Saturday, July 26, 2008

Scaredy cat, I mean, dog!

This is a first...Maxie is terrified of thunderstorms. Today, we had thunderstorms in Brussels. Now, I have to say, it was not bad at all...really, not at all. We get a LOT of rain in Brussels, but I have not seen too many thunderstorms with thunder and lightning. Today, I noticed it was getting dark outside (at 11AM!!) and knew a storm was brewing. I was a little excited, as I like to be lazy on rainy weekends so I was getting ready to settle in under a blanket and watch a movie.

Well, all of a sudden, Maxie runs and jumps in my lap trembling and panting like crazy. I am talking 'tail between the legs, trembling and tongue out panting' scared! She kept looking outside so I knew exactly what was wrong with her. She would jump as it thundered outside. She even pooped in the living room. It was terrible.

My favorite website is! So yes, I googled 'dogs afraid of storms' and found out that the worst thing to do is cuddle and pet on the scared pooch. It reinforces the behavior and tells the dog it is ok to tremble. The site told me to make sure the dog has a safe place to go when she is frightened and continue to act normal, like nothing is wrong. Well, I failed that parenting class today because all I did was pick her up and cuddle and pet on her and told her it was ok. That is what all parents do when their child is scared, right? You all know I treat Maxie like she is a 'human child', so don't be surprised!!

I am TERRIFIED of severe thunderstorms...seriously, TERRIFIED. Now, as long as it is just rain and no tornadoes, I am fine. But, when there is severe weather in the area, I am a scaredy cat! Luckily, we do not deal with severe thunderstorms in Brussels at all, so I have not had to worry about it. However, back in Memphis, that is not the case and I am worried about how Maxie will act when we move home. I do not remember her being scared before we moved, so this behavior is something new.

So, advice to I help my terrified pooch?


  1. Poor Maxie! I think living here in Iowa has made Riley immune to the storm thing... he really could care less. But truly, that's about the only thing he doesn't have issues about :)

    My friend's dog is petrified of storms and she loves her up, too, so don't feel bad! I think, though, instead of ignoring her to show that everything is fine I would lay on the couch with her to watch that movie, but just don't talk to her like you're calming her. That way you get the benefit of loving on her while not reinforcing that something is wrong.

    Don't know if that's the right advice or not, but that's what I'd do! :) I will say, with all of my dog's anxiety issues, the vet has told me to always be calm about everything... don't get upset to stop a behavior or over-coddle, and it does seem to help him stay on an even keel. But no one on earth could get me to stop cuddling him!!!

    Hope you have a good weekend...


  2. I too am scared of thunderstorms as are my little girls. So when a thunderstorm wakes either myself or my hubby up, we go get them and let them sleep with us so they won't be scared. Nothing wrong with cuddling!