Calmz Pet Vest – Dog Anxiety Relief for Louie!

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By Jarissa Aquinde, Positively Woof Rescue and Adoption Story Editor

This story has a happy ending and it’s getting happier every week. I’m not sure what Louie’s history was before he was rescued (view his rescue video further down). Based on his intake photos at Carson Shelter, some say he may have been a bait dog. What I do know is that he was abused and neglected. I will leave his full rescue and adoption story for another post, but when I first started fostering him, he was so terrified of everything…he would run away from falling leaves.

Louie’s numerous fears have subsided a bit. Folding laundry, car doors slamming, thunderstorms, construction and of course, fireworks still terrify him. Last July 4th (his first 4th in his forever home), was stressful and horrifying for him. Constant panting, running in and out of the bathroom, freezing in place, and non-stop shaking. He refused to go out at night for three months after the “festivities.” I bought him an anti-anxiety wrap, and it helped a bit when he heard construction, but not when fireworks went off in our neighborhood. I could give him medication, but I prefer to go the natural route.

With July 4th approaching, I was already feeling bad for Louie. I looked up calming treats, drops, sprays…anything to use in conjunction with his wrap. I also planned to play music at full blast, in hopes that it would drown out the loud bangs. Thankfully, PetMate approached us and asked if we would like to try their new Calmz Vest.The Calmz Anxiety Relief System is a non-invasive option for dogs that suffer from a multitude of anxiety issues. The system has two parts: a comfortable, adjustable vest, and the Calmz unit that delivers a “soothing blend of classical music and tonal therapy vibrations.” The unit sits in a pocket of the harness, placed on the back of your dog. The vibrations target specific accupressure points on your dog’s spine. There are eight pre-programmed settings – you can adjust the intensity of the vibration, the intensity of the music, and the duration of each.

You can’t just place the vest and unit on your dog and expect his or her fears to dissipate. You have to properly acclimate your pup to it. Louie has no problem wearing a vest/harness (or any type of clothing I put on him for a photo op), so I knew he would be fine with the vest. If your dog is not used to a vest, introduce that first, and let him/her get used to wearing it without the Calmz unit in the pocket.

Once your dog is used to the vest, you want to introduce the unit itself. I turned the unit on and placed it next to Louie’s face. He scooted back a bit, but then got curious. The vibrations and music didn’t seem to bother him after a few minutes, and I ended up placing it on the floor, next to his face, while he was laying down. Next, I put the Calmz unit in the back of the vest, put it on Louie, and turned it on. He wriggled a bit, no doubt wondering what was moving around on his back and where the music was coming from. It didn’t scare him, though, so we kept it on for a little while.

There’s always construction going on somewhere in our neighborhood, and Louie can hear it loud and clear when he’s in the backyard.  He usually will run outside to do his business and then hightail it back inside. With the vest, he stayed out a little longer, then a little longer, then a little longer…and as of yesterday, he was relaxing. No shaking. No urgency to go indoors. All while loud bangs were happening around him. Success!

Fireworks have been randomly going off all week leading up to July 4th. My window was open, so of course, Louie heard them. He started shaking. I quickly grabbed the Calmz vest and put it on him. Still shaking…but not as much. It still took him time to calm down, but he seemed to relax quicker with the vest on. Our next real test will be on July 4th with the non-stop fireworks and trying to get him outside to do his business.

So far, I think the Calmz vest has definitely helped relieve some of Louie’s anxiety. Will he ever be fully “cured”? I doubt it, as his PTSD from his previous life runs too deep. But we are thankful that we’ve finally found something that truly helps.

*UPDATED 7.16.17* Louie’s July 4th wasn’t nearly as scary as last year.  He still was very hesitant about going outside that night (and even during the day, as fireworks started early), but after leaving the vest on him for a while, he managed to muster up enough courage to run out, do his business, and come back in. He was still scared to go out at night for a couple weeks after the holiday, but thanks to the Calmz vest, I didn’t have to carry him outside to do his thing.

To learn more about or purchase the Calmz Vest, check out their website

Follow rescued Louie on Instagram @lucky.lovable.louie and Facebook /louierescued

This post is being written on behalf of PetMate/Calmz Vest.  I have received this product to help share information about PetMate/Calmz Vest. Positively Woof only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers.PetMate/Calmz Vest is not responsible for the content of this article.





Getting ready to deal with 💥fireworks by getting acclimated to my new Calmz Vest from @calmzpet /@petmatepetproducts! I get super stressed and run away when I hear ANY loud noise (I freeze when I hear a car door close while on a walk), so 4th of July is particularly hard. Last year, I refused to go out at night for three months after everyone’s “festivities.” The vest keeps you calm by delivering a soothing blend of classical music and tonal therapy vibrations…and I enjoy it! Heard some loud bangs while practicing with it on earlier today and didn’t flinch! I can already hear fireworks 💥 at night so we will see how I do tonight! 💪🏽 🐼Follow My Mates!🐼 @rescuedstaffyjerry🍀@pris_and_jack🍀@theadventuresoflillythepitbull🍀@love.from.effie🍀@goudathepibble🍀 @beaubeethedog🍀 @obiwan_pitbull_jedi🍀@jerseygirlthepitx🍀@patrickthesurvivor🍀@prettypittiedaisy🍀@just_jack_the_pibble🍀@lola_moe5713🍀@roxy_and_dre🍀@olaf_shax🍀@rue_and_apollo🍀@porscha_theblueberrystaffy🍀@adventures_of_flow🍀@rosietherescuemutt🍀 @otis_veganfed_adoptedminpinmix🍀🍀🍀@rubieslife🍀

A post shared by 🍀 Louie (aka Big Lou) 🍀 (@lucky.lovable.louie) on

Got stung by a bee 🐝 earlier tonight and this guy won’t let me hear the end of it. 🙄Got me right on my inner lip. Ma quickly found the stinger, removed it, and gave me some medication in case I had a reaction. Also emailed my vet cause she crazy like that. Been about 4 hours and nothing to report besides🖕🏽🐝! 🐼Follow My Mates!🐼 @rescuedstaffyjerry🍀@pris_and_jack🍀@theadventuresoflillythepitbull🍀@love.from.effie🍀@goudathepibble🍀 @beaubeethedog🍀 @obiwan_pitbull_jedi🍀@jerseygirlthepitx🍀@patrickthesurvivor🍀@prettypittiedaisy🍀@just_jack_the_pibble🍀@lola_moe5713🍀@roxy_and_dre🍀@olaf_shax🍀@rue_and_apollo🍀@porscha_theblueberrystaffy🍀@adventures_of_flow🍀@rosietherescuemutt🍀 @otis_veganfed_adoptedminpinmix🍀🍀🍀@rubieslife🍀

A post shared by 🍀 Louie (aka Big Lou) 🍀 (@lucky.lovable.louie) on

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Larry Kay is the award-winning coauthor of Training the Best Dog Ever, which became a #1 best seller in dog training on Amazon Kindle. He is Leader of the Pack at Positively Woof, which helps shelter dogs get adopted by making videos and raises awareness and funds. Larry is an award-winning dog filmmaker and has been a frequent contributor to the American Animal Hospital Association and Dog Fancy magazine.
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