Thundershirt For Reactive Dog?

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by bordercollie05, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. bordercollie05 Well-Known Member

    Has anyone here tried the thundershirt for a dog with leash reactivity? My young one, Dan is so excitable. He pulls, is generally distracted, and is reactive towards dogs and anything he finds unusual or scary. We are working hard on focus exercises, positive reinforcement for good behavior, and trying to find low distraction environments. However we live downtown and any potty break has to happen in a high commotion environment. It is hard to even find behavior to reinforce sometimes. I have no experience with the thundershirt but I wonder if it would help calm him enough to do some more productive training. Any thoughts?
    MaryK and Tâmara Vaz like this.

  2. sara Moderator

    I've used a thundershirt with my reactive dog Oliver, with some success. It might just help you a little, just make sure it's really snug.
  3. DevonW Well-Known Member

    My sister bought a Thunder shirt for her reactive dog and it didn't work at all in the beginning.

    I did some reading and from what I understand is if you introduce the dog to the Thunder Shirt during positive situations the dog will start to associate the Thunder Shirt with a positive emotion. It also presses on several pressure points that are supposed to be calming. So when they come into contact with whatever makes them reactive the goal is that they're in a positive state of mind and will be less reactive. It still requires training and isn't a miracle cure to reactivity. It's just a tool.
    MaryK, Dogster and southerngirl like this.
  4. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Good advice from Sara and DevonW above. It's a tool, but yet one more in your arsenol - and it could help. An example: we recently were in a Nosework trial, and parked in the "reactive dog" section. The dog next to us was another GS (funny, they were calling it Germ Shep Row .. the 'reactive dog section' turned out to be a row of reactive GSs :confused::LOL:) - anyway, she had her GS in a Thundershirt. We got to talking. Her girl was reactive to other dogs, and she's done loads of work, but the T-shirt has proven to be a huge help. Naturally, at a trial, there are loads of people walking by with dogs (altho no interaction) - so her girl did her searches in her Thundershirt. The dog next to her wore one also - it was reactive to people - again, she had done loads of work, but in a situation such as a trial where there were going to be loads of people (but no interaction unless asked for), it's proven to be quite helpful.

    Will it solve your problem? Most likely not. But adding one more tool to one's arsenal is always good. Try one, continue to do loads of socialization, counter-conditioning, desensitization, etc - and it may help Dan to feel more secure while he tries to figure out this crazy world. As far as finding behavior to reinforce, keep in mind that sometimes we look for or expect too much. Reinforce even moments. A moment of good behavior - click/treat!! Sometimes one moment (translation: a second, even a nanosecond) can morph into 5 or 10 seconds, then a minute, then 2 minutes ... and longer. :D Hang tough!! It'll be ok. :cool:
    Dogster, southerngirl and MaryK like this.

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