the future. I had tpoo who in her old age developed a serious fear of thunderstorm and I will do anything to avoid that with my current dogs. It鈥檚 so painful to see and you can鈥檛 soothe them, they are beyond threshold

Theo did sleep in the bed when we visited my daughter And went back to the crate when we got home He鈥檚 reliable in the house.
 

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Sophy developed noise phobia in middle age, around 8 or 9 years old. Poppy caught it from her - if brave Sophy was frightened it must be really dangerous. At home Poppy will sleep through thunder storms; Sophy needs a safe space with white noise, company and comforting. In the car the safe crate and car engine noise seem to be enough. Shooting when we are out walking now means treats rain down at every bang - they still don't like the noise but they turn to me for a treat and reassurance rather than making a mad dash for the car.

I think pairing thunder or anything else potentially scary with Good Stuff is generally a good strategy.
 
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I agree with Basil and PtP, understanding this is a new puppy that's not yet solid in routines, and having some flexibility. I have a 12 dog yo with noise phobias and it is the focus of my life during thunderstorms and the 2 month holiday formerly known as Independence Day. Don't know if I missed an opportunity when she was younger (she is a foster failure), but would do anything to avoid this situation with a new puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

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I don't make a bid deal out of loud noises like fireworks, thunder, lightening, dog barking, loud cars, heavy rain, etc. Topper is very tuned to me and will take his cue from me. However, I have to really watch my husband's interactions because he actually taught our former dog to fear thunderstorms by babying him through one when I wasn't home.

I also watch Topper's reaction to noises so we don't overload any triggers. If he starts acting stressed, I start distracting him with one of the Ts - toy, treat or training/tricks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
PowersPup, yes, I would hate to make my puppy fearful by focusing too much on it.
 

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I'm following to see how people respond. All my family dogs growing up were stressed by thunder and fireworks and I'd like to avoid that with Oona.

I think in your position I'd try to counter condition with treats/toys and play if it happens while he's awake (if he's up for playing) but attempt to do bedtime as normal. I wonder if some white noise would help.

Oona has not showed stress with thunder or noise so far but she has noticed the especially loud booms. I understand, though, that dogs can develop this phobia gradually, or later on, and some suggest feeding treats, etc, to counter condition, which I have done a couple of times but never in the middle of the night. Oona sleeps on a separate floor from us and will bark to summon us if she needs us (like if she has tummy distress) but hasn't ever done so at night during storms or other noise. I suspect (and hope) that she has been habituated to weird/loud environment sounds because there has been construction noise very nearby since we brought her home, as well as a train that passes by at night. There does seem to be a fine balance between working to prevent the fear and making too big of a deal out of the event. I do wonder whether there is rhyme or reason to some dogs developing this fear, and whether preventing it is always possible.
 

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I strongly suspect that for some dogs changes to their hearing as they get older make certain noises physically uncomfortable, and it builds from there. The first time I noticed it in Sophy we were out walking when she made it very clear that we should turn around and go home. Only later did I recall that there was shooting going on in the distance, barely noticeable to human ears. From there it escalated, until even the crackling of a newly lit fire upsets her. Poppy, as ever, takes it even further, and leaves the room the moment anyone starts laying a fire!

Eileen Anderson of Eileen and Dogs has a number of helpful posts on noise phobia - I particularly appreciated her research into why it is practically impossible to build a sound excluding crate, which saved me a lot of expensive experimentation! You searched for noise phobia - eileenanddogs
 
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