Thursday, July 28, 2011

our thundershirt™: so far, so good!

for those of you who haven't heard me blathering on about this on facebook or twitter, we won a free thundershirt! this was courtesy of a little giveaway run by the good folk over at (and the thundershirt company, of course).

this news was Ă¼ber exciting, because we had been wanting one of these bad boys for a while but were afraid to try it for fear that it wouldn't fit desmond's odd body quite right and then it would just be a hassle to deal with exchanging it (not to say the customer service peeps at thundershirt would give us a hard time! we have no idea what their CS is like; though i'm sure it's just lovely, as i have found it to be true that dog people are--99% of the time--just lovely. what we do know is that we are a bit lazy; ergo, repacking and shipping back would be a hassle for us.).

for those of you who aren't familiar with the thundershirt, it's basically a tight wrap your doggie wears that helps to keep him calm and reduce his anxiety. the pressure from it feels like a hug to him, which makes him feel better about the world at large (um...can i get a thundershirt for me? that sure sounds nice.). there's a bit more to it, of course, so i definitely recommend that you click through to their homepage (i linked to it at the top) and read up. actually, i recommend that you click through even if you have no intention of buying a thundershirt ever--just to see the cuteness that is the different doggies wearing the shirts.

desmond's separation anxiety could still use some help, for sure. could this be the end of wacky wednesdays forever??? and the thundershirt could come in handy next 4th of july. the prospects are groovy.

you probably think i was exaggerating about the cuteness factor mentioned above, but i am not. i promise.

look at the skinniest of butts and the wonkiest of legs!

"OK, mom, you said 'a picture' not 'a photo shoot'. how long is this gonna take?"
"hey, wait a minute, whatcha got up there?"

"oh, biscuit! you are so close, yet so far..."

"FYI, i do not find this at all amusing. now gimme my treat or i go eat dad's other sneaker."

come on! that is some cuteness right there, and you know it. don't lie. other than the horrific lighting in our dining room, i'd say that was a fairly successful photo shoot. (little does desmond know that i am hoping to schlep him over to a real photo shoot at petco in a couple of weeks...) also successful? the thundershirt!

so far, anyway.

we have only had time to introduce the shirt to desmond, but that went really well. we cheated a little by leaving it on for longer than instructed for the dog's first time (they recommend about 10 minutes), but it seems to have turned out ok.

the instructions tell you to give the dog a chance to get to know the shirt before putting it on him and to use treats while doing so. desmond was thrilled about that, of course.

we took it out of the package and let him smell it. then we unfolded it and placed it on top of him while we were all hanging out on the couch. we gave him some love while he was under the shirt. after that, i busted out the treats. he had a few as he was still lying down with the shirt on top of him, and then i folded the shirt back up and used it as a "plate" for treats, as the instructions suggest. it wasn't long before the shirt was covered in desmond slobber. this whole process probably took us around 20 minutes.

some people would put the shirt away and wait for the next day to continue the intro. on this particular night, dad would be going out soon, which usually resulted in desmond whining, running to the door, whining more, sitting at the door, whining, lying down at the door, sighing and/or harrumph-ing, soft whining, and more lying down. often, i have to drag him back to the living room or to bed or wherever, because he's so fixated on the fact that joey left (i keep saying this dog likes my husband better than he likes me. jerkface!). by putting the shirt on a few minutes before anyone was actually leaving, we might be able to see some results.

a good sign: it fit him! this was a little miracle. i'm not going to say i did a happy dance or anything, but i sure thought about it.

and then? results. desmond was definitely still aware that joey was leaving and he was still whining a touch as the exit took place, but he stayed with me on the couch. after joey was gone, all whining stopped and desmond chilled out. as far as i'm concerned, that's the shirt's doing. previous bribery attempts involving treats and petting always ended with the dog making noise at the back door.

after about a half hour, i took the thundershirt off of des, praised him like it was going out of style, and put the shirt away.

over the next few days, i would like to get him back into it for longer and longer periods of time. ideally, i'd like to be able to leave it on him in the house when we go out at unusual times (weekends or after work, which we really haven't felt comfortable doing at all).

it would also be great to put the thundershirt on him on car rides. driving in the car with desmond is kind of like driving the bus in the movie Speed. everything's cool as long as you don't brake. brakes = standing, whining, pacing, attempts to get in the front seat. admittedly, this is not as dramatic as an explosion, but sometimes it feels like my head is going to explode by the time we reach our destination. he must think he's at risk of us stopping, getting out, and leaving him there. as if. that dog has no clue how he's got us wrapped around his wonky paw.
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