Your loyal companion is your home’s fierce protector who typically stands up to all intruders. So it seems odd that they bolt under the table when there’s a bit of thunder or lightning outside.
We all have phobias, or that one thing that just really gets us, and dogs are no different. You might be asking yourself “Why is my dog afraid of… hardwood floors, thunder, the dark, fireworks, water” or any number of other things.
You’re not alone. Most dogs have some sort of phobia that gets them every time.
Here are some of the most common things they may be afraid of and what you can do about it.
This is a very common fear and it’s likely caused by one of two things.
First of all, we don’t have to tell you that a dog’s paws are not designed to walk on smooth floors. They can’t use their toes or claws to get the same traction that they get on rugs or grass. This may have caused them to take a particularly tough tumble that hurt them and created a fear of these surfaces.
It’s also possible that a rescue dog may have been harshly punished for walking on hardwood floors, so now they want nothing to do with them.
There are plenty of products like wax and booties that you can get to help your furry little friend gain some traction. Or, you can purchase a traction mat or area rug for them to walk on. You can also encourage them to walk on the floors with treats and love as a reward.
Also, it never hurts to keep their claws trimmed.
Thunder, Lightning and Fireworks
To be honest, a sudden and loud clap of thunder is enough to make most of us jump. It’s not hard to understand this fear.
However, it can be a bit messy when the startled pooch jumps up and leaves a trail of pee or poo behind them as they run away.
This is not something your dog will simply grow out of. The fear will persist into adulthood and could get even worse if you don’t take steps to help them.
The first thing you should do is use something like PawPad bed covers to keep their accidents from ruining your bed covers. A PawPad® is waterproof, absorbent and lightweight. It goes into the washing machine and dryer for quick clean-up. They come in different colours to match your bedroom’s décor.
You can also try distracting your dog with play or music while the storm is going on. This may not be 100% effective, but your calmness and affection will go a long way to making them feel better.
You’ll also want to create a safe space for them to go when a storm hits. This could be their crate (with the door open), a bathroom, or a closet filled with blankets. Make sure it’s a quiet place, where you can easily pet them and comfort them.
However, if your dog has severe anxiety during thunderstorms, you might want to talk to your vet about other possible solutions to treat their anxiety.
Remember, like any good parent, you’re the most important part of your fur-baby overcoming their phobia. You need to take an active role and treat them with love and support. Always reward their calm and brave behaviour, or they will never overcome their fears.