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Thread: Thundershirts (fear of thunderstorm)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    South Coast NSW
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    Default Thundershirts (fear of thunderstorm)

    Kimba is petrified of thunderstorms. I posted about it here- http://www.dogforum.com.au/dog-train...afe-place.html

    Her thundershirt has arrived and been tested! ( Thundershirt | The Best Dog Anxiety Treatment )


    WITHOUT THUNDERSHIRT-
    As soon as she hears a distant thunderstorm her ears go back, she starts panting. As it get closer she starts pacing.
    She tries to sit on me, hide under my arm and wants over the top attention and comfort. I never pat her and tell her its ok because I don’t want her to be getting praised for acting like that and telling her its ok to freak out.



    She then goes into hiding mode. She tried to hide in or under anything and starts trembling with fear.
    From this point on you cannot distract her, she won’t eat or listen to commands
    I have created a safe place for her in the laundry cupboard. When the curtain is down she will stay in there but is still distressed. If she isn’t in there she continues pacing, panting and trembling until the storm has passed.



    Kimbas thundershirt fitting-
    It JUST fits. She got a Large but the XL would have been better, make sure you have your dogs weight before you order.


    WITH THUNDERSHIRT ON:

    She was incredibly calm during the storm. When the thunder came she put her ears back, looked towards it but kept calm.
    She never pulled on the lead or tried to get me to comfort her she just stood or sat calm. She even tried to get pats from people walking by.
    She was still panting like she does during a storm but it was also quite humid.
    She didn’t tremble or look terrified like before.
    In the past she would not have left the house if there was thunder. If we were out she tries to run home or hide.

    My mum saw her and was totally amazed. She even asked if I had drugged her!

    Kimba during a loud thunderstorm (no rain)




    So far I only have positive things to say about the Thundershirt. I read that people sa an instant change in their pets but its amazing to see it happen to your own dog.
    I will update & add video comparisons as we get more storms.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    SA
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    Yes please updates! After reading your initial Thread we ordered a Thundershirt too because our dog freaks out when it's windy. It arrived last week and so far we had no chance yet to try it out (no windy days as yet... just grilling sun). We did have a quick testrun with the dreadful dogeating clotheshanger though... and the result was promising. Usually Nero will not go anywhere near that thing but wearing his new fancy shirt it was easy to make him sit right next to it. Will post updates too

    Having said that our fitting experience is the same as yours. It JUST fits. Just...

  3. #3
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    Horay for the improvement!

    How do these things work?

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  4. #4
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    jadielee87, The website says that the pressure has a calming effect on them. I really don't know much more than that..

  5. #5
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    Ah okay! That's interesting! Must help them feel secure?!

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  6. #6
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    Newfsie is the person to ask on this one... But it has something to do with the pressure- like is often seen in kids with anxiety based disorders who love to be rolled tight into sleeping bags, infants in swaddling etc.

    I believe it is similar to bandaging/ wrapping as used by Tellington-Touch methods.

    I'm sure when Tessa is feeling better, Newfsie will be in to explain this much better!

    As an aside: I find fitting my dogs backpacks must create some similar kind of pressure as I see much calmer Behaviour from my Villain when he is wearing his pack with weights and a dreaded bicycle goes by... I was considering trying a thundershirt just to test my hypothesis!

  7. #7
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    I have a thundershirt in my cupboard. I originally bought the medium for Luke (as he is medium for everything else) but found that it wasn't the right size. Upon reading the instructions, you measure their chest at it's largest point, Luke was 32", making him border LGE/ X LGE. I swapped to a Large and it fit a lot better.

    Luke still hides if there is a thunderstorm, the thundershirt doesn't really have an effect regarding that, however we did notice that it does make him woozy and he begins to fall asleep (when there is no storm). When there is thunder he acts like a child way past their bed time that refuses to go to sleep, tries to say awake for as long as possible, as their eyes keeping closing :P

    From what I have heard about the theory behind it, it is based on supressing the nervous system or something, which creates a calming affect, This method is also used a lot with calming people with disabilities, such as autism, I would assume it also applies to babies It really applies to everyone :P This is why people hug other people when they are upset, to make them feel better. I would like to hear Newfsie's knowledge

    I actually found using a thunderstorm CD to desensitize along with deep tissue massage (not pats/strokes/praise) has helped Luke immensely with his reactions to storms. He is pretty relaxed now even when a storm is passing. As long as it's not right over our heads he copes quite well, without the shirt. Has anyone else worked with a CD?

  8. #8
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    Have generally heard it said that the CD's are of limited use unless you have top notch stereo equipment... But have used it as a distractor very successfully in class...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Villain & Flirtt View Post
    Have generally heard it said that the CD's are of limited use unless you have top notch stereo equipment... But have used it as a distractor very successfully in class...
    I have a CD that was made by a local Warrandyte man during a storm with his top notch equipment. It sounds great. We play it through our stereo speakers with the sub woofer on (low). It is actually quite relaxing to listen to, as a non-thunderstorm fearing person

    I can imagine it would be a great distractor in class :P

  10. #10
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    You may also like to look into Tellington Touch. I went to a couple of seminars and also have a thundershirt for one of my dogs though not because of thunder, but because a show table had not been erected properly and when the judge lent against it while he went to go over him it collapsed under him and both the judge and Mickey went down in a heap.

    Throughout winter last year I put him in his thunder shirt instead of a dog coat when we went to dog shows and also practiced some of the easy massage techniques of TT and some wraps.

    Several months later and he was a different dog or I should say he was back to his usual self on the table.

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