Havock, my 10-year-old miniature schnauzer, has always been anxious in social settings. We’ve been best friends since he fit in the palm of my hand and it troubles me that he isn’t able to remain calm when meeting new dogs or people. Havock howls and screeches and jumps frantically when meeting new faces. Not only does this disturb the dogs and people Havock meets, it physically distresses him too. Worried that his body would have a hard time coping with these outbursts as he aged, I started seeking solutions to help my friend.
We’ve been best friends since he fit in the palm of my hand.
I tried positive-reinforcement training through encouraging and distracting him with food when he met a new friend and remained calm. While this worked when food was present, we had a difficult time graduating to good behavior without it. I tried removing him from the situation by putting him in another room when he had an outburst. This led to miserable howling until he exhausted himself— obviously counter-productive.
I even tried CBD dog treats in an attempt to calm him, which worked well, but required planning ahead for visits, which wasn’t always possible.
After vet consultations and extensive research, I was introduced to the ThunderShirt.
How to put on a ThunderShirt
I will admit that I wasn’t convinced of its advertised success rates for anxious dogs. The ThunderShirt is a fabric shirt with velcro to wrap around and secure on your dog— like a hug. Desperate to try anything, I ordered a small for 15-pound Havock. When it arrived I put it to the test by inviting Havock’s favorite human in the world, Justin, over for a visit.
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I couldn’t believe the change in him. Havock waddled up to Justin and was vocal, but was nowhere near the extremely enthusiastic reaction of the past. He settled quickly and was content. With a happy smile on his face, Havock lay calmly in the lap of his pal. I was sold.
ThunderShirts come in a big range of adjustable styles and sizes
Since he started wearing his pressure wrap, Havock has been able to come to my dog-friendly office with minimal outbursts. Not only does this provide a calm environment for everyone else, it helps Havock live a healthier and likely longer life in the presence of the dogs and people he loves.
I can’t wait for many more trips around the sun with my stable best friend.
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