Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi, this is my first time posting here. Just some background: I have a neutered 1 1/2 year old male golden retriever. For the past few months he’s been growling a lot when he used to never. We also have an intact male Newfoundland that he was raised with, who has never exhibited any similar issues (he does have some separation anxiety and counter surfing though) My golden, Finn, is the more dominant one of the pair. I’ve spent a lot of time training my dogs and they listen very well. I take them on runs and hikes nearly everyday and they are well exercised.

My golden has recently gotten protective over his food and stiffens and growls, and I’ve been trying to fix it with hand feeding him and bribing him away from his bowl with treats before the aggression starts, and I was wondering if there was any advice on the food aggression, but it’s also escalated.

The other night I invited him to come and cuddle me on the couch and he laid his head on my stomach, and I was petting him and when I got close to his snout he growled at me. I tried to move his head away and he stiffened, then placed his head on my check near my neck. I tried to move him away again and he growled again, so I calmly told him to get off the couch (no fuss, no yelling) and he listened and went to his own bed.

The other day we took him to a family friend’s house and their smaller dogs were sniffing him (these small dogs are unbalanced and don’t have awesome social skills, very spoiled), but when they kept following and sniffing him without easing up he starting growling and snapped at them. When one tried to hump him, he snapped at him (I don’t blame him, the smaller dog is not well trained and owners didn’t seem to care, but I don’t want him to ever hurt another dog).

He was laying at our feet later in the night, and when one of them got too close and wouldn’t let up the sniffing, he growled and snapped. For most of the night he played fine with these dogs very well and had no other problems, but his personal space seems to be the issue. He has met these dogs a year ago before, and there had been no issues at all then. At one point in the night, I stopped letting sit too close because the position wedged him in a corner and that seemed to be an issue when other dogs were near.

I socialized him a lot when he was younger at dog parks and there was never any issues. I take him to the park at our apartments every now and then, but the encounter with another dog isn’t promised, but he does good when there is. When COVID lightens up I’d like to take him to the busier parks he went to when he was younger, but I worry about this recent aggression. He knows boundaries with other dogs and knows when he needs to back off, but not all other dogs were socialized well enough to know when to back off, and I worry about an incident at the park because at the end of the day, he’s more of a dominant dog than a submissive one. I don’t know if his outbursts are out of aggression, they seem more fear based, though I’m not sure what of. I plan to take him to a trainer in person, but I was wondering if there was anything I could do in the meantime to help him.

Could I take him to the park with a muzzle? Would that help him learn better coping? Or would he be more fear reactive because he doesn’t have a way to defend himself?
What am I doing that’s encouraging these behaviors that I don’t recognize? How else can I help him?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
329 Posts
Pandora's answer is the first thing that occurred to me. With a change like that in an adult dog, I'd want medical issues ruled out before looking for anything else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,373 Posts
First a vet.

If he is physically healthy (no thyroid issues etc.) I will suggest the following. Even if he HAS a medical issue I suggest the following.

Don't put your hands in his food. Feed him by himself somewhere alone. I don't understand this need to fiddle with a dog's food. Let him eat in peace in a crate. Put him in the crate first and then feed him there and leave him alone. If you don't use crates, put him in a room and feed him and shut the door. Come back later and let him out. Period. All that crap of putting hands in food bowls and not expecting the dog to defend his own food is utter and complete garbage. That fake hand introduced creepily in shelters is just ASKING the dog to defend it's food. 60 years ago the rule with dogs is Leave the Dog Alone when it is Eating. I was told this at age 4 and the dog backed it up and my parents blamed ME and they were right!

The rest sounds like simple boundaries. No more laying on the couch.. bed etc and no more snuggling. I most assuredly would not let a dog that is growling around my face.

Treat him like a dog. On the floor. On a mat or dog bed. Train "go to mat."

I bet when he was younger you took him to play with other dogs and let everyone pet him and let dogs come up to him. Maybe even went to a dog park? Stop that. Completely. No dog parks. No greeting dogs on leash. Never should do that anyway. Socialization is just being around activity, not engaging in activity.

No letting people pet him. They want to pet a dog, let them get their own dog. If someone's dog comes toward you, get between that dog and yours and ask them to call their dog. If they have a dog on leash do the same thing. Advocate for your dog.

When you go and visit your friend with the spoiled dogs, leave your dog home. That is the answer. He is a year and a half old. He is telling you every way possible to STOP this.

And when people come to your house they should leave their dogs home. You have two dogs. They hike with you well. They like each other. That is enough. Your dogs do not need to be friends with all the rest of the dogs out there and this Golden (who sounds like a really good dog) is trying to tell you in every way possible that he does not like these things anymore. Stop doing them and forcing him to be who is is not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,713 Posts
I agree with having a complete physical and thyroid testing done.

Don't bribe him away from his food and/or taking his bowl away from him. Instead, if you feel you just have to do something, drop a super-tasty treat into his bowl and walk away. Separate the dogs at feeding time, so that there isn't any competition.

Also, some dogs become intolerant of other dogs as the mature, especially dogs of the same sex. At a year and a half, your Golden is starting to really mature, and his adult personality is coming through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
I agree with having a complete physical and thyroid testing done.

Don't bribe him away from his food and/or taking his bowl away from him. Instead, if you feel you just have to do something, drop a super-tasty treat into his bowl and walk away. Separate the dogs at feeding time, so that there isn't any competition.

Also, some dogs become intolerant of other dogs as the mature, especially dogs of the same sex. At a year and a half, your Golden is starting to really mature, and his adult personality is coming through.
Agree that he is becoming mature. Even though neutered there are hormonal activities that affect them. I would give him some space and not expose him to other critters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Hi, this is my first time posting here. Just some background: I have a neutered 1 1/2 year old male golden retriever. For the past few months he’s been growling a lot when he used to never. We also have an intact male Newfoundland that he was raised with, who has never exhibited any similar issues (he does have some separation anxiety and counter surfing though) My golden, Finn, is the more dominant one of the pair. I’ve spent a lot of time training my dogs and they listen very well. I take them on runs and hikes nearly everyday and they are well exercised.

My golden has recently gotten protective over his food and stiffens and growls, and I’ve been trying to fix it with hand feeding him and bribing him away from his bowl with treats before the aggression starts, and I was wondering if there was any advice on the food aggression, but it’s also escalated.

The other night I invited him to come and cuddle me on the couch and he laid his head on my stomach, and I was petting him and when I got close to his snout he growled at me. I tried to move his head away and he stiffened, then placed his head on my check near my neck. I tried to move him away again and he growled again, so I calmly told him to get off the couch (no fuss, no yelling) and he listened and went to his own bed.

The other day we took him to a family friend’s house and their smaller dogs were sniffing him (these small dogs are unbalanced and don’t have awesome social skills, very spoiled), but when they kept following and sniffing him without easing up he starting growling and snapped at them. When one tried to hump him, he snapped at him (I don’t blame him, the smaller dog is not well trained and owners didn’t seem to care, but I don’t want him to ever hurt another dog).

He was laying at our feet later in the night, and when one of them got too close and wouldn’t let up the sniffing, he growled and snapped. For most of the night he played fine with these dogs very well and had no other problems, but his personal space seems to be the issue. He has met these dogs a year ago before, and there had been no issues at all then. At one point in the night, I stopped letting sit too close because the position wedged him in a corner and that seemed to be an issue when other dogs were near.

I socialized him a lot when he was younger at dog parks and there was never any issues. I take him to the park at our apartments every now and then, but the encounter with another dog isn’t promised, but he does good when there is. When COVID lightens up I’d like to take him to the busier parks he went to when he was younger, but I worry about this recent aggression. He knows boundaries with other dogs and knows when he needs to back off, but not all other dogs were socialized well enough to know when to back off, and I worry about an incident at the park because at the end of the day, he’s more of a dominant dog than a submissive one. I don’t know if his outbursts are out of aggression, they seem more fear based, though I’m not sure what of. I plan to take him to a trainer in person, but I was wondering if there was anything I could do in the meantime to help him.

Could I take him to the park with a muzzle? Would that help him learn better coping? Or would he be more fear reactive because he doesn’t have a way to defend himself?
What am I doing that’s encouraging these behaviors that I don’t recognize? How else can I

I always suggest a vet check to make sure he doesn’t have anything going on. Food aggression takes time to to change their thinking. Hand feeding I would recommend. I have used it for other dogs, but it takes a long time. I worked with one dog for two months hand feeding every meal. When he is guarding a toy or something he likes offer him a better treat and trade off. I would not let him lay on you for any reason at this time. Some dogs try to get to the point that their head is higher then yours if you lay down with them. This is a dominant move on their part. Working with a trainer is a excellent plan. It’s easy to get a trainer without the experience because you can take online classes. These classes have very little hands on, and a lot of states you don’t have to even have a certification. Get references and don’t be afraid of asking how many aggression cases they have worked with. There are many trainers that do mostly Obedience classes. Vets often have good recommendations. It was suggested by one reply that you just leave the dog alone to eat. Don’t do this, you never know if a child comes over and picks up something he likes. That would cause a bad situation for you and the child. I wish you well, and your a great person rescuing this dog. You are willing to get the help and work with him.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top