My dog runs when we cough

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I'm not sure what triggered this behavior, but he's been doing it for about a year or more now. He's 14 years old, chihuahua/pomeranian mix. It's gotten to the point where we hold our coughs in if we can. It's not like we cough all the time, but just clearing our throat or if a drink goes down the wrong way.

We have tried…

Giving him a treat if we cough. We have faked coughing and then I give him a treat. It doesn't work. He doesn't want the treat just runs away. Then it's like he associates the treat with a cough and doesn't want the treat later. Ignoring him. It doesn't work. Telling him to stop. Consoling him after a cough. But I think that it's just telling him that it's okay to be scared.

I do think ignoring him is the best option, but it's REALLY hard to. He'll either try to tear the door down by clawing at it… or he'll go under a bed… can't just ignore that behavior.

I don't know what to do. Suggestions?

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