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Canine Behavior/Dog scared of thunder


Thank you so much for your time.  I have a 4 year old black lab/ golden retriever mix (male).  He has suddenly become extremely scared of storms.  He never seemed to mind them before.  If there is a storm during the day, he follows me around everywhere.  If the storm hits in the middle of night, he jumps on our bed ( he sleeps on the floor) and pants very heavy in our face, claws the sheets, and whimpers occasionaly.  We tried ignoring him but it doesn't work.  It has been very stormy where I live lately and I have lost a lot of sleep.  I feel so bad for him but I have no clue how to handle this.  Any ideas?  Do you recommend medications, melatonin?  thank you again for your help!

It's not at all uncommon for a dog to fear storms but considering this is sudden, I suggest something we will never understand occurred during one (as simple as, dog caught a toenail in the rug and it hurt).

What do you mean by "We tried ignoring him..."
What do you do when he follows you around during the day during a storm
Has he done any damage in the home during a storm when no one is present (ANY, even the slightest)
Last, but not least: when were his last vaccinations, can you find any correlation between that date and this behavior?

Please use followup so I can see original question/answer.  ALSO include any behavior that is out of the ordinary for a calm, friendly dog (excessive barking at strangers, barking at the door, hackles raised outdoors when other dog or person approaches)....anything you can think of that causes you even the slightest worry or problem.  Thanks.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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