Behavior modification for dogs that have a thunderstorm phobia is very difficult due to the unpredictability of the storms and the fact that your dog will sense their arrival long before you can. When attempting behavior modification you’re trying to teach the dog calm soothing techniques in advance of the trauma, once the storm is in progress you’re too late. Some dogs adopt self-management strategies in order to cope. These strategies can be seen in varying levels of agitation from attempting to escape the home, to digging into carpets, seeking out spaces to hide – like under a bed. Others will pace back and forth and be unable to focus on owners trying to calm them down.Common modification techniques such as playing an audio recording of thunderstorms can be effective for dogs with mild phobias. We have a CD that has many sounds, including storms that help introduce a puppy to noises it will hear in its life. These audio recordings are meant to be played when the dog is relaxing with treats or getting brushed – they’re played in the background so the dog associates the sound with a pleasant activity. For dogs with major fear, you may need to understand that the dog may be best served by providing the best support you can to help him cope; he may not ever be capable of relaxing during a storm.Dr. Nicholas Dodman of Tufts University in Boston has theorized that some dogs, especially long coated breeds, can become statically charged during a thunderstorm, receiving electrical shocks from static unless they can ground themselves, which is done by retreating to a bathroom and hiding behind a sink or toilet, staying close to pipes that provide electrical grounding. It is an interesting theory and one that requires more research but it would certainly support why so many dogs end up cowering in a bathroom. In order to reduce static build up Dr. Dodman has had success advising owners to wipe their dogs down with antistatic laundry strips and spraying anti-static spray on their dogs’ paws.The most important thing an owner can do for their thunderstorm phobic dog is to provide them with a safe haven to ride out the storm. The best place is a windowless room or basement with the lights on so that lightning isn’t as noticeable. If your dog sleeps in a crate, a dark blanket over the crate is an easy way to give the feeling of a den. If indeed static electricity is a problem for some dogs, rubber matting or tile is a good anti-static material to use for flooring. Music should be played close to the safe haven so that thunder sounds can be masked. If an owner is present, keep your dog company – cooing or “good boy” reinforce his feelings of fear. Instead talk in a normal voice to show him that you’re not afraid – he’ll feel more reassured by your confidence. Some phobic dogs benefit from the Thunder Shirts – I’ve seen mixed reviews, I suppose it depends on their level of anxiety. Others do much better on anti-anxiety medication that is given before a thunderstorm develops or daily dosage during storm season. If your dog is at the level where medication is necessary, I highly recommend trying to incorporate the coping techniques in an effort to reduce his need for sedation. It’s easy for me to say when, in all honesty, there isn’t a drug or CD made that could get me within 10 feet of a frog.
Do you think you could eat a steak and not have your doodle know about it? When you consider that a dog has 20 times the number of primary receptors in their nose than we do, don’t think you can get away with anything. One example I saw was if you were to flatten a human’s scent detecting membranes – they would cover a thumbnail, flatten a dog’s and they would be the size of a man’s handkerchief. A dog can detect the human scent on a glass slide left outside for two weeks. Dogs don’t just smell better than we do – they can distinguish between scents much better as well. Some breeds, like Bloodhounds and Basset Hounds have even more sensitive noses than others. To get a little technical, dogs have the special ability to be able to separate pheromones from other canines from other scents. I’ve read that a puppy will sniff a lamppost and in a subtle move will touch his tongue to the post, he then deposits material on the roof of his mouth – then scent is transferred to sensory endings in his nose and stored – an “aha – I remember you” moment. They then leave a little “scent” for their buddy to find.Of course we all know dogs can be trained to detect drugs and bombs. We’ve had several of our Doodles go to families where they’re trained to detect a diabetic reaction to alert their owners. Scientists are now training dogs to “smell” cancer – they’ve discovered that dogs are able to detect various biochemical markers on the breath of some cancer patients.I do know Winston goes bonkers when I come in from the kennel, not sure if this is a good thing or he’s just letting me know I stink.
Baked Mahi Mahi w/Shrimp & Jalapenos
Preheat the oven to 350°
Clean, devein, and de-tail the shrimp – rinse and set aside
The next thing you need to do is take a piece of aluminum foil and place it on the counter. Now take your Mahi Mahi fillet and rinse it with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel and place the fish in the middle of the aluminum foil. Next put a little olive oil on the fish, I pour a little oil in the palm of my hand and then rub the oil on the fish with my fingers. Then season with sea salt and black pepper.
Now with the shrimp that you cleaned earlier, place about 4 shrimp on top of the Mahi Mahi fillet and season with sea salt and black pepper.
After you have seasoned the fish and shrimp take a jalapeno and cut some small pieces off and place them on top of the shrimp. Note to self…the thicker the jalapeno the hotter they will be!!
You’re almost ready to put the fish in the oven, but before you do crumble some feta cheese on top and squeeze some lemon juice over it as well.
Wrap everything up in the aluminum foil and place it in the oven on the middle rack for about 25-30 minutes.
Serve with side salad and a glass of wine
Ingredients: (per serving)
1 6-8 oz Mahi Mahi fillet
4 Shrimp – peeled and deveined
This recipe was provided courtesy of my son, Brandon – he has a new cooking blog called The Edible Bachelor where he shares healthy, easy to prepare food, beer and wine reviews, and lots of other fun stuff each week.