Our boy Buster … we love him to death, but he can be a handful. It’s not his fault – he didn’t get a fair shake the first year of his life. And though we don’t know his exact circumstances, he was a mess when we found him abandoned in Philly.
He acted like he’d never been on a leash before and, at 75 pounds, dragged us everywhere. He wasn’t house trained. He was afraid of stairs. He barked non-stop in the car.
That was more than three years ago and we’ve made a lot of progress. But, Buster still suffers the effects of what was likely a neglectful puppyhood and a less than ceremonious dumping. He whines a bit when we start driving, sometimes barks when we stop for gas or to pay tolls, and growls and barks at other dogs when he’s on leash.
We’re always looking for tools to help with Buster’s rehabilitation and training, so when we read about the calming effects of the Thundershirt we ordered one for his fourth birthday. Swaddling seems to agree with Buster. He passed out right after we put it on him the first time.
With all dogs, some days are better than others. Subtle improvements can’t be measured, and that makes it difficult to know if a new tool is making an impact. We’ve spent the past six weeks observing Buster’s behavior with and without the Thundershirt in the situations he finds most challenging.
When we’re driving, Buster’s Thundershirt fits nicely under his seat belt harness, and he’s definitely calmer. His barking and whining are so much better, in fact, that one day when Buster was not wearing his Thundershirt we stopped for gas, and while Rod was tending the pump, I put it on him. Since then, it’s been a required part of our driving routine.
We’ve also noticed an improvement around other dogs when he’s on leash. He’s not all “Bob Marley,” but wearing the Thundershirt during our walks takes the edge off enough that he can hear me and respond to commands when he sees other dogs. It may not seem like a lot, but we’re really excited – it’s the first step in helping him choose a different behavior.
He’s even getting good at helping me get the Thundershirt on him. I secure the chest straps and tell him, “put your t-shirt on.” He sticks his head though the hole and stands still while I snug the flaps under his belly. And people have been complimenting him on his snappy attire.
We’ve found the Thundershirt to be well-made and easy to use. Buster’s took a direct hit when he introduced himself to a skunk, and I’m happy to report it washed beautifully – though be sure the Velcro is fastened or it will come out stuck to every one of your socks.
The Thundershirt costs $36 and can be purchased on the company’s website, at pet supply stores, or on other Internet sites. You can also connect with Thundershirt on Facebook to read the experiences of more of their customers.
If you’ve tried a Thundershirt to help your dog, please share your experience in the comments below.
This contest is now closed. The winner is Lauren F and her dog Desmond!
Disclosure: We purchased a Thundershirt and the opinions expressed here are my honest assessment of the product based on my personal experience using it.
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