Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Its Official

We are going to adopt Wylie. She rested comfortably during the mock thunderstorm. Stacker didn't fair as well, but survived :-). Stephen tried to ease his fears with a treat for each crack of thunder which he appreciated.

If anyone wants a good storm CD, it is called Suburban Thunder. Its a very high quality recording of an hour long storm, so it sounds very natural as the storm approaches, is overhead, and then passes by. Some of the cracks of thunder make me jump a little.

I originally purchased it for Teresa (pictured left and below) who had a horrible storm phobia. Teresa was quick to associate anything with storms........ even summer afternoons. A particularly bad summer of storms, she went through a phase where she would have panic attacks every afternoon regardless of the weather. Another time, she was in the van when we drove through a thunderstorm. Suddenly the dog who loved to travel, meet new people, and visit new places hated to ride in the van and would have a panic attack in the van for several weeks after. We missed more than a few agility runs just because it was raining or cloudy.

Teresa's phobia was triggered by sound (same with Stacker). Although she started to create other (unreasonable) triggers, she never reacted prior to a storm unless she was already reacting to one of her make believe triggers. There were times when she would not notice an approaching storm because of a loud TV, but as soon as the storm was louder than the TV she would freak out. Eventually, she started to become suspicious when she noticed that I was turning the volumn up on radios or TVs. Or if I peeked through the window blinds. And if the power flickered or went out completely, you can just forget having a doggie-mental-meltdown-free-day regardless of the weather.

I was never able to desensitize her to the noise of storms (sometimes I do wonder if the low frequency booms are physically painful for some dogs), but the CD did seem to help warm her up for a bad storm and reduce her reaction to the actual storm. All in all, it was tiring and frustrating. Teresa was about as bad as it can get with the exception of dogs who will actually tear down doors or jump through windows to get away. I want to avoid it again if at all possible.

Stacker has a much milder case of storm phobia. Maybe we could reduce it if we worked at it.