Perhaps from my prior post of storm suggestions I did not describe Gracie's storm phobia, so it seems like hers was not as intense.
But it was! She was SO terrified.
Her storm stress symptoms:
2)Major deep panting
4) She would come "tell us" a storm was coming/here by pawing at us, but not wanting us to touch her.
5)She would bolt for the bathroom corner to hide.
6)She would not eat even her most favorite bones/chewies. (or anything, for that matter)
7)She would go from room to room not being able to sit still for a moment.
8)Could not follow any cues. Even the simplest ones.
9)Wanted comfort from us, but would not allow herself to take any comfort. If we tried to pet her we knew it would have been risky as she may have bitten us out of fear.
10)Would not get on bed with us as usual, only stay on floor shaking miserably
11) Stomach/bathroom issues would always follow
12) "Digging" at carpet --and she is never a digger of any sort normally
13) I could not get her to leave to go to car when it was even raining--some nights we would have to stay til past 11 pm in my shop til rain stopped. Sigh.
--We thought she was literally going to pass out from a heart attack from the stress overload. Or die from a blot clot from the heartworm treatment during storm season. I am totally serious when I say all this. Very scary for us and her.
And if that is not enough to convince anyone how terrified she was before I started my methods with her---one day in the beginning, a storm was a few hours away. (we watch the weather channel diligently on rain/storm days) I asked Gracie gently if she wanted to go outside to potty (before storm hit) and she lurched up at me as if to attack me. No bite... but VERY scary. She then immediately jumped in my lap as she would do when she wanted comfort. I was so shocked I cried.
She had episodes like this before from fear, but never had mere words ever caused a reaction like this. My point here--- she was so terrified of thunder and rain that the mention of going outside made her freak out even though nothing was going on outside yet. Dogs know in advance (barometric pressure changes) so that is when I start my methods instead of waiting until they are already over threshold.
My methods I described WORK. Gracie is living proof. It is called counter conditioning and desensitization and it is basically using science to change how the mind perceives a particular stimulus or scary situation.
It is NOT a quick fix and it IS time consuming. And you have to do it with much patience, kindness, and comfort. But it is a HELL of a lot better than watching my dog suffer!!