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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 Dog Anxiety Jacket, Heather Gray, Large
ThunderShirt Dog Anxiety Jacket, Heather Gray, Large

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.


Has Thundershirt Helped Your Dog?

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    • profile image

      Bon 

      24 months ago

      As soon as I opened the velcro on the Thundershirt, it was all over, she was scared to death of it. The velcro sound scared her, so if you have a generally anxious dog, open the shirt away from them.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 

      4 years ago from Massachusetts

      I read about the Thundershirt last year and wished that it had been around when we had our Great Danes, all of whom were terrified of thunder. (Actually, I wish they made them for humans, too, since I and many other people I know get rattled by thunderstorms!) Thanks for this helpful review.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      5 years ago from USA

      Yes, they made it for cats too now!

      http://www.thundershirtforcats.com/

    • By Lori profile image

      By Lori 

      5 years ago from USA

      I love dogs. I don't have one at present but I have had small dogs. My cat is scared of thunder too. In fact, if it is only windt outside with an oncoming storm she gets very anxious and I have to help her hide, without acting too scared myself so that I don't affect her as much as she's affecting herself. It's hard to see a pet become so scared -- I'm glad you wrote this article.

      Does it work on cats ?

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      5 years ago from USA

      Try using it along with a behavior modification program. Play thunder CD's and play or feed food every time your dog hears thunder. Thunder needs to become a predictor of goods things.

    • profile image

      Matthias M. 

      5 years ago from USA Baby

      My Lowchen is terrified of thunder, fireworks, and other loud noises. The thunder shirt got decent reviews from some of my friends, but didn't have too great an effect on my dog.

    • Megan Holly profile image

      Megan Holly 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      SO glad I found this! I have been hearing about these for a while now and wasn't sure what to think! I'll have to go grab one now! Like mother like son with me and my dog...if only there were a thunder shirt for my anxieties! ;)

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      I hope it helps too, here is a guide for successful counter-conditioning

      http://www.helium.com/items/2290728-dog-countercon...

    • Rat-Terrier123 profile image

      Rat-Terrier123 

      6 years ago from Tenneesee US.

      i am going to get one for my rat terrier, she is scared of cars and groups of people and is mean to people she dosent know, i hope it helps her.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      Because I worked as a trainer for Petsmart before opening my own center, they really pushed us on selling Thundershirt. I agree that any kind of pressure can provide some reduction in anxiety. I have also found that those who claim these wraps didn't work for them, failed to to take time in working on changing the dog's emotional state through DS+CC.

    • Dubuquedogtrainer profile image

      Dubuquedogtrainer 

      6 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

      I'm glad to hear you have also reviewed the Anxiety Wrap! A clinical research study at Tufts University was just completed by Dr. Nicholas Dodman which showed an 89% success rate with Thunderphobic dogs.

      The Thundershirt's success rate is based on customer surveys. I think any kind of pressure around the torso can provide some reduction in anxiety, but I think the original Anxiety Wrap has a superior design - plus I really like the people at that company - they are conscientious, kind and ethical.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing, I have also written a review on the Anxiety Wrap a while back. I have seen great results with it too. The Anxiety Wrap has a higher success rate at 86% whereas Thundershirt stands at 80%. I have had good success rates with both for brontophobic dogs.

    • Dubuquedogtrainer profile image

      Dubuquedogtrainer 

      6 years ago from Dubuque, Iowa

      Very informative hub! Thank you.

      In my practice I use the Anxiety Wrap, designed my Susan Sharpe, T-touch practitioner and CPDT. I have seen consistently effective results with the use of her product.

      The Anxiety Wrap is the original, patented pressure wrap invented in 2001 whereas the Thundershirt was developed in 2009.

      Both products cost about the same and come with a money-back guarantee, but the Anxiety Wrap has some important design differences that I think make it more effective.

      For example, the fabric of the Anxiety Wrap is thinner and more stretchy with less velcro, important for sound sensitive dogs. The Anxiety Wrap also covers more body surface area, targets acupressure points and provides rear-end awareness with elasticized straps that fit over the hind quarters. Dogs tend to hold tension in their rear ends like people hold it in their neck and upper back and these straps help to reduce that tension.

      The Anxiety Wrap provides more maintained pressure than any other product currently on the market and in a recent clinical research study conducted at Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine the Anxiety Wrap was found to be effective in 89% of the dogs in the study who suffered from Thunderstorm phobia.

      Animals Plus LLC that makes the Anxiety Wrap also makes a Face Wrap that I have found highly effective in stopping anxiety-related barking. It can be used with other types of anxiety but I have only used it in this particular situation. It works like magic!

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      Alexadry thanks for the links, he is specially clingy to me, I am not sure if it is age related but since younger years he is already like that so attached to me so am I to him...hope it's not yet vision loss coz his eyes are still bright not sure about hearing, will visit the links soon

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      Maria, Thundershirt for dogs costs in the USA about $30. It has an excellent success rate of 80%. However, in my experience it works best for brief periods of time, rather than several hours in a row. When worn for too long, the dog gets used to the pressure and it becomes desensitized to it. If you are away for a few hours it may help but if most of the day perhaps not. It is best if longer time is needed, to put it on and then take it off for some time and put it on again. You dog sounds like he suffers from separation anxiety. I have two great hubs on this. Since he is senior, anxiety and clinginess to you may be age related and at times due to hear loss or vision loss.

      https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Why-is-My-Elderly-Dog-...

      https://hubpages.com/animals/Tips-for-dogs-sufferi...

      Best wishes!

    • Maria Cecilia profile image

      Maria Cecilia 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      first time for me to hear about this, how much does it cost?My dog is always anxious whenever I leave home for work, he just can't seem to adjust to the routine, he is already 11 yrs old. I used to buy him calming collar but I don't really think it's effective.....I think this one is not yet available in the Philippines

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 

      6 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Thank you I shall give it a try sometime

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      Yes, thundershirt helps for dogs fearful of loud noises and fireworks. See link below:

      http://www.thundershirt.com/HowItWorks/Fireworks.a...

      Of course, it helps if along with the shirt you also desensitize towards fireworks prior to big events like the 4th of July or New Years Eve. Here is a program to help with fireworks:

      http://www.helium.com/items/1485058-how-to-help-a-...

      Thundershirt comes with a money back guarantee so it can be tried and go from there.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      My dog is terrified of firecrackers which we still get now and again even though it's fall. would this help with that? Sounds like an interesting product. Thanks for sharing this news.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      Victoria, I am adding a couple of links to some of my articles tackling behavior modification programs for dogs that are fearful/reactive of strangers:

      https://hubpages.com/animals/How-to-Help-a-Dog-tha...

      http://adrienne-farricelli.suite101.com/how-to-sto...

      Best wishes!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Thanks, alexadry. I'm glad I just happened to see this. I'll check out that link. Who knows? Maybe the thundershirt could help my situation. We'll see. Thanks so much for the information.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      Cresentmoon, I do not personally use it on my dogs because they do not need it, but I have recommended it for clients. I am pretty confident it would help your dog (that is what it was created for) especially if you also follow a behavior modification program such as this one:

      http://adrienne-farricelli.suite101.com/how-to-hel...

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      Victoria, because barking has so many causes, it is hard to say if thunder-shirt would help with the barking. If the barking is indeed anxiety related and derived from fear or general uneasiness I am confident it would help but it may require a behavior modification program. Here is a helpful link:

      http://www.thundershirt.com/HowItWorks/Barking.asp...

    • Cresentmoon2007 profile image

      Cresentmoon2007 

      6 years ago from Caledonia, MI

      Do you use this thundershirt on your dog and does it work? Because my dog is absolutely terrified of thunderstorms and getting into the car to go to the vet. The vet gave her Xanax for her but it doesn't seem to do anything.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I've heard about the Thundershirt and have a friend who used it to help her dog's anxiety. Do you have any info or links on how to use it to help a dog who barks too much? Outside at the neighbor's dog, for instance. At visitors and strangers....Thanks. Interesting hub.

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