Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thundershirts, A Trial.....

We are both terrified of thunderstorms.... The Momma thinks it is because of Hurricanes Ike and Rita.  We were living in Houston at the track we raced at when they came thru the area.  Maybe that is why, or maybe we have always been afraid... we are not telling, we just don't like thunder!

Well The Momma has tried a few things, melatonin seems to take the edge of the fear away if we are given the melatonin in time. In Texas during springtime storms pop up out of nowhere so sometimes it is too late to give pills and have them kick in in time.

What usually happens when a storm gets noisy is we begin to pace the house, shaking, drooling and whining.  We cannot be consoled by petting or hugging or being near The Momma or anyone else.  We only want to hide in the hallway where there are no windows.  So The Momma drags two beds in the hall for us and we stand on them to do our whining, shaking and drooling. If the storm is at night and lasts for 5 hours..... The Momma is up with us the entire time.

Well when The Momma found out about Thundershirts she was at the point where she would try anything (before going to prescription meds) and decided to give them a try.  We got them a few days ago and today we had our first storm come thru.

We had a TON of people ask us if they worked when we posted about them on Facebook because their dogs are afraid too.... so we decided to post our experience :)

Last night we ate wearing our shirts, to associate them with good things.  This morning The Momma knew the storms were forecasted so she went ahead and put them on us early and we ate wearing them again and got extra treats when she put them on us.  The storm that came thru was not bad at all, The Momma counted maybe 2 times that she heard thunder but we had some periods of high winds and heavy rain and the storm was also noisy just because of that.  Nelson laid on the sofa the entire storm (something he rarely does even when it ISN'T storming) with almost no reaction to the two thunderbooms. 

Bully was laying on his bed in it's normal spot during most of the storm, when the thunder sounded he stood up, walked over to The Momma and whined a few times.  He did not go to the hallway, and he did not start shaking or drooling.  after the two thunderbooms were done and a few minutes had passed he went back to his bed and laid down.

So what have we learned? We are not yet sure of the full effectiveness of the shirts just yet.  This was by no means a typical noisy Texas storm.  BUT The Momma sees that they do have a calming effect. Nelson in a Thundershirtless situation would have FLOWN off the couch and into his panting hiding routine at the first sign of thunder.

We have storms forecasted on Sunday too, we will report their effectiveness during that storm as well...... The Thundershirt site says that most dogs have an immediate calming response when the shirt is put on and usually a few more times of wearing it during stressful situations can increase the effectiveness.  We shall see! As of right now we are optimistic!

-Bully and Nelson

(B&N are wearing size large, they weigh 76 and 78 pounds and have a chest measurement of 32 inches, if they were much larger they would probably need the size XL)