thundershirt

  • PIN with us!

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    Here at ThunderWorks, we’ve been having a blast sharing our pins with you, and repining our friend’s favorite posts too! We invite you to join us, share your favorite ThunderShirt, Pet Product, Event and more images with us!

    Find us and please follow us here:

    http://www.pinterest.com/thundershirt/

    Can’t wait to share with you on Pinterest!

  • What’s making your cat anxious?

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    So, maybe you’ve noticed your cat’s behavior has changed or they are acting out. This could be a sign of anxiety, which occurs more frequently in cats than we may think. Here is a brief outline of what some common symptoms and causes of anxiety are and what you can to treat them.

    The symptoms.

    While with any animal the symptoms of anxiety will vary. Here are some of the most common:

    • Spraying (even in neuters)
    • Inappropriate elimination
    • Pacing back and forth at perimeters of fences
    • Loss of appetite
    • Pulling out of fur
    • Trembling
    • Excessive meowing
    • Hiding from the world, under beds, behind curtains etc.
    • Physical symptoms and illness – some illnesses and disorders (such as acne) have been associated with stress. Stress can also be a response to physical illness, so it is most important to check with your vet to rule out a medical condition

    If you are noticing these symptoms in your cat, it may be a result of one of the following:

    • Overcrowding in multi-cat households
    • Moving
    • Travel
    • New family member (human or animal)
    • Parties/visitors
    • Medical conditions/injury
    • Confinement
    • New cat in the neighborhood
    • Change of any kind

    Cats differ in their responses to stress. Some may take on major changes without any signs or symptoms, while others may fall apart at the slightest change. To treat anxious cats, we first recommend talking to your veterinarian. In addition to conditioning your cat to become more used to their surroundings (which sometimes just takes time), we also recommend the ThunderShirt for Cats. The ThunderShirt for Cats applies a gentle constant pressure, like a hug, around a cat’s body- making them feel safer, calmer and more relaxed. For more information about the ThunderShirt for cats, visit www.ThunderWorks.com.

  • Guest Blogger: Sandy Robins on Keeping Pets Safe This Holiday Season!

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    The holiday season is a busy time in every household. Friends and relatives come and go, the kids are home from school and college and often there are parties to plan too. Whether you embrace the festivities, or run screaming from an army of relatives who invade your peaceful home, remember that the holidays pose special risks to your pets.

    By paying attention to a few basic safety precautions, you can keep your canine and feline companions out of harm’s way and have a safe and happy holiday season.

    Decorating for the Howlidays

    When it comes to putting up Christmas tree lights and other lighting decorations, always look for the shortest route to the plug point and avoid leaving excess wiring lying on the floor.  Chewing cords can be life threatening to both dogs and cats. There are special cord covers infused with bitter aloe that will further prevent them from chewing.

    Also it's a great idea to sprinkle pepper on the lower branches of the tree. This will end any ideas your cat may have of trying to climb it! Further, if you have an inquisitive dog, put glass ornaments and tinsel at a height level she can’t reach when standing.

    Candles always add a fabulous festive touch but are a huge fire hazard as they can easily be knocked over with a wagging tail or pulled from a table if your cat gets hold of the tablecloth. Err on the side of caution and invest in flameless candles. Luckily, there is a huge array to choose from.

    Holiday Plants From Mistletoe to Poinsettias

    Nothing is more festive than decking the halls, but remember that both holly and mistletoe are toxic to pets and can cause acute stomach and intestinal irritation, cardiovascular collapse, and death. Despite the myths, the ever-popular Christmas poinsettias are considered safe for pets. Even so, try to keep them away from both pets and children because the milky sap can cause skin allergies and has a terrible bitter taste.

    Party Time and Festive Feasts

    The holiday season is synonymous with family feasts—huge stuffed turkeys, corn on the cob and tempting desserts. Never feed you're your pets turkey bones (or any other bones from the table). Bones are a choking hazard and so are corncobs. So when you clear the table deal with anything left on plates immediately by tossing in the trash.

    Also, when putting away the leftovers, be careful your dog doesn’t get a hold of anything wrapped in aluminum foil. If eaten, foil can cut a dog's intestines, causing internal bleeding, and, in some cases, even death. Plastic wrap is equally dangerous and can cause choking or intestinal obstructions.

    The moniker “drink responsibly” also applies to taking care of your dog. Alcoholic beverages can be poisonous to pets, so never leave drinks unattended. If your pooch consumes them, she could become very intoxicated and weak, depressed, or even go into a coma.  In severe cases, death from respiratory failure can also occur.

    If you are planning a huge party that involves caterers and furniture being delivered, be sure to secure your pets in one area of your home during set-up. This is one time doors will be left open and there is too much activity to monitor them carefully.

    And on the day of the event, remember not all pets enjoy raucous laughter, loud music and hectic activity. Be sure to bring out your ThunderShirts for both your dogs and cats and put them on even if you are going to secure them in another part of the house.

    Home Alone

    Finally, if you plan to travel during the season and are unable to take your pals with you, don’t leave them alone at home with a stocked-up food bowl. Make arrangements with a pet sitter or check him into a pet hotel. Once again, make sure ID tag information is current.

    Happy Howlidays!

  • Guest Blogger: Mikkel Becker Discusses Leash Pulling

    It's all too common to see a pet parent being drug down the road while attached to their dog, looking similar to a musher minus the sled. The dog is so enthralled with all the distractions, smells and sights, they forget their person is attached to the other end of the leash. As an animal trainer, pulling on leash is one of the most common behavior problems I work with.

    Pulling into pressure is a natural response for dogs. When their collar is pulled, many dogs innately move against that pressure. This means when the leash becomes taut, the dog is more likely to move against the pressure and pull rather than give into the pressure and let up pulling. Canines also learn through experience that pulling on leash works to get where they want to go faster.

    A dog that pulls on the leash makes the walk very uncomfortable for the person and risks injury to their sensitive neck area. When a dog pulls on leash, the person has less control and may subsequently let the leash slip from their hands or be less able to avoid hazards, like traffic. Tighter leashes add to a dog’s stress level and increase unwanted behaviors like barking and lunging on the leash.

    It's essential to teach dogs to walk on a looser leash, both to make walks more relaxed and safer for person and dog. Preventing pulling and teaching loose leash walking can be done using a few training tactics and the right type of equipment. I want to share with you my top tips for teaching a dog to walk nicely on leash:

    Putting the right equipment on a dog immediately hinders pulling, even without training. It’s important to choose equipment for your canine that will offer control without being physically harmful. There are numerous walking tools on the market, many of which inflict pain on the dog or restrict airflow. These are not ideal walking solutions, because they are physically damaging and rarely stop the problem pulling. They also cause negative associations with their handler and different stimulus’ in the environment, like other dogs or people.

    One of the top tools in my training belt is the ThunderLeash. It's a leash with a built-in mechanism to be turned into a gentle anti-pull device. The system works with pressure, as it tightens to add pressure when the dog pulls, making it more comfortable to walk on a loose leash. The ThunderLeash does not cause pain, but uses the reward of slack as the dog walks nicely on the leash.

    IMG_7697_(16)

    The system is also adjustable so that the harness never becomes too tight, but also stays tight enough to not slip off. The ThunderLeash is an ideal tool for pet parents in my puppy classes, as the system grows with the dog avoiding the need to otherwise buy multiple sizes as the dog gets bigger. The ThunderLeash also transitions to a standard leash, making it easy to switch from anti-pull harness to regular leash as the situation warrants.

    It’s essential all family members walking the dog are consistent with training. If only one person does the training and others allow the dog to sled dog pull, training is less effective. Consistency is key for lasting change. If for any reason training cannot be done by that individual, the dog should be walked on a gentle anti-pull device, like the ThunderLeash, to prevent reinforcement of the pulling habit.

    Reduced pulling from the use of proper walking equipment makes the training of walking properly on a leash much simpler. To train a dog to walk nicely on leash, the canine should be taught an alternative behavior to pulling. I like to teach a dog to heel. A heel is where the dog walks calmly on a loose leash at their person’s side.

    Train your dog to heel by marking the behavior with a clicker or a verbal “good” whenever their shoulder is in-line with your leg. Deliver treats to the dog right next to your leg. Start in a low distraction environment where the dog is unlikely to pull. If the dog is in front of you, turn so they will be behind you and end up moving next to your leg as you walk forward. As their shoulder aligns with your leg, mark the behavior and reward. Continue to reward the dog on an intermittent basis for staying by your side. For toy crazy dogs, reward heeling with the toss of a ball or other desirable play item.

    Add in turns, changes in speed and stopping. The more interesting you are, the more likely your dog will pay attention. Once your dog is reliably in the heel position, add a word to the behavior by saying “heel” as the dog moves next to you. Vary the amount of steps taken before you treat, both extending the steps taken before the dog receives a reward and keeping short durations thrown in to keep it exciting. Once your dog heels like a pro in a low distraction area, move into more distracting areas, like the driveway.

    Vary the rewards for heeling. Treats or toys should be given during training to keep the behavior strong, but other rewards like getting to sniff a bush or greeting a friendly dog are other environmental rewards for heeling.

    Once a dog learns to heel, you can train them to walk on a loose leash as well. Dogs enjoy having space to explore and sniff, and always being directly at your side is not ideal. The ThunderLeash will prevent pulling while you practice. To teach loose leash walking, if the leash becomes tight, stop and reverse directions by gently turning in the other direction. Only allow forward motion as there is slack. Stay consistent in not allowing forward movement when the leash is tight, and soon your dog will soon learn pulling no longer works, but a loose leash does.

    Training a dog to walk on a loose leash takes work, but is well worth the effort. The more enjoyable walks are for you, the more likely they will happen. The more walks your pet gets, the more satisfied and better able to settle in the home your dog will be. Start the training today! Your dog will thank you for it.

     

    Mikkel Becker is a well-known and respected pet behavior and training expert, and Vetstreet.com contributor.

  • We’ve got news!!!! (Hint, it’s stylish, warm and will still calm your pet’s anxiety!)

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    We are thrilled to introduce the new ThunderCoat and the ThunderSweater! The ThunderCoat and ThunderSweater offer a stylish and unique clothing system that snaps onto the outside of the ThunderShirt, providing added warmth and protection from rain if needed. Both styles come with a ThunderShirt included that can be easily unsnapped and used on it’s own, without the ThunderCoat and ThunderSweater outerwear.

    And just look how fashionable they are!

    Coat3

    The ThunderCoat features a khaki trench coat styled design that is fully lined, water-resistant and has a removable hood. Perfect for owners who enjoy a daily walk with their dogs, regardless of the forecast. The ThunderCoat is available in sizes XXS-Large and retails for $69.95, and comes with a ThunderShirt included.

    Sweater3

    The ThunderSweater provides added warmth and style for dogs, ideal for colder months or prolonged time outdoors. The cable-knit sweater features a classic khaki, ash grey and heather grey color blocked style and is available in sizes XXS-XL. ThunderSweater retails for $59.95 and comes with a ThunderShirt included.

    Both the ThunderCoat and ThunderSweater can be purchased at www.ThunderWorks.Com

  • Contest Time! Share Our Halloween Tips!

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    It's CONTEST time!! Halloween is almost here, and in addition to talking about fun and festive pet activities, we'll also be sharing some important safety tips to keep in mind this time of year. So, help us spread the word and keep our pets safe this Halloween! 
    Look out for these Halloween safety images on all of our social media profiles: 
    Share them out with the Hashtag #ThunderTips The more places you share, the higher your chances will be to win a $100 shopping spree on ThunderWorks.com!

    We'll randomly select one winner, we'll be following the image shares everywhere… Spooky!!

    Full details here: http://get.thunderworks.com/halloweentips/

  • Guest Blogger: Mikkel Becker

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    We’re thrilled to welcome back well-known and respected pet behavior and training expert, and Vetstreet.com contributor, Mikkel Becker on our blog today! She’s talking separation anxiety in our pets… Take it away, Mikkel!

    Countless canines become anxious when left alone. Stress upon separation spans from mild anxiety to an extreme state of panic. Whenever a dog is anxious at separation, it’s important to address the issue immediately, starting with a visit to your veterinarian. Stress upon separation rarely goes away without intervention, but more often, escalates over time. Caretakers of dogs who are anxious when left alone, find that normal tasks, like going to work or going out on a date, are difficult to impossible. The situation can become so severe the dog causes serious harm to themselves or to the home. Even for dogs who internalize stress, the state they are in emotionally is damaging long term to their health and affects their ability to cope with everyday stressors.

    There are numerous indicators of a dog nervous with separation. Signs can include excess salivation, panting, hyper vigilance, whining, barking, acute anorexia, pacing and inability to settle. Anxiety can amplify to the point of self-injury where the dog causes themselves serious harm as they attempt to claw, bite and jump out of exit points. The household also suffers devastation. Doors, crates and windows can be damaged as the dog attempts to flee, while household items like couches can be ravaged from anxious chewing. Dogs become so nervous they may even lose control of bodily functions and have accidents in the home.

    Dogs in this panicked state are literally helpless at their own behavior. Dogs don’t do these destructive behaviors out of spite as a way to teach their person a lesson for leaving them. Instead, their behavior stems from a root emotion of fear. To change the behavior, the root emotion must be changed.

    In my profession as an animal trainer working in conjunction with numerous veterinarians, including my father, Dr. Marty Becker, I help address separation anxiety on a regular basis. Separation anxiety is one of the most common behavior problems in dogs, with 20-40% of dogs reported as having the condition.

    Thankfully, with the right combination of training, environmental modification and veterinary intervention, separation anxiety can be decreased or eliminated. Whether a dog is only moderately nervous or in an all-out panic, it’s important to take the necessary steps to help a dog overcome their distress when left alone.

    Keep in mind, before training begins, it’s important to train under the supervision of a veterinarian who can rule out any medical conditions contributing to behavior and properly diagnose separation anxiety if needed.

    As an animal trainer, I want to share with you several of my top tips for addressing separation anxiety. The training is also helpful as a preventive tool against the development of separation anxiety.

     

    1. Use a ThunderShirt. One of my favorite tools in my training arsenal is the ThunderShirt. Regardless of the size or breed of the dog, the ThunderShirt works on about 80% of dogs. Even without any training, the ThunderShirt drastically reduces anxiety with near immediate results. The ThunderShirt works to non-invasively calm dogs in a similar manner to swaddling a baby.

    2. Many dogs dislike being crated, and some of their panic may stem from being shut in an enclosed area. If your dog dislikes the containment aspect of separation, find a more open area of the home to leave your pooch in that’s doggy proofed. The area of the home should have windows, as dogs feel less enclosed when windows are present. If you have a secure fence and your canine is not an escape artist or incessant barker when separated, consider allowing access the outdoors. By opening up the dog’s area, canines are less likely to feel trapped, and may relax as a result.

    3. When you leave and when you come back, keep attention on the dog as minimal as possible. A simple, non-emotional goodbye or greeting will do, rather than hugs, kisses and emotional words. The more calm and nonchalant the greetings, the less worked up the dog will get. When you return, wait five minutes or until the dog calmly settles into a relaxed sit or down, before acknowledging.

    4. Reduce departure cues. Throughout the day, even on weekends, randomly put on your shoes, pick up the keys, turn on the car, open the garage and do other cues that may signal you’re leaving. Often dogs become anxious even upon the perception of these cues, because they signal you’re leaving. However, if you do these cues with the end result being you still stay home, the cue loses its meaning.

    5. Train your dog to enjoy time alone in their own area. Put the dog in a certain area of the home, like an xpen, or tether the dog with a leash and harness next to a comfortable area, like a dog bed. Place food puzzles or long lasting chews in these areas for the dog to nibble on. To begin with, sit a few feet away and get the dog comfortable with just a short distance separation. The training can be made more challenging later by giving the food item and leaving to go into another room or going outside. Return to the dog before they finish eating their food reward. The idea is to have separation happen with associated pleasurable rewards and at a pace the dog can remain relaxed at. Play classical music during separation, proven to calm pets, to further promote relaxation.

    6. Protect your pet. During training, management techniques like sending the dog to doggy daycare or a dog sitter during inevitable long departures is helpful. In some cases, medication from your veterinarian added in combination with training, will provide especially anxious pets with the best chance of recovery.

  • Singing for ThunderShirt by Special Guest, Sandy Robins

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    I have always been “blessed” with cats that sing in the car. But Ziggy out sings every cat I’ve ever known.

    When we took him home from the animal shelter, I put his vocals down to nerves.

    Not long after, we had to take him to the vet for his kitty shots. The moment we placed him in his carrier, the singing began.

    It started off with a tentative operatic dolcissimo (very sweet) “mew”. Followed by a second and then a third.  As we turned the corner he started scratching on the side of the carrier and the mew got more espressivo (insistent). Then he tried a new tactic and the mews got doloroso (sad and mournful).  From his perspective, he probably thought I wasn’t listening so he began to get more insistenta (insistent) until his vocals turned fortissimo (very loud).

    On the way home, it was a repeat performance. He wasn’t being naughty; he was really just stressed and anxious. Who knows what experiences he had an in a car before we adopted him.

    A few weeks later we were off to the vet again for follow-up shots. And soon Ziggy was singing the same aria. The next week, when it was time for his rabies shot courtesy of the animal shelter, we were back in the car and Ziggy was singing again.

    What was so interesting was the fact that it sounded like the same song.

    Cats in fact have quite a large vocabulary. Author and naturalist Jean Craighead George who writes about the language cats have in her award-winning book The Cats of Roxville Station and has studied cats in nature, says that the different ways in which a cat meows has a special idiosyncratic meaning. She has categorized some feline vocalizations as follows. They are written phonetically to emphasize the different sound and tones:

    In Kittens:

    • Mew (high pitched and thin) - a polite plea for help
    • MEW! (loud and frantic) - an urgent plea for help

    Adult cats:

    • Mew - plea for attention
    • Meow - emphatic plea for attention
    • MEOW! - a command!
    • Mee-o-ow (with falling cadence) - protest or whine
    • MEE-o-ow (shrill whine) - stronger protest
    • MYUP! (short, sharp, single note) - righteous indignation
    • MEOW! Meow! (repeated) - panicky call for help
    • Mier-r-r-ow (chirrup with lilting cadence) - friendly greeting

    Soon I worked out that Ziggy had composed a feline “song”:

    Here are his lyrics:

    Mew…mew…

    MEW!!

    Meow

    MEOW!

    Mee-o-ow

    MYUP! MYUP!

    MEE-o-ow

    MEE-o-ow

    Second verse same as the first.

    So I decided to translate. It goes something like this:

    Hello… Helloow …

    What’s happening here?

    This isn’t fair

    You scooped me out of my favorite chair

    I was a sleep

    What did you think --I wouldn’t make a peep?

    What’s happening now?

    Meeow miaow

    The vet!! Oh No!

    I don’t want to go

    I’m prodded and given a shot

    It calls for a total boycott

    Take me home….

    NOW!!!

    Meow….

    Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. There are always going to be vet visits for one reason or another. So I decided he was the perfect candidate for a feline ThunderShirt.

    I decided the best way to test the shirt was the take him one way to the vet without it and put it on for the journey home.

    I chose a fairly innocuous vet visit, namely, he was simply going for a Mani-Pedi. No needles or prodding involved. I even took Fudge along in the hope that seeing how she behaved would perhaps help him remain calm.

    No such luck. The outward-bound trip was typical – very vocal with Fudge simply staring at him in disbelief that a cat could make so much noise. So just before we popped him back in his carrier, I put him in a ThunderShirt. I reckoned he wasn’t going to have to walk around wearing it so he didn’t need to get used to it from that standpoint.

    On with the shirt, into the carrier and off we went home. It’s a 15-minute drive. And I must say Fudge and I enjoyed it immensely -- in total silence! I don’t say he enjoyed the ride, but he didn’t seem stressed and anxious to get out of the carrier, as was his typical modus operandi.

    I was amazed how it worked instantly. But apart from keeping him calm, it helped me to drive home fully concentrating on the road and not worrying about my feline passenger.

    When we got home, I took off the shirt and placed in his carrier, ready to go for next time.

     

    Sandy Robins  is an award-winning author and pet lifestyle expert.

    Follow her on Facebook here: http://www.Facebook.com/SandyRobinsPetLifestyleExpert

  • Summer Storm Safety

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    As we are all aware, summertime storms can cause MAJOR anxiety and stress in our dogs and cats. And, it’s just about that time of year when super storms and hurricanes begin to arrive. Using a Thundershirt is an excellent way to calm your dog or cat should heavy winds, thunder and rain begin to pick up. In addition to using a ThunderShirt, here are a few more tips to keep in mind should heavy storms and troublesome weather arrive:

    • A permanent pet ID such as microchip is advised to help you locate your pet in case they get lost.
    • Keep pets inside and monitor them when the go out for bathroom breaks, at times, storms can spook pets into running away.
    • Photograph each pet and store these pictures with other important documents in sealed/waterproof plastic bags.
    • Make sure that your pets are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Boarding kennels typically require proof of current vaccinations.
    • During a storm, you can play pet-friendly, classical music, or even run a load of dishes or laundry. The calming or familiar noise may be relaxing to your pets.
    • Also, have your pets’ favorite toy, blanket and/or bed nearby during a severe storm.
    • Try not to scold a scare pet as it may confuse them and reinforce fearful behaviors.

    We hope you have a safe and calming storm season!

  • “Get it While its… Green!” Check out our new, Limited Edition Green Polo!

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    At ThunderShirt, we value variety, and think your dog should too! So, why not change up their relaxation routine with the Limited Edition Green Polo?!  Perfect for both male and female dogs, the contrasting combo of bright Lime Green and sophisticated Hunter Green are a stylish segue from summer to Fall!

    To order the Limited Edition Green Polo for a lovable dog in your life, visit www.ThunderShirt.Com!

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