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  • Hypothyroidism and training

    So today my trainer and I had quite the lengthly chat about training. I have had her come and walk my dogs for the past few weeks. She has been working with Festus mainly getting him not to pull. His pulling wasn't bad but it was constant pressure on the leash, not something that I cared for. It seemed every time out with me or her that he would do this, the pulling would start out strongish and then he would be perfect by the end of the walks almost like he needed to be taught not to pull over and over and over again. He wouldn't really retain any of that knowledge.

    He would have difficulties catching onto new things, new commands/tricks. So we kind of left it be for awhile mainly concentrating on getting him to retain his walking knowledge.

    I posted about him being hypothyroid a few weeks ago in the health section. I am happy to report that his hair is GROWING it isn't stubble anymore, he is also not itchy anymore. I will put pictures in an update on his thyroid thread in the health section. He has been on his meds now since April 5th so just shy of 20 days. The improvements have been huge and not just with his skin. His energy has gone way up (Sara, he is not quite at Classic level but getting there!!)

    Most importantly, I had my first 100% enjoyable on leash walk with him on Friday, the best birthday present ever. He started out perfect and finished perfect on it. With my talk today with my trainer we got to thinking that decreased thyroid function may have played a huge part in his ability to learn and most importantly retain the knowledge that he had been given/gained in previous sessions. We had come to the conclusion that indeed thyroid does play a part in the behaviour/learning of dogs. Once I got home, I did some research that supports our conclusion.

    http://www.dobermannklubben.se/ARK/T...20Behavior.pdf


    What is everyone's thoughts on this, has anyone else experienced this to be true yes/no??
    sigpic

  • #2
    Honestly no i do not believe that hypothyroid caused him not to learn.I had a st poodle with this and he thrived before and after being diagnosed but with that said if festus was itchy uncomfortable of course he lost focus.Also you knowing something was wrong with him goes right down the lead i am so glad festerooni is on the mend.

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    • #3
      I already talked to you about this kate, but I will put it here as well. While my thyroid is ok, my adrenal glands and cortisol levels were not and they are all closely related. I can tell you, when my levels are low, I have HORRIBLE retention. I cant remember things I just finished reading a minute before, and my concentration is awful. I also get really really low on patience and very easily frustrated and shut down quickly. To me, it makes perfect sense a dog would have similar effects.

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      • #4
        I wouldn't say it effects learning, but I KNOW it will effect behavior. A while back I lived with a Hypothyroid Rottie. She was a sweet and very stable dog- ON her meds. I was told off her meds she was short tempered and snippy- not all out aggressive, just not herself. Her over all energy level was also effected.

        When it started out- coat issues were her first marker as well, then weight gain. She has been on meds for the past 4 years (she is 10 now), one pill a day and she is normal happy girl with a nice coat and a trim figure. It seems a very manageable condition, and I'm glad you got to the bottom of it.
        sigpic
        "Show me your dog, and I will tell you what manner of man you are."
        ~Capt. Max von Stephanitz
        Anubis CGC (RIP) , Cheza CGC, Schwarz Frost von Lichtefeld CGCA THD TDIA, Steele Gunner Goatsbane CGCA, and Professional House Dog Oliver.

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        • #5
          I know that Finnegan is much less grumpy on his meds. I'm not sure if he'd learn better too, but it makes sense.
          sigpic

          Willow says: Can I have my apple, please?

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          • #6
            the thyroid in all mammals functions the same. its purpose is to support the endocrine function (hormones) at the specie specific levels if these are low (or high) physical and mental problems occur. i would say the hypothyroidism is quite definitely a major issue in his training. I am glad you caught this and glad to hear he is feeling better
            sigpic A dog has the soul of a philosopher ~ Plato

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            • #7
              Hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue

              I agree completely with this. I had blood/hormone testing a few months ago and had low cortisol levels from adrenal fatigue and sub-optimal T4 and T3 levels. I had such a hard time focusing, multitasking, would completely lose my train of thought mid-sentence, couldn't cope with any stressors, etc. I'm not sure of any direct physiological link between adrenals and thyroid, but glandular dysfunction often leads to more glandular dysfunction because of delicate hormone balance, and hormone imbalance can have huge side effects!

              As far as thyroid meds go, it's ideal to try supporting the thyroid with nutritional/glandular supplements first since that is often enough to kickstart the thyroid into working properly again and prevent lifelong dependence on synthetic drugs (once you start giving thyroid medication the gland usually shuts down because it no longer needs to perform its job). For example, a patient (dog) at my clinic went from 0.9 to 2.5 in one month on BioThyro, and now he's been off it for months and his T4 levels have remained stable. However, having seen pictures of Festus' skin issues, if it was me I probably would have done the same thing you did and started thyroxine immediately to make sure he got quick relief, unless his levels were just slightly out of range. I'm so glad the meds are working for him and having such huge effects on his ability to learn and retain training! A huge relief for you I'm sure!!

              Originally posted by Greenmagick View Post
              I already talked to you about this kate, but I will put it here as well. While my thyroid is ok, my adrenal glands and cortisol levels were not and they are all closely related. I can tell you, when my levels are low, I have HORRIBLE retention. I cant remember things I just finished reading a minute before, and my concentration is awful. I also get really really low on patience and very easily frustrated and shut down quickly. To me, it makes perfect sense a dog would have similar effects.
              Amanda & Emma

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Greenmagick View Post
                I already talked to you about this kate, but I will put it here as well. While my thyroid is ok, my adrenal glands and cortisol levels were not and they are all closely related. I can tell you, when my levels are low, I have HORRIBLE retention. I cant remember things I just finished reading a minute before, and my concentration is awful. I also get really really low on patience and very easily frustrated and shut down quickly. To me, it makes perfect sense a dog would have similar effects.
                I was just going to say that too. And I know when they need to be adjusted as well. Nothing works right when mine are out of wack.

                Teresa
                Teresa
                sigpic

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                • #9
                  I totally agree that it affects training. I also have thyroid issues and notice a HUGE difference in my concentration when my levels are off. What a lucky pup Festus is that you care enough to investigate instead of deeming him "untrainable" or worse.

                  Should we be doing a poll? How many Danes and owners have thyroid/adrenal disfunction? Interesting how many that there are!
                  sigpicKelly and Cosmo.

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                  • #10
                    Myself, hubby and Gus have thyroid issues... same for most of my family.

                    For the human side of things there's everything from cranky to absent minded when the meds are out of wack. For Gus, it's his attitude, not training. Thought the bad attitude makes him a little harder to control and causes a little regression in his aggression training.
                    I wouldn't say it couldn't cause the lack of learning retention though, but for us it just causes stubborn PITA moments that make it appear he's not wanting to learn or retain training.
                    Slave to 4 bassets (Curie, Ada, Gus, Kelvin), 1 dane (Lisi), 7 cats (Ashe, Sumi, Timothy, Jefferson, Winken, Nod, Onyx) and have lost count of how many chicks and chickens I have at the moment. I still have more in the incubator

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