September 8 th


Animal trainers and other possible control-freaks

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First of all, I call myself a “recovering control freak”. I had to become so desperately ill & disabled that I finally learned to “let go” of trying to micro-manage the planet.

Despite having absolutely no spare time and barely time to sleep, I joined a Linkedin Pet Lovers group and am getting a zillion email notifications with all the new posts. One man had a question about his middle aged husky who was becoming more and more food aggressive. I suggested he first have a full thyroid panel done, as >60% of aggressive dogs are actually low thyroid and thyroxine will often “fix” the behavior almost overnight….Well, along comes a dog trainer to tell him blood work is not needed. She then goes into a long dissertation on training.

This has become my pet peeve- trainers and behavior “experts” in the animal world who refuse to recognize that a lot of  “bad behavior” has a physical origin. I know people who have paid dog trainers thousands of dollars to try to fix SICK animals. There is no training solution to low thyroid and other illness-caused behavioral issues. The same goes for horses. If a horse has sore,diseased or imbalanced feet or back, neck, joint or tooth pain – he is not going to perform well!

Please take the advice of vets and holistic animal care experts and rule out health problems before resorting to professional training.

So, this leads me to conclude that, perhaps, people who are a bit control-freakish maybe are attracted to jobs as trainers. A desire to “run the show” might make them  resistant to other ideas….Of course, there are exceptions, such as our friend and dog trainer, Maryanne, who regularly uses Hemopet to do thyroid panels on dogs she rescues and works with. She is the gal who rescued Carson out of the pound for us  and, yes, he was aggressive and very low thyroid.

Carson May 2010 and January 2011

Categories : News


  1. Shauna says:

    Well said Cathy

  2. Cathy Ritlaw says:


  3. Janet Ferguson says:

    Does the annual blood work most pet vets do usually test the thyroid levels?

  4. Cathy Ritlaw says:

    Janet, most labs do not do accurate testing and most vets just do a T4 and/or TSH. The best thing to do is to have your vet draw and spin the blood and you send the serum to Hemopet/Hemolife for a full panel . that is Dr. Dodds’ lab and she has researched dog thyroid disease for > 25 years.

    Also, I rec. her new book:

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