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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2004
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    Default Hypothyroid and aggression in dogs?

    My sister's Corgi developed a big aggressiveness problem against the senior but very alpha Golden Retriever. His vet tested him for hypothyroidism on account of how it apparently contributes to aggression; lo and behold, Darn Corg is hypothyroid. Treatment of the hypothyroidism has reduced the aggression absolutely not at all (but has done wonders for his figure) and even when muzzled, D.C. persists in going after the Golden and trying to rip his ear off. Serious behavior modification training is in place but, being a Corgi, D.C. is resisting. I think the problem is not the thyroid but the fact that D.C. is making a bid for alpha dog position, but nobody asked me.

    Has anyone experienced this in their dogs? If treating the thyroid helped reduce the aggression, how long did it take? What training measures did you use?

    D.C. was bred by a family friend and I know all of his relatives, who are quiet, sweet, loving, friendly family dogs who are great with other dogs. I'm just wondering what can be done to get D.C. back to that sweet dog he used to be- he is still great with people and submissive dogs, but not good with the one alpha dog.
    "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep."
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 22, 2008
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    NC
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    1,580

    Default

    Get the Golden checked out. Dogs can often sense illness or cancers in us and other dogs, and will often begin attacking to "eliminate" the weak link. As much as we like to consider them domesticated they do still have strong pack natures, and they know a weak link puts the whole pack at risk.

    Hypothyroidism can certainly make dogs(and people!) cranky and more prone to depression, so it does make sense that treating it can help. However do not expect that solely to resolve the problem. You didn't say how long the behavior modification has been going on, but it takes at least 4 weeks of intense work to see a major difference, and it often will get worse before it gets better.

    Oh, and finally, dogs don't really care if they are 2nd or 4th in the pack order, so as long as a person is recogonized by all as alpha you should be able to avoid most dominance issues.

    Katherine
    Vet Tech



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2008
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    4,389

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Renn/aissance View Post
    My sister's Corgi developed a big aggressiveness problem against the senior but very alpha Golden Retriever. His vet tested him for hypothyroidism on account of how it apparently contributes to aggression; lo and behold, Darn Corg is hypothyroid. Treatment of the hypothyroidism has reduced the aggression absolutely not at all (but has done wonders for his figure) and even when muzzled, D.C. persists in going after the Golden and trying to rip his ear off.
    how long has the aggression manifested? How long have the meds been used?


    Serious behavior modification training is in place but, being a Corgi, D.C. is resisting.
    what exactly are they doing in terms of modification?

    I think the problem is not the thyroid but the fact that D.C. is making a bid for alpha dog position, but nobody asked me.
    probably not. DC is probably protecting himself. He's smaller, has shorter legs and the Golden has already proven he will discipline the corgi.

    Has anyone experienced this in their dogs? If treating the thyroid helped reduce the aggression, how long did it take? What training measures did you use?
    the hypothyroid, no. The aggression, yes.

    D.C. was bred by a family friend and I know all of his relatives, who are quiet, sweet, loving, friendly family dogs who are great with other dogs. I'm just wondering what can be done to get D.C. back to that sweet dog he used to be- he is still great with people and submissive dogs, but not good with the one alpha dog.
    protect him from the Golden and don't allow the Golden to continue to practice poor behavior.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
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    South Carolina
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    4,833

    Default

    Maybe I'm misreading your post, but it sounds like the corgi is fine with people and all other dogs - he just hates the golden?

    Not to be glib, but - well, I think I'd just separate the corgi and the golden.

    But to answer your question, yes, I have known of many hypothyroid dogs with temperament problems. They did getter better with treatment, although they also needed calm, firm, consistent handling to help correct the behavior. By that I mean - no crazy rolling around or poking or choking or hissing - when the dog acts like a jerk, the only reaction s/he gets is a calm escort to her/his crate for a time out.

    Oh, and of course spaying/neutering is also a great help, if that hasn't been done.

    But the dogs I've known who were aggressive because of thyroid problems were pretty much hateful to everyone. That's why I wonder if maybe it's just a personality thing with the golden at this point.
    Analytical thinking is the first casualty when opposing sides polarize, and that shows lack of common sense on both sides.
    Denny Emerson



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