Fear of rain, thunder and lightening

Posted by Buddys-Mom
Aug 23, 2008
I have a Border Collie that is about to be two years old. He is not an aggressive dog. I have had him on a chain outside when I worked and in the house when I was at home. This summer I have had him inside a lot and he doesn't want to go outside much at all. When it is getting ready to rain, he seems to know ahead of time and he gets right at our feet or goes to my room and "hides". He shakes and pants a lot when it is raining and if it thunders or lightens he gets really scared. I would like to know if there is a way to lessen the behavior. My husband thinks there is something wrong with him and that he isn't a good dog. Please give me some advice about how to handle this. Thanks,
Posted by foxi7778
Aug 23, 2008
Hi there, you're not alone, there are several people I know that have dogs that are afraid of exactly the same things. Dogs do pick up on changes in the weather long before we notice them. Try not to pet him when he is scared...I know it's hard, but he will see this as you saying it's OK to be scared. There are audio tapes available that you can buy that have things like thunder, lightning and fireworks on them that you can use with your dog to desensitise (sp) him. Start of by playing them pretty quietly and when he is happy with this volume, turn it up a notch or two. This can be a long process, but is really worthwhile when it works. Afraid there's no quick fix that I know of though
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Aug 24, 2008
Hi there,

Please tell your husband that there is nothing wrong with your border collie and it is totally normal. Dogs have fear towards different things and in fact some dogs are scared of lightnings/thunders/fireworks. In fact my last foster dog, a 2 yr old male border collie, was like that while all my 3 other dogs didn't mind the lightning/thunder at all. It can be caused by some bad experience your dog had in the past related to that kind of weather. You said you used to leave him chained outside when you were out at work so he might have got so scared of a lightning and traumatized.

The best thing you can do is desensitize him from the fear, making him listen to the tape as foxi suggested is a good idea. If he gets really scared, you can also get some tranquilizer from your vet and give it before thunders or fireworks start. There is some kind of herb remedy as well.

If you know there will be thunders or fireworks, please make sure not to leave him alone, especially outside. There are many dogs in the U.S. getting lost on the 4th of July because they get scared and run away.