Posted by Pack Leader | Posted in dog behavior, dog psychology, dog training, obedience
Over the last few months I have been testing out new products, as a dog trainer and dog owner, I am always searching through the new and latest products appearing in the dog world. The ThunderShirt has revolutionized the tools I use to train dogs, my own personal dog, and is taking the dog world by storm!
This is by far one of the most exciting products I have seen in the last 15 years as a trainer (If I were a dog- I would be full body wiggling right now)! As an owner of a rescued dog with severe anxiety, I was pretty skeptical that a jersey knit t-shirt would turn my world upside down and let my dog, Brinks, learn to just be a dog.
Thundershirt’s gentle, constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs if they are anxious, fearful or over-excited. It is this pressure that has a calming effect for most dogs. As for WHY Thundershirt’s gentle pressure works to calm a dog, experts believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system. Until now, there just hasn’t been a well-designed, inexpensive pressure wrap commonly used for dog anxiety and fear. I had to put this product to the test!
My dog, Brinks, is a 185lb. Mastiff/Great Dane mix, he was surrendered to Idaho Great Dane Rescue in June 2007, and my husband and I adopted him a few months later. When we adopted Brinks, I was fully aware of his fear and anxiety behaviors. He was considered unadoptable, but as a dog trainer, I was up for the challenge.
When Brinks was surrendered, he had been badly abused and malnourished. We were not able to touch his lips, ears, feet, and back end. I spent many hours doing massage therapy on him to build trust and help Brinks learn that touch is positive. He would pace constantly and whine, and if left, he would destroy doors, walls, etc. and for a big guy that is a lot of damage. In his dog run he would scratch and bite the gate until his feet and mouth were bleeding. I wish I had a ThunderShirt! It took me about a year to get him comfortable with touch by strangers, especially on his face and ears, and help his separation anxiety so he did not hurt himself in his kennel. Brinks still struggles with pacing and whining, as well as, separation and leash anxiety.
I had heard of the ThunderShirt from a dog training colleague and decided to put it to the test (And yes, they come in XXL)! When I received my ThunderShirt I tried it out right away– I was shocked by the difference. No crying, pacing, or anxiety of any kind. Brinks laid down and fell asleep, although he still followed me if I moved around the house, his anxiety level had dropped significantly. I thought this must be a fluke. The next day when I left for work, I left the ThunderShirt on him in his kennel, and when I came home he was not doing his usual screaming howl/bark, and when he came out of his kennel he was excited, but not manic. For the next few weeks I took him for walks with it, and used it on and off in the house, and when he was in his kennel. I was astounded by the difference. It was as if he was finally comfortable in his own skin.
Since finding the ThunderShirt, I have referred many clients, colleagues, and pretty much anyone who will listen to me about ThunderShirts. Everyone has said the transformation is incredible. It works for sound sensitivity, car anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, barking, etc. The greatest thing is that ThunderShirts are completely user friendly, $36.00 for any size, and 100% guaranteed. You can find them at www.thundershirt.com or most specialty pet stores. For anyone who has a dog with anxiety- this product will change your world!