One of my favorite places to walk is one of Risa’s most feared places to go. I have always enjoyed walks there even before I had a dog. But there is a gun range not far from it and the loud bangs you can hear on the path are too much for Risa. While there are rare occasions when we don’t hear any scary sounds on our walks there, it’s fairly rare when that happens. So we don’t go there frequently because it’s just not fun. Risa gets scared and she pulls on the leash the entire walk whether we hear the sounds or not!
There are times (in the winter especially) when going there to walk is the better option. Today was one of those days. It was incredibly windy and cold out. Our usual spot has no trees to block the wind so we went down to the “scary place” instead. But I came prepared. I had Risa wear her Thundershirt underneath her coat to help calm her fears.
I must say, I was extremely impressed. I know her Thundershirt has helped her cope with thunderstorms (she still needs Rescue Remedy as well for those) and fireworks. She’s also seemed more comfortable in hotel rooms and at trials with her shirt on. But this is the first time I’ve taken her for a walk down there without her panicking and me having a miserable walk because of it. (I would bet money it’s not fun for her either.) We certainly heard the scary noises and early on in our walk too. But she was able to keep herself together and only flinched slightly at the sounds. She never pulled hard on the leash or seemed in a huge rush to get back to the car. It was the nicest walk I’ve had with her down there in probably over a year. The Thundershirt seems to work amazingly well with sound-phobic dogs.
We also went to Petsmart to do a bit of work since our next AKC rally trial is coming up soon. I had her wear her Thundershirt there as well. Her focus was pretty good. Not really much of a difference between non-shirt-wearing and Thundershirt-wearing Risa in that regard. However, when we walked around the store, she was much more relaxed. She usually pulls quite a bit on lead (this is a typical nervous behavior for Risa and many other fearful dogs) and likes to remind me which way the door is. I noticed this behavior was almost non-existent and I was able to calmly and comfortably walk her around the store without needing to stop every 2 steps because she was pulling again.
I am so glad I decided to get her a Thundershirt this year. It’s turning out to have far more applications than I’d ever imagined.