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Dog Thundershirt Jacket Review

Updated on August 8, 2013

Dog Anxiety can Be Helped with Thundershirt

Treatment for anxious dogs
Treatment for anxious dogs | Source

How to Use Thudershirt to Treat Anxiety

A new product has been recently launched on the market in high hopes of helping thousands of anxious dogs. This product is known as ''Thundrshirt'' since it can be used to ease a dog's fear of thunder, and has so far had a high success rate among owners of anxious dogs. Indeed, cautious consumers looking for statistics and success rates, can feel more confident in purchasing Thundershirt based on the fact that surveys completed by over two thousand customers reported that over 80% of dogs demonstrated a positive response with significant improvement.But what is exactly Thundershirt and how is it used?

Thundershirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket
Thundershirt Classic Dog Anxiety Jacket
Anxiety, fear, stress, and over-excitement are surprisingly common problems for millions of dogs in the United States. The Thundershirt anti-anxiety wrap has helped tens of thousands of dogs around the country reduce their suffering from these issues.
 

How Thundershirt Works

Thundershirt is a special shirt that works by applying pressure on certain areas of a dog's body which results in a beneficial effect on the dog's nervous system. The beneficial effects of deep pressure stimulation in living beings, has been known for several years. Linda Tellington-Jones developed a therapeutic massage method known as ''TTouch'' several years ago, and Dr. Temple Grandin creator of the ''hug machine'', a deep pressure device for soothing people suffering from stress, has also repeatedly noted how pressure has a calming effect on animals and people.

There are several more examples depicting how pressure affects living beings in positive ways. For instance, veterinarians may apply pressure in cattle to relax them prior to vaccination, whereas infants in the old-age were swaddled for the purpose of soothing them. Thundershirt, therefore, is an effective product with a good success rate for helping dogs suffering from anxiety and a variety of other behavioral problems included but not limited to:

  • Fear of thunderstorms
  • Fear of loud noises
  • Separation anxiety
  • Travel anxiety
  • Fear of guests
  • Fear of vet visits
  • Hyperactivity
  • Problem barking
  • And much more

As a certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA) I can attest that Thundershirt has brought results to my clients and that it has also helped in severe cases of anxiety when used in conjunction with a behavior modification program.

How to Use Thundershirt

Once you have purchased Thundershirt you will have to allow some time for your dog to adjust to it. One of the best ways to acclimatize dogs with new objects is to allow them to associate them with food. With the power of classical conditioning, your dog should shortly associate the sight of Thundershirt with pleasant things.

Start by selecting a food your dog is truly passionate about, something that makes your dog drool. There are several treats for dogs on the market, but liver treats are some that rank highest from a dog's perspective. Bil-jac's Liver treats or Stewart Pro-Treat liver treats are great products to invest in, especially for finicky dogs.

Once you find a treat your dog drools for, get your Thundershirt out of the box and place it on the floor with a few treats on top of it. Then once the treats are gone, remove the Thundershirt. Repeat for a couple of days: you want to instill in your dog's mind that every time Thundershirt appears, it brings food. Once you put it away, the food is gone too. Then you can try to place Thundershirt on your dog's back: as you do this, put a handful of treats on the floor for your dog to take. Once he is done, remove Thundershirt. The next day, repeat, but fasten the straps loosely. Take it off once your dog finishes the treats. Finally, fit Thundershirt correctly and feed you dog its meal while he keeps it on, once done, take it off. By now, Thundershirt has become a predictor of great things!

For the next days, when you apply Thundershirt feed your dog meals or engage in play. This will help your dog adjust to it and will reinforce in his mind that great things happen when that special shirt comes out. While some owners bypass this whole process and put the shirt on straight from the box from day one, I have founds that dogs respond better to it this way and also appear be less anxious when exposed to the stimulus that concerns them.

At this point, you are ready to use it for those circumstances where your dog appears to be anxious. For severe cases, a behavior modification program should be used in conjunction of wearing the shirt. Here is a great program for dogs suffering from thunder phobia:

How to Help Dogs Fearful of Thunder

Important Considerations:

To maximize the effectiveness of Thundershirt it is important to abide to certain rules. For instance, it is not recommended keeping Thundershirt on for prolonged periods of times. Dogs tend to habituate to stimuli after a certain amount of time has elapsed, and therefore, Thundershirt may become ineffective.

Therefore a dog scared of vet visits does best if the shirt is worn a few minutes before leaving the house and during the vet visit rather than hours prior. A dog scared of guests does best if the shirt is worn during their brief visits. In the case of a prolonged visit from guests, it is best to keep the shirt on during the first couple of hours which are the most critical, then it should be removed for a few hours and then put it on again for the rest of the stay. Of course, it helps if guests ignore the dog and casually drop treats from their hands when the dog approaches.

Thundershirt has proved to be a great help for several of my clients and I have noticed its effect is best when accompanied with a behavior modification program. Of course, there are no miracle products on the market that will cure a problem in its tracks, but until then, products such as Thundershirt remain a blessing.


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