German Shepherd Dog > Dogs vs Fireworks/Storms (44 replies)
by mollyandjack on 02 July 2012 - 19:10
|I tend to agree with Niesia, as I've owned sound sensitive dogs as well. They do not get better but can learn to manage their fears somewhat. They tend to be afraid of a wide variety of noises. Dawulf, if she's truly never shown any sensitivity to sound before, then give her some time, DON'T let anyone baby her and try to keep the other dog away as others have mentioned. She will recover if it's in her to do so.|
by workingdogz on 02 July 2012 - 21:25
No one is saying Dawulf's dog is a crapbag,
we are just presenting opinions based on many
years of training with a variety of dogs, breeds,
bloodlines etc. Shit happens. If Dawulf removes
any stimulus (frisbee) etc and places her dog into
more and more new situations, she will likely start
to see more of this sensitivity. Every dog on this
earth has 'some' kind of issue. It's really not the
end of the world. She will only be able to really
help the dog if she is honest with herself about
where the issue is coming from, and not blaming
the other dog etc.
And yes, dogs exposed to war are just ever so
slightly different than simple fireworks
by Niesia on 02 July 2012 - 21:52
Not necessarily so different as you say.
Do you know a dog who hearing a thunderstorm will get excited and say "Dad, dad, let's go outside! - It's so much fun! Let's run around in a heavy rain while the thunders are making a light spectacle and the air is filled with electricity!" ?
Mine, will go outside in those conditions with me quite happily, but they will give me a 'dirty look' if I send them out there alone to do their business... But, my dogs are house dogs and not rugged outdoor kennel beasts.
by beetree on 02 July 2012 - 22:26
|My black GSD would do that, he'd wanted to attack the thunder and lightening. He'd almost break the slider trying to get out, bolt to the end of the field and bark like mad. |
I think my current one is showing a distinct predilection to sensing coming storms, and to want to get in the house, the tiny guest bathroom seems to be a favorite choice. Loud noises don't seem to bother him, like the backfire of a motorcycle; we shoot off fireworks, he tolerates them and he's certainly not like that crazy black shepherd! I mean, don't you think something had to be a little off with a dog that wanted to attack the thunder, too?
by Dawulf on 02 July 2012 - 23:10
|You all seem to have missed this part of my previous post...|
"...she comes with me to work every night, to which we encounter huge semi's, trashtrucks, even helicopters from time to time that shake the building/parking lot we are on/in... those totally DO NOT effect her. I should also mention the occaisional gunshot and god only knows what else that she just shrugs off. Oh, and she was also with me in the car accident that totaled both the van we were driving and the car that hit us."
If she is genetically sound sensitive or whatever, why do none of these sounds effect her, hmm?
Just last night we were sitting in a parking lot, when a semi-truck came jake-breaking (I think thats what its called...?) illegally down the road not 20 feet from us. That is not quiet. That is loud as crap... and she slept right through it.
The ONLY sound-sensitivity she ever shows is to the fireworks and t-storms. I have to wonder if part of the firework thing is the smoke/fire smell outside also.
by Dawulf on 02 July 2012 - 23:13
|Majorie - thank you, I've wondered if those work or not. For Yapper, at least.... I will look into those too.|
by Niesia on 02 July 2012 - 23:27
I don't think I missed your point as I don't think you have any 'genetic' sound sensitiveness issue with your dog. I also think that Yapper may have influence over her.
If you ever try those natural herbal remedies, please remember to keep us updated how it worked out for you. It would be beneficial for others with same issue.
by Dawulf on 02 July 2012 - 23:45
Aak, sorry Niesa, I meant to thank you for your post above as well. And I will let you all know, definantly.
by Gustav on 03 July 2012 - 00:18
|Dawulf, I read your first post two or three times to make sure i got it right....it appeared to me you were seeking help on incidents that you described that I have seen many many times in years past. You wrote a pretty clear post. Now you seem to be clear about what is the issue and where it comes from, and things aren't what I perceived myself reading. I'm glad you got a handle on things that quickly.....Best of luck with your girl.|
by Napleskerri on 03 July 2012 - 02:30
|I am new to this website but this post is very active in my mind right now with July 4th right around the corner. Tomorrow I am picking up my new GSD puppy and I am super excited, but I am worried about the fireworks that are inevitable just the next night she's home. I'm considering turning up the music up very loud ( or TV) to muffle some of the noise, and try to act normal ( other than acting deaf). I have 2 other dogs ( wheaten terriers). One is oblivous to the noise of thunderstorms/fireworks, the other, 5 year old female is a nervous wreck. One firework boom, or thunder clap will leave her shaking uncontrollably and drooling for an hour or more. The Thundershirt did NOTHING for her. Tomorrow she has her annual vet visit and I'm hoping she'll have a good suggestion for me. |
So I have new puppy to worry about, and Bailey whom I will probably have to separate from her so she doesn't mirror her.
by Jenni78 on 03 July 2012 - 03:53
|Dawulf, I would honestly try some herbal or homeopathic remedies- maybe some for vaccinosis as well as anxiety. In a situation as you're describing, you have to wonder what the heck changed. The only thing that jumps out at me from our conversations is the battery of vaccines she received all at once prior to her coming to you. That just makes zero sense (unless it's simply a matter of her behaving in the way that gets results) for a dog to go from zero noise issues, riding in small planes, large jets, gunshots, and plenty of large storms to a dog who is bothered by fireworks. Just weird. Noise sensitivity is common enough, but not sudden, at 4+ years old.|
by Hundmutter on 03 July 2012 - 09:52
|Dawolf - this may help you in what you are doing, if you can find 'em ?|
In the UK there are a variety of "sound sensitisation" and "theatrical sound effects" tapes & CDs available, which have
been used quite successfully by trainers and behaviourists. Can't believe they won't have these in the States also ?
You start off playing thunder or fireworks really quietly as background noise; reward calm behaviour; very gradually
up the volume, keep rewarding relaxed dogs; after around a week or so of these stages, you can get them ignoring
really loud sounds.
If you can't find them in a 'real' music store maybe you can make up your own off the 'Net ?
Cannot promise you it will always work but it is worth a try - I haven't had to use this method very much as my dogs
haven't in general been worried by storms / fireworks / guns, but the time or two I did try it it got a reasonable
degree of success, and quite quickly.
by EuroShepherd on 03 July 2012 - 10:04
I've had something odd happen in my household, 2 out of our 8 dogs suddenly developed some fearfulness to thunderstorms a few months ago. One of them is my 4 yr old female chihuahua mix and the other is one of my dad's male GSDs, 3 yrs old. Neither of them are having really bad reactions and neither of them are escalating in their fearfulness.
My chi mix simply burrows under the covers of my bed and shivers and my dad's male GSD wants to crawl up in someone's lap or if it is nighttime and we're asleep he goes into one of our bedrooms and tries to lay directly on top of the person in bed...basically he wants to be held like a baby.
I'm baffled at what caused both dogs to suddenly start this stuff, they did not start at the same time, my chi mix started first and a few weeks later the GSD started. Given their ages I don't think it's genetic. Both dogs seem to be getting better, the GSD has pretty much stopped reacting and my chi mix doesn't shiver as much.
by marjorie on 04 July 2012 - 03:46
|---> I wondered if that Thunder shirt worked or not??|
I used it for Joss, after people I know raved about it. They give a money back guarantee. Joss passed his temperament test with flying colors. I didnt even know they shot off a gun at temperament tests, but they did at Joss's and he didnt flinch. He never had a problem until one July 4th, when he was older, and my neighbor's kids set off an M-80, next to our house. We have a large house, yet the whole house literally shook! I was standing in our marble bathroom, and I swear, the whole house moved- after I noticed the grout had cracked on the walls!!! I thought it was an explosion, it was so strong- it sure as hell sounded like one, and it came out of nowhere. After that incident, Joss became afraid of thunder, if it was directly overhead. The thundershirt worked well for him. There is nothing to lose by trying it, as there is a money back guarantee. Its easy to put on, and I was so glad my friends who tried it told me about it. It made a BIG difference.
Strong nerves are one thing, but only a stupid dog would never react to anything. Every living creature and being has its breaking point, and there is no such thing as a person who doesnt get upset, or stressed, at one point or another.
http://www.gsdbbr.org The German Shepherd Dog Breed Betterment Registry
http://mzjf.com --> The Degenerative Myelopathy Support Group http://www.mzjf.info/hgate Heaven's Gate
by workingdogz on 04 July 2012 - 09:43
No one said a dog cannot 'react' to a loud sound etc. THAT is
not an issue, in fact, I don't believe many would want a dog
that didn't have some sort of reaction.
However, the 'panic/fear' type reaction described by Dawulf is
not a reaction of a strong nerved dog.
Dogs can/should 'startle', it's how they recover that is the real
This is also not a 'one time' event according to Dawulf's own words.
This is a standard reaction to fireworks and storms from her dog.
I'm sorry of that was not the answer you were looking for Dawulf.
Had I known you just wanted people to say 'oh thats normal', I would
not have bothered to repsond. Not all in life with dogs is sunshine and
happiness. Sometimes one must take the rose colored glasses off.
Happy 4th everyone, I hope your dogs fare ok through the fireworks.
by Gustav on 04 July 2012 - 12:20
|It's funny, because last night I wrote a post at 2am that said the same thing as workings dogs, then after reading it I said the heck with this, let people believe what they want and feel good. The issue isn't that a dog won't react, but rather how they react. When you are paid to help people with problem dogs, the first thing you learn is to assess causation. Abuse, environment, genetics, or combination of the three, or some of the three. Any good dog trainer can look at a dog interact for 15minutes and be pretty spot on in determining which of the above three is having primary influence on the problem,( in this case noise sensitivity) now I am excluding illness or older age cause OP did not indicate those factors were involved. The point is you have a hard time fixing something if you approach it without knowing causation. From the initial post of Dawulf, I have seen that set of circumstances many many times, and though it may not be exclusively weak nerves, dogs with strong nerves don't have this issue. We have to remember there are various degrees of nerves. I see this ALL the time when we wash out a dog from police academy from the sport world. It is almost always rooted in weak nerves, though the behavioral action, may be lack of courage, unsureness in strange environments, surface insecurities, noise sensitivities , reluctance in buildings at night, and others. But dogs with strong nerves do not have problems with any of those things and pass the academy. Many dogs are strong in some of the above mentioned things but fail dismally in others, while some dogs will marginally tolerate the above things but can't operate on full bore when these things are present....nerves. Dawulf, based on what you initially wrote, I felt this was part of the reason.....hey but maybe it isn't. Like I said...Good Luck to you and your dog.|
by Jenni78 on 04 July 2012 - 13:05
|The part being somewhat missed, it seems, is that the dog is nearly 5 years old and this just started. Why? What happened? THAT is why Dawulf is having a hard time accepting the "purely genetics" answer, imo. I am not getting that she just doesn't want to accept that the dog has weak nerves and wanted people to say it's "normal"; she knows damn well it's not normal or she wouldn't be asking about it. The lack of acceptance, in my opinion, is based on the fact that it took the dog over 4 years to ever have a reaction like that which makes the "genetics" answer a tough pill to swallow. I tend to agree; this dog was as solid as they come her entire life, been lots of places, stayed with different people, in and out of airplaned, trained/tested under gunshots, and now all of a sudden she doesn't like storms that she used to not even bother to come into the house in??? Rather odd, imho.|
by gaf on 04 July 2012 - 13:46
Interesting & even on topic.
by Gustav on 04 July 2012 - 14:01
|Very good article Gaf!|
by Kalibeck on 04 July 2012 - 19:51
|Dawulf- you said this dog survived your car accident & 'shrugged it off'? Maybe not....|
could that have been the traumatic episode that precipitated this new behavior? Most car accidents have a LOT of loud noise, although we humans don't focus on the noise so much, we focus on what we saw, especially if you're the driver. But your dog would certainly remember those noises....just a thought.
How you can recover a dog from such an event, I would like to learn, as well.
And I wondered about the thundershirt, too! That article offers some insight into why it works, by dissipating static build-up in the dog's fur!
And Jenni, I'd call authorities, too. That's not right. We have rednecks that think torturing animals is fun around here, too. You have to be persistant & consistant, but eventually they 'get it' if you call the authorities EVERY time...just watch out they don't try poison in the meantime!
I'm lucky, I guess. My dogs have no reaction whatsoever. They've been hearing these noises now & then since puppyhood, & it doesn't affect the household routine, so it doesn't affect them, I guess.