Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Midge's Thundershirt

Midge's Thundershirt arrived today.  So far it's been a complete waste of forty bucks.  First off, I followed the measurement guide on the website so that I would order the correct size.  However, this shirt is way too small.  The scratchy side of the Velcro just barely reaches the end of each attachment and is left open to chaff on her skin.  Hopefully, her fur is thick enough that she won't feel it.  When she moves, the Velcro detaches like a fat guy popping buttons off a little jacket.

Now, before any brilliant person suggests that I can exchange it, (like I was born yesterday and don't know that), would you like to come to my house, repackage everything, drive to the post office, stand in line for an hour, and mail it back, in addition to coordinating the multiple phone calls or emails required to arrange the exchange?  If you got the patience and time for that kind of B.S., more power to you.  People just need to get their sizing right on their websites.

This is the second time this has happened to me in the past month.  I ordered an item of clothing using a website's measuring chart, and what arrived was waaaaaay too large.  Not even close.  It took hours of my time to arrange the exchange for a smaller size.  The smaller size arrived, followed by a second mailing of the exact same item.  Now I have to either eat the loss of being charged twice for two of the same item, when I only ordered one, or I have to find the time to do everything listed above all over again.  The things is, what's going to stop them from sending me three items next time?  Once incompetent, always incompetent.  Better to cut your losses while you are ahead and run far, far away from any further business dealings with incompetent people.

The other disappointment about the Thundershirt is that I could have gone to my local pet store and picked up just about any doggie sweater and it would have been the same thing and cost me only a fraction of the price.  The only thing that the Thundershirt has going for it that a typical doggie sweater doesn't, is an extra flap to wrap around the back and side of the dog.  This allows you to adjust the hugging intensity of the material as opposed to just attaching the sweater.  Scrappy has almost an identical sweater that I picked up for a few bucks locally.

I can't comment on whether the Thundershirt actually works in calming Midge's anxieties just yet, because she's having a good day.  She did pant, and then pass out as soon as I put it on her.  Now we just need the forest rangers to start dynamiting avalanches on the mountain, get a thunder storm, or have my annoying neighbors whip out their nail gun and start fixing their new fence that blew down last night.  I'm sure we won't have to wait long.


Eden said...

i hope the thundershirt works for Midge! It is a miracle worker for my mom's chihuahua and i know a few friends with pittie bulls that it makes a world of difference with, too. Either way, i vote for taking the time to go through the hassle of getting the right size - size matters! ;)

Once Upon an Equine said...

I hate returning things I order online. You are right, it is a big hassle. I usually sell them at a local consignment shop and lose a little money.

Sorry the thundershirt isn't what you expected. I've not tried one yet, but I have a dog that gets really upset during thunderstorms and am curious about them.

Crystal said...

I hate returning stuff too, it is such a pain. But I have heard great things about those thundershirts, a border collie terrified of storms comes over and her owner put in on and she went right to sleep! but am kinda supisious myself.

fernvalley01 said...

I was sitting here wondering what in the merry H*** a Thundershirt was . Now I know. And they really work???

Cindy Ludiwg, M.A., KPA-CTP said...

I feel your frustration. I too hate having to return things that aren't what I expected. I recently purchased a $10 otoscope to use with my Golden Retriever and should have listened to my gut feelings - it doesn't work so I have to return it to the pet store - after I find the right receipt.

I don't know why you purchased the Thundershirt, but I have found the original Anxiety Wrap to be very effective - the Thundershirt is a knock-off product. The Anxiety Wrap fits much better, comes in ore sizes and can even be custom-sized - for an extra charge. But it doesn't fit like the Thundershirt. It is made of a different type of material - more lightweight and stretchy - I have even allowed my dog to wear it swimming and just the other day - in the tub (to give her a bath).

The Anxiety Wrap covers more body surface area and provides more maintained pressure than any other product currently on the market. It also works by targeting acupressure points and can be adjusted to fit your dog.

Another thing I like about the Anxiety Wrap is that the velcro closures are at the dog's torso rather than near its face - which is important for sound-sensitive dogs.

You can learn more about the Anxiety Wrap and how it differs from the Thundershirt in this article I wrote:

Animals Plus LLC also makes a Calming Face Wrap which fits like a head halter over the dog's muzzle that I have also had very good results with, so you might want to check into that as well.

Cindy Ludwig, M.A., KPA-CTP said...

Midge is very cute, by the way!

strivingforsavvy said...

I have seen those Thundershirts in Petco and Petsmart. I am really curious to find out if they work Keep us posted.

Jenn Merritt, CPDT-KA, TTouch Practitioner said...

Just to set the record straight, if anyone deserves the credit for originating the use of pressure wraps on dogs and other animals, it is certainly Linda Tellington-Jones, founder of the TTouch Method. She has been advocating the use of these for literally decades. I personally have been using body wrapping techniques for many, many years, long before either the Anxiety Wrap or the Thundershirt were introduced. The main reasons I use, prefer, and recommend the Thundershirt vs. other body wraps: Thundershirt is the easiest to put on and adjust, has no cumbersome extra straps, and, in the vast majority of cases, eases anxieties, relaxes body tension, reduces arousal, etc.

The other thing I like is that Thundershirts are now so widely available at retail stores, veterinary offices, and direct from professional trainers, you can take your dog with you to try out which size is the best fit, which takes the guesswork out of determining sizes. Thundershirt is a very useful tool for me as a trainer and a dog owner and I only wish I would have had it 20 years ago.
Jenn Merritt, CPDT-KA, Tellington TTouch Companion Animal Practitioner

Cut-N-Jump said...

Nuzz- if you can let me know the width of the vecro used on the ThunderShirt and how long of an extension you need, I can make you one. I already have all of the stuff handy.

One thing I have done when making anything for the horses (or humans) is to put the scratchy velcro on the item where it faces Out- away from the body. That way it does not rub or irritate and is less likely to end up full of hair and no longer 'stick'. Why others can't or don't grasp this simple concept is beyond me?

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cut-N-Jump - What a sweet offer. I want to see if the material stretches out first, because I remembered that Scrappy's sweater of the same material stretched out and never really shrunk back to its original size. Come to think of it, I've got some Velcro in my sewing kit too. When I get more time I can probably put together something.

Midge is no longer a bundle of nerves, but sleeps all day, so I still haven't been able to test it out.

Cindy Ludwig, M.A., KPA-CTP said...

"Just to set the record straight, if anyone deserves the credit for originating the use of pressure wraps on dogs and other animals, it is certainly Linda Tellington-Jones, founder of the TTouch Method. She has been advocating the use of these for literally decades."

Actually, Susan Sharpe, certified professional dog trainer (CPDT) and T-touch practitioner developed the first pressure wrap in 2001, The Anxiety Wrap created the category of patented pressure wraps:

I first put the Anxiety Wrap on one of my own dogs a couple years ago and have been recommending the original Anxiety Wrap to my clients with anxious and fearful dogs ever since.

I had a client who accidentally purchased a Thundershirt and we saw no reduction whatsoever in the dog's anxious behavior but when we added the Face Wrap from Animals Plus LLC (company that makes the Anxiety Wrap) we saw an immediate and dramatic reduction in anxious behavior.

The Anxiety Wrap is an excellent product with very reliable results.

It is easy to put on and does not have the velco closures near the dog's face that the Thundershirt has - a drawback for sound sensitive dogs, which describes most dogs with thunderstorm phobia and other anxiety-related issues.

The original Anxiety Wrap was recently studied in a clinical research study by Dr. Nicholas Dodman at the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and found to be effective in 89% of thunderstorm-phobic dogs. Compare this to the 80% effectiveness rate reported by the Thundershirt company based on surveys of its own customers.

Besides the unique and highly effective patented design, the other reason I favor the Anxiety Wrap is the business ethics of the product designer and staff of Animals Plus LLC.

Not only are they ethical in their business practices, but they offer free professional online assistance to customers by certified professional dog trainers - a value hard to beat!

The Anxiety Wrap is easy to order online and available from trainers and veterinarians. It is also available in retail stores.

See this article for a comparison of the Anxiety Wrap and the knock-off product, the Thundershirt:

Cindy Ludwig, M.A., KPA-CTP
Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner
Registered nurse - inactive status, States of Iowa, Ohio