Thunderstorm Therapy

Bean, aka Beanface the Fearful, is terrified of thunderstorms. She becomes a panting, pacing, drooling, shaking, super-sonic-whining ball of terror anytime it even begins to rain. She likes to stand directly under my feet, or under my armpit, or wherever is under some part of my body. I love her to death, but there are times (like when going to the bathroom) when this arrangement of fur-to-flesh is definitely sub-optimal. If I leave fur/flesh contact with her, even to be a mere two feet away in the bathroom, she’ll stand as if paralyzed wherever I leave her and act like she can’t move until I resume contact. There’s also the other stuff that comes with nerves, like shredding things or digging furiously at the carpet or relieving herself inside that is really not awesome at all (she can’t help it, I understand and she never gets punished, but still… not only do I have leaky windows, but I have a leaky dog! I ought to buy stock in Bounty paper towels for how many we go through in the average storm).

Since Virginia is in the middle of thunderstorm season, I ordered Bean the ever-popular Thundershirt (in pink rugby, of course). This really does help – it cuts down on the shaking and pacing and she no longer needs complete contact – but it wasn’t cutting the drooling and whining.

I’ve been meaning to give Through A Dog’s Ear a try for awhile now, and tonight seemed the perfect chance – we’re having a pretty ugly storm right now, and bonus: they have digital downloads. Perfect since I’m working on the computer.

No lie: Bean is sleeping ON THE FLOOR. DURING A THUNDERSTORM. I still can’t believe it. She has her little Thundershirt on, and is currently listening to Reverie on the “Calm Your Companion: Vol 2” CD. In the year and a half I’ve had her, we’ve spent every thunderstorm either holding her or sitting next to her and petting her or having her pace around the room with her ears flattened to her head.

And she is sleeping right now.

Under my desk.

During a loud storm.

Listening to piano music.

If you would have told me with any degree of seriousness that my dog would be sleeping during a thunderstorm this morning, I would have laughed at you. I mean really laughed. Not just a mere chuckle, no. I may have actually fallen over laughing, because my dog has never even SAT DOWN during a thunderstorm.

We all have to be wrong sometime.

If you’ve got a dog that has anxiety, I cannot recommend this highly enough. Go, check it out, and be amazed.

Music to Calm Your Canine Companion, Vol. 2, Through a Dog's Ear by Lisa Spector and Joshua Leeds



About Mel

Likes: Canada, spelunking, shiny objects, painting her living room a different color every couple of months, animals, dogs, clicker training Dislikes: Canada, styrofoam packing peanuts, snoring, crazy stalkers, failure of google-fu Favorite sports: hockey, marriage, agility, curling, hockey, snooker, hockey Noted for: participation in charities, antique furniture obsession, not-entirely-appropriate sense of humor, obsession with dog training
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10 Responses to Thunderstorm Therapy

  1. Sounds very cool. Miss Sadie Lou has always had issues with thunderstorms. We may need to look into this. Thank you for sharing. : )

    • Mel says:

      You’re welcome! I hope it helps. I didn’t really know if just music would help my dog, but this is the calmest she’s been during a storm in … well, ever. Good luck!

  2. Pingback: The Semi-Epic Road-Trip-With-Dogs Post | Doggerelle

  3. jan says:

    Wanted on the email list. am sending on the storm info to several people. thanks!

  4. Mel, thanks for the you think it would calm a dog without her vest on as well?

    • Mel says:

      Yes, absolutely. In fact, I’ve noticed no appreciable difference with or without the vest (except she isn’t right-under-my-feet clingy), but bringing her into a room with the music has an almost immediate calming effect. It seems to be working over time, as well, because her reaction to a sudden storm this afternoon was not nearly as panicky as she normally is, though she was still nervous. I turned on the CD, and within a few minutes, she went and laid down on the floor.

  5. OK, I’m ordering today! I tightly wrap Murphy in a towel and put a lot of pressure on him to no avail. He can’t stop the shaking and panting. We have almost daily storms here in Florida now…

  6. Pingback: Update: Thunderstorm Therapy | Doggerelle

  7. Pingback: Through a Dog's Ear - Using music and sound to improve the lives of dogs... and their people!

  8. Pingback: Through a Dog's Ear - Using music and sound to improve the lives of dogs... and their people!

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