Yeah Karen those thundershirts do have some success. But here is another aricle that refutes the theory. It is myth #6 of Jean Donaldson's 10 Dog Training Myths. 6) If you pat your dog when he's afraid, you're rewarding the fear. Fear is an emotional state – a reaction to the presence or anticipation of something highly aversive. It is not an attempt at manipulation. If terrorists enter a bank and order everybody down on the floor, the people will exhibit fearful behaviour. If I then give a bank customer on the floor a compliment, 20 bucks or chocolates, is this going to make them more afraid of terrorists next time? It's stunningly narcissistic to imagine that a dog's fearful behaviour is somehow directed at us (along with his enthusiastic door-dashing).
Actually, Dave, this is an area where I have intimate experience, having been the manager of a bank where I and 12 employees and customers were held at gun point for several hours, and then I was taken, still at gun point from the bank to cover the robber's get away.
While you are right that offering people a cup of coffee or some candy wouldn't have helped, I strongly believe that having a pity party wouldn't have helped either. (and that's what many pet owners do when their animal is distressed) I needed to stay calm, matter of fact and supportive without being too sympathetic to get everyone through that experience. (of course I totally fell apart later, but that's a different story!<g>) All of the hostages interviewed after the robbery stated that it was the fact that I stayed so calm (still not sure how) that kept them from completely losing it.
That's the point I was trying to get across.
Also, as far as the Thundershirts are concerned, while there are some dogs that are just WAY beyond that being helpful, I can't tell you how many people I know who have dogs afraid of thunderstorms who have been helped immensely by the Thundershirts. They aren't that expensive, are completely dog-friendly (except that long haired Havs look pretty silly with all the hair sticking out both ends
) and, I think, well worth a try with a fearful dog.