Today I went home for lunch as usual, time for a quick training session with my dogs. Farah had great fun doing some freeshaping but Finn just couldn't work with me. Standing and staring, panting a little, tail curled under and moving from place to place.
Because it's raining today. Yup, it's raining. Heavy showers so a little like pre-thunder rain which unsettles him (although he loves being outside in the rain) combined with some distant low-flying plane sounds which could be a little like thunder. Finn has been noise-sensitive since I adopted him, especially to rain and thunder storms. Some time in the first year he was with me, he linked storms/rain and planes together and nothing I have done has really gotten rid of that association. Collies learn so fast but that's not always an advantage!
Finn is better than he was originally - no longer does he have to pace obsessively, drool great streams of saliva or jump at every sound. But he's not comfortable with rain which makes going camping rather tricky. I can honestly say I would give almost anything to make his life easier and less scary. We use valerian extract to help balance his anxiety levels, and we have tried many many other options but for Finn, it seems to be such a deep rooted sensitivity that the best I can hope for is to ease his reactions.
My gut feeling is that irrespective of whatever happened to him before I adopted him, I think that Finn was born with an overactive nervous system - he's just wired a little more tightly than many other dogs which combined with the natural collie sensitivity makes it hard for Finn to cope with our human world.
So today we just hung out together, did a little massage and TTouch, gave him some homeopathic spray and sat quietly. At least he seems to take comfort from my presence now instead of being oblivious to anything apart from his fear.