Saturday, November 22, 2014

There Are No Magic Pills... But There Might Be Magic Thundershirts?

After my most recent post on Napoleon, my vet and I have been experimenting with as-needed, short-acting drugs to see if we could find something to help him calm down and relax around the house. We've experimented with different drugs and different doses and different frequencies and... well, let's just say that the amount of trazodone that will knock me out does nothing to him.

I tend forget about deep pressure type wraps since the time we tried a Thundershirt on Maisy was an epic disaster. As in, she got even more anxious. Still, Maisy dislikes being touched and Napi loves it, so yeah. Then I tried an anxiety wrap on him (ie, an ace bandage because I'm cheap and it was handy) and... OMG. He just curls up and goes to sleep. Oh, he still notices when our upstairs neighbor comes and goes, but the barking lasts for a shorter amount of time, and it's less intense. The hyper-vigilance is reduced, and it's just basically... well, magical.

But the magicalness of the pressure wrap really came home to me when I signed up to share the rental cost of a local training building with a few friends. I'm not really sure what they worked on, but Napi and I worked on not freaking out around other dogs and people. We started out in the lobby, behind barriers and slowly worked up to being in the same room with the others. Okay, they were mostly sitting still, and we were a good 40 feet away, but HE WAS LYING DOWN AND QUIET. Relaxed? No. Eating treats? Yes, which is better than the last time we tried to do something similar.

We're renting the training building for the next couple weeks, and while I was initially planning on taking a different dog each week, now I'm thinking it will be Napi-only. We have the potential to make a ton of progress, and I'm really excited to see how he does.


Chris and Mike said...

This is fascinating. I've heard quite a bit about Thundershirts and wrapping but have't tried them. Keep us posted.

LB said...

I really like the Thundershirt. My older rat terrier Zip wore one when we traveled to agility trials as it helped his anxiety with highway noise as he was going deaf.

My reactive rat terrier Ziva wears her Thundershirt for veterinary appointments and when she is vaccinated.

My easily aroused rat terrier Zoey wore her Thundershirt to Clicker Expo where she participated in one of Kay Laurence's labs before being excused for not being aroused enough ;-)

Finally, my wire hair dachshund Fred comes and asks me for his Thundershirt during fireworks or when there's a storm.

Maybe you could get a free one from the company for writing a product review on the Thundershirt? Trainers do get a substantial discount though. I bought my first Thundershirts at the Clicker Expo where they were introduced. I think I got three for $50 because I split with another person (Bulk purchase was six for $100).