1,034 of 1,070 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2009
Our older dalmation has severe thunderstorm anxiety. She shivers, hides, pants, and whines. It is terrible! I was another skeptical shopper, but willing to try the Thundershirt after reading about it in my Yahoo group. Some people in the group were getting good results.
I am happy to say that we have also had good results. Now, that doesn't mean it's an instant and 100% cure. It has lessened our dog's anxiety during storms by about 75%. She is still anxious, but she doesn't tremble, pant, whine, or hide. She will still pace some, but mainly she just lays down and looks unhappy until the storm is over. So it's a huge improvement.
I read another review about how tight the shirt is, so much so the reviewer worried about the product's safety. All I can say is that I think they bought the wrong size. We adjust the shirt so that it is snug, not tight. Our dog didn't like the shirt at first, and looked at us like we had lost our minds when we put it on her the first time. But she has gotten used to it. She even stands and looks at us when a storm is approaching, waiting for us to get her shirt.
We live in South Florida, the lightning capital of the world. So we have frequent strong thunderstorms. The Thundershirt has helped us get through this last rainy season with less problems and a happier dog. I think it's worth trying and I am glad we did.
509 of 548 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2012
OK - currently I'm rating this 4 stars, but I may come back and change this depending on how things continue to go.
For some background - I have a chihuahua mix who is deeply attached to me. He has issues with separation anxiety and a hyper-aggressiveness toward other dogs, particularly large dogs. If he so much as sees a dog or anything else that may be threatening (a person walking by or a noise downstairs) he will start barking as ferociously as a chihuahua can bark. It's problematic for me because he is an agility dog and I have to constantly be aware that he may try to attack the dogs near me at any moment he feels like they're encroaching on his territory (namely, me). I've done obedience training with him since he was 10 weeks old and he's a SUPER well behaved dog aside from these issues.
After researching online, I came to realize that he may be suffering from some form of anxiety, which is causing him to act out because he feels threatened. Thus, I came upon the Thundershirt.
I'm really not the type of person to purchase items that seem gimmicky, and admittedly, this shirt screams gimmick. However, with nearly 600 reviews on Amazon and a 4.5 star rating, I had to try it. Anything is worth trying if it will remedy a big issue in my dog's life. I don't want him to feel like he has to protect me all the time as that causes undue stress.
So, after receiving the shirt, I opened the box and was greeted with a very cute plastic packaging for the shirt. Almost like a manilla envelope except see-through. The shirt was very well made and soft to the touch..but I was more concerned with testing it out rather than inspecting the intricacies of how it was made.
I put it on my dog after taking a moment to think about the logic behind the velcro straps and it fit him nice and snug. I ordered an extra small - my dog is about 8 lbs but very lanky and it fit him perfectly. I opted to go with the sizing on the Thundershirt website vs. the Amazon website as I've been burned by Amazon having improper sizing info in the past.
I was debating on an XXS vs. a XS.
For example - on Amazon an XXS states:
Size XXS for dogs less that 12 pounds and with a chese size of 9" - 13.5"
Whereas the Thundershirt website states:
Size Chest Size Weight
XXS 9"-13.5" < 7 lbs.
That's a HUGE difference. So I highly recommend using Thundershirt sizing to decide on which is best for your dog.
Here is the complete chart:
Size Chest Size Weight
XXS 9"-13.5" < 7 lbs.
XS 13"-18" 8-14 lbs.
S 16"-23" 15-25 lbs.
M 18"-26" 26-40 lbs.
L 24"-32" 41-64 lbs.
XL 31"-40" 65-110 lbs.
XXL 38"-50" > 110 lbs.
OK so regarding the efficiency of this shirt.
I tested it outdoors with my dog on our front driveway just absorbing the sounds and sights of a normal neighborhood.
My dog laid out in the sun and didn't seem reactive to much, whereas he normally would be. A neighbor walked their dog relatively near us, and my dog barked a little but he didn't run after the dog despite not being on a leash. Usually he won't leave my side but it can be unpredictable when it comes to dogs.
The next day I took him out again and this time I forgot to put the shirt on. He was more on edge, and when a neighbor brought out their little dog, my dog went crazy and went running up to their dog barking. I grabbed him and took him straight inside.
The next day, I tried it with the shirt again. This time children came running by, other dogs, etc. and he didn't move.. he actually just lay on his side and didn't react much. He might give a little bark here and there, but no where near his normal level of intensity.
I tried his shirt during his advanced obedience training. He's in a class with all large dogs and the first day (without the shirt)he was shaking and just terrified. He would bark everytime the other dogs seemed to be a safe enough distance away, and wouldn't perform anything in front of the class since he was so scared. (sometimes I think my dog is bipolar). The second day of class (with the shirt) he was way more calm and less scared of the other dogs. We walked by 3 large dogs and he didn't make a peep. He performed in front of the class and was just more mellow overall, although he is still shakey and seems scared.
I gave it 4 stars because I DO see improvement in my dog and it has only been about a week or so. However, I feel that although it takes the edge off him, I don't feel like the videos they post showing miraculous changes just by putting on the shirt are accurate. Perhaps there are dogs that this effect will happen, but I would consider it a rarity rather than the norm. I would have preferred more accurate marketing that really stresses the need to do behavioral modification in addition to the shirt. They do mention this, but its very brief compared to the marketing showing it as a miracle shirt.
And after reading so many reviews, it seems I'm not alone in this shirt being part of a process rather than a fix.
Overall, I recommend it and I'm going to try it with my friend's dog who is VERY hyper and see if it solves any issues with him.
EDIT: The shirt worked miraculously on my friend's dog. The dog is high strung, paces, jumps up on people and overall just "starving" for attention. Won't let you pet any other dogs and has to be the center of attention constantly, which wears my friend out.
We put the shirt on him and he just calmed down completely to normal dog levels. He lay down, relaxed.. yet, when the other dogs wanted to play, he still had energy to play. I played fetch with my dog in front of him and he just lay down and watched and didn't have the urge to go get the ball himself, which he normally would do.
We took the shirt off him to see if maybe he was just in a mellow mood and he immediately got hyper and started pacing everywhere again. She's going to be buying one of these shirts because it made such a big difference in how he behaved.
588 of 642 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2010
Ever since my Ellie was a puppy...now 9, loud noises, like fireworks and thunderstorms are a problem.
She goes into complete panic mode.
This 80lb Shepherd mix looses her doggy mind, trying to climb in anything that has a door. The fridge if we are looking for something, the cupboards even the dishwasher, for example.
Tried doggy downers, but once she is in that panic she will not chew a tablet.
We live in Florida, where a wicked thunderstorm could pop up without warning.
So we purchased this shirt to see if this might be some salvation for us, and relief for the dog.
Well...she lets us put it on her with no fuss. I let her give it a good sniff over before attempting to put it on her.
She actually likes the shirt and shows some sign of excitement when it's presented.
Now during storms, and this took a couple of times, She seems to not to try to climb in the cupboards or have that look of abject terror in her eyes.
Now she gets the shirt...goes into the small guest bathroom. and lies on the floor in the the dark.
Don't get me wrong, there still is allot of pacing and panting before the final result. but it is more positive behavior.
I wouldn't call it a miracle cure, but it seems to help a take the edge off.
59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
on October 20, 2011
I thought I wrote a review about the sizing but it's not in My Account, so I'm not sure what happened with it. My dog was between sizes (he is roughly 25 lbs and 21" around the chest). I called Thundershirt Customer Support and they suggested ordering by weight. Well, he generally weighs 25, sometimes more, often times less (24 - 28 range). They suggested ordering the size he weighs "most often". So I got the medium. It was way too big for him. I fitted it as tightly as possible and it was snug, but barely so. And it was long enough that he couldn't have urinated with it on. I returned it to Amazon (they don't do exchanges on this product) and re-ordered a size small. It fits fine. (An aside, but that's another great thing about Amazon. The return was so easy, just click through the web site to my order, print out the pre-paid label they provide, drop it at the post office and done.)
Now the amazing part. My dog, Baxter, BARKS at EVERYTHING. He also has terrible anxiety attacks, esp. separation anxiety. I first put the shirt on Baxter last night. I hid some food under it first and let him find it, and then put the shirt on him. No balking at all (unusual for Bax). My husband was cleaning the ceiling fan before our twice-a-year switch of air direction and some dust from the tops of the blades fell to the floor, so he got out the vacuum. Normally Baxter freaks out at the vacuum cleaner. Barks, whines, runs into the bedroom and hides under the bed, go batty if the vacuum comes into the same room as him etc. Last night, he just laid on his "throne" and didn't even move (we have an ottoman covered with an old tablecloth that is his preferred resting place). I took a picture and am going to try to put it on this site. You can see the vacuum cleaner cord plugged into the wall in front of him and he is just laying there looking at it while my husband was vacuuming. Totally amazing. I'll be curious to see how it affects the barking thing, but he hasn't barked yet! ***Added later same morning: Baxter fell asleep on the back of the couch, and I started a DVD workout. He usually gets agitated when I start exercising, but he never even woke up. I took a picture of him about halfway through the workout (I don't exercise with a camera - I paused the DVD) and I'll post the pic. He was even sleeping right in front of the ss speaker.
I took it off of him for the night, bc I wasn't sure about him sleeping in it. I haven't read whether others do or do not leave it on their dogs overnight, so I did not and can't speak to that. And he doesn't generally bark at night bc he's plastered up against me (Baxter-er the Plaster-er). I was really skeptical when I read the reviews, but now that I have it, I'm a convert! And as a reminder, I'd save the original packaging in case you run into a size issue as it makes the return that much smoother.
***Nov 7 Update*** Baxter still likes his shirt, but some of the newness has worn off, although he isn't as anxiety-ridden as he was pre-Thunder. I began integrating some reward-type "training" when he has the shirt on, and I'm hoping that will be associated with the shirt and get him back to where he was when we first got the shirt.
433 of 500 people found the following review helpful
I'll admit, I was a little skeptical about how well this shirt would work for our 11 year old black lab mix, Mollie. She has ALWAYS been deathly afraid of thunder - when a storm blows up, she paces, pants, trembles uncontrollably, and is just generally very, VERY anxious. We could never provide her much solace, even in our laps. But, I had seen a wonderful movie on HBO called "Temple Grandin" starring Claire Danes in the title role. This true story is about an amazing autistic woman who, through courage, strength of will, and a brilliant mind, completed college and earned Master's & Doctoral degrees in animal sciences. She also is a pioneer in new approaches to cattle ranching and slaughter house management. By empathizing with the animals, and keenly observing their behavior during immunizations, dips, and being lead into the slaughter house, she redesigned much of how it all was done, leading to much calmer & easier to herd cattle, and as humane as possible slaughter.
Anyway, early in the movie, while spending a summer as a teenager at an aunt's cattle ranch for the summer, she observed that the cattle were calmed when placed in a holding device called a "squeeze chute" that pressed in on them tightly. She was fascinated by it, and her aunt allowed her to try it out. Finding that it calmed her nervousness dramatically, she built a smaller-sized version for herself that she used while in college and beyond.
Remembering this from the movie, I decided to get a Thundershirt for Mollie. Well, let me tell you, it works wonders, at least for our Girl. In fact, it is thundering outside as I type this and Mollie, with her pink rugby-style Thundershirt on is laying calmly on the floor in her bed beside me. No panting, trembling or pacing. No apparent anxiety at all! And, to top it off, my wife is vacuuming in the next room (another "trigger" for Mollie's anxiety), and she is apparently not bothered by it either.
Your "mileage may vary" as it is said, but I recommend you at least try one for yourself if you have a dog who gets overly anxious during thunderstorms. If it works half as good as it does for our Mollie, just think how much happier & at peace your dog will be during a storm!
Oh, and as an aside, unlike some other reviewer's dogs, our Mollie has no problem moving around & relaxing when wearing her Thundershirt. The key, I think, is to be sure & order the correct size by measuring your dog around the deepest part of their chest. Doing this caused me to order one size larger than I would have guessed she needed. Also, don't put it on too tightly! Finally, while the material could cause her to be hot, we run the air conditioning in our house consistently at 72° and she is comfortable while wearing it.
190 of 218 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2012
We bought three of these for our three rescue dogs who have nervous barking issues. They go crazy when people come over or even pass by. They bark when there's the slightest noise. It's really jarring for us and our neighbors.
We put the Thundershirts on and it made no difference. None at all. The dogs went crazy when someone came to the door and they seemed to bark even more than usual at noises.
We decided we'd return the Thundershirts the next day, but I told my husband I wanted our dogs to sleep with the shirts on.
Our dogs are terrible in the morning when our neighbors are leaving for work. They bark at people coming down the stairs or getting their mail or starting their cars or moving garbage cans.
But this morning.... NOTHING! Not a peep! They slept right through it.
Once they were awake and walking around they barked a little but I think the difference is that the barking that was born of nervousness has now become more of a habit.
So we're working with the shirts to eliminate the underlying nervousness and using treats (positive reinforcement) to reward the calmness.
For those who find the Thundershirt does not work on their dogs, it may be that the shirt is just not a simple fix for your dog. You may need to use the shirt in conjunction with some behavior mod to shake old habits.
I want one for myself, actually.
I'm going to post this review a couple different places so that others don't give up too early but experiment a little.
45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
I did my research and was SO hopeful. After reading customer reviews and seeing video footage of dogs suffering from anxiety who seemed to be instantly transformed into mellow dogs, I ordered one. They boast of a success rate around 80% or higher, so I took a chance and ordered one for my 13 yr old poodle/terrier mix. He has begun to exhibit serious separation anxiety with excessive vocalization. Unfortunately, it has not helped him in the least. I left him for a short time only to return to what sounded like the cries of a dog being tortured. Each attempt has brought the same result. I guess that Scruffy is in the 20% that is unaffected by swaddling. It was worth a try. I'm rating the product poorly based solely on my personal experience. I do believe that others have had greater success. Not every training tool, or technigue works for every dog. I wish other dogs and their owners much success.
207 of 249 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2011
We didn't buy our thundershirt for "thunderstorms". We read that the shirt was supposed to help ALL anxiety problems. We have a two-year old Lab/Golden Retriever mix. We love him to death, but since the day we got him (he was ten weeks old)he got very anxious whenever we had to leave him alone or take him for a drive. We recorded him on our webcam whenever we left. We would leave him kongs of frozen canned dog food or peanut butter, or any type of food that would take him a while to finish off. Once the food was eaten and he realized he was alone, he would start to pant, start crying, then start howling up toward the ceiling, calling for us. The crate just wouldn't work. We made it his "happy place" by putting toys and food in it. He happily goes into the crate to rest when we are home, but as soon as we left, he would howl, bark, and try to break out of the crate. What we did then was put a gate up and left him in the kitchen so that he had more room. The barking lessened, but he still did it. Whenever he laid down in the recorded videos we had of him, his head would be up and his ears would be back. Our main problem was when he barked, we didn't want him getting the neighbors angry...he has a LOUD bark, especially when he's anxious. We tried the thundershirt. We put it on him, he didn't try to chew it off or get uncomfortable. We recorded him with it on and we left for an hour. While in the shirt, he simply went next to the gate and laid down. After watching the whole video, he didn't bark a SINGLE time. That made us so happy that he felt like he was being hugged, so he didn't bark. The only thing I don't like is, as I said earlier, whenever we leave, we leave him food to work on in his kongs. Since we have had the shirt and we leave him, he seems to lose interest in his food. He just chills out and lays down with no barking. I like that he gets mellow, I guess that's what it's SUPPOSED to do, but for our extremely food-motivated dog to NOT touch his food when we put him in the thundershirt is odd. I don't know, it just seems like he's drugged or something while in the thundershirt. It doesn't hurt him, his personality just gets really mellow which is what you want if you don't want your dog to be anxious during stressful times for them. I would recommend if you are using this shirt for crate training or seperation anxiety, record your pooch while you are gone and see how he reacts when you aren't there. It was just nice to see that this shirt is not JUST for thunderstorms. If the shirt doesn't work, then return it with the money-back guarantee.
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2012
This is the second one I've ordered, I want to have a spare, just in case. Sydney is a 7 yr old American Eskimo, and like the other reviewers - she barks at everything including falling leaves! I initially purchased this about 2 years ago to help with thunderstorms. The poor thing jumps up on my lap and literally shakes and hyperventilates at the very smallest thunderclap. I couldn't take her shaking, so was amazed when I put this on her the first time and she sprawled out at my feet and took a nap during a storm (while I, on the other hand took another anxiety pill....I swear I scarred her with MY fear of storms!) :)
So - I would suggest you try this product, I haven't heard of it NOT working with anyone who has tried it.
78 of 93 people found the following review helpful
on October 17, 2011
I was amazed at how effective this product has been for my dog. She is a Standard Poodle with some significant anxiety issues, especially with thunderstorms, changes in routine, etc. Medicine and herbs made her sick, attention from us made her worse, and her hiding behavior was becoming more and more destructive, as she was hiding behind the furniture, cabinets, tv stand, etc. and turning them over in her panic. The very first time I put the thundershirt on her she calmed down significantly. Her pacing and whining stopped, and she tried to hide less. The next time she wore it was during a storm and she stretched out on the couch and went to sleep! As far as Chloe and I are concerned, this wrap is nothing short of a miracle. I'm ordering 2 more for my other two poodles to see if it will help keep them calmer when we have company. I definitely recommend this item to all dog owners.