Thundershirt – for anxiety in dogs

The following is my own personal opinion with no incentives or bias.

Ranger (Border Collie) is 6 months old and suffers from a mild case of what I believe to be anxiety and fear. He loves people however is shy and wary of other dogs and is afraid of cars to the point that I cant take him for a walk near a main road. He had a bad experience with a dog when he was very young and it definitely left its mark.  I cant stress enough how important it is for puppies to have POSITIVE social interaction with other dogs and not negative ones. He has come a long way from be being able to be in the same room as other dogs without showing aggression he can now go to the park. He still doesn’t play with other dogs he just follows my older dog (Syrah) around , but at least has something to focus on. This to me is some sort of success, although it did come with a lot of hard work and daily positive interaction with many other dogs.

So my challenge was to get him walking on a lead without pulling which proved very difficult as all of the areas around my house are along roads and his fear of cars took over his lead lessons.

Today I purchased a Thundershirt. Around $60 from Petbarn however looks like you can get them a bit cheaper on-line. As the name suggests it is designed to calm dogs and the constant soft pressure it applies makes them feel secure and safe, I assume in thunderstorms. My puppy has no trouble with thunderstorms however fear and anxiety is the problem, not the thunder.

According to the instructions I put it on for 10 minutes before we left so he could get use to it. Unlike other training methods such as the Halti and Harness (which works well for Syrah)  he didn’t seem to be bothered by it at all, step 1 a success! next we hit the road, so to speak.

Results: As I am trying to treat the anxiety and fear, not just his leash manner, there was definitely an improvement. No extreme pulling or lunging from fear and instead of being too afraid to accept treats I could feed him treats to calm him and distract him from the passing cars. At least this has given me something to work with and I would recommend this product to other people that have dogs with anxiety or fear. It will still take a lot of practice and commitment which I am completely prepared to do.

A dog trainer once told me that even if it takes 12 months for my dog to walk well on a lead, then I have roughly 10-15 years of a good walking relationship.

Practice and consistency is the key to getting your dog to walk well on a lead and I wish I had more training knowledge when we got Syrah. With Ranger I plan on resisting the Halti or the Harness and will do anything and spend any time I can to make daily walking a happy time for both of us.