Dogs, both big and small, need some TLC when you may least expect it. Recently after a horrific storm I had to comfort my dogs and frankly I didn’t know what I was doing, and I would of felt a lot better (as would they) if I was more prepared.
If you have suffered this here is some info on what you can do.
One common training method for curing the fear of thunder is by implementing desensitization. This method slowly removes the sensation of fear that your dog feels every time he hears thunder. To use this method you need to download an environmental recording that has the sound of thunder on it.
Play the recorded sound of thunder at a very minimal volume on day one. Gradually increase the volume by just a few notches every couple of days or so. Adjust the volume and turn it down to a level that your dog does not become startled or scared. This method takes a lot of consistency and patience. Do not rush the process or you may make your dog’s fear of thunder worse instead of better.
Another common method that is successfully used by many is counter conditioning. With this method, you condition your dog’s behavior so that he learns to associate the fearful stimuli (thunder,fireworks, environmental sounds,etc.) with positive memories and experiences.
Anytime sudden loud sounds like thunder abound, you simply give him lots of positive attention, his favorite chew toy or a special delicious treat. Be sure to reward your dog positively only when he does not act fearful. Otherwise your dog may misinterpret that his fearful behavior is being rewarded with positive attention and rewards. This would encourage behavior you do not want from your dog.