Thursday, July 5, 2012

One Calmer Dog and One Happy Mama!

The list of things my dog, Mack, likes is simple. 
  • He likes to eat.  Mack, being like so many dogs, will eat most anything.  Save for broccoli tops and liver, he gobbles it up without nary a second thought.  Raw liver, that is!  That is a story for another time!
  • He likes walks.  What dog doesn't?
  • He likes car rides.  So many new things to see and smell. 
  • He likes going to the Bark Park.  Correction, he LOVES going to the Bark Park.  For him it is a two-fer, it is a car ride and the Bark Park!  Lots of new friends, plenty of room to stretch out and really run and a whole lotta sniffing going on!
  • He likes Dr. Sheppard, the veteranarian.  We have trained Mack to not lick people, but try as I might, he covers Dr. Sheppards face with wet kisses every visit.
  • He also likes us, and the feeling is mutual!  Ah, puppy love. 
Thankfully, the list of things he does not like is even simpler (read "shorter")
  • Going outside in the rain.  He will cross his knees and wait, given the choice.
  • Baths.  Lots of rain, all in one place.  This boy does not like to get wet!
  • Thunder.  Fireworks.  These two get lumped together.  For Mack the loud noise of either is just more than he can handle.
We have tried acclimating him to loud noises by feeding him with booming noises in the background.  He only seemed more stressed.
We gave him supplements meant to calm him.  We did see some change in his behavior, but not enough for us to not worry about him.
Mack in his "thunder shirt:"
Lately, I have heard about using a thunder shirt.  So last night, just before the fireworks began in earnest in our neighborhood, I found an old tshirt and decided to give it a try.  Couldn't hurt, right? 

My daughters are both very slim, so I dug through what my eldest had not taken with her and voila!  A shirt I was sure she would gladly donate to her boy!

Mack was very helpful in getting the shirt on.  He ducked his head through the opening and allowed me to get his front legs through the arm holes.  I think he thought I had given him a new toy.  He turned in circles and tried to bite at the collar.  He only did this for a moment and then he lay down with a sigh.  The fireworks had just started and before I got the shirt on him he was getting a bit antsy.  But now with the shirt snuggly swaddling him, he calmed right down. 

The fireworks continued for about 3 hours.  Only once or twice did Mack pace briefly and whine.  Other than that he lay peacefully on the floor in front of the couch where my husband and I sat.  Not sure why it worked, but it did!

We did take the shirt off before bedtime.  The fireworks were done by then and I wasn't sure putting him to bed with the shirt was a good idea.  

Today as soon as I heard the first boom of thunder in the last afternoon, I slipped the shirt on and once again it worked its magic.  Now it is my turn to sigh!

The Hopeful Romantic

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