If your German Shepherd seems to be scared of thunder and lightning you might be wondering why and if there’s something you should do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be scared of thunder and lightning and what you can do about it.
So, why is my German Shepherd afraid of lightning and thunder? Possible reasons are that you become anxious yourself, it has much more sensitive hearing, it senses the change in the air pressure or that it triggers a fight or flight response.
It is not unusual for a German Shepherd to be afraid of thunder. Depending on the cause of why your German Shepherd is afraid of thunder and lightning, there are a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd is afraid of thunder and lightening
There are a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might become afraid when it starts to happen that I will mention below.
You become anxious yourself
German Shepherds were bred to work alongside their owners as working dogs and they would spend many hours per day with their owners. As a result of this, they tend to be highly aware of how their owner is feeling. The reason why your German Shepherd gets afraid when there is thunder and lightning could be that you get anxious yourself.
German Shepherds have much more sensitive hearing than we do and thunder can be very loud especially when it is nearby. It could be the case that the loudness of the thunder is too much for your German Shepherd and it does not like it. This would be more likely if it gets more afraid when the thunder is nearby.
In this case, it would help to reduce the loudness by giving your German Shepherd access to an area where the thunder is harder to hear.
A change in air pressure
The reason why your German Shepherd gets afraid might be that the change in the air pressure causes is to become anxious. This is because it will warn it that there is a storm on the way and it might hear the low-frequency noises of the thunder as it approaches (source).
This would be more likely to be the reason if it starts to act differently before the thunder and lightning has even arrived.
It triggers a fight or flight response
The reason could be that it triggers a fight or flight response from your German Shepherd. This could happen due to the loud noises from the thunder and the flashes of lightning.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid of everything?
How to get your German Shepherd to be less afraid of thunder and lightening
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to be less anxious when there is thunder.
Crate training is where you get your German Shepherd to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs. Some people think that it is cruel. However, if you train it correctly then it will learn that the crate is a safe space that it can go to when you are not around.
One option you have is to train your German Shepherd to become comfortable in its crate so that it can go there when there is thunder and lightning.
You can watch the video below to see more on how you can crate train your German Shepherd.
Give it distractions
Another option you have is to give it things to be distracted with when there is thunder and lightning. Things that you could give it would be special chew toys, puzzle games or you could play tug of war with it.
Desensitize it to the sound of thunder
Another thing that you can do is to play thunder sounds quietly when playing with your German Shepherd. Doing this will allow it to develop a positive association with the thunder and lightning and to be less frightened when there actually is thunder and lightning.
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Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.