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What He’s Wearing: Thunder Jacket Edition

Of course, I said yes when offered the chance to review a Thundershirt product.


Two of the three current canine residents at Wayward House suffer from anxiety. The triggers are different.

For Luke, it’s stormy weather. Often, he realizes the weather is turning before we do. He paces. He pants like he’s having a heart attack. He glues himself to whatever human is in the house, following so close that he trips you. This might cause you to yell out, which frightens Luke even more.

Sometimes he just hides. He’ll stick his nose in a corner of the kitchen or climb into the bath tub where his panting sounds are amplified.

golden reteriver meme

A lot of times, we’ll just give Luke some Wal-finate, a generic antihistamine he often needs for his allergies, anyway. It makes him drowsy enough to forget about the storm.

But if I can avoid drugging my dogs, of course, I will. So, when a  thunder jacket for dogs by Thundershirt arrived in the mail, just as the skies began to darken, I immediately strapped that thing on Luke.

Boy, did he look good!


The product did seem to work, as well. Although Luke definitely did not forget about the storm, he didn’t move around so much or pant his brains out.

He mostly just laid quietly in the bathroom.

And he didn’t seem to mind the jacket. I left the house for a couple of hours with him in it and returned to a happy dog who didn’t seem to have tried removing his outfit.

If I hadn’t seen the HBO movie Temple Grandin, starring Claire Danes as an autistic woman who helps redesign livestock facilities to minimize stress on the animals, I would have thought the thunder jacket for dogs was baloney right from the start.

But there is a method behind the garment. Temple Grandin is a real person who realized that in times of stress she felt better when she was hugged tightly or squeezed herself into a tight area. She also noticed that cows seemed to get less freaked out when herded through a narrow chute.

The same idea is reflected in the thunder jacket, which fits very snugly on a dog, making him feel securely hugged, without restricting his movement.

Around the house, I found that the thunder jacket made both Luke and foster dog Charlie Machete calmer.


While a chill Charlie Machete is always preferable around the house, where I really need that guy to cool out is in public.

His anxiety trigger is other people and dogs. That’s why I take him on walks with the KC Pittie Pack, where he can be part of the group in a structured, safe way.

For our special Coast to Coast Bully Walk on Pit Bull Awareness Day, I wrapped him up in the thunder jacket with the hope that he’d be extra relaxed for this extra special event.

Coast to Coast Bully Walk

Lookin’ good but actin’ naughty.

Unfortunately, instead of behaving like the preppy gentleman his thunder jacket and bandana made him appear to be, Charlie Machete acted like a buffoon.

He acted huffy toward two dogs in particular and pulled on his leash way more than usual. I was pretty embarrassed.

But I don’t blame the thunder jacket. We walked in a different location than usual, and there were many new dogs there Charlie Machete had never before smelled.

Also: When we got home, I realized that his gentle leader had chafed his face. That would make anybody irritable!

I left the thunder jacket on him to see if it helped at an adoption event later that day, but the event was canceled.

I’m glad to have the product, though. I will definitely keep using it on both big dogs to see for what other situations it may be helpful.

What makes your dog nervous?

Big thanks to onetime guest blogger Sonia Charry and for hooking us up with a thunder jacket for dogs by Thundershirt!

Disclaimer: I received a free product in exchange for an honest review.


Jogging with dogs

Dogs need exercise.

In fact they should get at least one walk per day. Why not a jog?

Three canines coexist with me right now, and at some point I have tried running with all of them. It hasn’t always gone so well.



Profile: Ancient miniature pinscher

Running style: His legs are short, so he’s always running, even when you’re just walking.

Running gear: Due to his collapsing trachea, he needs to wear a full body harness that doesn’t put any pressure on his neck or throat.

Analysis: Too small, too old and too slow. Not a good running partner. (But a pretty good walker.)



Profile: Middle aged golden retriever

Running style: Likes to run fast, and he would prefer to not be leashed while doing so. Has a tendency to go too hard, too fast and then poop out. Once he got so tired that he had to be picked up in a car.

Running gear: A gentle leader is absolutely necessary to help him maintain a regular pace and not zig zag in front of his human partner.

Analysis: Although an OK running partner, Luke needs a specific partner. That person is not me. (It’s Zach.)

Charlie Machete


Profile: Young, athletic black lab/chow/pit bull/??? mix

Running style: Not too fast, not too slow. Charlie Machete generally likes to run slightly behind or a hair ahead of his human partner. He’s ready to go anytime. Does not understand the phrase “too tired to run.”

Running gear: A gentle leader provides maximum control and keeps him from getting distacted in case of a passing bunny. (He looks good in his formerly pink, now green gentle leader.)

Analysis: Most awesome running partner ever!

What’s your dog’s running style?

Need an awesome running partner? Charlie Machete is available for adoption through Midwest Adopt-a-Bull.

Come back tomorrow to learn about an event where Charlie Machete and I will be jogging together in public!

DIY dye project for dog collars and leashes

It’s not that the pastel pink head collar looked bad on the big headed black dog.

The hue associated with femininity and daintyness just didn’t seem right on a dog named Charlie Machete.

Believe it not, both dogs are wearing the exact same Gentle Leader® head collar in the following photos.

Photo by Fido Fetch Photography.


How did we Zach do it?

It was simple. He used Rit Dye.

Until recently, whenever I passed the little bottles of Rit Dye at the grocery store, I assumed they had something to do with headlice. I guess I was thinking of a totally different product called Rid.

As it turns out, Rit Dye is pretty awesome.

You can use the liquid or powder formulas to change the color of garments and other fabrics in the washing machine, in the sink or over the stove top. Depending on the fabric, you just add vinegar or salt to the mix. Just follow the directions on the bottle.

Within hours (or less), your old foster girl‘s head collar can go from pretty pink to a manly dark green.


As you can see in the picture, the threads in the Gentle Leader did remain pink. I call that a happy accident of chromatic accenting, which keep Charlie Machete looking extra stylish.

I have yet to tackle a DIY dyeing project myself, but Zach has had great luck lately changing the color of small fabric pouches and bags.

For the frugal and fashion-savvy, Rit has a great website with guides for transforming dowdy duds into trendy pieces. A small bottle of Rit costs less than $5 at the store. I have a feeling this new trick could bring new possibilities to the items I pick up at my next clothing swap.

Big thanks to Fido Fetch Photography for the gorgeous photos of Minnie and Charlie Machete!

Have you ever used dye to transform a piece of clothing or pet items? Share your tips in the comments.

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