My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
This is really a common problem. Many dogs have reactions to different noises. This is really a problem around the 4th of July and fireworks. For things like thunderstorms and heavy rain, some people tape the noise and play it back at lower volumes while playing with the dog and providing positive reinforcement for the dog's lack of anxiety while the noise is played at low volumes. Positive reinforcement would include calm praise and hot dog slices or other tasty treat (not regular treats. You then gradually increase the volume slowly until your dog is desensitized to the noise. Your vet could prescribe a medication called Acepromazine, which is a tranquilizer. You can read about this here:
Another prescription drug would be Xanax but I have to caution you not to give any prescription drug to your dog without consulting your vet first.
A new medication is available as well. It is supposed to work extremely well and might be useful to give while you are working on desensitizing him to the noise. Read more on this here:
Many people get Rescue Remedy to help with noise phobias. Be sure you get the kind that does NOT contain Xylitol. It is an herbal remedy. You can read about this here:
It may also be available in your local pet store as well. Benadryl is often used as it does tend to calm your dog. Benadryl can be given to your dog, the dose is up to 2mg per pound every 8 hours. Benadryl in not a sedative though so it won't put your dog to sleep. Leaving a TV playing loud also helps prevent your dog from hearing the outside noises. Another treatment is Melatonin which you can read about here. It has been shown to work well for noise phobias.
I do know you would rather not give medication but I do want to mention them as they can be helpful when starting training.
DAP collars might help a bit as well. They produce pheromones that mimic the ones produced by a nursing mom to calm her pups. This is not a medication. It has proven to be helpful with this problem but was used in conjunction with desensitization so it is unknown if the collar or the training was the major factor in resolving the problem.
Also remember not to treat your dog any different when he shakes and pants. If you give him attention when he does this, it actually encourages the behavior rather than helping him become less fearful.
I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.