Thank you for your thoughtful response!
I don't think your George is 'sexually frustrated' as much as has no matters. I did not neuter my previous golden til he was 10 and he never humped a person, furniture, or other dog. Buddy who is neutered does hump other dogs after they hump him first.
I agree, and he seems to have settled down. I haven't caught him doing it in a while, but my wife says he did earlier today. He didn't get his usual exercise, and he was alone for an extended period for the first time (it was a long day... I had to help a friend who had her dog euthanized this morning), so I think that explains it. Overall, he's been much better lately.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm culpable for some of my frustration. I haven't trained a dog from the ground up in almost 15 years. My pet dog, and our last foster, responded to "yelling" (by which I mean admonishment using a deep tone of voice) in addition to praise; George simply doesn't. Once I wrapped my head around that, and realized the real power of positive reinforcement, getting him to behave the way I want was much easier.
Buddy still mouths my cats but he is not doing it to harm them and they know that. My cats are used to a mouthy Golden since my previous one did the say thing to them. He has learned to not chase the kitties overall but the 3 yorkies do egg him on. Baby gates are great- Just elevate them 6 inches off the ground so your cat can easily get away from George. I still have them up in my house. My cats and dogs get along but I still give the cats their own dog free spaces- Litterbox, food, and beds. My cats decide when and if they want to come near the dogs. Buddy is not a fan of the cats, primarily Mika, hitting him on the nose- He has learned if kitty growls leave her the heck alone or you will have a sore nose. I did keep Buddy on a leash one at all times connected to me because of his poor behavior and not being housebroken when I got him. If he can't get 6 feet from you- He can't corner the cat.
Buddy would not just beg for food he would also steal it and counter surf several times a day when I rescued him. He still begs but on my terms only- with everything it took time. If I am making food he sits or lays 3 feet from me so I am not tripping over him. When I am eating he must lay down and wait quietly otherwise he gets nothing.
Unfortunately the two areas in which George really needs improvement are begging for food and aggression toward the cat. We have set up dog-free zones using baby gates, but our cat is older and he knows that running is the worst thing he can do to end a chase. Consequently, escaping to one of the dog-free zones never works out.
Now that George has gotten a better grasp of the basic commands, I'm going to try more positive reinforcement techniques during his interactions with the cat. I still think he, and certainly the cat, would ultimately be happier if George found a new foster home, but I'll do all that I can in the meantime.
Buddy has mild separation anxiety now but it used to be severe. I changed my whole work schedule so that he was never alone for more than 1 hour at first. My parents and brother doggie sit for me when I go to work so I change my schedule to mirror their schedules. Buddy did not destroy actual things with his anxiety but he would rip his own skin off from licking, chewing, and scratching because he was upset.
That's rough. I know George hates being alone, but fortunately he isn't destructive to the house and I don't think he barks or is otherwise disruptive -- my neighbors haven't complained, at least.
You can't fix everything overnight. Pick one or 2 areas to really focus on. For
Buddy I worked on 'training'- Sit, stay, down, etc.- Throughout the day instead of formal training type sessions. It kept us both from getting board and frustrated. Buddy is very smart! And it seems like George might be the same way.
Indeed, George is smart. As I'm learning, it's all about speaking his language. He's quick to learn and eager to please, I just have to show him what I want in a way he understands.
Food and praise was the only thing that worked for Buddy at first since he did not know what play or toys was. Buddy lead a totally different life before I rescued him and what he has not and I imagine the same is true for George.
Buddy came from a trailer with 2 other male unneutered dogs (lab and pit bull/Boston terrier mix) where he was left for at least 16 hours/day plus, not housebroken, had to find his own food in the house or he would bot eat that day, his owner was an alcoholic so he probably did hit him even though he denied it but Buddy was very head shy and neck sensitive when I got him. If my brother who Buddy loves makes a quick motion over his head he will still cringe and go to hide- My brother under penalty of his own death would never hit any of my dogs!
That's absolutely terrible. I have a zero tolerance attitude toward animal cruelty and neglect. Why even bother getting a dog if he or she will be alone all the time? I'm so happy Buddy is in your care now.
George seems pretty fearless. He pulls hard on the leash (we're working on that), and he's not scared of me, the cat, the vacuum, etc. I definitely think he was neglected, but I don't think he was abused. If he was, he got over it pretty quickly.