SAN FRANCISCO -- Six-year-old Mikey is a German shepherd-husky mix. His dog mom Elena Zulueta was worried about his behavior as he acted aggressively while walking near people.
She tried different trainers and even a boarding school. She was hoping that a four-hour session with controversial dog trainer Augusto Deoliveira would yield some positive changes.
"I have a vicious dog here so that's why we want to just try it to see if it would help," Zulueta said.
She was met with protesters as she entered a San Francisco building on Saturday afternoon. Many of the protesters were dog trainers. They maintain that Deoliveira, who's better known on social media as The Dog Daddy, is abusing animals.
"Each one of us has our own opinion but, for me, if it would help my dog, why not?" Zulueta asked.
The Dog Daddy has millions of followers. He claimed to have changed the behavior of some of the worst dogs but critics say he uses force and inflicts pain and gets only temporary compliance.
"Unfortunately, they're the victims of an unregulated industry and the thing that they're trying next is something that could potentially make their dog much, much worse," said Christina Cambie, a dog trainer and behavior consultant.
There are no regulations when it comes to dog training. No license required, thus no oversight.
"Is this how you want to treat your dog? Would you use these methods on a child to make them obey?" asked Ren Volpe, a dog trainer and behavior consultant.
KPIX was not allowed inside the training session. An attendee provided a video of Saturday's session, which showed The Dog Daddy working with roughly 30 owners.
Dog owners said they had paid $100 to $400 to attend. Many said it was their last resort.
"(My dog Sophia has) already bitten another dog or two in the neighborhood, and I don't want it to escalate where she might hurt a human and the ultimate may happen -- euthanasia," said owner Paula Kotzen.
Kotzen said she supports The Dog Daddy and believes his method can help her dog.
"There's a lot of misunderstanding on what I do because, when you reach millions of people on a daily basis, there's a lot of different opinions that get formed," Deoliveira told KPIX.
Deoliveira conducts one-day training sessions across the country. He said he has years of experience working with dogs. He said that, in each session, he provides methods that dog owners can take home to work on sustainable behavior changes.
"The misconception that I am abusing dogs comes from people that don't understand that, specifically, the types of dogs that come to me are dogs that are very out-of-control. They have tried everything else," Deoliveira said.
For Zulueta, she said Mikey was very calm after the training.
"It's very good. It's very informative. I'm very happy and pleased," Zulueta said.
The Dog Daddy has scheduled another training session later this month in Sacramento. Protesters said they plan to demonstrate at that event as well.
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