Friday, April 3, 2009

Weathering the Storm

So we had a short thunderstorm here today.


Ever since July 4th last year (which was a nightmare), Marge has been afraid of extremely loud BOOMlike noises - fireworks and thunder, to be exact.

So when the forecast called for thunderstorms this PM in the 1 o'clock hour, I knew I'd have to spring into action. A mild storm isn't enough to send Marge into that state-of-no-return of panic, so it made sense to actually try to make it a positive experience.

I turned up the radio, broke out the clicker and repeatedly asked Marge for a kiss.  I think that's one of her favorite things to do.  

So, we got through it.  But I'd be happy if we never had another thunderstorm again.

2 comments:

Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart April 3, 2009 at 3:43 PM  

Be careful about trying to get her to WORK through her noise fear. In other words, getting her to act (give kisses) when she's scared. I do that a LOT with Lilly, and our behaviorist told me to stick with just feeding to counter-condition. If you're going to have to feed a lot (a long storm), try cheerios. They have fewer calories than kibble.

We also do a lot of slow, massage work to help her calm down.

Sam April 3, 2009 at 5:07 PM  

Ugh, yeah, you know, on your Q&A with fearfuldogs, that's the one thing that stuck out in my mind most... "I learned I had been doing far too much operant conditioning (trying to get Lilly to act her way out of being afraid), rather than trying to change how she feels first." It just makes so much sense.

That's probably my biggest problem. When I have strangers (scary people) give Marge treats, I just hand them it and let them give it to her without asking for a behavior. Pavlov at work. But when it's just me, for some reason I always ask for a behavior beforehand.

Thanks for the tip. It is definitely something I need to work on. :)

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