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NVR: pup's afraid of the rain...help!

My family got a dog (6 months old at the time) last December. She's a really wonderful dog but we have reason to suspect she was abused wherever she was before we got her (we got her from the Humane Society) as she used to cower around anyone new that comes into the house. She's gotten a bit better but men still tend to scare her.

The pressing problem, however, is that she's terrified of rain. :( So much so that whenever the skies are remotely overcast she'll hide behind a big chair or under the kitchen table. We have a lot of trouble getting her to go outside when it's even slightly raining. Today when we took her for a little drive, it was raining when we came home and she wouldn't get out of the car.

Does anyone know any way we can help her not be so frightened? She's the sweetest dog and we love her very much and it's difficult to see her so scared all the time.

aww, sweet puppy! sometimes i think animals develop "irrational fears" for reasons beyond us.

i would suggest trying something like Rescue Remedy-- it's a natural "calming" medication that is supposed to help stressed pets. otherwise, hopefully she will outgrow it and feel more at ease once she feels safer in the family/environment.

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Aw, I have a sweet, untrusting, scaredy rescue as well!
Don't give up on her!
It's been a little over a year and a half and my pup is still scared of many things, including my mother.  (not that my mom is the nicest person, but eh).  I'm probably the one she trusts most after all this time and it's still somewhat touchy occasionally.  She urinates submissively when she thinks she's in trouble (annoying, but not horrible) and growls a lot.  All of this is fear-based but causes people to believe she's a "mean" dog. 

She's just misunderstood, really ;)

If you have the money you could work with a dog behaviorist- that got me to get her to be comfortable in a cage (more like a penthouse) and eventually she went to the cage when she was scared of anything, all on her own.  It was her space where she could feel secure.  Now she doesn't use it anymore, but it did help her a lot.  Good luck!!

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I suggest taking her for a walk in the rain, no baby talking or reassuring her if she's afraid (that will just make it worse), just do it as if it's the most natural thing in the world.  Keep her on a short leash and focus on where you're going (even if it's just around the block).  Once she's focused on the walk, not obsessing on the rain, tell her what a good girl she is.  Reward her when she isn't afraid or you will be reinforcing the unwanted behavior. 
If you don't feel you can do that, try taking a favorite toy outside when it's raining (maybe a sprinkler would work instead of rain).  Start her playing in the house and, when she's involved, transition the game outside. 
All of my dogs are rescues, and I think it's often harder for the person to let go of the sad history than the dog.  She's taking her cues from you; she reads your concern for her as anxiety.  If you're worried when it rains, she assumes she should worry as well.  The same goes for thunderstorms, strangers....  Be calm, assertive and patient and I'm sure she'll happily be getting muddy in no time.  good luck.

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I agree with savvyidler. One of my rescues who lived on a farm has a completely irrational fear of thunderstorms and rain. I think she might have been 'left out' during storms before we took her in. I give her comfort and reassurance and speak to her, but I only let her out if it's lightly raining and I don't focus on 'baby talk' during that time. I would not however take your pup out during thunder until it's making progress with the rain first. You should go to "Famous Fidos" just south of Clark and Catalpa and see if they have a raincoat. I found once my dog was protected from the drops, she was less nervous and looked utterly adorable that people would give her attention, easing her anxiety more.

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I second Bach's Rescue Remedy.  Amazing stuff.  It calmed down my Isabela when thunder storms came.  I told my friend about it and it calmed her dog down in a variety of situations where he was afraid.  Great for really any kind of human or animal distress.  You can put a few drops in their mouth or on their skin.
As it is homeopathic, make sure it doesn't touch anything.  So open mouth and squirt in.
You can use it as needed.  You can also use it more than the label says. 
Rescue Remedy is also helpful when an animal is passing.  Google Bach Flower remedies.  Totally amazing stuff.
A great book on the subject is: http://www.amazon.ca/Bach-Flower-Remedies-Animals-Howard/dp/0091906512/ref=sr_1_1/702-2781766-5508022?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1186357378&sr=1-1

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I have a recue dog as well. He wasn't bad when we got him, but he's affraid of thunder now (5 years later ... he's 6 now). He'll cling to us like glue if there's a storm, pant like crazy, and shake like a leaf. I've always been affraid of lightning, but I don't think he picked it up from me (I don't act any different now then when we got him, except my eyes dart around to windows when I see lightning).

I do remember a really bad storm last summer while I was at work. There must have been a lightning strike close to the house while we were gone, loud thunder, and he was alone. That's the only thing I can think of.

Advice?

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Thanks soooo much all for the help! We've got rainy weather in store, so I'm sure we'll start working through this soon. My mom and I have agreed to cut the baby talk during the rain and act as natural as possible, and I daresay it's helping.

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Quote:
I daresay it's helping

  That's great!  One of our newest arrivals just got over his fear of thunderstorms, but he still isn't too sure about the blender.  :o 
We're working on it.  :)

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