Do these really work? I have been wanting to get the ThunderShirt for our dog, who is constantly barking at every little noise she hears.
Then I found out about the anxiety wraps and the Temple Grandin and Tellington Touch: methods.
Two resources have researched the issue on how pressure soothes.The first source is TTouch practitioners. TTouch was developed by Linda Tellington-Jones to help train horses and relax the horse's mind and body. It was eventually adapted for other animals too. It uses a system of specific touches, and stretches to relax the animal, and increase body awareness.
One of the tools used to continue TTouch benefits for a longer time is a body wrap.
The second resource is the famous autism researcher Temple Grandin who was herself an autistic child. Inspired by how cattle calmed down while being gently squeezed in a chute she developed a “hug machine”.
The hug machine helped maintain constant pressure and proved to be effective in soothing the anxiety of autistic people. On the same lines a pressure wrap is a way to give the maintained pressure and contact that the dog craves for in times of anxiety.
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Everyone learns what works by learning what doesn't work.
My parents use a thundershirt on their dog (pure bred english setter used for bird hunting) and they say it works wonders, I have a little chunk of a dog (pit bull mutt used for keeping the couch warm) that I squeeze into a sweater and it keeps her much calmer during fireworks or storms.
I bought a thunder shirt for my old dog, Levi. As he got older loud noises bothered him. Thunder, fireworks, gunfire, and I live 6 mile from a navy bombing range and their practice would make him get all nervous and panting. The shirt helped, but he'd get hotter in it. For him, I could only use it in cooler weather. Wearing it made it so that if it was booming he could lay down beside me and be ok. Instead of the constant panting/sweating profusely and trying to get... on top of me. He was a sixty pound lap dog... And as he got older an the things set him off it was like he wanted to be one with me. That was only the last couple years of his life. He passed in January. I loved that dog an miss him. But glad the anxeity problem is no longer...
We have a ~5-pound chihuahua who is afraid of any load noise, including road noise on the interstate. We bought a ThunderShirt three years ago. The first, an extra small, was terrific at calming her panic episodes. However, she "porked up" a bit (from 3 to 5 pounds) and the extra small grew too small. We upgraded her to a small, which is not as effective because it does not fit as tightly.
What is tight? Think of spandex leggings: close to the skin under which a finger feels a bit tight. The animal should feel a solid "hug" while being able to breath. As someone pointed out above, the ThunderShirt also functions well as a base layer for our ever-cold chihuahua.
One other thing to keep in mind - our chihuahua has very short hair so a ThunderShirt fits next to her skin. On a dog with more hair, I am less certain about sizing so I would consult with the pet store about how the shirt should be "tailored."
Maybe we're daredevils, but our chihuahua wears her ThunderShirt when we are not home with her. I'm not sure how she could be harmed any more by a ThunderShirt than by any of her numerous sweaters. Maybe if she were more rambunctious, I would be more concerned.
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