Teaching Pip Not to be Frightened of Thunder

Pip made it to the ripe old age of 6 months before we had a decent thunderstorm (with hail in August).

I was fortunate that we were at home together and I had some training treats to hand.

Pip started to make her nervous half bark to show she was worried about the noises of the storm.

The kitchen door was open (it was August after all) so we could hear the storm well. I left it open to show that the storm was nothing to be afraid of.

I got Pip to come and face me and we both sat on the kitchen floor together. We were a few metres away from the open door and could both see and hear the storm from our relative positions. I reassured her she was a ‘good girl’ (our substitute clicker training reinforcement words) as I gave her treats for being quiet and stopping her half bark as she settled down a bit.

Once she was more settled but still looking a bit anxious I put a treat in my fisted hand so she knew after a short wait the treat was coming. I then waited for the next clap of thunder or increase in the noise of the hailstones and gave her a treat from my fisted hand each time there was a louder noise.

The storm only lasted for a few minutes but by the end of it she was noticeably more relaxed and looking forward to the next treat. We then did a few minutes of usual training practice and she went to sleep it off on the sofa.


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