Getting to the safe room while calm prevents escalation to fear and ensures safety. Learn the “Storm Sangria cocktail and sign up for the“Big Bad Boom” 1 HR RACE webinar available here.
1. Train daily to make this a habit! Use a regular meal ration and give them a few kibble as they come to you in the area leading to your safe room. In this first picture, Bella and I are in my kitchen, heading toward the designated safe room: my first-floor bathroom.
2. Keep giving the food by hand or toss it to create a treat trail to the safe room. Have a loaded food puzzle ready to toss into the safe room.
3. Continue tossing food in front of your dog to keep them moving happily into the safe room. If your dog does not go in, toss rewards around your dog. Stay quiet –you want your dog to learn without commands.
4. Once in the safe room toss a large handful of food on the floor, and into the bathtub, for your dog to seek and find.
5. Now it’s your turn to get in the tub, continually dropping food to get you and your dog acclimated to this cramped space. You never know when you will need to seek storm shelter so be prepared!
6. Give your dog the food puzzles for lasting fun in the safe room.
7. Walk away from the safe room, leaving your dog to learn to be calm alone. This is very important to reduce separation anxiety during noise events. Daily training to go to the safe room makes it easier to accomplish during an actual storm. You can also play the music from Butterscotch’s play list during training and while in the safe room. Have your food puzzles handy in the freezer and give the medication early before anxiety builds up. For senior dogs, use yoga mats to prevent slipping on hard surfaces in the safe room.
Photos taken from the safe room training video presented in the Big Bad Boom Webinar.