Dogs are a little like people when it comes to fear. Some aren't afraid of anything, while others cower at the slightest hint of an oncoming storm. However, you can’t explain to a dog that there is nothing to be afraid of. If your four-legged friend has a strong fear of thunderstorms, there are some ways you can help manage it.
Provide a safe place
If thunderstorms, fireworks, or other loud noises make your dog cower with fear, make sure you provide your dog with a safe place to stay even when it’s not storming. Create a quiet zen-like area where your dog can feel secure and to ensure no stress-related destruction occurs in your home. A crate with closed sides or a blanket draped over it can be a great way to provide a cozy-feeling, secure spot. When a storm is brewing, lead your dog to his special place to help him find refuge. He will seek this spot out for comfort when he begins to feel worried.
Don't punish “accidents”
Some dogs become so frightened during storms that they become incontinent. Try to be patient with your pup, and don't punish her for having any accidents when she is afraid. You'll only make the problem worse, and your dog won't understand why she's being punished.
Keep your dog indoors, if possible
Dogs that get afraid during thunderstorms can panic and escape your property, potentially finding themselves in dangerous situations. Keep your dogs indoors and away from any exterior doors to prevent them from panicking and putting themselves in harm's way. If your dogs have to remain outdoors, make sure you secure them in a safe space and use blankets or tarps to cover their kennel and block out some of the light and noise of the storm.
Do not try to reassure your dog with a sympathetic voice—this will sound like praise and may reinforce his worry by you condoning his fears. Act calm and matter-of-factly during a storm.
Make sure your dog's ID is intact
Keep current identification on your dog's collar in case she escapes from your home or property during a storm. This will help whoever finds her to get her home safely to you. Ask your vet about having your pet micro-chipped. Just remember to keep your contact information up-to-date so that if someone finds your pooch, they can get her back to you.
Consider training your dog to be unafraid
Fear can be “unlearned” with the proper conditioning training. If done properly, by a qualified trainer, your dog can be reconditioned to stay calm during loud thunderstorms. It's not a quick fix, but it could keep your pet calmer and happier.