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The ThunderShirt! - Does it really work?

Updated on January 24, 2012
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The Truth about the Thundershirt!

About a month ago, I bought my 11month puppy a Thundershirt. I was just like all the trainers and dog owners who were interested to see if this Thundershirt really works for separation anxiety and the riddence of bad behaviors. These Thundershirts sizes run a little bit big for the dog so just make sure you go with the smaller size. How the Thundershirt works is the piece of clothing wrap that will "hug" your dog at where it's "comfy" pressure points are so it will calm its' nervous system. So you definitely need something small and tight to wrap your dog around like a burrito.

When I first tried it, I was so confused but yet amazed because it made my dog very sleepy. Sleepy to the point where he wouldn't play with me and he just laid there. I tried training him when he was in his Thundershirt but all I would get from him was a "down" for the entire time. I was a little bit scared because it worked in that instance. I checked the Thundershirt for drugs that would absorb into the skin but I couldn't find any drugs.

It worked so well that I kept it on for a full day to see if it would work for the separation anxiety problem. My dog slept pretty well with it and did not climb up to the window and howl in the morning. I did my morning routine and chores before leaving the house and then I put my puppy in the crate with the Thundershirt on. He didn't cry at all when I was still in the room with him. When I closed the door, he suddenly started crying and barking while being in the Thundershirt. I knew it was too good to be true!!

Then a realization dawned on me while having dinner with one of my friends. Humans have a phenomenon where if they have something on them for a long time, they will start to not feel it and it will become "part of their system" until that something changes. For example, we don't feel ourselves wearing underwear because our skin adapts to these changes and they feel "normal" after getting used to it. But when we change our underwear to something completely different, our bodies will feel it until it gets used to it again. Same thing for the Thundershirt. Our dogs will feel the Thundershirt when you first put it on them and they will not get used to it until they have worn it for a while. Once they get used to it, it won't stimulate pressure at their pressure points, therefore, the technique of a "comfy hug" will not work.

I tested this theory out and it's true. The Thundershirt works in short periods of times. So here are some do's and don'ts for the Thundershirt so that you can make it work for you and your dog!

Do's

  • Let him wear it for no longer than 8 hours at a time.
  • When is he wearing it, he will be calm so when you need to be calm (such as at night when you are sleeping), let him wear the Thundershirt so he can calmly sleep with you.
  • Find the correct size that will fit him tightly around his torso area.

Don'ts

  • Do not wear it all day and expect a miracle to happen
  • Do not let your dog get "used" to the Thundershirt


-by Esther A.

A Picture with my Baby Puppy with the Thundershirt on!

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    • profile image

      Kay Bertieri 3 years ago

      Does the shirt help dogs with seiszures?

    • aznpanda206 profile image
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      aznpanda206 5 years ago from San Francisco

      We never have storms in the Bay Area of CA!

    • profile image

      jazzyjersey52 5 years ago

      my dogs love their shirts they get so when a storm is coming they come ask for their shirts to be put on by rolling over and over on the floor. The problem is they do get very used to them and don't want to take them off. This was a lot better remedy to calm them during storms than giving them drugs we haven't tried them for the separation anxiety yet but it definitely works for the storm anxiety

    • profile image

      Cindy Ludwig, M.A., KPA-CTP 5 years ago

      You can purchase it online (https://anxietywrap.com/)and the Anxiety Wrap comes with a 100% guarantee. You will also receive guidance from a certified professional trainer in proper use.

    • aznpanda206 profile image
      Author

      aznpanda206 5 years ago from San Francisco

      I would actually love to try this because stated before in my article, the thundershirt does not work as supposed to.

    • profile image

      Cindy Ludwig, M.A., KPA-CTP 5 years ago

      From the company website: "Unlike other products, the Anxiety Wrap’s custom blend of fabric allows it to constantly flex and stretch over the dog’s body, eliminating habituation. It is designed to allow the dog to urinate and defecate freely and is safe to leave on the dog when you’re not home or overnight." Since wearing the Anxiety Wrap does not cause habituation to the wrap, I don't see any reason an animal couldn't wear it all the time. However, it has to be removed to brush the dog and was the wrap when soiled. I usually recommend that clients place the wrap on their dog prior to a situation or even they know from experience will be anxiety-producing - once they have initially introduced and fitted the wrap to their dog.

      That's right, the pet stores do not carry the Anxiety Wrap. Unfortunately the Thundershirt has been widely marketed to these and other businesses.

      But, the (patented) Anxiety Wrap is the original pressure wrap and it is unique in that it was designed by a professional dog trainer who experimented with 90 different prototypes before finding just the right fabric and design for optimal effect.

      The Anxiety Wrap provides more maintained pressure than any other product and was deemed a "safe and effective treatment for canine thunderstorm phobia" in a clinical research study conducted by veterinarian, Dr. Nicholas Dodman at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine.

    • aznpanda206 profile image
      Author

      aznpanda206 5 years ago from San Francisco

      For the anxiety wrap, are they supposed to wear it all of the time?

      I have never seen the anxiety wrap at Petco or any other pet stores. Is it similar to the Thundershirt?

    • profile image

      Cindy Ludwig 5 years ago

      I recommend the Anxiety Wrap. The Anxiety Wrap is the original pressure wrap designed for dogs and cats by certified professional dog trainer, Susan Sharpe. I am also a professional dog trainer and Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and have used the product successfully for several years now in my practice. The results are immediate in carefully selected dogs. It's important for readers to understand that in many situations the wrap alone will not entirely alleviate anxiety but I have found that it is successful in reducing anxiety in 100% of the cases in which I have used the wrap. In a recent study conducted at the prestigious Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Nicholas Dodman found the Anxiety Wrap to be 89% effective. Pet owners with anxious dogs should seek the assistance of a qualified professional to help them sort out the causes of their pet's anxiety and develop an appropriate treatment plan. I have found the Anxiety Wrap to be an invaluable firstline therapeutic modality in the treatment of different types of canine anxiety, but it is always just part of a larger plan that includes behavior modification. For more information about the Anxiety Wrap, see: https://anxietywrap.com/default.aspx