As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. And in my neck of the woods, we’ve certainly been getting a lot of rain and, unfortunately, thunderstorms.
My first dog, Nemo, has never been afraid of thunder. Being a Sheltie, he’ll sometimes bark at the loud noises, but he isn’t fearful. His breeder played sound tapes when he was a puppy, which I think helped.
I’m also fortunate that my new puppy, Remy, doesn’t seem to be affected by thunder. To ensure that it stays that way, I’ve been feeding him chicken every time I hear a loud boom. That way he begins to associate thunder with good things.
But for many dogs, storms bring panic and fear. Sometimes this fear even extends to the precursors to thunder, like dark skies, lightning, or changes in barometric pressure.
As a long-term solution, the ASPCA recommends counterconditioning  your dog to thunderstorms, which is what I’m doing with Remy as a preventative measure. As I mentioned, this involves associating the scary sound with treats and toys. Ideally you’ll want to start with a recording of thunder noises at a low volume and gradually increase the level before a real storm comes.
Many of my friends have had good results by using the Thundershirt in combination with a counterconditioning program.
If your dog has a serious fear, you can also speak to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medicine or herbal remedies.
How does your dog react to thunder?