German Shepherd Dog > Dogs vs Fireworks/Storms (44 replies)
Dogs vs Fireworks/Storms
by Dawulf on 01 July 2012 - 05:16
Title pretty much says it all... My GSD, Qira, is NOT enjoying the nice little tornado alley thunderstorms, and now that firework season has begun she's got me at wit's end. I am pretty sure it is our other dog that has started her on this... Yapper is an absolute wuss - scared of his own shadow. I am pretty sure they just feed off of eachother, because he is worse then he has ever been now too.
by Niesia on 01 July 2012 - 07:21
|One dog I had years ago was terrified of storms - we finally found one spot that made her happy - dark bathroom with no windows (and she would have to be locked inside to be happy - she wouldn't like the door left open). She was more than happy to spend the whole night there if necessary - no mess, no hysteria, just content dog laying on the bathroom rug.|
I am lucky that my GSDs are OK with storms and fireworks and they don't freak out. My boy couldn't care less (he snores loudly thru it), so my older girl is acting much more relaxed (than years back) when it is happening now.
I would advise caution with relaxants/sedatives.
One training class I went to (for few lessons), the 'trainer' suggested medications to relax a dog that acted stressed by the whole thing. Next time, the dog was on drugs and a total nutcase. She turned from bad to worse, she didn't know what was happening to her and in combination to the stress factor she went bonkers (didn't know whether it should be running away or attacking). The dog had to be taken away.
by Siantha on 01 July 2012 - 08:32
|socalization from a young dog. :\ i take my guys everywhere and expose them to every sound possable. stop at the train tracks and took my girly out of the car just to sit and watch it go by blowing its horn ect. fire trucks ect. payed off when we had to heli certify in sar she marched right up to the heli and jumped in when most the other dogs where trying to run from it she was just happy with it.|
by workingdogz on 01 July 2012 - 11:37
|Nerve issues/sound sensitivity, it's genetic.|
This is not something she 'learned' from
your other dog.
Stop baby talking her, you make it worse.
You are basically telling her it's ok to be afraid.
And in fact encouraging more anxiety/fear.
Ignore unwanted behavior, try distracting her
with a toy/some play. Ask for obedience exercises
from her. All you can really do is try to get her
attention away from whats causing the fear/anxiety
in her, but you won't ever 'overcome' it. It will always
show itself when she is stressed.
Check in to some herbal remedies for her.
by vivek on 01 July 2012 - 13:08
|Dawulf, maybe the AT&T National is running at the golf course !|
One simple solutiom, put cotton in your dog's ears. They will be at peace from fireworks !!!!!!!
by Jenni78 on 01 July 2012 - 14:09
|What's the difference between coming home to a busted kennel and a huge mess with or without a storm? I've done that many times, sans storm. LOL|
I disagree that dogs don't feed off of each other, especially when they see that it gets results, like your "babytalk" experience, or in the case of a new dog following what the established dogs in the house currently do. A dog is fine, a person coddles it, it reacts accordingly....I think it's possible and I have seen similar things before. Herbal remedies might be a good idea though if she is really now reacting to storms and fireworks, or keep the GSD away from the little dog who has always been scared of them, since this is a new behavior for the GSD.
Speaking of fireworks, last night my hillrod neighbors decided to shoot off about 4 grand finale's worth of them right into my yard. I didn't know, of course, that they were shooting them in that direction. I had dogs outside and when I went to get them to go to bed, they were in the dogloo on the deck, which was really odd. I've never known them to be the least bit noise-sensitive so I figured maybe they just thought they were sleeping out there since it was much later than I usually bring them in. Well, this morning I went outside to let check the fence as I always do before I let the Chihuahua out, and my deck was COVERED with remains of fireworks. There were literally hundreds of hard rubber torpedo-like tubes all over the place. No wonder they went in the doghouse-they were getting PELTED with the $h!+!!!! Pissed off doesn't cover it...these are puppies. Noises are no big deal; I never shelter dogs from noise, but keep your illegal, white trash entertainment in your own backyard, please, and don't hit my dogs with shrapnel! I guess when your IQ is 78 and you drink too much, you think it's funny to shoot them at your neighbor's house and dogs. I collected one large stainless dog bowl worth and that was just what I picked up in my bare feet without wandering all over my yard. Haven't decided what to do about that yet.
by 3Shep2 on 01 July 2012 - 14:29
|Genetics-I doubt-I've two full sisters-one couldn't care less, the other becomes very "uncomfortable" around fireworks, gunshots and thunderstorms-I refuse to react to the noise, going about our normal routine. Now the old male I had got to the point he would basically attack the front door to get inside then as years passed had to be allowed into the back bedroom to find any comfort and we reside in an earth berm house which muffle outside noises quite well.|
by Dawulf on 01 July 2012 - 21:57
|Thanks for all the comments on this.|
Vivek - the AT&T National doesn't, but in August the Cox Classic will.... to which also ends in a big firework show. Cotton in their ears though... I wonder if that would hold. Will try it, thanks!
I also have to doubt genetics. Her bloodlines are as good as any, and you see plenty of aunts/uncles/half-sisters/half-brothers/cousins/nieces/nephews/etc. running around... and I doubt those lines would be near as popular if they were all afraid of fireworks.
I think another issue is that for the first *real* thunderstorm we had since I got her, I was out of town... and it was a doozy. She was home with my dad and grandma, dad being the baby-talking, snugglesnuggle culprit, and when he also left, I guess she attempted climbing into Gma's lap... nonexistant lap, I should say (the image in my mind still makes me laugh...). We are coming along on those though... she'll jump through fire for that damn frisbee, and is perfectly happy/content with playing in the middle of a storm... thunder, lightning, rain... doesn't matter.
It is very weird... 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 don't 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. A tad shaken at first (no where near to the extent that we were), but was absolutely fine by the time we got back on the road. Which is why I honestly think its her feeding off of Yapper (he is really bad... he WAS the poorly socialized puppy, possibly slightly abused, been shuffled from home-to-home before we got him... he has come quite a ways since we got him, however still has a long way to go... but he is 12 now, so he is pretty established like this). That, or the baby-talking bullshit.... likely both.
I probably should have added that to the first post, but that was typed up in a hurry before work, so sue me. :P
What I meant by her being fine if shes with me, is only during thunderstorms. Fireworks are... "new" since I've had her, so we're still working on those.
Haha, Jen... last time she busted out was before I dewormed her and she had the shits... assuming she had to GO, and came home to the busted kennel and dog crap allllllll over my bed. *yay*
As for keeping her away from Yapper... that works, but when he is yiping, scratching at the carpet and howling *if his daddy isn't home... otherwise he just hides* it don't help much.
And I would be FURIOUS if that happened here... your poor guys! I don't blame them for hiding out in the dog house. You said it is illegal? Maybe turn 'em in?
One thing is definantly for sure... I will be happy when the 4th is past!
by Dawulf on 01 July 2012 - 22:00
*forgot to add thanks to the cat where my keyboard should be*
by MightyZeus on 01 July 2012 - 22:37
|Jenni I feel for you, I've neighbours that are just like that and a word of advise, don't entertain them or engage in their games as you'll never win. I have a house wife that does nothing with her spare time but plot ways on irritating us, she's stolen pups and all. I've extended the height of my fences bordering them and have had peace since, with their lack of education, I would be expecting too much of them to turn out otherwise.|
Back to Dawulf, I don't know whether this would help but here's an old Cesar Milan episode about a Bomb Detecting lab that suffered post-traumatic-stress and developed a fear for loud sounds (thunder storms/ gunfire, etc). They managed to rehabilitate him, I thought the techniques that Cesar employed were impressive. Pity I couldn't find a video with the full episode (the name of the episode is "Shell Shocked" from Season 4, Episode 10) as this would show the dog being taken to the gun range also, I'll keep on looking for you. Here the other link so far: http://youtu.be/myAhcWEv56Y
by marjorie on 02 July 2012 - 04:05
|The thundershirt works quite well. I know many who have used them.http://www.thundershirt.com/ |
by yellowrose of Texas on 02 July 2012 - 04:40
| I wondered if that Thunder shirt worked or not??|
WOW DO not need it myself but my daughters little schnauzer needs it and we talked about it the other night when they came to eat GUMBO..
Was gonna ask if anyone has tried it..before we buy one.
by workingdogz on 02 July 2012 - 10:56
If you follow that train of thought, we would all have
complete litters that don't have HD/ED, EPI, cancer etc.
Shit happens. And whilst there is indeed a large group of
relations from your dogs lines, I can put money on the fact
not all of them are the poster children for solid temperment,
nerve and good health.
It's not the end of the world if your dog has some nerve issue,
every dog has some kind of issue. Fireworks are evidently her
For those that want to believe this is not a sign of a nerve issue,
all I can say is, it's no wonder we have such fucked up nerve/temperment
in this breed. Making excuses for issues is exactly that-making excuses.
Dogs do in fact feed off each others displayed actions, however, what I
was referring to is, one dog cannot CREATE a fear issue in another dog.
Once again, if one believes it can, well, it certainly explains a lot.
While the dog may in fact feed off the others actions, when the same dog
is removed from the other dogs presence, the issue should not continue.
Or at least lessen in it's severity.
Thats not the case with Dawulfs dog as demonstrated by her own words.
Praising/babying the dog while it shows fear is in fact rewarding the
unwanted behavior, and in fact encouraging it. The dog is being lavished with
baby talk and 'cuddles' for showing fear. You don't think a dog 'gets that'?
As far as to why she can play during a storm etc, it's very simple Dawulf,
you are providing her with a distraction. She obviously loves to play, so, she
can 'block' anything unpleasant going on in her world while you play.
Her prey drive is allowing her to block out/mask something unpleasant
and stressful to her.
Most gunshy dogs are 'conditioned' to gunfire by using this same type of
method, or others that are much less pleasant for them.
Continue to work with your dog, but try to get out and experience some
training groups, it will help you better understand the componants of
temperment, nerve etc. This is one of the main reasons it is SO very
important for people to get out of their backyards and train somewhere.
Apply pressure to the dog, see where the 'cracks' are in the dogs make up.
This is the ONLY educated way one can make breeding choices.
Sitting at home surfing over pedigrees, emailing and posting on bulletin boards
will only teach you so much. One must get out and DO.
The dog that acts fine in it's backyard might shit it's pants at the
grocery store parking lot etc etc.
Good luck with your dog Dawulf .
Fear/anxiety issues in dogs are seemingly almost as stressful on their
owners as well.
by Gustav on 02 July 2012 - 14:55
|Sound sensitivity is usually based in genetics and weak nerves. And here is an eye opener for newbies.....dogs that are genetically weak can come from the same litters as other dogs in the litter that shown no signs.|
by Red Sable on 02 July 2012 - 14:58
|Great post as usual WD. And Gustav!|
It is very obvious from posts, who on here actually know what they are talking about when it comes to dogs.
Thank goodness there are a few left on this board.
Some things you just can't find out by using Google.
by beetree on 02 July 2012 - 16:23
|Couldn't an originally "good nerve" dog, develop PTSD like reactions to Fireworks/Storms due to some kind of severe trauma or experience over time?|
by Niesia on 02 July 2012 - 17:47
|MightyZeus, I disagree with you regarding the neighbors who 'play games' with you. I never let anybody play games with me. Especially if it is illegal and can hurt me, my dogs or my kids.|
Jenni78 - call police and report them, if not, 'neighbors' will think you are a sissy and they can do it to you whenever they feel like it... If you don't stop it now - it will get worse in the future. And if something like this happens again (maybe, God forbid, injuring one of your dogs) - the first question police will ask you is: "Why didn't you report it before?"
In my town, illegal shooting of fireworks is treated very seriously by police. Every year there are serious injuries and houses burned down by illegal shootings. I wouldn't mind if shooters injured themselves or burned down they own homes, but unfortunately it's usually the neighbors who get hurt and loose their homes...
by Niesia on 02 July 2012 - 18:06
|Regarding 'Sound sensitivity' - there is so many factors that came into play, that it hard to blame genetics if the dog responds negatively to one or two particular sounds. If the dog is OK with gunshots, heavy equipments, etc. and is afraid of storms only - I wouldn't jump into blaming 'genetics'. From my experience genetically sound sensitive dogs are usually sensitive to all strange and loud notices from puppyhood.|
Based on my own experience, dogs do feed of each other in terms of reaction to certain stimulants. Separate the dogs, and you will know who is the 'instigator' of an undesirable behavior.
Dawulf, on a positive note - dogs reactions to storms and fireworks may change over time. It happened to me. When I found a 'safe den' for my dog to hide out during the storm, she stopped freaking out. She actually became a 'storm alert' as she would calmly migrate to the bathroom saying "Why are you looking at me like that? The storm is coming.” The older she got, the more storm resilient she became, to the point that she would snore thru the biggest storms on her own chair.
by Niesia on 02 July 2012 - 18:23
|Just to explain what I meant in the post above - many army dogs come back traumatized and sound sensitive from service in Iraq or Afghanistan. Does anybody blame their bad genetics? They wouldn't be in service if they were genetically 'sound sensitive' in the first place.|
My dog, who was afraid of storms definitely had a genetic 'sound sensitiveness' as she would jump at other strange noises as well.
by Gustav on 02 July 2012 - 19:10
|There is a big difference between war and occasional fireworks and thunder storms. Also, many dogs returned from war without something happening to them. There is a big difference between s dog that becomes something as a result of something traumatic happening to them, and a dog handling a normal part of life. In terms of sound sensitivity. The vast majority of cases I have seen were genetics, except for older age, or physical harm accompanying the sounds.|