What’s worse than thunderstorm phobia? Thunderstorm phobia at night. – –

I will want to remember August as the month where it stormed at night. Nights in the last two weeks stand out, and not in a good way. Apparently the clouds thought to do the late shift and suddenly the wind and thunder visited in the dead of the night.

The dog that had gotten used to sleeping by herself in the living room, rotating between her many beds, was suddenly restive. One wakes in the middle of the night, sometimes to the thunder, sometimes to her whining and her jumping up and scratching at the bedroom door.

The first night it happened, I was patient. Sat with the poor trembling animal, got out the tuna treats. I eventually managed to get her to fall asleep inside her crate. By then it was nearly time for the sun to rise, no point going back to bed.

But the same cycle repeated night after night… 2am, 4am, 5am… no matter the time. No matter that it’s just the howling wind, no rain or thunder. Suddenly, Donna seemed to excite easily. One could hear her outside alternating between her running click up and down the corridor and scratching at the door as her agitation grew. And yet, when you open the door, she was excited, not fearful and she calmed down very fast if the human just sat there and ignored her.

The lack of sleep made me a perfect zombie in the day. I was never one that could go without sleep for long. It slowly became easier to just lie awake and wonder, should I just leave her be outside? Will she stop it once she learns that we will not respond to her?

But it is not easy to ignore your dog, who might not just be over-excited, who might be really fearful. It is also not easy to ignore a persistent dog. Within 3-4 such nights, she had perfected the persistence of trying until she could open the bedroom door by herself.

It’s going to rain. It’s going to rain.

Do you hear me? It’s going to rain. Yes, I hear you, my dear. You make it impossible for me to ignore the weather.

Thankfully, out of the last two weeks, there were only 2-3 days where she was truly fearful and went over threshold. I’ve realised it’s not a good idea to let her stay still and focus on her own fearful doggie thoughts. Getting her off the sofa and moving, seemed to help calm her down somewhat, not a lot though but at least to rid her of the trembles.

And when she settled down, it was in a tighter curl (right) versus the more relaxed lounging pose (left).

I’ve started to take her out for long walks before bedtime – 1hour, 1.5hours – in the hope that she will wear out and sleep better through the night.

Have to say one has got to salute the parents of newborns. They’ve got to get it worse than this!

Eileen has a good article on how does one define calmness, gets one thinking!

21 thoughts on “What’s worse than thunderstorm phobia? Thunderstorm phobia at night. – –

    • Oh yes, she is her usual self… patiently snorting her grumpiness at me as she waits to go for her walk and probably thinking in her mind… why? why is this human still typing away???? Why???

    • No rest for the weary, the night there was no rain and I thought I could sleep, I got prank calls ): Talk about murphy’s law! But thank you for your kind wishes :) Donna generally recovers fast once the rain lightens. Like it never happened. Dogs are funny. :P

  1. Oh… poor Donna. She acts the same as my dog. During past 2-3 days, there were rains at nights with thunderstorm which my dog couldn’t stand it so she would walk around our 1st floor and wouldn’t go to sleep. And yesterday morning the rain came back again with thunderstorm. She was so tired and finally she fell sleep from yesterday afternoon till last night. Luckily, no rain+thunder sound at all. For my own dog, I don’t think we can do anything to fix her worried thoughts on thunder sound. So we just let her do things she wants to ease her concern.

  2. Hope the exercise before bedtime works.
    We can understand you. We are going over a similar issue. One of our dogs does not like going outside to do her business when it’s raining. And it’s rainy season! So she has been peeing in the carpet at night. Tried having a potty break just before bedtime, but still waked up to accidents. So I crated her and what a drama! She couldn’t stand it even if the crate was by my side and still could pet her while I was in bed.

    • Can’t tell about the exercise, hasn’t rain in the last two nights. Has made me one very tired person though :P and her a very happy dog.

      And oh my goodness I feel for you… and the carpet. We threw away our rug…and no more rugs for us! Sigh. Donna is our interior decorator or shall I say minimalist nazi… :P But I find that as long as there are no rugs or towels of any kind on the floor, her doggy radar will identify the newspapers as the next best alternative. Sheesh… don’t our dogs have expensive potty tastes??

      I’m still getting Donna to like her crate too. Takes time. How long is your rainy season? Hang in there!

  3. Yep, I know about those sleepless nights and you and Donna have all my sympathy. I can’t sleep if I know Simba is stressed out and it takes a while for the No. 6 to work so I will come and sit with him in front and turn on the TV and keep him on my lap. Usually he falls asleep within half an hour and of course no more sleep for me. Once awaken there’s not turning back for this one. :D

    • After those sleepless nights, I rang up the pharmacy and they didn’t have No.6 … visiting other pharmacies still but we may eventually have to order online if we can’t find any in the store. Is it more of a supplement or a drug? I read that it is a nerve nutrient which sounds more like a supplement to me.

      Ah, you are so patient with Simba. I hope you get more rest though, I know it usually makes me cranky and an awful person to be around! D: Have a good day Sonel :)

      • It’s like minerals that our body needs hon. They call it Tissue Salts and you can read more about it here : http://www.tissue-salts.com/

        Same here hon. If I don’t get a good nights sleep I am very cranky and everyone stays away from me then.. even Simba and if he was the reason he would look at me apologetically the whole day long but I normally just then watch movies all day long and he would then crawl in with me and we would fall asleep during the movie. That is the fun part of not getting enough sleep..hahahaha

        Have a good day too hon. :D *big hugs* to you and Donna. xxx

      • I hope to be able to locate them soon when I feel good enough to go out. Thanks so much Sonal. I hope to find something that will help Donna sleep better at night since I don’t think either of us are up to staying up with her much without crashing ourselves.

    • The problem is some of the nights it may not even be thunderstorm phobia, it could be just, “hey get up and play because now the weather outside is getting exciting and I think it’s tuna time.” So I kind of finding it hard to strike a balance. But yes, am in the process of getting a thundershirt ;)

    • Antsy is normal right? I hope the thundershirt will help her so she doesn’t go beyond threshold. I’m sort of hoping it will, or I will have to try oral drugs, especially if its in the middle of the night!

      • By antsy I mean agitated and pacing or panting. Nervous I guess. I hope you find something that works.

        Someday I will write a post about our golden and his behavior when there was a tornado nearby. I learned a lot about dogs and weather with that experience.

      • Oh yes, antsy sounds like on the way to freaking out… definitely bad D: I’m kind of happy it stopped raining that badly for a while. It’s a nice break for me, but yes kind of puts a stop to addressing the real issue for Donna since I have no control over the bad weather when it comes. I look forward to your post about your golden ^_____^ then you’ll have to call your blog the golden-brown dogs! :P *just joking*

I love your comments! It will help me greatly if you can leave them on the actual post that this post links to so that I can have them all in one place, thanks! :)

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