Friday, August 17, 2012


Any of you who know my dog (or follow my blog) know that he's a big baby.  He's a prissy indoor dog who doesn't like to get his feet wet.  He's also not a fan of inclement weather...this includes days that are TOO sunny, TOO windy, and TOO humid.  (We live in west Michigan, so of course we have to deal with wind and lots of humidity from Lake Michigan.)  Anyway, yesterday morning, we had a little thunderstorm roll through.  Cyrus's usual storm behavior is to pant, dig, and shake uncontrollably.  I've tried petting him and soothing him.  I've tried taking him into the basement.  I've tried cuddling with him in bed.  I've tried putting him in the bathroom and turning on the fan to help drown out the thunder.  I've tried building a tent for him.  I've tried playing with him to get him to focus on something other than the storm.  I've tried having him listen to music.  I've tried offering him treats to make storms nothing to be afraid try and make them something positive.  I've tried Benadryl (for the dog, not me).  I've tried Valium (again, for the dog and not me).  Nothing has far.  But, I may have solved our dilemma.  I bought him a Thundershirt and (knock on wood) so far it seems to help him alleviate some of his stress during storms.  If you don't know what a Thundershirt is, it's a cotton "shirt" with velcro straps that can be securely fastened around the dog.  It's basically a big, gentle constant hug.  It's kind of the same theory as swaddling a baby to soothe it.  We tried it (the Thundershirt, not swaddling a baby) for the first time a few weeks ago while camping.  It helped him a little.  He was still anxious, but not nearly as bad as he usually is.  Then, yesterday morning, I put his Thundershirt on him and secured it a little more snugly than I did previously and...VOILA...he was soooo much better.  He still tried to find a place to hide, but he didn't dig or pant.  He only shook a tiny bit.  I'm hoping that each time we use it, his anxiety will diminish until storms don't bother him at all.  Keaton's girlfriend calls it his autism vest.  Cyrus doesn't have autism...he has prissy dog syndrome.  But, since I'm sort of prissy myself, I'd expect nothing less from my dog.

Cyrus sporting his new Thundershirt. 
He still hid in my bathroom, but he left all my rugs intact!