Some Type Of Seizure
by Julie Schraven
(Fond du Lac, WI USA)
Oh Please! I'm Frightened!
My cocker spaniel is a 7 year old male. Yesterday he had some type of seizure but I actually think this is his second one.
He is also a nervous dog. He doesn't like loud noises and when it's thundering, he sort of hyperventilates. If he is in his kennel at night I have to let him out of it and he is all over me.
What can I do for him and what causes this?
Reply from Pauline (Web Owner)
What a cutie! I can't bear the thought of him cowering during thundery storms. Let's see if we can help him, shall we?
I'm assuming that your vet has advised you about your Cocker's seizures - so that's covered.
We can usually help puppies become less nervous about their surroundings by good socialization, but it must be carried out when they're still young puppies. You can learn about socializing a puppy here.
I was lucky enough to be given a puppy training CD with various sounds on it; thunder and lightening, loud bangs, sirens, children crying, dogs barking, bleepers, telephones, etc. I played this to Max during the day, even when he was napping, and it has worked very well as he takes most things and situations in his stride - not a lot phases him!
Playing the sound of thunder to your dog, at a very low level, may help. As he begins to ignore the sound, you can gradually increase the volume at each session until he's fully de-sensitized to the it.
Unfortunately, some dogs are simply nervous dogs and you may have to help him through it each time.
I recommend you try one or all of the following:
- Next time you have a thunderstorm, don't make too much fuss about the storm, and don't reassure him, otherwise you may be reinforcing your dog's fear, but give him a cuddle and a few small treats. This will help him to associate cuddles and treats with loud noises.
- Put the radio or television on, you choose, it may be enough to distract him from the thunder and/or it may soften the sound.
- If your cocker is normally crated and shows signs of wanting to retreat to his crate, just let him go. I'd recommend covering the crate with a blanket - just leave a small gap at the entrance - to make it feel more 'cozy and safe' for him. If he hasn't got a crate, I'd recommend one as there are many excellent benefits of crate training a puppy or dog.
Your post says that when it's thundering your dog tries to get out of his kennel (I'm assuming his kennel is inside and not outdoors?) - if it's inside, why not cover it and see if he still wants out?
- If he's really bad and you can't console him in any way, you could consider speaking to your vet about sedatives to help calm him down or a dog behaviorist to help you work it out.
I hope the above helps.
Big hugs from us!