Thank you for the tips. The breeder is Millstone Goldens in Clarkston. I was warned not to use them and didn't listen....
Huh. They are a fairly active breeder and seem to be using nice dogs...?
I'm not surprised she won't let you re-sell your dog to get your money back - please do not even consider that. I would look at your contract though and make sure that it was right there in the writing upfront before you purchased your dog that she would not give any money back should you choose to return him.
I'm actually surprised she charged $2000. o_O! Holy cow. Why?!
I was hemming and hawing about responding yesterday... my gut reaction was my usual response that this too will pass and years from now you won't believe that your dog was ever this bad.
Our Sammy had 2 bites in his first year. The first, my sister needed stitches on her arm. The other my other sister (only 3 or 4 years old) had a couple bites on her back and a cut (from toenails) on her leg. <- My baby sister didn't need stitches, and my parents only just now were told that happened.
Sammy grew up and he became a goofy and easy going dog who did funny clownish things all the time and never bit ever again the rest of his life.
We got there primarily due to the obedience instructor (who was also a behavioralist and a good portion of her business was doing housecalls or giving privates for extreme cases) really being a phone call away if we had any questions or concerns. I'd recommend her, except I know she retired years ago and can no longer handle dogs because of severe allergies (she always had allergies, but they apparently went haywire and put her in the hospital).
Please follow through and get your guy into classes. At his age, I really am not surprised to hear about bites and scratches and hyperactivity. He's a teenager. I think goldens like any other breed will definitely act up if given a loose enough leash or little training.
And dominance is not the same thing as aggression. It generally means that your dog expects to get his way and put you guys in your place. I think it's reasonable to expect this dog to cede to you or whoever is going to be the main trainer or authority figure in your home. It's not reasonable to expect him to respect your kids. They have high voices. They move fast. They squeal. They are his littermates. If he's jumping at their back and nipping - it's probably no different than what I see my Bertie doing with Jacks. All the time.
Good example is yesterday Bertie was jumping up on our couch and then leaping off with the obvious intention of landing on top of his brother. This while they were playfighting.
If he directed that playfighting and physical flinging at a child - I would probably be HORRIFIED. I suspect that may be what is going on with your dog. Only difference is he's not a 35lb puppy. You have a 70-80lb young dog on your hands. I agree that is a huge problem - it's easier to train a 30lb puppy not to kill his brother while playing vs telling a 70-80lb dog to knock it off.
Because you really are having problems and have kids (it's easier if you don't have kids or don't have YOUNG kids) and maybe haven't had this dog in classes before, I'd definitely look into somebody who will either come to your house and work with you, or work closely with you at class or give privates. I love group classes, but there isn't always enough 1 on 1 attention for problems like this.