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Help For The Shih Tzu With Thunderstorm Phobia  

by Connie Limon

Is your Shih Tzu afraid of thunderstorms? In this article read how you can manage your Shih Tzu's thunderstorm phobia.

Dogs are able to sense thunderstorms an hour or more before they hit. If your Shih Tzu is one with a thunderstorm phobia they may begin to pant, pace, salivate and paw at doors excessively long before the storm ever hits. When thunder sounds, they might shiver, whimper or even become a bit destructive such as scratching at doors and floors to the point that they hurt themselves. Strange as it may sound, there are many breeds of dogs, not only the Shih Tzu, who have thunderstorm phobia.

Opposite to the Shih Tzu with thunderstorm phobia, I have a Shih Tzu I call Wally who actually tries his best to be outside in the midst of the thunderstorm. I have a very difficult time getting him inside if one blows up suddenly during thunderstorm season. He just loves it in a thunderstorm. Several times I have not been able to get him inside. When the storm is over he comes in all wet and happy as can be. He truly enjoys being in the midst of a


However, there are many Shih Tzu and other dog breeds not like my Wally, who are terrified of thunderstorms. What can you do to help your Shih Tzu during these times?

There are sedatives you can use to calm them, and you can also try finding a place for your Shih Tzu where he will feel safe during the thunderstorm. Try the bathtub, or any place in your house where the Shih Tzu stops the anxiety symptoms. If you have a room where there are no windows, this may help the Shih Tzu to keep him from seeing the lightning of the storm. It should be a quiet place.

If you use sedatives be aware that although they may sedate the Shih Tzu, he may still have feelings of anxiousness, even though it does not show with signs of agitation. So there are drugs on the market today to specifically treat anxiety in dogs. Ask your vet for this possible solution.

Animal behaviorists recommend counter-conditioning and desensitization. In counter-conditioning training for the Shih Tzu, you would teach the Shih Tzu to settle and relax on command. Teach the Shih Tzu to go to her bed and lay down on command when it is not thundering. When the thunder comes, she already understands the command when you now give it to her.

The worst thing you can do is reward the Shih Tzu for acting anxious. Do not give the Shih Tzu pet treats, praise and consolation for panting, pacing, and whimpering.

Try playing CDs or audio tapes of thunderstorms to desensitize the Shih Tzu to the noise. Start the CD quietly, and then play it a little louder. At the same time tell the Shih Tzu to go to its bed and relax. When the Shih Tzu obeys this command, reward the Shih Tzu with praise and a favorite treat.

You can also try a Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) diffuser, an over-the counter product available at most pet stores. It resembles a Glade Plug-in. The diffuser releases a pheromone that is similar to the one that mother Shih Tzu releases when their puppies are nursing. It is suppose to be very calming. The device simply plugs into the wall. Combine a DAP diffuser with behavioral training and drug therapy.

As you can see, there are several options for Shih Tzu owners with Shih Tzu who experience thunderstorm phobia. In review, they are as follows:

* Medication * Pheromones * Training * Simply allowing the Shih Tzu to seek its own hide-out during the storm * A combination of all the above

Disclaimer: This article is for information. Always seek the professional advice from your vet for any kind of physical, emotional or mental problems a Shih Tzu experiences.

This article is FREE to publish with the resource box.

About the Author

Connie Limon, Breeder of pet and show prospect Shih Tzu in a variety of colors. Please visit us at and sign up for our FREE newsletters. Our website offers a wealth of information. Puppies are sold with health guarantee and are bred from champion bloodlines. Please also visit our collection of Shih Tzu articles at


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