An Agressive Golden Retreiver and how to deal with it. 

It is rare for a Golden Retriever dog to turn out to be aggressive, but it can happen. There are many causes for this type of behavioral issues. In some cases, poor propagation can result in an aggressive Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers usually don’t truly care about dominance and tend to be very good at accepting their status as a subordinate member of your family pack. Even so, that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen. Dominance issues are one of the most common reasons for aggression.

Most often times, Golden Retriever dog aggression issues will simply be acting out of fear. This is acknowledged as defensive aggression. For instance, if your golden was hurt by a big dog or young child when she was youthful, she may react aggressively when uncovered to these triggers later on in life. Dealing with defensive aggression can be scary and irritating at the same time. While you do not want to scare your dog or cause more emotional trauma, you naturally want to decrease the incidences of aggressive behavior.

One of the most important things you can do when dealing with defensive aggression is to not disregard the problem. It is important to deal with the issues as soon as possible mainly because aggression can increase over time if not properly addressed.

Facts About Golden Retriever Dog Aggression.

Aggressive behavior can begin with some Golden retriever dogs when they are as youthful as five or six weeks old! At this point, many dogs or puppies are still being weaned and haven’t even left the breeder. This is why it is very important to invest in your golden retriever from a reputable breeder. You should also take the time to meet your pup’s parents to see if they have any behavioral issues.

One good way to stop aggressive behavior is to make sure that your dog or puppy is properly socialized. A critical period for socialization is from the time a dog is 6 weeks old until he or she is 14 weeks old. Following your puppy is weaned and has received her first sequence of shots, you can take her out in public. Some people choose to socialize their dog in public before she has acquired shots. You can minimize the risk of your dog contracting a virus by holding her while out in public. immediately after your dog has been properly immunized, you can take her to family outings in the park, to the dog park, or even to the pet store. taking your dog out to these spots is a great way to expose your dog to people and other pets

How to Recognize the Signs of Dog Aggression.

Aggressive behavior in any dog is easy to spot, ears will be laid back, teeth showing and body more in a downward slant as if to attack its prey. In addition, you should be able to recognize the signs of dog aggression to learn how to deal with an aggressive golden retriever dog. This signs can include:

  • Dominate aggression is typically the bully type of aggression, which can lead to food dominance or having problems with dogs or people.
  • Fear aggression typically happens when the dog is so afraid that they go into a fight or flight mode. Typically their tail may be between their legs even when they are showing signs of aggression.
  • Territorial aggression happens when there is typically more than one dog in the home and one is territorial over food or toys.
  • Some dogs become very aggressive when they are possessive of their owners. This means that they may bite or growl if others approach their owner.
  • Many dogs become aggressive with punishment which is the direct cause of humans. This means harsh punishment (which is abuse) can lead to the dog becoming aggressive to protect itself.
  • Some dogs display aggression when they are in pain, especially a senior dog, therefore it is important not to lift a dog that is in pain.
  • Maternal aggression, if your golden retriever dog just had a liter of puppies, you might not want to begin playing with the puppies straight away because this can cause the motherly instinct to kick in and make her aggressive toward you. This typically happens during the first few days after giving birth, and it is the mama dog’s responsibility to protect her babies.

Aggressive Golden Retriever Dog-motherIt is important to recognize the type of golden retriever aggression that your dog is displaying because sometimes it is just situational, such as pain aggression. Dogs are like people and they deal with pain differently, which means that some dogs want you to comfort them when they are in pain and others want you to leave them alone.

It is vital you know the cues your dog is giving you so that you understand if it is situational or if your dog needs obedience training. While golden retrievers are not know for their aggressiveness, any dog in certain situations can become aggressive.

Dealing With an Aggressive Golden Retriever Dog.

When your dog acts inappropriately, it is important that you don’t do the same. This means that you should never discipline your young puppy harshly, especially if she is between 8 to 10 weeks old. When you discipline your dog, do not hit her with your hand or another object, yell at her, or use other harsh discipline methods. This can actually backfire and cause more aggression, especially if your dog is defensive aggressive.

1- Aggressive Golden Retriever Dog : Nature Or Nurture?

In Golden Retrievers, the majority of the cases of dog aggression and food aggression have genetic components.According to one such study, breeding for calmness in Golden Retrievers have messed the fundamental brain chemistry of the dog resulting in unwanted aggression. Selective breeding against the nature of the dog has fastened the process. However, if a Golden Retriever has developed a dog aggression or food aggression we can at least control it through proper socialization and obedience training. Living conditions, excessive punishment, being attacked or frightened by an aggressive dog also influence aggression in Golden Retrievers.

While genetics may play a role in raising aggressive behavior, environment can play a huge role. If your dog is abused or neglected, she will have a very good chance of starting to be aggressive. A dog that has poor living conditions, very harsh masters and no social expertise is very most likely to develop behavior issues.

2- Controlling Aggressive Behavior Once It Has Started.

If your dog shows aggressive behavior immediately after one year of age, you will need to address the problem quickly. You may need to enlist the help of a trained professional to do this.

Recall that it is important to not reward your dog for aggressive behavior. If you deal with your dog or pet your dog immediately immediately after aggressive behavior, you are in essence rewarding that behavior.

If your dog becomes aggressive since it is fearful, you will need to take some time to work on social competencies and socialization. You should also seek the advice of a trained professional who has practical experience dealing with defensive aggressive behaviors.

Aggression can be controlled. Nonetheless, it is very important to take the steps necessary to solve the problem as an alternative of ignoring behaviors and hoping that they will go away on their own.

3- Proper Socialization Can Limit Golden Retriever Dog Aggression.

Aggressive Golden Retriever Dog-socializationThough Golden Retrievers are equally amiable with both strangers and those familiar to them, they sometime show aggression towards both of them. The reasons may vary for a Golden Retriever aggression towards strangers and towards family members. One reason why a Golden Retriever shows aggression towards strangers is that they might never have the chance to get used to them. Again proper socialization and lot of outings can solve the problem. Socializing Golden Retriever means that you start exposing them to a wide variety of new experiences, new people, and new animals from a young age.

Aggression towards family members can be commonly because of two reasons— either your Golden Retriever is trying to defend himself from a perceived threat, which he sees in any of the family member or he is not comfortable with the treatment he is getting from you or other members of the family. Golden Retrievers have an overly-possessive behavior and when you try to take away his belongings or you approach it when it is eating, they develop aggression against you. This resource guarding nature of Golden Retrievers which gives rise to aggression actually boils down to the issue of dominance.Your Golden Retriever has a tendency to rank each member of the family, and has his own perception of where he ranks in that environment as well. And a higher-ranked Golden Retriever acts aggressively in defense of resources.

The best way to treat Golden Retriever aggression is consistent and frequent obedience work with lot of socialization.In fact, the earlier you start the socialization process the lesser are the chances of aggression. Golden Retrievers also show aggression if they are not handled and groomed properly. Picking up his paws and touching them with the clipper and taking them into the bath definitely helps in reducing the chances of aggression. Never try to push or punish you Golden Retriever while you are training or playing with him, such things will only promote Golden Retriever’s aggression.

Don’t forget that properly socializing your Golden retriever dog before she is 14 weeks of age can genuinely help to decrease her possibilities of acquiring aggressive behavior later on in life.

Conclusion about how to deal with an agressive golden retriever dog:

Keep in mind that golden retriever dogs are smart, therefore, if you recently adopted a full grown dog and it is showing signs of aggression, you should immediately get your dog in an obedience test. 


Author: anahita0914

Canine Behaviourist and K9 Service Dog Trainer

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