This video shows some simple Tellington TTouch earwork techniques that can help your dog if he / she is getting alarmed by noise, thunder, fireworks and bangs. It can also help stop dog doing into shock if done fast. Earwork combined with using Thundershirts can help to make this a less stressful time for your 4-legged friends. Click here to find out more about Thundershirts.
Firework season is nearly here again. I remember as a child that firework season was just one night, November 5th, but today it starts mid October and goes on well into the new year. This can be a horrible time for dogs as so many dogs suffer from noise anxiety and this can be their worst time of the year. There are many ways to help dogs, physically and using equipment. The Tellington TTouch training method has wonderful application for helping dogs with noise phobias.It is a gentle training method, consisting of a series of circles and lifts as well as groundwork exercises to make your animal more aware, more balanced, and less stressed. See Toni Shelbourne's article below and Claudette Evans' video.
One product, recommended by vets, dog trainers, Tellington TTouch practitioners that can really help is the Thundershirt, that comes with a 45 day money back garantee ...Tellington TTouch practitioner (P3) Marie Miller explains;
"When a dog is in a highly aroused state because of fear or frustration, his latent nervous system takes over and he just reacts to his environment. His response may be to deflect, flee, freeze or protect himself, rather than observing hisenvironment, thinking and then offering a learned, measured response. When correctly fitted, Thundershirts exert an even pressure around the chest, shoulders and ribcage. Used with Tellington TTouch body and ground work, they can be particularly helpful to calm a dog so that he is able to observe and think, rather than just react. Thundershirts, as the name suggests, were designed to help dogs who suffer fear of thunder and, indeed, they help many dogs in this way. However, Thundershirts can also be very useful when working through retraining programmes with dogs who are reactive or shy and those who do not travel well. "
Firework season is nearly here again. I remember as a child that firework season was just one night, November 5th, but today it starts mid October and goes on well into the new year. This can be a horrible time for dogs as so many dogs suffer from noise anxiety and this can be their worst time of the year. There are many ways to help dogs, physically and using equipment. The Tellington TTouch training method has wonderful application for helping dogs with noise phobias.It is a gentle training method, consisting of a series of circles and lifts as well as groundwork exercises to make your animal more aware, more balanced, and less stressed. See Toni Shelbourne's article below.
One product, recommended by vets, dog trainers, Tellington TTouch practitioners that can really help is the Thundershirt. Tellington TTouch practitioner (level3) Marie Miller explains;
"When a dog is in a highly aroused state because of fear or frustration, his latent nervous system takes over and he just reacts to his environment. His response may be to deflect, flee, freeze or protect himself, rather than observing hisenvironment, thinking and then offering a learned, measured response. When correctly fitted, Thundershirts exert an even pressure around the chest, shoulders and ribcage. Used with Tellington TTouch body and ground work, they can be particularly helpful to calm a dog so that he is able to observe and think, rather than just react. Thundershirts, as the name suggests, were designed to help dogs who suffer fear of thunder and, indeed, they help many dogs in this way. However, Thundershirts can also be very useful when working through retraining programmes with dogs who are reactive or shy and those who do not travel well.
In a stressed situation it is very important how we introduce the Thundershirt to our dog. Tellington TTouch instructor Kathy Casade explains more;
"The first step when introducing something new to a dog is to break it down into smaller, manageable steps. Changing the context of the new item can also be helpful. Start by placing some yummy treats on the folded Thundershirt and allow the dog to eat from it. A dinner plate is familiar and usually not scary! Next, unfold the Thundershirt halfway and simply lay it across the dogs back for just a few moments, offering a treat while the dog experiences this new sensation. The next step is to place the Thundershirt fully open on the dog’s back, closing the front connection, but leaving the side panels open. The last step is to close the panels so the Thundershirt is snugly on the dog. At this point, it is very important to allow the dog to move around. This allows the dog to know he is not trapped, and also allows him to integrate the sensations of the Thundershirt against his body as he moves. Remove the Thundershirt after a few minutes. The next session may not require the step by step introduction, but keep the sessions of wearing the Thundershirt fairly short (5 to 10 minutes) for the first few experiences."
“As a Physical Therapist and Tellington TTouch Instructor, I frequently teach about the effectiveness of pressure wraps to reduce anxiety and fear responses in dogs. The Thundershirt is the perfect tool for calming dogs who suffer from noise phobia, anxiety, and other fear related issues. My personal experience using the Thundershirt with my own dogs has been very positive, and I happen to live in Oklahoma where storms are both frequent and dramatic! Thank you for providing this valuable product to help dogs cope with these environmental stressors."
KATHY CASCADE TELLINGTON TTOUCH INSTRUCTOR
Toni Shelbourne, (Tellington TTouch Practitioner Level 3) looks at Noise Phobia - the curse of the Firework and How to help your dog cope.
It’s a cold autumnal evening, curtains are drawn, the television is turned up loud and you’ve just turned down another social engagement; if this sounds familiar you probably own a dog with noise phobia. Thousands of animals suffer each year in the firework season, a survey in 2005 claimed that 49% of dogs suffer from a fear of loud noises, with fireworks, thunder and gunshot sounds being the most common. Although the situation has improved slightly in recent years due to campaigning from organisations like The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, ‘firework night’ still seems to extend over a long period...
Even with your special preparations your dog is still hiding in the downstairs cloakroom, behind the settee or under the bed. Others bark frantically or dig, pant and salivate. Many lose out on their evening walks, too scared to leave the house until morning and even then are jumpy and difficult to walk. In extreme cases dogs may become aggressive as owners try to restrain them. Urination and defecation is also common. Some feel the situation is so bad they put their dog to sleep. Whichever way your dog behaves there are few effective means to help them and owners are left feeling helpless.
For a dog with mild noise phobia limited relief may be possible with off the self remedies like DAP or rescue remedy but for severe cases the trend until recently was sedation with Acepromazine, (ACP). Many vets thankfully have come away from using this drug as although it tranquillises the patient it does not suppress the anxiety or emotions, leaving the dog immobile but conscious which can actually make the phobia worse. A dog in a hyperactive state will also require much larger doses to have any ‘useful’ effect. The two drugs of choice for vets today, Diazepam and Alprazolam (Xanax) are also very problematic with side affects and timing issues. They are also not a cure. A third drug Selegiline needs to be given long term with issues of cost for the owner. Many shy away from drug therapy or find it doesn’t work in their situation. They have tried the desensitisation programmes also struggled to ignore the dog’s behaviour, believing that by doing this the dog will calm down or you will at least not reinforce the behaviour. Although there is some truth in that last statement, there is one training method which involves touching your animal, can be used safely while they are in a fear state without reinforcing the behaviour and gives you something practical to do to help your anxious pet; Tellington TTouch Training.
Tellington TTouch (TTouch) was developed over 30 years ago by Linda Tellington Jones. The method uses non-habitual movements of the skin to improve the posture of an animal. As posture affects behaviour, the animal’s symptoms decrease as they come into balance. An animal requires physical, mental and emotional balance to be able to simply act, not react to a situation. Think of a saying you use to describe being frightened like, ‘tuck tail and run’, this beautifully describes the posture that a noise phobic animal can adopt. The posture then ‘tells’ the dog how to behave i.e. in a fearful way. Change the posture and a different message is sent, the behaviour diminishes and hopefully disappears over time. There lies the beauty of TTouch, it gets to the emotional core of the issue and helps the dog to change their perception of a fearful stimulus. As the dog can now rationally think its way through the problem, the desensitisation training, if still needed, becomes much more effective. They can now think due to not having to act in an instinctive fearful response. TTouch can be the long term cure as well as the on the spot relief. Better still it is easy to learn and you can do it yourself in the comfort of your own home.
Many dogs show improvement after training and most go on to gain more confidence each year if TTouch is continued. I have personal experience of this method with my own dog. Dogs develop noise phobia for many different reasons. Buzz became frightened of fireworks and thunder due to my own irrational fear; happily we both got over our aversion with time. When I started training as a TTouch practitioner I naturally practised on Buzz. I’d quizzed my instructors on how to deal with noise phobic animals and prepared throughout October in the run up to the firework period. This involved a few minutes of body work each night when we came home from work and also putting on a body wrap, (a simple elasticated bandage which helps improve confidence and encourages calm behaviour). The first year he still hid under the coffee table but didn’t pant or dig, just trembled, a big improvement. He even went out last thing at night into the garden to relieve himself as long as I went with him. The second year he could lay quietly on the sofa beside me, maybe waking and trembling if a particularly loud banger went off but would go back to sleep after a few more minutes of body work. He improved year after year. The highlight for me was being in the middle of a busy town on 5th November with a group of friends and watching my dog go outside and happily run up and down with fireworks going off all around him. I still never left Buzz alone in the firework season but he had learned to cope with them. With a little preparation from me each year and the aid of a body wrap which is like having a portable hug, he learnt to mostly ignore the bangs and whizzes, but if a little anxious he’d seek me out for extra body-work when required.
One point to bear in mind, if your dog is arthritic or in pain it can make them much more noise sensitive, think of a time you were in discomfort and ask yourself ‘what was my reaction to loud sound’, for me I can’t bear noise at these times. Dogs are the same so if this is the case, seek veterinary advice about appropriate pain relief. Many older dogs seem to become noise phobic and this can be the reason why. Anyone can learn TTouch to help their dogs, you just need to be dedicated and put in the pre-season preparation, however even if you don’t or a thunder storm catches you unprepared, a few minutes of TTouch can make a world of difference. Remember it can’t make the behaviour worse but it might help them cope through this difficult time of year.
Depending on the severity of your dog’s travel anxiety, a Thundershirt alone may be enough to solve your issues. The use of Thundershirt alone has eliminated or significantly reduced symptoms such as severe shaking, panting, excitability, barking and even vomiting. But there are also easy steps you can take to further help your dog to be a happy traveller. See overleaf for a training program and training video. We have also provided answers to a variety of common questions for travel anxiety.
Thundershirt sizing chart
Thundershirt’s patent-pending design is a pressure wrap that applies a gentle, constant pressure on a dog’s torso. From real world experience, we know with certainty that Thundershirt DOES WORK. That is why we are able to offer a money-back guarantee. A survey of Thundershirt users shows that over 85% of dogs show significant improvement in at least one anxiety symptom when using Thundershirt.