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Thunder Phobia and the Adaptil DAP Collar

dog with thunder phobia snuggles to human

It’s been a few months since we touched on the topic of Donna’s Thunder Phobia. In the last year, we’ve tried the Thundershirt which I felt has some good effect and I’ve written about it quite a bit. And later on, we bought the Adaptil DAP Collar for her so this post is really quite long over due.

do you smell the rain

Just like the rain that we experienced in the past week after a dry spell.

dog wearing DAP collar

The Adaptil DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) Collar is as you can see in the picture above, is the nondescript, flat, grey, strip of plastic wound around Donna’s neck. The collar stays on for a month for maximum effect. Retailing at SGD$59 at our local pet supplies store, this collar that lasts only a month is not that affordable an answer for thunder phobia. For that price, it asserts that it will release pheromones that will calm the reactive dog.

Adaptil DAP collar for dog with thunder phobia
dog with thunder phobia going to toiletsigns of fear of thunder in dog

Nope, doesn’t look calm, does she?

So it’s back to the ThunderShirt and her collar over the DAP collar, the whole works. I call this her Thunder Battle Armour.

dog in thundershirt

Tense, but not quaking at least.

To be fair, our dog does go majorly over-threshold when it thunders heavily – the pee and poo anywhere, the drool, the running around and climbing to escape which leads to things in the flat being disturbed and displaced, when left unsupervised. So perhaps that collar may work with dogs with a less severe fear of thunderstorms. I said may because I wouldn’t know. But a look at the reviews on Amazon – Adaptil, D.A.P (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) Collar for Medium to Large Dogs – 27.6″ – shows that it does work for some people with dogs.

Outside of the storms, she is a very calm dog so we have no need of the collar to work any magic. We did not see a difference in Donna’s behaviour for the month that she was wearing the DAP collar. So that logically concluded for us that the collar did not have any discernible effect on Donna, and we weren’t inclined to continue with the collar into the second month.

dog under study table

This is Donna in the last two weeks, she seemed to find comfort under the study table. I have to say, this is also the more enclosed room so maybe she felt safer in here. Unfortunately, it didn’t even thunder very badly on that day. This dog has an overactive reaction to the slightest thunder after a couple of months without exposure to it. So the counter-conditioning with food restarts. And on days when I am too tired/impatient to do that the whole day when it storms, she stays quietly tense under the table (after she goes to toilet, which is always her first instinctive behaviour).

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9 Comments

  1. I had no idea that there were products for dogs with thunder phobia! You are so patient and loving with her. Ever consider Arizona?

    • Yup, there are quite a few products for dogs with thunder phobia, including calming music for dogs and rescue remedy, not covered in this post. I’m not sure what you refer to or mean when you mention Arizona, so I’m not sure how to respond. Perhaps you can clarify what you mean? Thanks :)

  2. We use the DAP plug-in (plugs into the wall like an air freshener, they can smell it but humans can’t). I have never seen the collar – i’m guessing not cost effective if more than one dog needs it either (which mine both do for separation anxiety). I’m with you on the cost but in our case, the plug-in works wonders! Sorry the collar was only sub par. I hope you find something that eases her fear!

    • Does that mean you have to have a plug-in in every room the dogs go to? That wouldn’t sound affordable either. We got the collar because at least it will always be enveloping her. That and that’s the only product that the shop newly brought in. So we only had that one option :P

      But I’m glad the plug works wonders for you. The product wouldn’t be on the market long if it didn’t work for some dogs ;) Too bad it didn’t work for Donna. The counter condition with food was working, but it didn’t sustain once I stopped the reinforcement due to the dry spell and lack of thunder. I’m thinking it will be a longer term work that we need to do, which is challenging since one would need to be at home with her whenever it thunders!!

  3. I feel badly for Donna and those darn thunderstorms. Too bad the collar didn’t work better, (but it is expensive).

  4. Juliana

    The thunder shirt doesn’t work for my dog, Oscar. From the first distant rumble, even with shirt on, he lets the whole neighbourhood know how feels about it.

    • I’m sorry to hear that. Thunder phobia is very hard to live. Try finding a post for him to feel safest in and distract him with lots of food. That made the greatest difference for us.

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