Ugh, I had a post and it got 'eaten'.
First things first, if he's crate trained, he will love being able to retreat to his crate during thunderstorms and when he just wants to chill. You can make a lovely soft cover for the wire crates, which makes it all cosy and den-like. My 3 dogs love their crates, and its their favourite place to be during a storm. They can curl up, and ignore everything. We don't get 3:00am wake-ups from the dogs, even when it goes off overhead. Crates are the bomb.
So get a crate if you can - there are cheaper crates around, some of the other ladies might point you in that direction.
Second, no patting during the thunderstorm. What you need to do is to implement 'business as usual'. Ignore the behaviour that is fearful, and acknowledge confident behaviour. You can also provide your dog with a distraction, by spending 5-10 minutes running through his training (with treats involved), and you can reward that with lots of praise and pats.
Third thing, avoid drugging the dog if you can. Given positive behaviour reinforcement a chance to work before stepping up the ante.
Final thing. I don't recommend you give any animal Rescue Remedy. First up, its a homeopathic remedy, so it relies on 'water memory' to be effective. Actually, scientific studies show that it is effective because people expect it to work - the placebo effect. Dogs don't understand placebos, so its wasted on them. In addition, some of the bases used for RR can potentially be harmful to dogs. Its not a regulated industry, and APVMA have not registered any of the RRs for use in pets. In other words, its not likely to be useful, but there is a chance of harm.
, and this
, before offering your pet RR.
The key bit is:
In a 2002 database review of randomized trials Edzard Ernst concluded:
The hypothesis that flower remedies are associated with effects beyond a placebo response is not supported by data from rigorous clinical trials.
All randomized double-blind studies, whether finding for or against the remedies, have suffered from small cohort sizes but the studies using the best methodology were the ones that found no effect over placebo. The most likely means of action for flower remedies is as placebos, enhanced by introspection on the patient's emotional state, or simply being listened to by the practitioner. The act of selecting and taking a remedy may act as a calming ritual.
A systematic review in 2009 concluded:
Most of the available evidence regarding the efficacy and safety of BFRs has a high risk of bias. We conclude that, based on the reported adverse events in these six trials, BFRs are probably safe. Few controlled prospective trials of BFRs for psychological problems and pain exist. Our analysis of the four controlled trials of BFRs for examination anxiety and ADHD indicates that there is no evidence of benefit compared with a placebo intervention.
A newer systematic review published in 2010 by Ernst concluded
All placebo-controlled trials failed to demonstrate efficacy. It is concluded that the most reliable clinical trials do not show any differences between flower remedies and placebos.
Hope this is of some use (and where are our pictures - you cannot post about a rescue dog and not post pictures!!!!!)