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Old 01-31-2013, 09:59 AM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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Default Thundershirt Payton

So having run out of any other bright ideas to combat Payton's crate tantrums, which are increasingly stressful for both of us (I am terrified he's going to break a tooth), I went out last night and picked up a few things from PetSmart.

My idea was to get a Thundershirt and some calming meds, but I wasn't positive the calming meds would be helpful for what I wanted. So I picked up this which says it works instantly, but I wasn't sure about the timing of how to use it. Use it before he goes in the crate and get him to calm down, THEN put him in the crate? He's not upset before he goes in the crate, he's quite happy to run across the house and open his own crate door and go in - he just doesn't want me to shut the door and leave... and using it AFTER he's upset doesn't seem like the right idea... but nevertheless I bought it to see if it would help us.
They also had this which I didn't realize until I got home that it also has a noise maker in it (whaaaat??) so that will be going back.

But I also got the Thundershirt. My biggest worry with the Thundershirt is that he basically has to wear it the whole time he's in the crate since it's being in the crate when I leave that makes him flip out. I'm worried about it being effective if he's wearing it in the crate that long, and I'm also worried about him chewing it up. =P But it does say right on the package it can be used for crate training and crate anxiety, sooooo, I'll give it a shot.

I tried it last night... put it on him while he was out and about and then went off to fix dinner. Got out my pan, got out my chicken, look down and I only have two dogs. Where is Payton? RIGHT WHERE I LEFT HIM. He hadn't moved. He was just standing there. I called him and got an ear flick. My mom went and patted him and he did finally move, and once he got moving he was okay. Not totally normal but he was walking around with at least SOME of his usual swagger. I gave him some chicken while he was wearing it so that might have helped. =P
I finished cooking and went to go sit down to eat, and popped him in the crate.
He grumbled once and I could hear a little bit of paw pacing for about five seconds.
Then silence.
Silence.

I sat down to eat. My mom walked into the kitchen and I said "Look where Payton is." Normally I don't have to point out Pay is in his crate because they HEAR when he has been put in his crate. She looked at him. She walked into the room. She said "Can you walk by his crate and he'll be quiet?" (a good way to set him off again.) I covered my eyes expecting this to be terrible - she walked by his crate and he was silent.

There is NO WAY it's that easy.

After I finished eating I got up to "leave." Very LOUDLY put on my coat, walked to the door, looked over at Payton in his crate... went outside. Shut the door and stood on the deck.
Silence.
I stood outside for a couple of minutes and he was silent the whole time. I walked back in and he was standing in his crate looking at the door, but no barking, no screaming, no SINGING, no digging, no spinning, no biting the door.

No way it's that easy.

I let him out and after a couple of minutes took the Thundershirt off. He was off and running around, playing, being obnoxious again (and my mom said "ohhh noooo, he needs his Thundershirt on again!" NOT THE POINT.)


So this morning I put it on him while I was getting dressed so he could acclimate to it a bit before he had to go in his crate. I feel bad because he just seems... sad with it on. He got up on my bed and lay down, then got in the dog bed on the floor and just lay there. He did come to the bathroom with me and ask me to flick water on his face after I washed my hands (he's weird.) so he's not totally shut down or anything, but he does seem quite sad. Not how I would want my dog to be under any normal circumstances, that's for sure.

But I put him in the crate before leaving and he barked one time. Just one little bark.

I'm not really sure what to make of this. I hope I don't go home and he's ripped it off himself in the crate and torn it up, for one thing. But it seems like it's working for now at least. I just feel bad that he seems sad while wearing it. Not calm but sad. He's got a woe-face going on. But at the same time, the tantrums are just getting worse (all I've been able to do with treating is to delay them a bit) and I am seriously worried he'll hurt himself by busting a tooth, ripping a toenail off while digging at the door, or something like that. He did take his crate cookie from me today, so it's not like he's so glum he won't eat.
I'm hoping to use it for a few weeks then maybe start weaning it off him - maybe if I can just break the cycle we can turn it back into something I can train out. It certainly seems to have been something that once he started it, it just escalated and got worse as time went by, so perhaps all it will take is breaking the cycle.

Anybody else have thoughts? It is entirely possible I will go home at lunch and he will go back in his crate after lunch and scream his fool head off and it will be over, so maybe I'm agonizing over nothing. =P
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2013, 10:04 AM
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AllieMackie AllieMackie is offline
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My thoughts are that Thundershirts are awesome. Finn's furnace anxiety is already so, so much better since I started using it again last week.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:09 AM
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So glad to hear it's working for you. Seems to help some dogs more than others. As you said, if it even just breaks the cycle for you and gives you an opening to reinforce appropriate crate behavior that is huge!

*Empathetic relief*
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllieMackie View Post
My thoughts are that Thundershirts are awesome. Finn's furnace anxiety is already so, so much better since I started using it again last week.
This!

Chloe wears her Thundershirt during storms, and it's really helped with calming her down.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:09 AM
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I need one of those. We considered it for Gwen since she would bark and whine when she was away from us..... Or destroy everything in an attempt to get out of the room she was in.

We thought.... "It's a freaking shirt." Now I will admit to being wrong. We are so getting this for her.

If it's still intact when you get home, that is.

I gave her several different 'calming' meds and didn't really notice a difference. But then again, I have a hard time paying attention to things like that. If there's not a problem, I don't notice it. If that makes sense?
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Airn View Post
I need one of those. We considered it for Gwen since she would bark and whine when she was away from us..... Or destroy everything in an attempt to get out of the room she was in.

We thought.... "It's a freaking shirt." Now I will admit to being wrong. We are so getting this for her.

If it's still intact when you get home, that is.

I gave her several different 'calming' meds and didn't really notice a difference. But then again, I have a hard time paying attention to things like that. If there's not a problem, I don't notice it. If that makes sense?
I have heard some people who didn't have any success with it. I think it's just one of those things, not everything will work on every dog. My mom is wondering if Pepper could benefit from wearing it but she seems to just have generalized anxiety type stuff going on, so I don't think it would work.
It's definitely not just a shirt though, the way it fits is for sure different. Payton has some puppy pajamies that when I put them on he has a similar immediate reaction - quiet, not sure if he can move. But it only lasts about two minutes and then he's back to running and barking and playing. So far that "oh it's just clothes, la la la!!" response hasn't happened with the Thundershirt. It might still, but it hasn't yet!

I'll take a picture of him in it when I'm home for lunch. It will illustrate the difference I think. (Also how skinny-mini he still is.)
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beanie View Post
I have heard some people who didn't have any success with it. I think it's just one of those things, not everything will work on every dog. My mom is wondering if Pepper could benefit from wearing it but she seems to just have generalized anxiety type stuff going on, so I don't think it would work.
It's definitely not just a shirt though, the way it fits is for sure different. Payton has some puppy pajamies that when I put them on he has a similar immediate reaction - quiet, not sure if he can move. But it only lasts about two minutes and then he's back to running and barking and playing. So far that "oh it's just clothes, la la la!!" response hasn't happened with the Thundershirt. It might still, but it hasn't yet!

I'll take a picture of him in it when I'm home for lunch. It will illustrate the difference I think. (Also how skinny-mini he still is.)
I think A LOT of Gwen's anxiety was from.... no training, new owners, new situation, just generally everything. She has improved quite a bit. However, she's recently started barking when in her crate. (We decided to start crating again after she got into some trash and ate the cat's canned food three times.) I'm sure there are things I could be doing to make it 'better'. But we're trying.

Obviously, Payton's is much different. It's not for lack of training or trying. (Which, again, could be the case with Gwen. We're noobs )

I hope it works!
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:27 PM
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Well, after lunch we got a few quieter barks and one paw on the door, but he stopped pretty quickly. He was a little wound up before he went in the crate... I put Pepper away and he knew that meant he was going in next. So... not silence but not the full on tantrum either. Not sure what to think yet.

Here he is in his Thundershirt. Notice he won't look at me because he's sad.




You can really see from the top view how tight it wraps around him. I'm not sure you can tell from the side view so much.
(and I know he has Grinchy feet, I am doing everybody's feet tonight!)
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shai View Post
So glad to hear it's working for you. Seems to help some dogs more than others. As you said, if it even just breaks the cycle for you and gives you an opening to reinforce appropriate crate behavior that is huge!

*Empathetic relief*
This! I would be rewarding the quiet and calm now. Any sort of anti-anxiety device/meds are designed to calm the dog enough to allow them to stay underthreshold for training. That way they learn and are reinforced for the calm behavior rather than going into crazy spurts that don't leave anything for you to reward.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:52 AM
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I love the Thundershirt. My dog Peanut about 2 years ago starting shivering uncontrollably with storms. I decided to buy him a Thundershirt and it worked. Peanut now comes to me about a 1/2 hour before a storm arrives waiting for his Thundershirt to be put on. He's still just a little nervous, but can actually get through a storm without any shivering. I really believe in the Thundershirt after seeing how well it works.
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