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Border Collie Cross that Fears Thunder Storms

Border CollieHi John

I have a 5-year-old Border CollieX that hides under the bed when it thunder and storms. I came home from work last Wednesday, and called for her. The weather had been bad, so I gave her a few seconds to get out from under the bed; I called, and called, but no Shelby. I soon noticed the smell of gas, and ran straight to the kitchen. The gas stove was on but not lit and there was food all over my kitchen floor. I heard some banging coming from my fridge. I opened the door and tail wagging as happy to see me as always, out came Shelby!

If I’ve pieced thing together correctly, she went from the chair to the table, then onto the stove as they are very close together. Then when she tried to jump off the stove, she turned the dial, and started the gas, then somehow, opened the fridge, tossed out the veggies, and curled up in a snug, quiet spot.

I know how crazy this sounds but I have no reason to think anyone would have done this to her, but I have friends/family who tell me there is no way she went in there herself! Please tell me that you side with me, and that my dog is just really, really, smart!


Dear K.Q.,

Whatever comfort the location brought her there have been sufficient tragedies associated with children suffocating in discarded fridges that thankfully I can’t imagine she could have been in there long.

I know of anxious dogs performing amazing feats related to escaping what they fear. I have a client that had a dog, locked in a crate, locked in a bedroom, and locked in an apartment. Her landlord called her at work to say the dog was in the lobby trying to get out the door. In order to get to the lobby the dog would have to have taken the elevator. She left work to collect her dog. This dog had a history of considerable anxiety and he had applied an admirable level of focus and creativity in plots he must have hoped would bring relief.

She too thought there must have been third party involvement. She re-secured her anxious dog and returned to work and a phone message. In the time it took for her to return, the dog had found it’s way back into the lobby.

As amusing as this is, these dogs are under phenomenal psychological stress and many harm themselves seriously. I know of several that have jumped through windows. I hesitate to say all of these acts are done in a blind panic although no doubt some are because one would think some of these feats required considerable consideration.

I have noticed over the years that many storm phobic dogs head for a place where water flows. They have been found curled up in the bathroom, behind the toilet, near a sump pump or water heater. I’m no expert on things atmospheric but I suspect the presence of water has a dampening affect on the deluge of positive ions that occur before a storm. Some research says pre storm ions negatively impacts human moods and post storm a concentration of negative ions provides a more optimistic mood.

There are vests on the market said to really influence a dog’s ability to cope with storm activity. Drop me a line and I’ll forward some sources.

Pawsitively yours,

John Wade

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4 thoughts on “Border Collie Cross that Fears Thunder Storms”

  1. Gord Duncan

    I have adopted an 11-year-old Black Lab that has anxiety due not only to thunderstorms but also fire works. Please forward the info referred to to me also. Thanks in advance. Gord Duncan

  2. I have a border collie / something else mix that has absolutely no fear of thunder, lightening, or fireworks. I always assumed it was the BC in her; that breed would have to bring in the herd regardless of the weather. Am I wrong?

    1. Hi Laura,

      You’d think so and maybe it was so when breeders bred for farm dog qualities and border collies didn’t start living lives of house arrest in urban vs rural settings. The fellow that invented the thunder shirt (I think that’s the one) did so because of his border collies distress during thunder storms. I see Border Collies for a lot of anxiety related issues. I think it’s due in part to poor breeding perhaps and razor sharp minds and very athletic bodies not having their needs met.


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