Category Archives: Dog Aggression

Thyroid Dysfunction as a Cause of Aggression

Thyroid Dysfunction as a Cause of Aggression in Dogs and Cats

In human medicine, behavioral and psychological changes associated with thyroid dysfunction were noted in the nineteenth century. The behavioral abnormalities seen in the hyperthyroid cat have been well described in the literature, and mimic closely the restlessness, insomnia and irritability or aggression described in humans with thyrotoxicosis. Approximately 80% of hyperthyroid cats are hyperactive, while 10-25% are reported to be aggressive, Cats, as well as people, may experience the rarer manifestation of apathetic thyrotoxicosis, characterized by lethargy and depression. This is seen in approximately 10% of feline cases. Hyperthyroid cats are rarely presented to the veterinarian for behavioral signs, Perhaps because aggression is primarily wen when the cat is restrained, we as a profession are more likely to experience this aspect of the disease than the cats’ owners, Treating the underlying thyroid problem generally resolves the behavioral problems however, and because onset is often insidious, it is only after the endocrine imbalance has been addressed that the owners appreciate the deterioration in their animal’s behavior.

While much has been written about the behavioral signs of hyperthyroidism in cats, the hypothyroid dog has been depicted, from a behavioral standpoint, as being lethargic and mentally dull. The hypothyroid human patient has been reported to show a wider range of behavioral symptoms. Particularly in the early stages of the disease reduced cognitive function and concentration together with impaired short-term memory may be confused with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, and in one study 66% of patients diagnosed with ADBD were found to be hypothyroid. Supplementing their thyroid levels was largely curative. Visual and auditory hallucinations may result from altered perception and have been misdiagnosed as schizophrenia or psychosis. Other behavioral symptoms have included fear – ranging from mild anxiety to frank paranoia, mood swings and aggression.

Scattered reports of aggression and hyperactivity in hypothyroid dogs suggested that dogs also might exhibit a wider repertoire of behaviors in response to low thyroid levels. Hypothyroidism is the most prevalent endocrine disease in dogs. In a 1994 survey conducted by the American Kennel Club of its parent breed clubs, hypothyroidism was found to be the health issue of greatest concern overall, as well as for each of the seven groups except for the toy dog group, where it was rated fourth in importance. Despite the debate concerning diagnosis the condition is widespread throughout the canine, and probably the equine, population.

In dogs, as in humans, behavioral signs often precede the more traditional skin, coat and metabolic changes characteristic of the condition. To diagnose hypothyroidism we rely upon the six analyte panel offered by Antech Diagnostics, Irvine CA (as well as Michigan State University). These panels are interpreted for us by W. Jean Dodds DVM of Hemopet. Following her lead, we believe that truly euthyroid dogs in most breeds should have hormonal levels falling in the upper half of previously accepted normal ranges, This is particularly true of dogs under 18 months of age. We feel that the panel gives a clearer picture of overall thyroid function. Indeed of the cases treated so far only about 40% would have been considered hypothyroid on a standard T4 test, the rest would mostly fall in the borderline category. Some cases in which elevated autoantibody levels indicate autoimmune disease would otherwise have been considered thyroid normal at the time of presentation.

Numerator = Thyroid dysfunction; Denominator = Aberrant behavior Some dogs had more than one aberrant behavior Data taken from 319 cases representing 63 breeds W.J. Dodds DVM unpublished data As of January this year, 319 cases of dogs with a variety of behavior problems had been presented to Dr. Dodds for thyroid evaluation. Of these almost two thirds were diagnosed as being hypothyroid.

{The following data are provided by Dr. Jean Dodds (1/4/98) and were not included in the presentation by Dr. Aronson.}

{Out of 13 Bearded Collies (11 in Dr. Dodd’s group, 2 in Dr. Aronson’s), 10 were hypothyroid and exhibiting significant aggression. Two cases had hyperactivity with major attention deficit-type behavior and were hypothyroid. One case with bizarre erratic behavior had very normal levels of thyroid and I advised retesting in 6-12 months. The owners couldn’t cope with the dog as an unruly pet, and I fear gave it away or put it to sleep.

Of my 10 cases with hypothyroidism there was considerable or nearly total improvement in their behavior once thyroid supplementation was given and dosage stabilized. This usually took about 6 weeks, but clear benefit was noted by the owners in 2-14 days. One case has since slipped back a little, but became better again once thyroid dosage was increased slightly. I am very encouraged by these cases. Its particularly remarkable in cases of working obedience dogs, as their owners are very aware of performance nuances – such as changes in power of concentration which wanes with thyroid imbalance and is restored on supplement. This latter comment applies in general and not to the beardie cohort per se.}

Our figures have been similar, but we have only submitted blood on dogs which we suspect might be hypothyroid based on other signs of disease, breed or combination of behavioral signs. Interestingly, although hypothyroidism has classically been thought to primarily affect bitches, the breakdown by sex shows more male hypothyroid behavioral cases. However, more male dogs are presented for behavioral problems. Sixty three pure breeds as well as mixed breeds were represented in these cases, Table I represents data for the seven most commonly represented breeds as well as mixed breeds, and the four most commonly reported behavioral problems. The numerator represents the number of animals which were hypothyroid and the denominator the number showing aberrant behavior.

There were 177 cases reported to exhibit aggression (type unspecified), 43 with seizures; 34 fearful; and 33 hyperactive. While some breeds are clearly more prone to thyroid disease than others, our data include two Bichon Frises which both proved to be hypothyroid and responded behaviorally quite well to thyroid replacement therapy, although this is not a breed which has shown much evidence of hypothyroidism in the past. Breed alone should not rule out hypothyroidism as a possible cause of a behavioral problem, although clearly if a dog is of a breed with a higher incidence of the disease one’s level of suspicion will be higher.

Initially at Tufts we were looking for a hypothyroid – aggression/hyperactivity connection. Aggression is the most common behavior problem among dogs presented to our clinic for treatment. While some of the cases showed more characteristic skin and coat problem or obesity in many cases the dog appeared healthy apart from its behavioral problems. Many of these cases fell into two categories.

1. Young dogs which were aggressive and whose owners often complained their dog could or would not listen/concentrate and/or repeatedly failed obedience classes.

2. Older dogs for whom aggression was a new and totally unexpected behavior.

Treating the latter category brought reports of a return to youthful energy levels which the owners thought had gradually diminished purely because of the dog’s age, while the former suddenly were able to concentrate and learn commands. Dogs were evaluated over at least eight weeks following diagnosis of a thyroid problem. Most of these dogs were placed on behavior modification programs, and it was recommended that exercise should be increased, and dietary protein reduced. Some were fitted with Promise collars. Two dogs had previously received psychopharmacological treatment. In one case, the dog’s dominance was no longer controlled by 20mg q l2h fluoxetine and 40mg q 8h propranolol, thyroxine supplementation did not improve the dog’s behavior and it was euthanatized. In the other case a dog with fear and intraspecies aggression had not been helped with amitryptiline, and the dog was completely weaned from the drug after complete remission of its aggression on thyroxine.

Dogs were evaluated on a 6 point subjective scale by their owners (Table 2. Only the scoring system is shown below). Aggression was classified as dominance, fear, territorial, intraspecies, or predatory. Of the 57 cases of aggression treated with thyroxine replacement (levothyroxine sodium (Soloxine) at a dose of 0.1 mg/12-15# body weight q 12h, only one showed a worsening of aggression, 6 failed to respond and one showed less than 25% improvement. The remainder showed more than 25% improvement to complete resolution.

Data collected over the same period for 20 dogs with dominance aggression treated with behavior modification, exercise, diet and Promise Collars alone, showed that one dog was euthanatized for worsening behavior, two were placed after failure to improve or worsening of behavior, 3 failed to improve and 3 showed less than 25% improvement. Although the sample size is not large, the successful outcome of cases treated with thyroid replacement was significantly better than that of those treated with behavioral modification alone. We have also successfully treated one case where a hypothyroid horse exhibited intraspecies aggression with thyroid replacement. This horse had failed to respond to behavior modification or cyproheptidine.

Scoring Behavior Problems Medicated with Thyroid

-1 Problem became worse

0 No appreciable change

1 <25% improvement

2 >25, but <50% improvement

3 >50 but <75% improvement

4 >75% improved to completely resolved

After our initial success with aggressive dogs, we have looked at the role of hypothyroidism in other behavioral conditions. Although the sample size is too small to be conclusive, it would certainly seem worthwhile to look for an underlying thyroid deficiency in these cases. Similarly, other behavioral conditions have shown variable response to thyroid supplementation. We have not seen much improvement in those dogs we have treated with seizure-related disorders, although Dodds has found seizure activity to be responsive to thyroid replacement, however, our sample size is extremely small.

The mechanism whereby diminished thyroid function affects behavior is unclear. Hypothyroid patients have reduced cortisol clearance, and the constantly elevated levels of circulating cortisol mimic the condition of an animal in a constant state of stress, as well as suppressing TSH production and thereby further reducing T4 and T3 levels. In humans, and seemingly in dogs, mental function is impaired and the animal is likely to respond to stress in a stereotypical rather than a reasoned fashion. We have noted that the type of aberrant behavior exhibited by hypothyroid dogs tends to be typical of the behavioral problems seen for its breed, or predominant breed, rather than hypothyroidism producing a specific behavioral problem. Chronic stress in humans has been implicated in the pathogenesis of affective disorders such as depression. Major depression has, in turn, been shown in imaging studies to cause changes in neural activity or volume in the amygdala, prefrontal cortex and hippocampus – areas of the brain which regulate aggressive and other behaviors. The role of the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin has been clearly demonstrated in aggressive pathways in the CNS. Hypothyroid rats have been shown to have both an increased turnover of serotonin; and dopamine receptors with an increased sensitivity to ambient neurotransmitter levels. Interestingly, several of the dogs which failed to respond to thyroid replacement or in which response was suboptimal have subsequently been treated with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or tricyclic antidepressants either without or with limited success. Given the far reaching effects of thyroid hormones throughout the body it is likely that these as well as other mechanisms are involved in its behavioral role.

Psychiatrists at Harvard Medical School have recently used low level thyroxine replacement for euthyroid and suboptimal thyroid normal patients with some success. They feel that the thyroid damps down the background noise in the brain, thereby enabling the patients to function better. In a limited number of cases where we have tried to boost dogs with suboptimal but normal thyroid levels into the optimal range, we have failed to achieve behavioral improvement. However, we have tried this in only a half dozen or so cases to date. Dodds reports some success using this strategy in a larger number of cases.

Case Study I.

Signalment: Seven-year old, 28kg, spayed female German Shepherd Dog

Problem: Fear aggression and intraspecies aggression. Previous treatment had included clorniprantine 25mg q 12h. (Note: this dose is too low to produce significant behavioral effect). No change was reported in problem behaviors, although the dog had behaved more affectionately with its owners. Owner is an obedience trainer, and extensive obedience training and following a behavior modification (desensitization and counterconditioning) program had not helped, The dog had to be muzzled when strangers came to the house or for walks off the owners’ property.

Physical Examination: Evidence of arthritis and hip dysplasia, otherwise the dog appeared healthy

Thyroid panel abnormalities: Total T3 86 ng/dl (normal 100-250, optimal 125-225); Total T4 1.39 pg/dl (normal1.5-4.5; optimal 3-5); Free T4 0.92ng/dl (normal1.0-4.0; optimal2-4).

Treatment: Soloxine (levothyroxine sodium) 0.4mg q 12h. Clomiprarnine dose dropped to 25mg q 24h before dog started thyroid replacement

Follow-up: Five days after dog started on thyroid replacement therapy the owner took it to a neighborhood park and let it play off leash with a number of dogs. She reported that the dog showed no aggression and it played like a puppy, including a game of tug-of-war over a stick played with a puppy. The dog showed no aggression. The dog also accepted and greeted appropriately strangers coming onto its property or encountered on walks. Several weeks later, the dog was no longer behaving like a puppy, but like a mature German Shepherd with arthritis. It showed appropriate aggression when other dogs acted aggressively towards it, or if they were too exuberant in their greeting. Inappropriate aggression has not returned over the succeeding twelve months. The dog has remained fit and active. Clomipramine has been completely withdrawn,

Case Study 2.

Problem: Aggression directed at owner, her husband and his teenage daughters from a previous marriage. The dog would growl and threaten if confronted over food, stolen objects, when woken, asked to move, or otherwise disturbed, particularly while it was sleeping in the owner’s bed. This behavior had been increasing over the previous year since the owner’s marriage, and at the time of presentation was occurring on at least a daily basis. Prior to that time there had been three isolated incidents of aggression when the dog was confronted over food or stolen objects either by the owner or children the dog knew well. The dog had never bitten. It was friendly with strangers, but did growl and threaten strange dogs occasionally.

Physical examination: The owner reported a 4kg weight gain in the dog over the previous 2 months. The dog also had a history of urinary incontinence, for which it had been receiving diethylstilbestrol (DES), and vaginitis. The dog was lethargic, with a poor, dull hair coat. Multiple open sores were apparent on the forepaws resulting from the dog licking and chewing – this was later attributed to atopy. Otherwise the dog appeared normal on physical examination.

CBC and Biochemical Profile: The only abnormality was severe hypercholesterolemia: 601 mg/dl; reference range. 110-314mg/dl.

Thyroid panel: Total T4, 14 nmol/L (reference range 5-50; optimal range 30-50); Total T3 0.0 nmol/L (normal 1.0 2.5; optimal 1.25-2.25); Free T4 15 pmol/L (normal 12-33; optimal 20-40); Free T3 5.1 pmol/L (normal 2.8-6.5; optimal 3.5-6.5); T4 Autoantibody10 (<20); T3 autoantibody 84 (< 10).

Follow-up.- The dog was placed on 0. 7mg levothyroxine sodium PO q 12h, and within a week aggressive behavior had decreased by 60-70%, Its aggression continued to decrease over subsequent weeks. Lethargy disappeared after about 6 weeks of thyroid replacement therapy. The dog had also lost all the weight it had gained, and skin and coat condition improved. There was a single incident in which the dog growled during these 5 weeks. The dog continued to receive DES. There were no further incidents of vaginitis. On two subsequent occasions the efficacy of the thyroxine in controlling the dog’s aggression was demonstrated. One time the dog did not swallow its morning pill. it spent the day sleeping, but growled when a family member approached its food bowl to feed it. On the second occasion the owner ran out of medication and the dog was not medicated for 48h, Within 24h aggression had returned to the same level it had been at prior to medication, After thyroxine supplementation was resumed aggression was extinguished over the subsequent 2-5days. Although the dog slept more during this period, it was not lethargic as it had been prior to treatment.

Discussion: While these are two of the more dramatic cases of hypothyroid aggression we have treated, they are illustrative of the response we have experienced. Metabolically, thyroid replacement takes about three weeks to be effective. Frequently, behavioral response is reported within the first week of treatment. Several owners also report dramatic resumption of previous aberrant behaviors if even a single pill is missed or not swallowed by the dog. Similarly, the horse mentioned earlier showed a rapid resumption of aggression when its dose was halved while its owner awaited the arrival of more medication. Hypothyroidism may be linked to a number of different behavioral conditions. Aberrant behavior may be one of the earliest signs of thyroid deficiency. The condition is clearly more prevalent in some breeds than in others, and a genetic predisposition is probably involved in the expression of the disease. However, environmental factors are probably also involved, and there have been numerous reports of owners and animals in the same household having thyroid dysfunction and/or other autoimmune diseases.

At Tufts we have seriously considered obtaining a thyroid panel on all dogs presented for evaluation, and we feel that it is a very good screen for a condition which may underlie a wide variety of behavioral problems, and one which is relatively easily and cheaply treated. It is our recommendation that hypothyroidism be considered as a rule out for dogs and horses showing inappropriate aggression. It should also be a rule out for dogs which show an inability to learn or concentrate on the owner, or for older dogs which have developed a personality change either rapidly or more gradually. It is probably a good rule out for dogs which exhibit fears or anxieties and possibly for some dogs with compulsive disorders.


1. Cameron DL, Crocker AD. The hypothyroid rat as a model of increased sensitivity to dopamine receptor agonists. Pharm Biachem & Behav,1990, 37:627-632.

2. Denicoff KD, Joffe RT, Lakschmanan MC, Robbins J, Rubinow DR. Neuropsychiatric manifestations of altered thyroid state. Am J Psychiatry, 1990, 147:94-99.

3. Dluhy RJ. The adrenal cortex in hypothyroidism. In Braverman LE, Utiger RD (eds) Werner and Ingbar’s The thyroid, a fundamental and clinical text (7th edition). Philadelphia. Lippincott-Raven, 1996:841-844.

4. Dodman NH, Mertens PA, Aronson LP. Aggression in two hypothyroid dogs, behavior case of the month. J Am Vet Med Assoc,1995, 207:1168-1171

5. Gibbs M. Correlations between hypothyroidism and cortisol in mental disorders. 1997 in prep

6. Hauser P, Zametkin AJ, Martinez P,et al. Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder in people with generalized resistance to thyroid hormone. NE JMed, 1993, 328:997-1001.

7. Herman JP, Cullinan WE. Neurocircuitry of stress: central control of the hypothalamo- pituitary-adrenocortical axis. TINS 1997, 20:78-84.

8. Henley WN, Chen X, Klettner C, Bellush LL, Notestine MA. Hypothyroidism increases serotonin turnover and sympathetic activity in the adult rat. Can J Fhysiol Pharmacol 1991;69-.205-210.

9. Joseph RJ, Peterson ME. Review and comparison of neuromuscular and central nervous system marifestations of hyperthyroidism in cats and humans. Prog Vet Neurol 1992, 3:114-119.

10. Uchida Y, Dodman N, DeNapoli J, Aronson L. Characterization and treatment of 20 canine dominance aggression cases. J Vet Med Sci 1997, 59:397-399.

11. Whybrow PC. Behavioral and psychiatric aspects of thyroto-xicosis. In Braverman LE, Utiger RD (eds) Werner and Ingbar’s The thyroid: a fundamental and clinical text (7th edition). Philadelphia. Lippincott-Ravm 1996:696-700.

12. Whybrow PC. Behavioral and psychiatric manifestations of hypothyroidism. In Braverman LE, Utiger RD (eds) Werner and Ingbar’s The thyroid- a fundamental and clinical text (7th edition). Philadelphia. Lippincott-Raven, 1996:866-870.

L.P. Aronson DVM & N.H. Dodman RVMS

Presented at the 43. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Veterinarmedizinischen Gesellschaft Fachgruppe Kleintierkrankheiten 29-31 August 1997 in HCC Hannover

Thyroid Dysfunction as a Cause of Aggression

California Dog Law Maintaining A Public Nuisance

dogsCalifornia Dog Law Maintaining A Public Nuisance

What is the California Dog Law Regarding Having An Aggressive Dog, Maintaining A Public Nuisance?

California Dog Bite Law.

One can be charged with a crime for allowing their dog to become a Public Nuisance under California Penal Codes sections 370 to 373a.

370. Anything which is injurious to health, or is indecent, or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by an entire community or neighborhood, or by any considerable number of persons, or unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any navigable lake, or river, bay, stream, canal, or basin, or any public park, square, street, or highway, is a public nuisance.

371. An act which affects an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons, as specified in the last section, is not less a nuisance because the extent of the annoyance or damage inflicted upon individuals is unequal.

372. Every person who maintains or commits any public nuisance, the punishment for which is not otherwise prescribed, or who willfully omits to perform any legal duty relating to the removal of a public nuisance, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
373a. Every person who maintains, permits, or allows a public nuisance to exist upon his or her property or premises, and every person occupying or leasing the property or premises of another who maintains, permits or allows a public nuisance to exist thereon, after reasonable notice in writing from a health officer or district attorney or city attorney or prosecuting attorney to remove, discontinue or abate the same has been served upon such person, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall be punished accordingly; and the existence of such nuisance for each and every day after the service of such notice shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense, and it is hereby made the duty of the district attorney, or the city attorney of any city the charter of which imposes the duty upon the city attorney to prosecute state misdemeanors, to prosecute all persons guilty of violating this section by continuous prosecutions until the nuisance is abated and removed.





DAVID BARON the #1 Behavioral Dog Trainer in the United States can train your dog and get it under control no matter how dominant, stubborn or aggressive.


DAVID BARON can show you how you can keep your dog alive and get it under control.

David Baron the behavioral dog trainer in Roseville, CA - November 18, 2013.


America’s #1 Dog Trainer


A MORAL IMPERATIVE. You don’t kill “your best friend” when the dog can be trained.

Doing the right thing is a reward in itself. Sometimes doing the right thing is a little scary at first, but people who do the right thing are usually always rewarded with a positive outcome.


KILLING YOUR DOG is a huge mistake you may regret the rest of your life if you have a conscience.


Call DAVID BARON when other dog trainers, canine behaviorists and veterinarians say your dog cannot be trained and you should kill it.D11

Killing anything is wrong and you may be asked to account for putting down a dog that loved you and counted on you, when you can keep your dog alive.

People who do the right thing will always be able to look their children in the eye.





Everyone has a camera on their cellphone. Either a dog trainer has 1000′s of photos and videos to substantiate the dog training actually works, or they do not.

There is no in-between. The dog training works or it doesn’t.


If 99% of dog training did work all the other dog trainers would have 100′s of dogs off-leash obedient they trained to show you too.

There are no other dog trainers we can find in North America with as much to show dog owners thinking of hiring a dog trainer.


We don’t have anything bad to say about anyone.

Ask other dog trainers why DAVID BARON is the only dog trainer in North America with 1000′s of photos and videos of dogs BIG and small off-leash.

DAVID BARON is the only dog trainer in North America with 1000′s of photos of dogs BIG and small off-leash.

David Baron Sacramento CA.

Why not hire an awesome dog trainer the first time?

No other dog trainers have are as successful with small dogs and toy breeds.

Again, we do not have anything bad to say about anyone.


We are just wondering why DAVID BARON is the only dog trainer in North America with 1000′s of photos of 100′s of dogs big and small off-leash.

The point of these photos is to show you DAVID BARON can train dogs and is getting much better results than 99% of other dog trainers.

DAVID BARON can train your dog no matter how bad the do might seem to you.

No one has more experience with aggressive dogs and gets better results training aggressive dogs than DAVID BARON.

A lot of our clients live on ranches and their dogs getting along with farm animals is a concern.

DAVID BARON can definitely help you with that too and has a lot of direct experience because he lives on a ranch too in Roseville, California.

There is a reason other dog trainers do not have pictures of dogs with farm animals.

The dog training has to work is one reason.

The other reason is “Sit” in the kitchen with treats is a lot easier to accomplish than showing the public Chihuahuas and Siberian Huskies off-leash with horses.





Flat-rate* means you get as much as you want or need until your dog is trained.

No charge for your 2nd or 3rd dog.

Free lifetime follow-up if you ever have any training questions or concerns.



LESSON PROGRAMS: $350 to $1450*


BOARD & TRAIN: $70 per day* *Call for specials & discounts!!!


PRIVATE LESSONS work great and are effective 99% of the time. Sometimes the level of training a dog needs surpasses what the owner is capable of achieving on their own and

Board Training is a more appropriate option.


TRUST and CREDIBILITY are of PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE. Most of our clients are MD’s, RN’s, teachers, business owners, police, fire and other professionals. Let us know if you need references or have other concerns. We have an

A+ rating with the BBB.


America’s #1 Dog Trainer
(916) 773-4017

California Dog Law Maintaining A Public Nuisance


America’s #1 Dog Trainer
(916) 773-4017


America’s #1 Dog Trainer
(916) 773-4017

DAVID BARON the DOG TRAINER lives in Roseville, California on a 13-acre ranch. He meets clients for private lessons and teaches dog owners how to be successful with their family pets.

California Dog Law Maintaining A Public Nuisance

Dog Dominance Behavioral Trainers


arrow icon Giving an aggressive or dominant dog food to train it is extremely dangerous

If your dog has dominance issues, you definitely need professional help. Don’t be fooled by amateur and hobbyist dog trainers into believing group obedience classes or Food-Bribery dog training will help. They almost always make it worse.


  Daddy, why does the veterinarian need to kill Goldie?
GoldieThe Food-Bribery dog trainers at the park said Goldie can’t be trained and should be destroyed. We tried the obedience classes and it only made Goldie worse.
Daddy, hire a professional dog trainer who knows how to work with dominant dogs rather than killing Goldie.

arrow icon What Does “Dominance” Mean?

Dogs are social animals whose evolution makes them willing and able to live in groups. Group living enabled wolves to work together to obtain food, raise their young and defend their territory. It would be counterproductive for members of a group to fight with each other and risk injury. That would prevent them from working with the group. Therefore, dogs have a social structure in which each dog is either dominant (leader) or subordinate in its relationship with each other pack member. This is a “dominance hierarchy”. The leader or “alpha” dog is the one that has first access to all the “critical” resources. These resources include food, resting places, mates, territory and favored possessions. Assertion of dominance by the alpha is generally communicated through facial expressions, body postures and actions. Fighting is rare, since as soon as the subordinate submits or defers to the alpha animal and the alpha gets its way, he or she gives up the challenge.

Mommy's furry human baby growls at kids.

Humans need to assume the highest positions in the dominance hierarchy at your house. Most dogs remain neutral or submissive towards people, however some dogs insist on being dominant over people because of genetic tendencies or inadequate socialization. Dominant dogs will stare, bark growl, nip or bite people. Such confrontations can occur:

If you give the dog a command

If you pet the dog and he or she didn’t initiate it

If you stop petting the dog

If you groom the dog

If you hug the dog

If you get out of bed in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and it disturbs the dog

If you bother or annoy the dog in any way

Usually, dominant dogs are very loving and affectionate toward people–until you do something they don’t like.

How would I know if my dog has dominant tendencies?

Does your dog do this? Is he or she pushy, defiant or controlling and refuse to do “Down” and “Heel?”

Chihuahua dog training-Marin.

You May Have A Dominance Issue With Your Dog If:
  • Defies and refuses to perform commands he knows well.
  • Crowds you, blocks you and won’t move out of your way.
  • Makes you try to obey him or her.
  • Defends the food bowl, toys or other objects from you.
  • Growls or shows teeth at you, under any circumstances.
  • Gets on furniture without permission and won’t get down.
  • Snaps at you.
  • Barks at you.
What To Do If You Suspect Your Dog Is Dominant. . . .

Some dogs can be real creepy.

If you get in a fight with a dominant dog, you had better be able to win. If you don’t win the dog learns that aggression works. Unless you know what you are doing confronting a dominant dog can be very dangerous.

If you think that you dog is dominant or showing dominance-aggression the last thing you want to do is enroll in a group dog training class or contact a behaviorist who advocates using food for training or behavior modification. Usually these people are the first to tell you that you need to destroy your dog and that it can’t be trained. They will take your money and tell you that there is hope and then when the Food-Bribery does not work they will tell you to kill you dog.

  • Don’t listen to “Positive Reinforcement” trainers who tell you have to put your dog down.
  • Don’t listen to amateur and hobbyist dog trainers teaching dogs in parks. . .Bribing dogs with food makes many dogs even more dominant and aggressive.
  • Find a professional in-home dog trainer.
  • Avoid situations that start the aggressive behavior.
  • Supervise, confine and/or restrict your dog’s activities as necessary, especially when children or other pets are present.
  • Don’t listen to anyone who trains dogs with food or who advocate group classes for the treatment of canine dominace. Don’t listen to these people anyway because their method usually won’t work on even the most submissive compliant dogs.
  • In our opinion, usually the biggest ‘dog killers’ are at university veterinary teaching hospitals or claim to be “Animal Protector Societies, Leagues or Associations.” These people are more concerned about losing their insurance coverage and potential liability than saving your dog.
  • Most veterinarians, behaviorists and dog trainers will tell you to kill your dog if it becomes dominant. Most will smile and take your money first before they tell you to kill your dog.
  • We have never had to tell anyone to kill their dog because the dog was dominant.  We are Dog Dominance Behavioral Trainers.
  • WE WILL GIVE YOU ALL YOUR MONEY BACK if your dog’s dominance-aggression can’t be controlled using our program. You may be required to videotape the training to prove that you did what we told you and you will need to surrender the dog to us before we will give you your money back.


Children and Dogs

If you let your kids poke at the dog, tease it and pull its tail, we can’t help you. We will teach you how to manage both your children and dog(s) so having problems will be less likely.


Why Behavior Helplines Can’t Help

While it’s sometimes possible to successfully resolve aggressive behavior problems related to dominance, this is not a process that can be done by behavior helplines. Very detailed questioning in order to obtain a complete behavioral history, plus direct observation of your pet is necessary before recommendations to resolve the problem can be made.

Dominant dog training Sacramento


America’s #1 Dog Trainer


Wrong Approaches To Dog Training




Classes are a good place to socialize your dog.

False It sounds good though. Dogs learn to socialize with each other when they are six to eight weeks old in the litter, the Critical period. Aggression or fear very often gets much worse from well-meaning attempts to break this behavior in classes.

If you were scared of heights, would hanging you off the top of a tall building make you less or more fearful of falling? If you need to teach your dog good manners in public, remember the 3 phases of dog training–learning, correction, then distraction proofing. Classes have it backwards making it much much harder to train and socialize your dog.


checkmark2Classes are a good place to teach your dog to behave around distractions.

False What classes have kids on razor scooters or families having picnics, real life distractions? If you want your dog to behave around kids on razor scooters, for example, you need to train your dog first, then introduce distractions.

Classes are NOT appropriate for…

People who are easily embarrassed or have anxiety, professionals, business people, busy people, people on tight schedules, children, teenagers, the elderly, those who are frail or have disabilities, or IF YOU NEED RESULTS “NOW!”

For behavior problems, group classes are totally ineffective and often make problems worse.

Dogs often get stressed-out in classes and become withdrawn, depressed or aggressive.

If you have a small dog or a puppy, there is a good chance it will get attacked by a larger dog. People in classes often can’t control their dogs, which often slip out of their collars and attack other dogs in class.

Don’t take our word for it, go watch a class and see dogs lunging and snapping at each other!

Group classes have it backwards

Classes make dogs resistant to obedience by putting distraction first. The three phases of dog training are: #1 Learning, #2 Correction, AND THEN #3 Distraction. Classes often stress-out dogs and make them fearful or neurotic causing a host of undesirable behaviors at home such as self-mutilation and dominance.


  • The trainer may ask you to leave.
  • Most people feel humiliated and embarrassed in classes and quit
  • All the other people in class may stare at you like you are mean or clueless.
  • You may be ignored and treated unfairly.

A trainer cannot solve problems in the home when she has never been there. People’s perspective, or what they say, is often the exact opposite of what a trainer sees at the home. People do not connect certain things to problems. Trainers always need to to see what is going on at the home for themselves to end troubles.

What you want to look out for

WHEN THEY SAY HOW LONG IT TAKES - It does not take a six weeks course to learn “sit”, “down”, “stay”, “heel” and “come” on a leash. We teach all this and much more in one to three lessons, and teach off-leash training in 4 or 5 lessons!

The trainer should be able to get your dog to lay down during the first lesson. There is NO EXCUSE for not being able to do this, period. If it is a 140 pound Great Dane or a Shar-Pei that bites, a good trainer can get your dog to lay down the first lesson.

Don’t endanger your dog or make it even more aggressive.

Choose a trainer who specialize in controlling undesirable dog behavior. The best dog trainers spend a lot more time with the owners than with the dogs and often have college degrees in Psychology or Counseling. Good trainers understand problems which may arise in the future and teach you to control them too.

Special Breed Trainers. . . Even if you do not have one.

Individual temperament, litter constellation, experience and genetics can account for a dog’s behavior more than what breed it is. Hence, a Poodle or a Cocker Spaniel can be much more difficult than a Pit Bull or a Doberman Pinscher. A good trainer is prepared to work with any dog breed, of any age and of any temperament. Be leery of trainers who specialize in puppies or typically “easy” dogs. Conversely, be leery of trainers who purport that their success with big dogs such as German Shepherds equates into being an expert with all dogs.


- Just like you can’t be a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian, police officer, etc. by only possessing common sense, neither can you be a dog trainer/behavior consultant.

  • Amateur and hobbyist dog trainers are nice people who love dogs and care about them.
  • When you need results and are paying good money, do not be misled by them.



Why Choose Us Over Food-Bribery Trainers

You want someone who can get your dog to obey your voice quickly without yelling, violence or bribing with food. Who wants a dog who doesn’t listen unless you have treats?

Obedience is you asking your dog to do something and he does it because you say so, and not because the dog is going to get food or be punished.

Be forewarned, the words “Positive Reinforcement, Luring and Operant Conditioning.” are code for bribing with food. Folks, don’t waste your time and money on this nonsense and call us to learn how to train your dog fast without food or violent methods. The cruelest method is the one where the dog never gets trained and the dog no longer respects the owners and is biting people as a direct result of owners trying to train their dog with food. Then the dog has to be euthanized.

If you do not see dramatic results during the first lesson, you probably never will. Either it happens right away or it probably will not ever.






CLASSES. . .Just About The Worst Way To Train Your Dog

DEFINITELY call us before you enroll your dog in dog training classes.




You are definitely in the right place if you are looking for doggie boot camp, dog training boot camp, doggy boot camp, bootcamp dog training, board and train dog training, boot camp training for dogs, send away dog training, drop off dog training, puppy boot camp or dog boarding and training.

Boshay PoPo Tibetan Mastiff

The Superdog program is mostly about teaching dog owners how to train and rehabilitate their own dogs.

Beautiful Tibetan Mastiff image

Private lessons work great 99.9% of the time even with difficult and troubled dogs.


Sometimes the level of training a dog needs surpasses what the owner is capable of achieving and “Board Training” is a more appropriate option.


This is “Boshay Popo ” the Tibetan Mastiff show dog. He does a great behavioral “Heel” following Dave the Dog Trainer and is a really good boy.


Boshay is a really good dog, but was very fearful of certain things like people grabbing him.


Boshay likes DaveTheDogTrainer and other men, but seems more comfortable with women.


Boshay is learning to trust and forgetting about whatever happened to him before. Boshay can’t say what happened, but he doesn’t need to.

David Baron

Boshay does all the commands and hangs out in the house with us a lot. He is very gentle with the kitties and small dogs too.


Boshay has made a lot of progress since he came to stay with us.


You are definitely in the right place if you are looking for doggie boot camp, dog training boot camp, doggy boot camp, bootcamp dog training, board and train dog training, boot camp training for dogs, send away dog training, drop off dog training, puppy boot camp or dog boarding and training in Sacramento.


The best doggy boot camp located near Sacramento, California.


We have the finest dog board and train facility.


We offer send away dog training, drop off dog training, puppy boot camp and dog boarding and training.


As we demand more from him, Boshay Popo learns to trust that being obedient is a much better way of living.


Boshay’s littermate “Kali” also went down the not listening road.


Both dogs really took to the training and are no longer so defiant.


It takes a loving and firm hand to get dogs like this to respect others.



It is important that everyone knows their place in the constellation.


Real dog training always starts with respect and courtesy.


Quite a bit of hair comes off with the right comb.


Boshay Popo and Kali really enjoyed getting groomed and massaged.


Who you are to your dog is everything.


If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” Carl Jung


We ought to fly away from earth to heaven as quickly as we can; and to fly away is to become like God, as far as this is possible; and to become like him is to become holy, just, and wise.” Plato




Call on the telephone and talk to us about doggie boot camp, dog training boot camp, doggy boot camp, bootcamp dog training, board and train dog training, boot camp training for dogs, send away dog training, drop off dog training, puppy boot camp or dog boarding and training.



DAVID BARON’S SUPERDOG America’s #1 Dog Trainer


Dog Park Aggression





Lilly the Pit Bull was a really good girl except for viciously attacking other dogs.


Lilly was confused about who was supposed to protect her, and the owner Monica, around dogs.


Like many dogs, Lilly became aggressive after other dogs traumatized her.


An un-trained dog like Lilly did not have a lot to focus on other than her fears and suspicions.


Cats play by doing things like working together to catch a rubberband. Often when dogs get together it is all about submission and dominance.


People often introduce their dog to other dogs and hope for the best, oblivious to the fact that the other dog is causing their pooch severe angst.


About half of our Superdog clients come to us because they are no longer able to walk their dog or take it places out of fear that they will encounter other dogs—even if the other dogs are friendly.


Monica chose Superdog because it was the only dog trainers with photos of hundreds of dogs they trained. She was put off by the other dog trainers’ websites because they were “pretty much all talk and no pictures to substantiate their competence with behavioral problems.”


Monica lives in Sacramento and hired the owner of the Superdog franchise David Baron. These photos were taken during Lilly’s fourth lesson.

Pits playing image

The Superdog philosophy is that there needs to be consistent leadership and good, strong obedience basics so the dog will not act-out erratically.

Behavioral training like you see on this page starts when the dog will do an hour on “Stay” and “Heel” subordinately behind the owner.


The whole point of the training is to have the dog focus on the owner no matter how severe the distractions. Lilly now knows that if there are ‘problems’ that her owner will protect her.


With only three lessons under her collar, Lilly will do an hour “Stay,” “Heel,” and a great “Come” when called. The dog is now focused on the owner Monica and being obedient instead of the fear and suspicion.


One of the biggest mistakes dog owners make is taking off the leash too soon. Even if the owner does not need to touch the leash, it makes the dog feel like it is connected and accountable to the owner.


This was only Lilly’s second time going to the dog park. She made a new friend “Blue” the Pit Bull-Labrador mix.


Blue knew that Lilly was afraid and seemed to do all the right things to build her confidence.


Amazing behavioral results regardless of breed, size and age.

Lilly is pretty much a totally different dog now and is a lot calmer and out-going, not so edgy. After working with David Baron and Superdog, Lilly is not so afraid of men anymore and even has warmed-up to Monica’s boyfriend.







Dog Aggression



This Pit Bull was shot by a police officer after escaping from the yard.

God bless anyone who would spend over $30,000 to keep their dog alive.

It takes exceptional character and resolve to stand up to friends and family who say that your dog needs to die, much less an enraged community and the authorities.


The first thing you need to do, whether your dog is aggressive or not, is to get your dog under control.

This means that if your dog is not under voice control, you need to have your dog on a leash or locked up in an appropriate and secure enclosure.

child with pit bull image

Dealing with Dog Aggression can best be solved by contacting a Professional dog trainer. Dog Trainers are a bargain compared to plastic surgeons and horrible psychological trauma.


The second thing you need to do if you own a dog, whether it is aggressive or not, is to manage the dog correctly so you don’t have problems in the first place.

Management means you train your dog regardless of what breed it is before it becomes aggressive.

Management also means being honest about the outlook and odds of the potential consequences of allowing certain dogs to interract with children.

Some people think the odds with Russian Roulette are good because the gun only has one bullet in it.

On the contrary, a professionally trained dog is like a police officer with a loaded gun protecting the children.


People who do the right things in life will always be able to look their children in the eye.

The safety of the dog, neighbors, children and other animals are important considerations. Not training a dog is often a death sentence, especially if it is a bully breed or if there are children involved.

The authorities, veterinarians, and most dog trainers and behaviorists will tell you your dog needs to die if there is any aggression. They will use the rhetorical argument against you, “What if it was a child, or what if it rips the little girl’s face off next time?”

Superdog has chosen to err on the side of life. We believe 99.9% of dogs that have shown aggression can be trained and/or re-homed, and don’t need to die to protect society.


Almost every dog on this website was aggressive. Don’t listen to people who tell you to kill your family dog.

Call Superdog when veterinarians, and other dog trainers and behaviorists tell you that your dog can’t be trained.


If you have a multiple-dog household, you especially need to manage your dogs correctly to prevent fighting. We recommend that you feed your dogs in the order of their dominance in the pack.

However, if a dog is pathologically dominant, we often feed that dog last during the initial training periodAG13

Home lessons work great 99% of the time and are very affordable.

dog bite image

Some people think they can innoculate themselves against dog aggression by owning a small dog.

Everyone knows small dogs are never aggressive and are always good with seniors and children.


Superdog’s program is not nebulous and has objective training benchmarks :

1) The dog will go 6 to 10 feet away and disengage contact,

2) The dog will hold a “Down-Stay” for 30 minutes to an hour, and

3) The dog will “Heel” with the nose behind your leg and will even walk 3 to 6 feet back if asked.

There is not going to be significant Obedience or behavior problem solving if your dog won’t do these three things. There is no in-between, either the dog does these or not.

If you can’t put your dog on “Stay” and watch television for an hour, and get your dog to walk behind you–you can forget about controlling aggression or off-leash obedience.

a12 (2)

Superdog’s behavioral training program is not as much about commands as it is Behavior Modification.

Superdog focuses more on things like where the dogs sleep, where they eat, what they eat, the order they eat in, how much they are inside and out, how they are introduced to people, how much they are petted, how they are petted, how they play, when they play, being able to stop unwanted playing or barking, teaching dogs to focus and be calm.

The Superdog program is primarily about improving the quality of interractions and temperament.


Either the dog training works or it doesn’t.

aggressive border collie image

Someone has many photos of dogs they trained–or they don’t.


Maybe another dog trainer has more experience and success training aggressive dogs–and even charges less?


Superdog’s Philosophical Axiom is that all good dog trainers and behaviorists should have many photos of aggressive dogs that they successfully trained.


Superdog’s method is geared toward getting your dog to do things for the right reasons and is not based on rewards or punishments, but instead on you having a relationship with your dog that is loving, kind and fair.

Violence, aggression, shock collars and dog training with food often makes dogs even more aggressive, dangerous and unpredictable.


If you call most dog trainers and behaviorists with an aggressive dog, like how most of the ones on this web site were, they will tell you your dog can’t be trained and needs to be destroyed—after taking hundreds of dollars for an “evaluation.”


Superdog will do everything we can to keep your dog alive if you are on-board for saving your dog’s life.

We will come to your house and show you how to keep your dog alive, or we can take your dog to our ranch and he can live out his life here, or we will re-home the dog for you, if you really cannot keep him anymore. We will love him and care for him until he is trained or until someone comes along who wants him.


The best training method is the one that actually works.


The dogs’ eyes and faces tell the Superdog story.


dog pack image

Amazing behavioral results regardless of size and age.