Things You'll Need
Peppermint oil or peppermint extract
CD of white noise or thunderstorm
Many dogs experience anxiety when exposed to loud noises such as fireworks, construction noises, or thunderstorms. When exposed to these noises dogs will often hide, dig, bark and try to escape. Peppermint oil can help calm a dog's fears and anxiety, as well as help condition them to react to loud noises in a less destructive manner.
Record what noises trigger a dog's anxiety by observing the dog's behaviors. Does the dog hide every time it storms or when road construction occurs in the neighborhood? Pay attention to how your dog reacts to these noises to identify anxiety triggers.
Apply a few drops of peppermint oil to your dog's paws during the next thunderstorm or other event that triggers anxiety. Gently massage the limbs, head and abdomen while allowing the dog to sniff his paws. The peppermint oil paired with a massage will help calm a dog's anxiety.
Play the CD of sounds similar to the noises that trigger your dog. Play the noises at a low volume a few days after introducing your dog to peppermint oil therapy. Run the music for about 15 to 30 minutes. Decrease the time if your dog is very anxious and will not calm down. Again apply a few drops of peppermint oil to your dog's paws and give him a gentle massage.
Repeat the musical conditioning on a weekly basis gradually increasing the volume. Over time, this should help your dog learn to cope with anxiety triggers and lessen negative reactions.
For stubborn or difficult dogs, work with a dog trainer to help calm your dog with additional massage and calming techniques.
Anxiety conditioning will not completely solve a dog's behavior when she is scared. Working with her over time will only help calm the dog's reaction. Do not give an anxious dog treats when she is scared, as this will teach her to react negatively to loud noises to get attention.