Friday, March 23, 2012

Dog Anxiety and Fear

The use of heavy machinery including a roller and compactor during earthworks for the construction of a nearby carpark has brought fear to Dusty's previously peaceful life.  He is just so scared as my house shakes and the windows rattle, while the ground beneath it vibrates.  When he isn't trying to cling to me, he is trying to find somewhere safe to hide, including inside the wardrobe.  If I attempt to leave him home alone, he literally howls! 
Putting him on medication from the Vet was not an option that I wanted to pursue, so I searched the internet for alternatives.  The description of the Thundershirt Dog Anxiety Jacket seemed to tick all the boxes, but I was skeptical as to whether it would really work.  Luckily a friend knows someone who has had success with the Thundershirt, so I ordered that online and waited in anticipation for its arrival.
Also decided to order a soft crate/indoor kennel that he could use for a 'safe house' so he would have somewhere to hide.
By the time the Thundershirt arrived, the use of the heavy machinery had temporarily ceased, but I know there will be a lot more compaction to be done before the bitumen is laid and the job completed in about August.  I introduced Dusty to the new Thundershirt and as instructed, used it as a plate to give him one of the biscuits that came with it. Then I put it on him and it was very noticeable that he soon became much calmer.
Dusty wearing his new Thundershirt

About an hour later, one of my son's arrived and said "The dog is all drowsy", yes, he just wanted to curl up and sleep!  He slept soundly for a couple of hours and was so quiet that I even checked to see if he was still breathing. 
Then I removed his Thundershirt as I thought that was long enough for a first trial.  When another son arrived later, I put it on Dusty again and he quickly went back to sleep again.  It is good to have him calm again and the lull in the use of the heavy machinery has helped too, but the real test of the Thundershirt will come when the vibrations start again.
The soft crate/kennel arrived by parcel post and Dusty was very interested as I unpacked it -- he could barely wait for me to unzip the door so he could get inside.  Blue crates had sold out, so it had to be Red...
Dusty beside his new soft crate/indoor kennel

Dusty inside his 'safe house'

Only time will tell if these two remedies have solved the problem.  I hope so!

No comments:

Post a Comment