Dog Separation Anxiety is No Laughing Matter –
Here's A Quick and Easy Solution That Helps 85% of Dogs
When Sammy came to live with me 5 months ago, his separation anxiety was limited to excessive panting and racing around when I left and again when I came home.
According to my roommate, he'd calm down after 20 minutes or so once I'd left.
But then, he decided to try and break out of the house if I was gone. (Was he going to try and "sniff" me out?)
First, he'd (almost successfully!) tunneled out of the yard and did some fence damage in the effort. So we fixed the fence and cut off his access to the yard by making sure the basement door was closed when I left.
Then, he figured out how to open the kitchen door and nearly got hit by cars in the road—twice.
Finally, there were no breakouts and he seemed calmer.
Then, I left for a trip to Florida.
When I got back he'd destroyed my favorite winter hat and his separation anxiety had skyrocketed.
Two weeks ago he pulled the weather stripping off the door. He tears up scarves and hats and acts generally freaked out.
Yes, I could crate him and I tried it when he first came to live with me but it was a fight to get him in it and he broke out of it twice. It certainly didn't keep him calm.
So, I'd thought I'd try a solution my friend and Sammy rescuer Kirsten Frisch recommended. Not only did she rescue him from the streets in NC, but she happens to be a dog trainer.
Kirsten found Sammy on the NC streets and fostered him for 3 weeks until I could pick him up. That gave her time to watch him and learn his quirks—like his fear of thunder.
To calm him, she recommended the Thundershirt. She has a couple she uses on her dogs.
But I didn't get one right away.
To be honest, I had no idea what it was and thought it sounded a little silly.
A couple weeks after Sammy came home with me, we had a thunderstorm and he trembled in fear while the thunder boomed and the lightening flashed.
Luckily, I was home and tried keep him calm by using my hands to apply gentle pressure along the length of his body.
Turn out that's how the Thundershirt works.
It fits tightly so it applies gentle, continuous pressure along the dog's acupressure points down his flanks.
Just like a hug can calm and soothe you, putting a gentle pressure along your dog's flank can calm your dog.
There's even a specific kind of dog training that uses this “Ttouch” or “Tellington Touch” to soothe and calm the anxious pooch.
Dog Separation Anxiety
Since his dog separation anxiety has worsened, I finally ordered my Thundershirt.
When it came I introduced it to him with some kibble on (like the instructions said so he'd think it was a good thing).
At first, I struggled with putting it on him. (I'm not always the most technically minded person).
It has one longer end that's wide with Velcro stripes and one end that's thinner and longer.
After a few minutes my boyfriend and I figured out the thinner part went around his neck and the rest was easy. (There are instructions with pictures. It is pretty simple).
Sammy was anxiety ridden as we put it on him--probably because we'd never done anything like that to him and I was putting it on all wrong.
You can see him panting here--a demonstration of his separation anxiety symptoms.
Since then, he's worn it a few times and he's fine with it.
You can adjust the tightness around his belly. You want it tight for the pressure but not uncomfortable.
It looks like he's just wearing a shirt and he seems pretty comfortable in it—no attempts to get it off.
After the first time, he didn't even fight putting it on and seems totally calm in it.
The Thundershirt people says it has an 85% success rate. Plus, they have a money back guarantee.
Now I put it on him a ½ hour or so before I'm planning on going out (and before I'm making “leaving the house” moves like changing my clothes, putting on make up, etc.) and it seems to be working pretty well.
I come home to find things as I left them, no destruction, and he's not panting and panicking.
Yay for the Thundershirt!
Have you tried it? What's been your experience with the Thundershirt and dog separation anxiety?
Have You Tried the Thundershirt?
What's been your experience with dog anxiety and the thundershirt?