thundershirt

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MPbandmom
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thundershirt

Post by MPbandmom » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:02 pm

I recently purchased thundershirts for both of my dogs after it was recommended by a friend and I read over the thundershirt web site.

For Sky, I think she has some underlying anxiety issues that are often masked by her general exuberant personality. She often whines when still, sometimes while riding in the car, hates passing barking dogs on walks. She is also very excitable so I'm thinking the thundershirt might calm her down some and enable her to focus more on me, thus granting me better control of her in highly distracting situations like her agility class and hopefully helping her to learn better focus skills in general.

For Sirius, she has a lot of fear issues that have been worsening lately. She has been doing better with thunderstorms, but the recent fireworks and home construction next door have been really hard on her. She has also started barking at people who talk. She has never been fond of being touched by strangers. She has also recently developed barrier/leash agression towards other dogs. I would like for the thundershirt to bring her level of anxiety/fear down to where I can use distraction and other training methods to hopefully get her to the point where she no longer needs to wear it.

I am somewhat concerned as to whether using a thundershirt has the potential to backfire if not utilized properly. For example if I only put it on her before stressful situations (like a trip to the vet), will it become associated with stressful situations, or does that not matter because of the way the product functions? I can't really see just putting the thundershirts on the dogs without also incorporating training to further desensitize them to the things they are anxious about.

Does anyone have experience with these shirts and is there a known wrong way to use them?
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

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Noobs
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Re: thundershirt

Post by Noobs » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:08 pm

I've considered getting one for Murphy, too. I had taken him to my local pet store once when they had a TTouch expert in-house. He put a TTouch wrap on Murphy and we were able to walk him past where they kept the store's pet cats. Murphy was able to look at one cat and back to me without his demeanor changing (he usually goes nuts when a cat is too close).
if I only put it on her before stressful situations (like a trip to the vet), will it become associated with stressful situations
I read that it's a good idea to put the shirt on the dog for a few minutes per day, and not just before stressful situations, exactly for that reason.

I would also love to hear if anyone here has experience using this product and if it's helped.

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Wes
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Re: thundershirt

Post by Wes » Mon Jul 05, 2010 1:41 pm

I've been thinking of ordering one (and a Walkeez harness) myself, but have been hesitant for the same reason as MPbandmom. My next pay day, I'm ordering the harness and may see if I can budget for a Thundershirt as well.

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Horace's Mum
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Re: thundershirt

Post by Horace's Mum » Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:31 pm

You can get a similar effect just using a small childs t-shirt - it has to be tight enough to give the pressure, but it can be a much cheaper way of calming a dog than buying a specialist shirt. Just a though, in case you have a child or friend with a child where you could get a free old shirt!

MPbandmom
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Re: thundershirt

Post by MPbandmom » Mon Jul 05, 2010 6:04 pm

So, would a snugly fitted dog sweater also serve the same function? It is a little warm outdoors for a sweater right now. I have scrounged around for some of my children's old t'shirts which I know there are some of around here somewhere, but haven't found them. I do however, have a sweater that I knit for Sirius that I believe is a fairly snug fit with 2" wide ribbing about an inch and a half behind the sleeve openings.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

MPbandmom
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Re: thundershirt

Post by MPbandmom » Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:52 am

The thundershirt does seem to help some and Sirius doesn't seem to mind wearing it at all once I get it on her, but I think the velcro closures are a little disturbing for both dogs. I also haven't put it on her for going outside to see if it will help on walks and other outdoors activities, because it has been so hot, and the thundershirt is a double layer garment.

I decided to try the child's t shirt idea as I am looking for a calming effect when out and about, that won't be too hot, will fit under a harness, and also post a warning to people to keep their hands off. I realize that is a lot to expect. I have decorated her thundershirt in anticipation of it eventually cooling down enough for her to wear outside, with an outline of a hand with a circle with a line through it (no hands). I have had good results with a sign I made for her to wear, but it doesn't work well with the harness I am using now, and it seemed to spook her some because it was loose and fluttery.

The t-shirts all seemed to have necks that would be too small. She has a lot of fur around her neck. I ended up getting a pack of girls tank tops. Her chest size is 24 inches and I got a size small for 24 to 26 inch chest, thinking that people's arms come out of thier sides and dog's legs come out of their fronts. I anticipated some modification to the front of the shirt. The tank tops had a roomy neck design and sleeve hole.

When I first put the shirt on her it was a little loose with the arm hole seemingly digging into her armpits. I took about 4 inches out of the front, and it became a more snug fit and the armholes seemed to line up better, but still a little off. So, I took a little more out of the front. After that, I discovered that the back neck area was now digging into her neck.

My conclusion is that I need to get a larger size tank top based on her arm pit to arm pit measurement, and then take out most of the front of the shirt to acheive the ideal fit and snugness.

Does this sound right?
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

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Horace's Mum
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Re: thundershirt

Post by Horace's Mum » Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:41 pm

Sounds good, if you are good with a needle and thread then you might be better off getting a larger stretchy t-shirt and shrinking it to fit - I can't quite get my head around the tank top version without seeing it! I have made a fleece coat out of thin single layer fleece which works quite will, it covers the whole back and has a strap that goes under and between the front legs and covers the whole of the chest, fastened with light velcro or ties. If you can get hold of any suitable fabric you could try making something up for hotter days?

I have used a jacket in the past for Horus, to make people aware of his deafness, but am having the same problem as you when it comes to making it visible under his harness. Still working on that one!

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Mattie
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Re: thundershirt

Post by Mattie » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:47 am

If you scroll down the page you will see a Weimaraner in a tank top http://www.equafleece.co.uk/store/dogs.html

These are good quality dog clothing, I had some coats for Merlin, they are well made and easy to wash.

Horace's Mum, you can put a harness on under a coat and put a large button hole in the coat were the D ring is so you can clip the lead to the D ring on the harness. You see this a lot in small dog fashion clothes :lol:
[url=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/PIXIE.jpg][img]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v312/Nethertumbleweed/th_PIXIE.jpg[/img][/url]

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Horace's Mum
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Re: thundershirt

Post by Horace's Mum » Mon Jul 26, 2010 4:54 am

Hi mattie, that wouldn't work too well with us because Horus has a ruffwear harness that covers his whole body and I use the handle on the back so it can't be covered. I'm working on a quarter sheet design like horses wear behind their saddles, but there's not a lot of space. Either that or writing on the harness itself somehow!

MPbandmom
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Re: thundershirt

Post by MPbandmom » Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:31 pm

I'm going to try test garment #2 hopefully tonight. After speaking with a coworker who suggested taking one of the other shirts in the 4 shirt pack to add the extra needed fabric to the back of the shirt, I realized, that what I take out of the front of the shirt could be added to the back of the shirt. :D I just have to get my brain functioning a little better. Lots of noise outside last night made for little sleep and I don't want to risk wasting another shirt.

If it works, I'll try to post a picture of it.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

MPbandmom
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Re: thundershirt

Post by MPbandmom » Mon Jul 26, 2010 8:35 pm

Well here is version #2. I think we have success! :D I haven't added the signage yet.

I basically took a seam somewhat straight :oops: down from the shoulder strap at it's narrowest point in the front from the neck to the hem. I then cut that portion of fabric out leaving about 5/8" seam allowance. I then cut the back of the shirt down the middle and took the fabric from the front (wrong sides together) and ran a couple of seams down the back inserting the removed front portion into the back portion. The seams are on the outside, hopefully for greater comfort. I then stitched down the seams to keep them flat and to aid in preventing ravelling out into the seam.

The stitching down the seams was the hardest part. All in all it took me about 15 minutes, and with the first prototype being ruined, the end cost will be about $1.50 per shirt plus thread, and electricity to run the sewing machine.

Image

Not the best picture, it was getting late and she was drinking some water.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

mazzama06
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Re: thundershirt

Post by mazzama06 » Mon Aug 09, 2010 9:58 pm

I have been wondering about a thundershirt too for my dogs. I saw some swim shirts for dogs on sale at Petsmart, they look like they would fit snug. So from the posts of people making their own, this shirt probably would work very good, right? It is a nylon like shirt.

MPbandmom
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Re: thundershirt

Post by MPbandmom » Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:23 pm

After some usage of my creation, it became obvious that Sirius just wasn't that comfortable having it put on over her head. So, I have modified the shirt further to make it over the head free. I opened the middle front seam and cut the arm straps at the armpit (next to the front seam just opened). I stitched down the cut edges to prevent ravelling and then put fusable velcro on the now unattached arm straps going from the cut edge to the closest seam where the extra fabric previously taken out of the front had been added into the back. (Originally I just put the velcro on the arm straps to the shoulder seam, but this proved too large and allowed the shirt to scoot backwards on her.) I then applied the fusable velcro on either side of the front center seam that I had opened up. So it now velcros around her neck and tummy. She seems much more comfortable with this arrangement.
Grammy to Sky and Sirius, who came to live with me, stole my heart, and changed my life forever as I took over their care and learned how to be a dog owner.

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