Fears and phobias can occur in animals just as in humans. Many times fear of loud noises such as thunder or fireworks can develop after just a single traumatizing experience with these loud noises, VCA Animal Hospitals reports.
Dogs that have a fear of loud noises or certain people or places tend to show how they're feeling through their body movements. VCA reports that dogs may pace, pant heavily or hide, while more severe anxiety may lead a dog to become destructive or aggressive toward its owners or others around it.
According to VCA, sometimes such behavior can be due to a lack of exposure to new things - sound sights and smells - during the important first few puppy months. Dogs who are sheltered and don't have many experiences as puppies will develop a fear of the unknown by the time they are one year old.
To curb such behavior, owners may want to try desensitizing their dogs to their fears by using positive reinforcement and rewards. Giving a dog a treat before, during and after a thunderstorm may help it start to associate the loud noise with rewards, leaving it less afraid, while continually exposing it to noises while in a safe environment may help it understand that the sounds aren't going to hurt.