Some dogs, especially smaller, more anxious breeds, tend to have issues with thunder and other loud noises. In most cases, those dogs that are afraid of thunder tend to exhibit a set of behaviors that are difficult for owners to treat without taking the time to truly consider what is happening. The first symptom that owners may notice that points to a phobia of thunder is hunkering down or crouching when thunder is heard.
This may mean that dogs are more aggressive when there is thunder and they are hunkered down in this defensive pose. It is important that owners understand that these dogs are not capable of understanding that there is no reason to be scared and should therefore be treated with care. Another behavior you may notice is wetting, this means wetting themselves or their beds when they hear thunder. Again, this is not the fault of the dog and which should be considered when this behavior is discovered. Some other behaviors may be barking, whimpering, hiding, and even running around when thunder is being experienced.
The best way to treat this type of phobia is to first take the time to show your pet that there is nothing to fear. This may mean taking them up in your lap when there is thunder, talk to them in a soothing voice, associate thunder with a positive reinforcement like treats or snuggles. Another way to help treat this is to allow your pet to find a safe place where they feel as if the thunder will not hurt them. This could be a crate, a bed, a special blanket, and more. The most important thing to remember is that your pet needs you and being patient is the best way to help them get over their phobias.