Pet Lover Geek

From The Vault: Pet Anxiety (Putting Your Pet at Ease)

June 29, 2021 Lorien Clemens Season 6 Episode 11
Pet Lover Geek
From The Vault: Pet Anxiety (Putting Your Pet at Ease)
Show Notes Transcript

Join us today for Pet Lover Geek's From The Vault series. We are bringing back previous episodes so that you, our listeners, can hear Lorien's interviews with experts from all over the pet industry. Today’s From The Vault is centered on pet anxiety! 

Our furkids love being around us and hate to see us go. Some even get so stressed out that they will pee on the carpet, chew up furniture, or excessively bark. However, separation anxiety isn’t the only form of anxiety pets face. On today’s show, we will examine pet products and treatments that can put your dog at ease in situations they feel stressed in.

Thanks for listening! Check out our sponsor, PetHub for more great pet parent resources.

Have an idea for a PetLoverGeek episode or have something else you want to share? Drop us a note to

00:00 Music

00:03 Lorien Clemens

Hey pet lovers. Welcome to Pet Lover Geek powered by PetHub. I'm Lorien Clemens and today's episode is from the vault. Today's from the vault episode is from season three and it's focused on pet anxiety. Now this topic is near and dear to us here at PetHub, not only because several of our own family "fur" kids suffer from various forms of pet anxiety, but also because helping your pet stay calm is such an important aspect of lost pet prevention. So stick around, and after this short break, we're going to hear from some industry experts that are going to share helpful solutions to your pets anxiety issues so that they can feel safe and happy. Stick around. 

00:46 Music

01:02 Lorien Clemens

Today's topic is pet anxiety. This is a really big one here in our house. We have two dogs that have two different types of anxiety issues. One has a separation anxiety issue, another one has an issue with loud sounds. In fact, separation anxiety issues like what Penny has is one of the most common canine behavior problems and it's estimated that 15 to 35% of dogs actually have some type of separation anxiety and other dogs have phobias developed around sounds, loud sounds, like Uller does. Certain types of people and a lot of other things, and cats too, can develop fears and anxieties, and frankly an anxious or stressed pet can lead to health issues, behavior issues, not to mention it's just not fun to be suffering from anxiety, so it's not good for their overall well being. But here's the good news. Innovators in the pet industry have taken on the issue of anxiety in pets and have come up with some really cool solutions, and I've been able to meet a lot of these folks that have done these inventions - and at places like Global Pet Expo. So we're going to explore some of those that I've discovered recently today. Up first, we're going to dig into the power of treating sound, treating anxiety with sound. So I've invited renowned sound behaviorist and researcher Janet Marlow onto the show today to talk with us about her company, pet acoustics and some of the innovations she's helped create for companion animal anxiety. Welcome to Pet Lover geek, Janet. 

02:32 Janet Marlow

Thank you so much Lorien, I'm so glad we're able to continue our conversation that we started at Global Pet Expo on these very important issues. 20 years ago, my cat Osborne, and I've had dogs and cats and birds and turtles and you name it all through my life and as a recording artist. All of my pets would always come to my side when I composed -- my particular cat Osborne we had loved with all our hearts and was 15 was injured, I took him to the veterinarian and for five days I knew how much he loved music. So I went to sing to him five days in a row. Unfortunately he passed away and I was so intrigued with the fact that the environment at the veterinarian hospital was just, you know, phones ringing and you know doors slamming, people talking and the ICU, that I thought my goodness why isn't there music available for these animals? To put them in a better state of calm, and so I spent three years researching out the data of -- I mean there are universities, they just spend all their time evaluating the decibel level of the hearing ranges of dogs, cats, horses, chickens, you know, of course we know the whale and dolphin areas have been highly researched and so I took all of this information and I came to a moment of clarity why animals -- why music is so important for animals because of the presence, frequency, tone and volume, which is what they use to survive in the wild, they need their hearing. Dogs hear twice as much as we do -- cats hear three times as much as we do. Our top hearing range is 20,000 Hertz. If you're superhuman here, 20,000 Hertz, and cats hear 150,000 Hertz, so you know we are really low on the spectrum of sound and how it affects our behavior according to how we hear. So as a pet parent when you're in your home and you see your dog run to the window as they do, and they're barking and they have, you know some response to what's going on outside. We don't see it and you don't hear it, so we really see this amazing characteristic of our dogs and our cats. 

04:58 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, my husband and I joke that the dogs hear the squirrel sneeze and they're barking at that.

05:05 Janet Marlow

Yeah, well, you know the game of cat and mouse. 

05:08 Lorien Clemens


05:09 Janet Marlow

When you see your cat sitting quietly on the ground and you think they're just having a nice little gazing rest, they're hearing the moles and the mice in the ground. And they're following it. Fortunately, the mice have the same hearing level as a cat.

05:26 Lorien Clemens

it's an evenly matched battle. So you and I talked about at global a little bit and I'd like for you to share with the listeners here. The pet acoustics products that you've created. They're all based on species-specific sound profiles, and you kind of alluded to that about different pet hearing sensitivity. So what's that research? 'cause you have different products for each species, correct?

05:54 Janet Marlow

Yes, I focused for the last 20 years on dogs, cats, horses and birds because those are the animals that we are the most intimate with our interchange in life. You know, people bring birds into their home and they become very dependent on their owners and then the owners leave for 8 hours and they start plucking their feathers. They get neurotic, and they're the most musical of all species, and so I've created music for birds. So that they will have the companionship of nature, sounds, music and other bird sounds so that they can have a conversation throughout the day. 

06:33 Lorien Clemens

I love it.

06:34 Janet Marlow

Horses are the most rhythmic of all of those four, and the music that I've composed for them are in the register that is compatible with horse hearing. Horses and humans have the most closely related hearing ranges of all mammals on the planet, which I find fascinating, and so the horses music is very rhythmic. So it's very strong and 2434 and 4 four times, these would be the trot and the gallop and the run that they experience. And you can see horses which makes the music in a stall. For example, if they're recuperating from both surgery or they're just there or there's thunder storms and they would, you know where there's a fly full and you know next to them. All of these experiences, they're highly sensitive and this gives them an opportunity to relax their muscles greater because you know some people say oh my dog is just, you know he sleeps all day. Well I just gave a pet tunes which is a Bluetooth speaker preloaded with this species specific music for this woman who has a dog who she was going to use to travel. But she started playing the music for her dog at home, and she called me up and she said I had no idea but my dog used to react to me when I came home. Jumping up like crazy and was excited to see me, but then I realized that the pet tunes he was the same way, but he was a little bit calmer and so she realized, he had separation anxiety, and she didn't even know it.

08:08 Lorien Clemens

Didn't even know it. Yeah, and especially I mean clearly it's something you're not, unless your people are telling you wow when you're not around, your dog is a freak. You don't necessarily know. I mean that it is even going on. So let's talk. You mentioned the pet tunes piece so, so that's the primary product from pet acoustics so you mentioned that a bit. Tell us a little bit more about that and how that works.

08:31 Janet Marlow

Well I wanted to create a product that had the music that was very simple for the pet owner to use something they could just turn on. The music goes on and they can leave it on. You know 8 to 10 hours wirelessly or they can play 24/7 in a USB world charge. It's also so small that you can take it from the home to the car to the veterinarian, to the groomers. Our dogs and cats have so many lifestyles that we want them to be -- you know, you're going to your mother in laws and you want to have you know your music there for the dog because the dogs are so sensitive that they -- you know, environmental experience is what their depending their survival on, so they're continuing that wild survival instinct everywhere they go.

09:27 Lorien Clemens

Now let me ask you, is this something that you just turn it on and it's like your pets immediately chill. Or is it more to that? More than that?

09:35 Janet Marlow

I've had dogs curl up within 30 seconds to 2 minutes, 5 minutes tops. They get it because they're not -- what I do is the music is that I positioned the frequency content to be in their comfort range, so it's not like it's classical music and a lot of people put on classical music because we think classical music is boring, so they think it's calming.

10:01 Lorien Clemens


10:02 Janet Marlow

But that's not the case. Radio is even though there's some wonderful programs on radio, but if you're using it as a common therapy for your dog or cats, commercials, volume changes, the shots of volume. These can be very agitating. TV is usually placed, you know, five to six feet above an animal. You know our pets live two to three feet off the ground.

10:26 Lorien Clemens

Right. Yeah.

10:28 Janet Marlow

And so with Pet Tunes speaker you can put it right near, them right near their bed.

10:33 Lorien Clemens

Or even in their beds. You guys have a special bed right? That it can be incorporated into the bed, right?

10:38 Janet Marlow

Yes we have the safe and sound series which is something near and dear to my heart. We just launched that, this is my baby, and it's a sound absorbing material so it minimizes vibration 90% and frequencies 90% so when your dog or cat goes into this bed. They're not feeling all the floor vibrations, and which can be agitating and create motion and scared.

11:07 Lorien Clemens

Yeah and the Pet Tunes goes right in it.

11:09 Janet Marlow

And the Pet Tunes goes right in it and basically it's nirvana for an animal.

11:14 Lorien Clemens

I love it.

11:15 Janet Marlow

Most people ask me can I make them one.

11:18 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, I was actually just thinking that you know at our house, every little step in the middle of the night, we always hear it. I want one of those for my bed. So tell us -- there's a couple other -- we only have like another minute, but there's another product that's really great product that you have for cats that dampens sounds for them.

11:34 Janet Marlow

You're talking about the the crate liner?

11:37 Lorien Clemens

Yeah the crate liner.

11:39 Janet Marlow

Yeah, this is all part of the safe and sound series for cats and small dogs, but the tunnel is also makes some military grade sound absorbing material that minimizes vibration and frequency and so you can be in a room with you know 20 people enjoying a football game, and your cat can be right in this tunnel and not hear all that noise which is, you know a lot of cats have noise phobias, and they do here three times more than we do. The crate liner is to you know how cats don't like going in the crate, and then they're fearful of the travel 'cause they experienced motion sickness. It minimizes motion sickness, and my cats used to, you know, have a big mess by the time they reached the veterinarian. I have people testing this for three months now and there are no messes back and forth from the car when the cat is in it.

12:36 Lorien Clemens

That's great. Oh, so sorry, we're running out of time I want to make sure they know where to get the pet acoustic products. 

12:44 Janet Marlow

Ok, well we are at Very easy.

12:50 Lorien Clemens

Fantastic. Thank you so much for being on the show today Janet. Really excited about the stuff that you are offering out there.

12:56 Janet Marlow

Thank you for the opportunity to share.

12:59 Lorien Clemens

Absolutely and stick around folks because up next we're going to chat about aromatherapy, and also about preventing reactive behaviors. Things like biting and that type of thing. So hang tight. We've got a lot more to talk about with pet anxiety on Pet Lover Geek.

13:13 Music

13:52 Lorien Clemens

And next on the show is a product that I first discovered at this year's Global Pet Expo. It's called Calm Paws, and I've asked Colin Brody, the vice president of marketing from 21st Century Health Animal Health Care to join me today and talk about Calm Paws and how it works. Welcome to Pet Lover Geek Colin. 

14:10 Colin Brody

Thank you, it's very nice to be here.

14:13 Lorien Clemens

Excited to have you. I really love the product when I saw it at the show. In fact it was one of the products that was mentioned by several of the folks that I interviewed after the show as what they thought was the standout product. So good for you guys on that, before we get into the many faces of Calm Paws, I wanted to chat a little bit about the science behind it. This new line of products is based on aroma therapy. Can you talk a little bit about the essential oils and aromatherapy that you guys are using and how they actually work? 

14:43 Colin Brody

Well, of course I'd love to talk about that. Basically, as everybody knows, essential oils are a big booming right now, you look at anything for your own use, you'll buy an essential oil for putting in your bath water to help you calm, help you relax at home. You'll use essential oils actually in household cleaning, it's a big emerging market right now and it's very much moving into health and wellness, and people are very interested in what essential oils actually can do for them and how they work and how they can help relax and generally make life an improvement for themselves, and now we're obviously looking at how to bring that and use the same things in working with pets.

15:27 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, and you did quite a bit of testing right?

15:31 Colin Brody

Yes we did quite a bit of testing, basically it took a long while to actually refine and get to the real pure essential oils that we want to work with. It is quite important to actually source from the right place in the world and to make sure you're getting the purest quality. That way you don't have any mis-reactions with the pets and you actually get the response that you want, the common response in this case. So we did a lot of time and effort in actually isolating the particular oils that we wanted. And for example, the lavender oil that we use in some of the oils that is actually sourced from the lavender fields in France. So unfortunately I didn't get to go there, but it's nice place to get the oil crop.

16:15 Lorien Clemens

That's great, and tell me about, so the actual testing products and process that you did and those outcomes tell me about that. What did your test show? What's your research show?

16:26 Colin Brody

So basically, I mean we obviously put the essential oils into delivery mechanisms, and put them around the pets, and just to give you some examples of some of the behaviors we saw, for example, excitement of a doorbell ring, we saw a 45% reduction in the pet being really excited when that doorbell rang. It wasn't bothered by that. Excitement of arrival by mail. You got about a 65% reduction in the dog barking and being excited about that fear of sudden noises. We had a 40% reduction when we had the product there. One of the most amazing things was outside of the home, fear of approaching strange people. We had 100% reduction in that behavior,

17:07 Lorien Clemens


17:08 Colin Brody

so, amazing changes that we saw with the pets. Just with having these essential oils around them.

17:14 Lorien Clemens

Wow, okay, that just made me really excited because my dog Penny is known as the Boston Terror because she freaks out when people come near that she doesn't know. So okay, that's really exciting for me. So let's actually get into the product line because that's really exciting research that you guys found for success of these essential oils. So let's talk about first the post surgery care product and how that part works. 

17:39 Colin Brody

Right, so one of the things that we identified was that one of the most stressful times for a pet is actually when it's gone and had surgery, and then you put the surgical collar around its head, and we wanted to bring something that would help make that experience not as frightening for the pet, and we developed a couple of different applications for use with different types of surgical collars. So for a regular, just plastic E collar, we have a gel patch which you actually can attach to the E collar. In that gel patch releases the essential oils over a period of a couple of weeks. For inflatable E collar we actually have a little disk that you can actually attached to the strap that straps around an inflatable and again that delivers the same blend of essential oils which helps calm the pad, and then we have a really exciting collar which actually is a fear-free certified and that collar is a soft collar. It has a little pouch that you can insert the gel patch into it. And it again it's a very nice mechanism for delivering the essential oils. So the three essential oil products we have, are a gel patch, a disk, and then there's just a regular collar that you can put on for everyday use.

18:56 Lorien Clemens

Now I have to tell you, and if you could, I want you to talk a little bit more about the E collar that you guys developed because -- and it's hard 'cause we're on radio so people can't see it -- although they can go online after the show and look at it. But I love the design of how you made it fold so it's for easy opening, can you tell me a little bit about how you guys came up with that design?

19:17 Colin Brody

Well yes, I mean one of the issues that it's always stressful putting the collar on and off, and I'm sure many of your listeners have had the situation where they've taken it off and try and get it back on the dogs head. It's never going to happen. 

19:33 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, no.

19:34 Colin Brody

There's not going to let you do that. So basically we developed with our partners this aperture that you can basically peel back two flaps basically, and that then allows the pets head to drop down so it can actually feed while it's still wearing the collar. So it's... basically think about a normal color that you would wear yourself and you've got it up and then when you turn it down you turn back the edges and it opens up and you're actually free to then get your neck out.

20:08 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, I thought that was just great 'cause that's actually one of the things that we make fun of our dog when she has on the collar, the E-collar, and and how she eats and she scoots around the bowl on the floor with her collar and I thought gosh that's going to be so good. If she ever has to have that happen again, and that gel patch that you mentioned before that can be used on the plasticky collars that also can be used in crates yes?

20:29 Colin Brody

Yes, yeah the gel patch can pretty much go anywhere. We actually have a separate little product which is of gel patch protector. That basically allows you to slide the gel patch into this little pouch that's in Velcro double sided that you can attach to any surface. So basically traveling in the car or traveling in the crate you can take the gel patch with you, attach it there, and you're creating this calming environment for the pet traveling.

20:58 Lorien Clemens

And tell me a little bit too about -- because I know that a lot of dogs especially, but even some cats are pretty curious and will go after anything that's new and smelly. So what about if critters get into it and try to eat it? What is the safety on that?

21:16 Colin Brody

So a couple of things we did, one we actually incorporated a bittering agent into the actual gel patch itself to to help deter pets from consuming the product. But if they did eat it, it's not going to be a problem, it is fully consumable and it will pass right through the pet. Obviously we don't want that to happen, but it's not going to cause a problem with the pet. But basically the number of things we've done when using with the actual plastic E-collar. The actual locking mechanism of the little plastic flap is quite secure, so that should prevent the pet from getting into it, and for the same with the soft collar, again, you've got a very strong Velcro pouch that's sewn into the collar, so that should again prevent them actually getting into it. We know it can't completely stop it, but hopefully we prevent it as much as possible. 

22:09 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, there are some dogs that are going to get into something no matter what you do. Now the calming discs and the collars that have the essential oils infused into it. They can be used at anytime. They're not just for post surgical care.

22:22 Colin Brody

Correct, you can use them anytime. One of the questions that we had people coming to us with was, you know, I've got a regular collar on. I've got flea collar on, you want me to put a calming collar on and that's where the disc came from. It's like, okay, we heard you, you can just put a little disk on your regular collar and then you're not having like three or four different collars around your poor pets neck. A little fun feature with the disk. It actually glows in the dark so the kids could chase the cat or dog around the house at night and see this little glowing patch. 

22:55 Lorien Clemens

Awesome, and there are a couple of different types of the discs too aren't there? Are different flavors as you were?

23:02 Colin Brody

Yes, there are two different formulas, one for dogs and one for cats. Obviously the same product doesn't work on each, so I wouldn't suggest putting a dog disc on a cat, but the two products work specifically by species, so two different formulas there.

23:22 Lorien Clemens

And tell me what's next, what's new on the horizon for 21st Century Animal health Care? I know you guys are big innovators, so are there any little hints that you can give us about some of your next innovations?

23:33 Colin Brody

So yes, I mean we're definitely looking at ways to extend the usefulness of essential oils and find other ways to bring them into the home environment. So the likes of see a diffuser is obviously on our horizon as something that we would be looking to do. And then of course the benefit of that, is it smells very nice to the people at home as well. We're looking at some other sort of paw applications for like softening the pets feet using the essential oils, and giving calming, and there are some other ideas out there. But definitely looking to extend that use of the essential oils and getting it out to help with the pets. 

24:09 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, I can't, I mean again I know we're on radio so people, but when I went into the booth I smelled them. They are lovely, and there are some of the things that are out there that I'm like ew I don't like them, but these were really nice and really great and so I would really highly encourage people to look into them. So to that end, tell us where people can get Calm Paws products.

24:29 Colin Brody

So Calm Paws products are just moving out into distribution. You'll find them in the major pet retailers though, like PetSmart and Petco. They will be in both of those retailers, and then we'll be moving out into the independent pet stores within the next couple months. 

24:44 Lorien Clemens

Fantastic, thank you so much Colin for joining us today. Really appreciate it. 

24:48 Colin Brody

Well I really appreciate you for taking the time and letting me talk about our wonderful products.

24:53 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, it's so important because one of the biggest things that we hear about is anxiety and I certainly have a very anxious dog who has difficulties when I'm not around particularly, so products like yours are really making me excited for what's on the future. Stick around pet lovers. We've got some more exciting innovations to dig into when we come back.

25:12 Music

25:57 Lorien Clemens

And the next innovation that we're going to talk about is actually one we've talked about before on the show back with Kristen Levine a few months ago. I don't know if you remember when we were talking about cool innovations for pet health towards the end of last year, and we talked about the Calmz anxiety release system for your pets, and we actually have one that we're going to be starting to use with our own dog Ullr who has issues with big booming sounds. Particularly during avalanche control season, so we're going to be working with him, and this summer to prep him for the winter, so that he's not so stressed. But I'm really excited today we're going to dig into a little bit more and just kind of set the tone. You've probably heard of things like the Thunder shirt, you know those vests that use pressure and compression and everything. Well, this is the Calmz system takes that so much further, and I'm really excited to get to talk to them about it today. So I have on the line, Courtney Landry. She's the director of hard goods division at Petmate. Who is the one who distributes Calmz anxiety relief system for your pets. So welcome to the show Courtney. 

27:00 Courtney Landry

Hi, thank you. 

27:02 Lorien Clemens

Now we've been talking over the show about all the different reasons that pets might have anxiety. I just mentioned loud noises, like what we have an issue with Ullr during avalanche season, post surgery, we talked with aromatherapy about that, and and just general separation anxiety with pet parents, but what are the kinds of situations that can trigger fear or stress, or anxiety, particularly in dogs?

27:25 Courtney Landry

Aside from the things you've already mentioned, traveling can be a high stress situation, so even just riding in the car to the vets office, or if you're taking your dog on a road trip, that can be high stress situation, and strangers too can really be a stressor. So if it's the holiday time and you don't typically have a lot of company, and then you have the whole family come, that can definitely be a stressful situation for the for your dogs.

27:50 Lorien Clemens

Totally. Actually, you know our other dog Penny has stranger danger, anxiety for sure. So when I'm -- and when I know my dog, and I see you know what he or she depending on which one it is is stressed out. But in general, what kinds of symptoms, body language, things should parents be looking for that says oh my dog stressed because not all of them are things that you would que in on right away of oh, my dog is in stress.

28:17 Courtney Landry

Yeah, there you know there's lots of signs out there that maybe you don't associate with with stress and anxiety. The ones that you do associate like heavy panting or if they're barking a lot and they're digging. But some of the other ones that people aren't quite as familiar with is if your dog is licking their lips a lot, or if their ears are pinned back, you know hiding and cowering is definitely a symptom that something is going on, and then one of the stranger ones is dilated pupils. If you could actually get that close to your dog, but you can see it when they have really dilated pupils. That is a telltale sign that they have anxiety.

28:53 Lorien Clemens

Wow, yeah, cool well and both of our dogs are more of the little bit of shaking coming in, leaning up towards us, that type of thing. Pretty obvious, but the licking of the lips I never even thought about. Okay, good, that's really good to know. So let's then turn to the Calmz pet anxiety relief system. So it's new. It just came out last year, right?

29:16 Courtney Landry

It did! So, what it is, It basically combines high tech innovation with acupressure in a drug free treatment that helps to soothe the anxiety. It's a two part system that is consisting of a comfort vest that fits on the dog. Kind of like a walking harness, but it's designed a little differently in the Calmz device, and the vest itself cradles the device over very specific acupressure points on the dog spine, and so when the device is turned on, what's inside of it is what we called Neuro Sync technology. What they're hearing, though actually hear at therapeutic medley of classical music that has an overlaid tone on top of that, and while that's all happening their also feeling a soothing vibration. So it's anxiety relief that they can both feel and they can hear at the same time.

30:04 Lorien Clemens

Cool, so that actually combines a little bit of what we talked about in our first segment with how music in different tones can calm them down, but then it's also got the acupressure thing, which I think is really great. So I mentioned earlier that we're getting ready to work on this with Ullr, he's our bigger dog who gets terrified during avalanche season when they start lighting off the bombs. 'cause we're at the base of the ski mountain, so, but he also doesn't like having things on him, so we're going to be working up to this and, you know, helping him get used to the vest and everything like that. So how is it that the vest actually works as far as relieving that dog stress?

30:42 Courtney Landry

So the vest itself isn't the part that's relieving the anxiety and the stress. It's the device that the vest is cradling over the acupressure points, but I do want to say what you're talking about, what you're going to lead up to this summer is absolutely perfect because for a dog that's not used to wearing like a normal dog harness, some of the stressors were already stressed out and they haven't been acclimated to a vest or a harness that you're absolutely doing the right thing by acclimating them to the vest first, and it's a very gradual situation. In training using positive reinforcement and all of the tips and tricks that everybody has for regular training before you even get to the device. 

31:22 Courtney Landry

Yeah, we thought that was really key because we actually put it on him back in -- we first got the device and we put it on him. Literally the morning before we knew that there was going to be some bombs going off, and it made him freak out. Just having the vest on we thought okay, wait a minute, we're making this worse. We know that this system is going to be potentially really great thing for him, but we need to lead up to this so he could be calm about it. So what are some of those features that we're going to see when we're using this system on Ullr? 

31:54 Courtney Landry

So the way that the device is set up, there's eight different programs and that allows you to vary the intensity of vibrations. So there's a low and a high vibration intensity. I don't know what breed dog you have, but if you have a little thicker breed dog like thicker fur, more of a woolly coated animal, they're very likely going to need a higher intensity, smaller dogs or ones that have shorter hair can usually just used a lower vibration intensity. The device also has different durations of activation. 6 minutes and 18 minute activations. Then we also have repeat mode. So if you're going to be gone for an extended period of time, and you know there is a situation that could potentially cause him anxiety, you can actually set it so that it's taken care of while you're not at home. 

32:39 Lorien Clemens

That's really cool. Now do you guys have like research that's showing how effective it is, how well its worked?

32:44 Courtney Landry

We do. Yeah, so we have been since last year actually, when it very first came out we have been testing with leading veterinarians and veterinary behaviorists, and getting with their clients in testing it with them with really significant success. Overall, this system from the client rating, so the actual pet parent gave it an 86% favorable rating, and the veterinarians and vet behaviorists gave it a 91% recommendation rating for their patients, and what's really interesting is, you know, the really high anxiety dogs that are out there. They may be on prescription medication from the vet today, and what we're finding is if you marry the Calmz system with the medication over a period of time, some dogs, not all, but some dogs have been able to lower the amount of dependency that they have on their prescription drugs as they start to get more calm and more, just more settled into the routine with the Calmz system.

33:43 Lorien Clemens

Have you found that there are any situations where maybe Calmz isn't the best choice?

33:48 Courtney Landry

You know if you have, it's interesting, some people will equate aggression or boredom in dogs and say that it's stress or anxiety. You know this product is really meant more for thunderstorm noises. I call them situational anxiety events, so it's not so much separation anxiety. It's more situational. So when things are happening that cause anxiety, this is a perfect solution for that.

34:17 Lorien Clemens

Right. Got it, so if you've got something like separation anxiety and things like that, that's going to be like more long term training situations,

34:26 Courtney Landry


34:27 Lorien Clemens

and it's a different type of approach. One other questions I forgot to ask before we tell us where you can get it. It says release system for pets, but is it just dogs or is there also a part of it that's for cats.

34:41 Courtney Landry

It is just for dogs. Yeah, I make the joke I would not want to be the tester that tested a vest on a cat.

34:52 Lorien Clemens

Well and I know that they have the the Thunder shirt which is not the exact same thing, but I think people see vests and they're like, oh that's like the Thunder shirt, which this absolutely isn't, but I know that they have those for cats too and so I wanted to make sure that people understood this is really just for dogs. So where can they find it?

35:08 Courtney Landry

It is. So right now it's available at, and it's CALMZ, as in Zebra and we're going to be launching here in the next couple of weeks on both and And then later this year in 2017 it'll be available at pet specialty retailers nationwide.

35:27 Lorien Clemens

Fantastic. One other thing I want to ask, 'cause this was actually a big deal for us. We weren't sure about fit and how we should -- because it's so it seems like with those acupressure points being like the key to how this works, how do you make sure that the fits going to be good for your dog?

35:42 Courtney Landry

So the way that it's measured is it's actually the girth of the dogs chest, so it's a little bit right behind like the shoulder area. The front shoulder area, and it's measured from top to bottom, like from between their shoulders down to their chest area, and so what we found is, you know the vest is cradled over the key acupressure points, but the vibration because of the way that the vest and the device work together, you can feel the vibration throughout. Normally the entire vest. So even if it's a little bit loose or you know you're walking your dogs and you got him on a collar and he's got the vest on, even if it comes a little bit out of place, you're still going to be getting the effects 'cause they can feel the vibration throughout their entire, you know, upper body.

36:29 Lorien Clemens

Awesome, well I'm looking forward to trying this with Ullr now that ski season and avalanche season is over, we're able to start getting him training for next season so that next season we can have a calm morning around this house because it's pretty crazy when those bombs are going off, so I'm really excited to try out the Calmz. Thanks so much for coming on the show. 

36:50 Courtney Landry

Thank you so much for having me.

36:53 Lorien Clemens

For our last segment of Pet Lover Geek folks. We are going to talk about how anxiety in pets can actually lead to really, really dangerous behavior... biting, and so our next guest, you'll want to stay tuned so you can listen to her. She's going to talk about the key things that you need to do to identify the stressful situation, to alleviate the stress, and also to prevent it so that biting isn't happening with your family dog. It's really important stuff you don't want to miss it. That's what's coming up next on Pet Lover Geek 

37:24 Music

37:52 Lorien Clemens

Now next up we're going to switch gears just a wee bit, and talk about one of the biggest consequences of having an anxious, scared dog, and that's bites. Dog biting. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the United States, and that's just what's reported. So clearly this is a really big issue, and one that we as pet parents need to take really seriously. The truth is, a lot of dog bites could be prevented, and it comes down to training for that dog, particularly if you know you have an anxious scared dog, and also awareness of what causes dog bites. So to help us dig into this subject I've invited Justine Shermans. She's the founder of a dog training company called The Family Dog, and the company focuses on training for the whole family, not just the dog, which is really important, she's going to talk to us about that. And she also started a really amazing, important campaign called stop the 77, and she's going to tell us why that's really important for dog bite prevention. Welcome to Pet lover gGek Justine. 

38:59 Justine Shermans

Thank you so much Lorien, it's great to be here.

39:01 Lorien Clemens

Okay, so let's start with a little bit of background. Tell us what led you to start your company, The Family Dog. 

39:08 Justine Shermans

Well my business partner and I had been dog trainers for a while at a very reputable school here in the Northeast, and we had children. In fact, our kids were the same age and having a dog with young children in the house turned out to be something very different than having a dog without children in the house. So it soon became very obvious that to us, that parents really needed a whole different type of training than what you might typically get in a dog training school. Dog training schools are awesome for dogs, but they don't really address the needs that families with young children might come might come across, and so we started a local training business and we're going into peoples houses and helping them set up for success really, and making sure that the dog was being trained correctly, and the families were getting all of the support that they needed, and soon we became super busy. Of course, as you can imagine, word gets around school very quickly and we're the only outfit in the area, and so we started an online training program to help families do exactly that. To kind of basically learn all of the additional stuff that they need to know as well as training the dog in training school as well. It's kind of like a complementary medicine.

40:21 Lorien Clemens

Right, and so stop the 77 came out of what you guys were doing with The Family Dog. So tell us about that campaign.

40:29 Justine Shermans

Oh yeah, so in our work with kids -- we ended up working exclusively with families, just not seeing any other clients unless they had young children, and we noticed just in that work. How inappropriately sometimes kids were acting around dogs, and how parents were often there watching it, and there's clearly a massive miscommunication on both sides, and not only were the kids not getting the information that they needed, but the parents weren't getting the information that they needed to keep their kids and their dogs safe, and the name stop the 77 comes from the statistic that 77% of dog bites come from either a family or a friends dog, which we just never imagined, and that just that number made us realize that actually, clearly we're doing something wrong here. You know these aren't crazy rabid dogs that are just running around the streets, mean vicious and ready to bite somebody, but maybe that you know we have some involvement in this process too. So we started a campaign, which really set out to educate families from a place -- I think there's a lot of -- if you look on the Internet you'll see a lot of these pictures of kids may be acting Inappropriately around dogs, videos, photographs and a lot of dog professionals might jump on the bandwagon and kind of really give the parents a hard time saying that they don't really know what they're doing and that's not our opinion, were parents as well as as dog owners, and I think really that needs to come from a sympathetic point of view. The parents love their dog, they love their kids. The kids love the dog like everybody loves each other. It's just that the communication is wrong. So the websites really just set out to change all of that and make everybody understand each other a little bit better.

42:14 Lorien Clemens

Yeah, and it's crucial because 77% of that 4.5 million that's over three million of those bites are happening with dogs that are familiar to the person that's being bitten. So clearly this is like super duper key. So take us through -- 'cause I think there's three steps to the stop the 77, correct?

42:31 Justine Shermans

Yeah, that's right. So the first step really is just trying to lay out the boundaries really for kids, and teach them what we as dog trainers know. That dogs like those videos that are basically, they're mostly music videos that are super fun 'cause we realized very soon in this game that kids won't do anything unless it's fun. So the more fun you make it, the more likely you also had success and get them to repeat the kind of behaviors that you'd like them to be performing. So there's five videos right now -- no four videos sorry on the website and one about how to properly pet a dog, but even that you know, or even that you don't know, that you might meet on the street, and then a preschool and like an elementary school age music video that really teaches the ground rules. You know not to approach a dog when he's eating, not to hug a dog, not to be bossy around a dog, and then the last one is how to kiss a dog, because a lot of the interactions that caused bites usually come from hugging and kissing. Again, this is another miscommunication, the kid wants to show their affection and we love to hug and kiss. That's just what we do. Parents do it to their children. Children do it back to their parents, but dogs don't appreciate this, and sometimes it can seem like a threat. Putting your face right in a dog's face can be really scary, and so these are the ground rules basically on how kids should behave. Teaching the children and teaching the parents, and the great thing about the video is, is that the parents now don't have to nag the kids. They can just be like hey! Time to go back and watch the video again. We got it wrong.

44:06 Lorien Clemens

Right, totally.

44:08 Justine Shermans

Definitely easier than nagging, we spend enough time doing that, and the second part of the equation is the thing that I think is probably missing the most, is not understanding your dog, and we spend a lot of time teaching dogs what we want them to do, and very little time actually listening to what they're trying to tell us, and dogs are talking all the time, and they speak with their bodies, and if we miss out on their body language, we're missing out on vital clues as to how they're feeling. What might make them actually growl or bite in any instance, so a lot of the time you'll hear families say, oh my gosh, he bit out of the blue. It's very rare that that actually happens, there's so many signals that can be given out, and sometimes they given out quite slowly, and on other occasions they're given out really quickly before a bite or a growl happens. So there's a video on here for everybody to watch that kind of goes through all the different body language signals in the face, in the eyes, the ears, the mouth, the overall body posture. As a shortcut, if anyone is interested in knowing, wiggly dogs are good and relaxed, any dog that is stiff or tight is usually not comfortable about something, and so really the goal is to try to have families and even children, it's amazing kids can do this, but have them identify these signals and then help them out if they're struggling with something. If you can see that they don't like being pet over the top of their head, then ask the person not to pet them over the top of their head. If you can see that they don't like the toy car that's being driven into the room with the remote control. Then ask the kid to take that toy car to a different place. If they don't like the hug, and you see them stiffening up, then you know that really you need to have a serious conversation with your kids about how they're interacting with the dog. So I think that's really... the body language one is for me, the most important thing. It can really give you a head start in seeing this stuff way before it happens.

46:14 Lorien Clemens

Definitely, so tell people where they can go to get this all... information from you guys. 

46:21 Justine Shermans

So you have to go to It's very simple, it's all there and you can watch all the videos. There's a little quiz you can take if you're wondering. Hey, am I one of those parents? Am I getting it wrong? Don't feel bad about it. It's all in education, but you can take a little quiz and see how safe your family is. We've got a fantastic poster that you can print out and stick on your fridge or stick in every room in your house. In fact, probably the bathrooms a good place 'cause everybody spends a bit of time in there so. To check out what is safe for a kid to do and what's not safe for the kids to do. 'cause we're big believers as well and there's no point in keep saying no to everything. Kids are really excited to be around dogs, so show them what they can do. 

47:02 Lorien Clemens


47:02 Justine Shermans

Rather than telling them what they can't do all the time. Sorry I didn't mean to interrupt. If you're a dog trainer or a dog professional and you want to take this program into schools, we also have two school programs for preschool and elementary school aged kids, which is amazing. So the more we can educate kids the better I think.

47:22 Lorien Clemens

Fantastic thanks so much Justine, I'm really glad that you came on today.

47:25 Justine Shermans

No problem, thanks for having me.

47:27 Lorien Clemens

And I want to thank all my guests for joining us today for those fabulous, exciting innovations to help alleviate pet anxiety. Good stuff. Make sure to check out the rewind blog on to get links to those products and websites.

47:41 Music