Finn has a lot of fears. We’ve been working on them one by one ever since we brought him home.
He is especially frightened of thunder.
In the beginning, I was afraid to leave Finn home alone during a storm. He had what I considered to be beyond “normal” thunderstorm anxiety (if there’s such a thing as normal). I quite literally thought Finn was going to have a heart attack. He would submissively pee. Get a vacant look in his eyes. Pace and shake uncontrollably. Not respond to his name…or any voice, for that matter.
I couldn’t reach him no matter what I tried. Flower essences did nothing. Desensitization? Nada. He could tell a fake storm from the real thing. Dryer sheets made no noticeable change.
Initially, the vet put Finn on Prozac so I could start working with him. After a month, I took Finn off of it. He had made some small improvements and my intuition was telling me that the Prozac wasn’t helping any more. My vet wanted to up the dosage but I wanted to try something different.
I learned T-Touch. It’s a combination of massage and acupressure that can help alleviate certain ailments, in Finn’s case lessen stress and anxiety. I created a “safe place” for Finn to hide: the shower. I loaded it up with my old robes and towels. When a storm hits, Finn runs to his spot to escape.
Finn is still frightened of thunderstorms, but he’s made great progress. Last Saturday, we had a small storm pass through. Finn was visibly upset. I took out some treats to see if I could get him to work.
You could see his brain working.
He did his “sit”, “shake” and “touch”. His trick repertoire expands much farther than that but this was all Finn could manage for the moment.
I was so proud – this was major for him.
I’m planning on trying the Thundershirt and see if that helps.
Anyone else out there with a thunder-phobic dog?