the big, bad world: enter ThunderShirt part 4 (Remington)


Remington is a big part of my life. I met him when he was just a puppy, and he's been sweet and sour ever since. Part Winnie-the-Pooh, part devil, this guy has a big heart that has a tendency to grow anxious in certain situations. His anxiety comes out in the form of destruction. He has actually, truly eaten through a metal crate, and he has eaten most of a wall, and he has torn through a friend's couch, and some other stuff (we'll spare him the embarrassment of exposing the full extent of his deeds). His worst enemy: being alone or confined, or worst of all, alone and confined.

His family loves him dearly, so when they embarked on a new canine anxiety-producing adventure, I really wanted to help, both him and them, so I called up my friends at ThunderShirt. They were eager to help me help Remington.

I've been helping Remington's mom open Square Roots Preschool out of her home, so I'm intimately familiar with Remington's new position: being confined to the master bedroom during school hours. His family set him up for success, yet he still floundered. Here are a few examples of his work since the first day of school:


Before Remington's ThunderShirt arrived, his family tried music and a gentle lead,* which kept him busy, but didn't really seem to reduce his anxiety level:

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He eventually just laid down and stared at me, as if to say, "help."


I tried to spend time with him, but school duties called.

Since I'd experienced the success of the ThunderShirt with other dogs, I was very anxious for Remington's ThunderShirt to arrive. I introduced it slowly, at first, as the directions suggested. We offered up his favorite treats, using his new ThunderShirt as a plate:

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He took to it quite nicely, so we tried it on. That's where we hit a bit of a speed bump. Remington was unsure, so he tugged and pulled and twisted.


With a bit of calm encouragement and supervision over several days, he has become more comfortable with the idea of the ThunderShirt, and we're hoping he'll be able to wear it for all anxious occasions very soon.

It's looking promising. Isn't he handsome?RemTSWearing

If you'd like to read more about my experiences with the ThunderShirt, please check out the following:

the big, bad world: enter ThunderShirt part 1 (Rex)

the big, bad world: enter ThunderShirt part 2 (Jack)

the big, bad world: enter ThunderShirt part 3 (making it through the 4th)

Disclaimer: I was provided with a ThunderShirt in exchange for my honest opinion. 

* I do not promote or recommend using a product for a purpose other than for what it was originally intended by it's manufacturer.

ThunderLeash: the simpler "no pull" solution has become our "no choke" solution

My dog, N.A.S.H.A., totally looks like the anxious type, but she's cool as a cucumber. Unless a butterfly tries to invade our home, and, then, she goes ballistic. So though I've worked with ThunderShirt and done several product reviews, I've always given the shirts they send me to clients who can really use them. It's awesome to be able to that, and I highly recommend the ThunderShirt as a natural remedy for many types of canine anxiety. So when ThunderShirt asked if I'd like to try out their newest product, the ThunderLeash, I was intrigued. After checking it out online, I knew that N.A.S.H.A. and I would be trying this one, ourselves. The ThunderLeash is described as "the simpler 'no pull'" solution.

Though only eleven or so pounds and eight years old, when it's time to go for a walk, N.A.S.H.A. thinks she's part of the Iditarod. She has other weird habits on a leash, too. Like she won't go potty on one. So after our walks, she rushes in the house and to the backyard so she can relieve herself. I don't think ThunderLeash can help with that issue, but I was hopeful it might finally be a solution for N.A.S.H.A.'s constant pulling on a traditional leash.

We'd tried other "no pull" products with little or no success. Our family loves to hike, and we love to take N.A.S.H.A. with us, but sometimes we leave her behind, just because we don't want to deal with her. She's too light to pull us along, and even the kids can hold the leash when she's pulling. Her problem is different. She chokes. Over and over. And over. And over. It's quite irritating to listen to, and it can't be healthy for her. Ah...the intelligence of dogs, ever in question.

So here she is, choking and walking in all her glory with her regular leash:

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I was pretty excited when our ThunderLeash arrived.

Nicely done!

I loved how the instructions were right on the front. So simple!

The ThunderLeash is a full leash, just like it says. It can be used as a regular leash when your dog isn't pulling, and can quickly be converted while it's on your dog, should your dog start pulling. The patent-pending "harness slot" allows you to simply wrap the leash around your dog's torso, just under his "arm pits."

ThunderShirt describes it best:

ThunderLeash is the simpler "no pull" solution. The innovative hardware turns a leash into a "no pull" harness instantly. The safe pressure greatly reduces pulling with no need for a harness. Professional dog trainer recommended. 100% satisfaction guarantee.

ThunderLeash will help make walking your dog a hassle free, positive experience for both you and your dog. Dog harnesses can be great tools for many dogs, but not everyone wants to make the effort to get one onto their dog or to have extra stuff to carry around. ThunderLeash is the perfect combination of simplicity and functionality. For those times you just need a standard leash for a quick walk or for times when your dog is well behaved, simply connect the ThunderLeash to your dog's collar just like any other leash. But for times when pulling might be a problem, simply wrap ThunderLeash around your dog's torso and slide it into the harness slot. Now whenever your dog pulls, a mild pressure is applied to his torso, and the pulling will quickly cease. Which the ThunderLeash, you will finally be able to walk your dog, instead of being walked by your dog.


Since we already experienced what N.A.S.H.A. does on a regular leash, we jumped right ahead to the harness slot.

If N.A.S.H.A.'s fur wasn't so stylishly wild, you could see the harness slot in action.

Physics has never been my strong point, but I could tell that the configuration would not encourage pulling, as a traditional harness often does. It is also equipped with a safety stopper (which is hidden by fur) so the harness won't squeeze too tight.

Here is a photo of an equally-stylish, yet less fuzzy dog so you can actually see what's happening. Photo source: ThunderShirt.

Before we headed out the door, I hooked the clip to N.A.S.H.A.'s collar, then wrapped the leash around her as the directions showed, then easily slipped the leash into the harness slot. Just as easily, N.A.S.H.A. bucked and twisted and–voilá–we were back to the regular leash configuration. Sigh. It was a new sensation for her, so we tried again, and this time she wasn't so wiggly. So we set off...

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Do you hear anything? Me neither! She still pulled, but not as hard, and the best part is that she stopped choking completely. That's a win for her and a win for our whole family!

The ThunderSeash Web site offers free shipping  and a full refund within forty-five days, if the ThunderLeash doesn't work out for you, so there's really no risk.

As the weather cools in Arizona and we're able to venture out on more hikes, I think N.A.S.H.A. will be able to join us more often! I'm really excited about that.

Disclaimer: ThunderShirt provided me with a ThunderLeash in exchange for my honest opinion. 

the big, bad world: enter, ThunderShirt, part 3 (making it through the 4th)

Fireworks. Spectacular celebratory tools of our nation's independence, or an annual source of terror? Fireworks can be so stressful for some dogs that their owners are house-bound during one of the best get-out-and-enjoy-summer events of the year, the 4th of July. And the fireworks don't even have to be nearby. Some dogs completely freak out over fireworks miles and miles away that we humans can't even hear. Remember that their hearing is more sensitive than ours.

I've posted first-hand accounts about the success the ThunderShirt had for Jack and Rex. Rex donned his ThunderShirt on the 4th of July last year and slept through a massive fireworks show less than a mile from his home. Jack will try his for the first time this year, but I believe his owner is so thrilled with the results they've achieved so far, that she might just dress Jack in his 4th of July party suit and head out for a night on the delta (so we may have to ask the neighbors how he did).

shop-shirtThe ThunderShirt calms pet fears by "hugging." It seems silly and too simple, but it works. Why can't you just hug your pet and save yourself some money? Because you are anxious when your pet is anxious, and your own anxiety is transferred to your pet. So you'd just be compounding the problem.

Check out this compilation of before & after results...amazing!


Again and again, the steady pressure of the ThunderShirt seems to work for so many. What a wonderful natural alternative to "doggie downers," which so many pet owners have had to resort to. Considering that the shirt comes with a 100% money-back guarantee, it seems silly not to give it a try this 4th of July.

You can order ThunderShirt online, or you can purchase it in most pet stores in time for the fireworks.

I started my inquiry about the ThunderShirt because I'd simply heard so many positive things about it, and I wanted to see for myself. The more I experience the Thundershirt, the better I feel about it. Have you used ThunderShirt? I'd love to hear about it!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ThunderShirt in exchange for my honest opinion.

the big, bad world: enter, ThunderShirt, part 2 (Jack)

After learning how great the ThunderShirt worked for Rex, I had to see for myself. Since my own pooch is anxiety-free unless a butterfly tries to invade the garden, I recruited a helper. My mother-in-law has one of the most anxious dogs I know. Jack is a four-year-old Queensland Heeler/Short-haired Pointer mix with a difficult past. After being abandoned in a shelter as a pup, he was adopted and abused. He found a new, safer, happier home, but his high energy became a problem for another dog in the house who was suffering with health issues. In addition, gardeners at a neighboring home would tease him with their blowers through an open fence. It just wasn't a good fit.

Jack finally found his forever home with Tena, who has given him both loving comfort and solid training. She's spent hours with him in obedience school and has discovered that he's quite brainy. He passed with flying colors. But, like Rex, though Jack can behave, he still suffers from anxiety.

Tena explained,

"Jack is the most loyal, loving, wonderful house dog I have ever had, but his frantic running back and forth along my fence line with incessant, loud barking every time a gardener is in the neighboring yard is a huge problem."

Since Tena's property borders a condo complex that requires a lot of maintenance, this gardening occurs four days a week. Soon after Jack arrived at his new home, neighbors started to complain. Tena knew something had to be done, both for the neighbors and for Jack. And for her own sanity.

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I suggested the ThunderShirt to Tena because I'd heard great things about it. She was skeptical, naturally, as anyone would be of a daughter-in-law who frequently comes up with hair-brained plans to save animals. Even after I had the ThunderShirt sent to her house, she was hesitant. "I was a doubter," she now admits. I finally convinced her to give it a shot. "To get Jack used to (the ThunderShirt), I put it next to his blanket on the couch and in the laundry basket with my clothes," she reported.

Jack meeting his new ThunderShirt. Photo supplied by Tena Carr.

Then it got real.

The next door neighbor began mowing his lawn, and Jack exploded into a barking rage. Tena managed to get Jack inside. She put on the ThunderShirt, admittedly too loose. Jack was so out of control that it was extremely difficult to get the shirt on. Still, "Jack immediately calmed down. He stopped panting and pacing and just laid down," Tena said.

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The next time the gardeners came, Tena did a better job of getting the ThunderShirt on, fitting it snugly, as instructed. Tena was amazed:

"Jack went to sleep! When he woke up, I let him outside, and the gardner was still working. Jack barked about two times, then came right back in. I am so impressed! I never thought there would be a solution to this problem."

Testing fate, the next time the gardeners came, Tena decided to put the shirt on Jack, then take it off a few minutes later. "He went back to panting and pacing!"

Tena plans to keep using the shirt in times of high-anxiety for Jack. I'm looking forward to hearing more about it, and now that I'm convinced that the ThunderShirt really works, I'm curious as to how it works. Stay tuned.

Bonus in all of this: Perhaps Tena will subscribe to more of my hair-brained schemes in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ThunderShirt in exchange for my honest opinion.

the big, bad world: enter, ThunderShirt, part 1 (Rex)

There's a lot to be afraid of in this world. I have heard amazing things about the ThunderShirt. Though I'm thankful my dog does not suffer from anxiety issues, I really wanted to find out what all the buzz is about. The product line has expanded since the company's inception, but their flagship product is the ThunderShirt for dogs, which, according to,

uses gentle hugging to calm your dog or cat. With its patented design, ThunderShirt’s gentle, constant pressure has a dramatic calming effect for most dogs and cats if they are anxious, fearful or overexcited. Based on surveys completed by over two thousand customers, over 80% of dogs and cats show significant improvement in symptoms when using ThunderShirt. ThunderShirt is already helping hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats around the world and is recommended by thousands of veterinarians and trainers. How does ThunderShirt work? Experts believe that pressure has a calming effect on the nervous system, possibly by releasing a calming hormone like endorphins. Using pressure to relieve anxiety in people and animals has been a common practice for years.

Could it be true? I asked around, and one of my clients, Leah, was happy to sing ThunderShirt's praises. She rescued her pooch, Rex, from a year of neglect, where he had very little contact with people, and no contact with other animals. Since it was the first year of his life, she had to start over with him. "While he is very intelligent," she explained, "the world doesn't quite make sense to him." Leah helped Rex become happier and healthier, but there were still things that scared him and caused him stress. She sought the help of a behaviorist who taught Rex coping techniques that he used–and still uses–to his benefit. The techniques helped Rex work through the stress, but the stress, itself, was still there. Leah decided to try the ThunderShirt to minimize Rex's stress. She admits that she was skeptical, but was familiar with the use of pressure vests for people with autism, so she was willing to give it a try. She started by putting it on Rex for brief periods absent of stress, and by the second or third time she put it on him (calling it his "shirt" each time), he was comfortable with it. Soon after, a large monsoon–a major stressor for Rex–rolled through. Leah noticed Rex beginning to get anxious, so she asked him if he wanted to wear his "shirt." He gave her his "yes" response. Leah explained,

He calmed down long enough for me to slip the ThunderShirt onto didn't seem to be helping. However, when I asked him if he wanted me to take off his 'shirt' and started to take it off, he gave me his 'no' response...After the storm had passed, he positioned himself as he had when I put the vest on him, clearly ready for it to be removed, so I asked him if he wanted me to take his 'shirt' off, and got a 'yes.'

As monsoon season goes here in the Phoenix area, she soon experienced a similar situation with Rex. She saw even more improvement when using the ThunderShirt.

The third monsoon of the season approached, and, this time, Rex recognized the benefit of the ThunderShirt, himself. He found his "shirt" and brought it to Leah, asking her for help. Leah reported that it didn't calm him 100%, but she saw definite improvement.

She started putting the ThunderShirt on Rex whenever there was a stress trigger. He really liked wearing his "shirt" at these times, as tightly as Leah could get it. She reported that if it wasn't tight enough, "he would stay put, waiting for me to fix it." Smart guy!

Then New Year's Eve rolled around. Leah recalled,

Fireworks are one of the things that stress him out, and between the various local fireworks (shows) and neighbors with fireworks, there were BOOMS galore. At first, I had forgotten to put his ThunderShirt on him, and he was very stressed. He was running laps of stress through the house, barking and generally agitated. Once I remembered...I asked him if he wanted his 'shirt' and got a 'yes!' So I grabbed his ThunderShirt and put it on him. He gave me a big kiss and laid down on the sofa next to me, and within a few minutes, he was enjoying a nice calm nap, as the fireworks continued.

Rex relaxing in his Thundershirt as New Year's Eve fireworks explode. (Client-submitted photo.)

Rex continues to have success with his Thundershirt. After hearing his story and others, I decided I wanted to see for myself. Stay tuned.

Smarty-pants cutie-pie Rex and his BFF, the Thundershirt. (Client-submitted photo.)

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ThunderShirt in exchange for my honest opinion.