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How To Calm Your Dog – Thundershirt Contest

Our Boy BusterOur 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.

Buster's Thundershirt

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.

Buster in his Thundershirt

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.

Walking Buster in the Thundershirt

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.

Boys on the bench

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.

Enter Now

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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  • The original pressure wrap for dogs – and cats – was developed by certified professional dog trainer, Susan Sharpe, and this product differs from the Thundershirt in several important ways. The fabric, a stretchy lightweight, breathable and non-restrictive material is something that Susan came up with after experimenting with 90 different prototypes and it applies what is known as “maintained pressure.” The patented Anxiety Wrap provides more maintained pressure than any similar product on the market today and also has elastic and adjustable elements which specifically target acupressure points in the neck, shoulder and chest area, belly, mid-section and hind legs. In a recent clinical research study conducted by veterinarian, Dr. Nicholas Dodman at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine the Anxiety Wrap was found to be 89% effective in study participants! In my practice as a professional dog trainer I have found the Anxiety Wrap to be consistently effective and recommend the original Anxiety Wrap to my clients with fearful or anxious dogs as part of a behavior modification program. For more information about the Anxiety Wrap see the company website:

  • […] if it ever goes public. My friends Rod and Amy Burkert at just finished a Thundershirt giveaway contest – sorry, they have a winner — that elicited raves about the product.  Caleb, pictured […]

  • Suebeebuzz says:

    Were any anouncements made?  any winners?  funny we are having stroms here bad today.. I have one guy under a table.. i think im about to order a thunder shirt now.. i found a add in redbook mag for free shipping! 

  • Linda Clough says:

    Would love to try this for my 15+ yr. old minpin. I can no longer leave her home alone because she can’t stand or walk very well but riding in a car makes her extremely anxious and the stress is very hard on her. We have even considered putting her down to spare her (and us) the anxiety. This might be the answer!

  • Claudia M. says:

    we got a little rescue min – pin who is deadly afraid of thunder and maybe it would help on our walks taking the edge off like you said :)

    subscriber :) cdm65atmaildotcom

  • lauren e says:

    We adopted Tazz 2.5 years ago when he was 6. He quickly bonded to me and I became his favourite family member. He loves everyone else, but if I’m home, he’s right by my side. He stresses out when I leave. It’s not extreme, but he doesn’t sleep soundly, if at all, when I’m not home. When he hears a sound, he’ll start barking, crying, and running around in circles. He’s much better then when we first adopted him, but I’m curious to see if the Thundershirt would help his anxiety. He also stresses out when my dad sneezes and occasionally when the phone rings. [email protected]

  • Terri Jewett says:

    Our Jesse just turned 12, she would benefit from a “Thunder Shirt” for several reasons. She has terrible seperation anxiety, and summer thunderstorms scare her so bad. She probably wont be with us much longer, it would be nice to try out your product. She also has an enlarged esophagus, which stresses her out we are doing much better with that. It would be a blessing to recieve a “Thunder Shirt”‘ to make the last years of her life a little less stressful. Thank you for your consideration. [email protected]
    Jesse says Hi too.. :o)

  • Mbolism1 says:

    I’m a dog trainer & my demo dog who assists me with my classes is my standard poodle, Sugar. She is the perfect dog with one exception: she’s afraid of thunder. When it thunders, she has to lay or sit right on top of me. This is especially problematic in the middle of the night when I wake up unable to breathe because there’s a 45 lb poodle on me! I’d love to have a thundershirt for her not only to help us hopefully sleep at night when its storming, but I’d love to be able to bring it to my training classes to show my students. I love sharing training tools with them, and the thundershirt is one of my favorites. I’ve just never needed one until now as I’ve only had Sugar since late last year & when she was rehomed with me I didn’t know about her phobia. We would be a great spokesperson & spokesdog! Sincerely, Marilynn Cole & Sugar.

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