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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Close to giving up

Iím so grateful to have this forum with so many experienced Goldie owners and lovers!

I have a male Golden Retriever named Jay Jay who just turned 2 years old. Weíve had him since he was 8 weeks old. He is our beloved family pet. I have 2 teenager daughters 14 and 16. My 14 year old is my tom boy and an animal lover.

The 14 year old (who was 12 when we got him) has always rough housed with Jay Jay. She loves to wrestle with him as well as take his toy run around the house with him chasing her then when he gets close she throws it. She will also run up the stairs to her room yelling, Jay Jay running after her and slams her door. He will chase her and throw himself against the door scratching and growling. They also play outside in the backyard, but she does like to get him worked up. She loves to lay with him and rest her head on him and loves him to death. My husband and I let it go for a few minutes and then tell her to take him outside.

Jay Jay loves to pick things up for attention Ė trash, shoes, clothes and usually brings it to us. At 8 months old she tried to take a piece of trash out of his mouth and he bit her on the arm and hand. She screamed and he stopped. We told her not to take anything out of his mouth. We also had him in basic training learning sit, stay, leave it, come, wait, etc. He listened most of the time. Leave it was the hardest for him. He tends to get overstimulated and anxious.

About 7 months later my same younger daughter was playing with Jay Jay on our bed. She was lying on her back and Jay Jay was standing above her. She had him all worked up and kept grabbing his toy out of his mouth, hiding it. Then she would show it to him, throw it. He would go fetch it, jump back on the bed and round and round it went. Until he got fed up and went after her. This time is was really bad. It was an attack. She screamed and he did not get off of her until the rest of the family came running up screaming his name. She had multiple puncture wounds on her hands. I considered giving him away, but was told we can work with a behaviorist and get through this. We worked with a vet who specializes in Behavior Medicine. She gave us medication to help calm Jay Jay and my daughter stopped most of the previous behavior I mentioned above.

Another 7 months later, just recently my younger daughter had Jay Jay worked up by playing with him late at night because she was excited for her trip the next morning. Jay Jay was up about 45 minutes after he normally settles for bed. He had been humping most of the family frequently that week. This night after playing and humping her multiple times she was on the floor arranging her shoes in her closet. He jumped on her to hump her and she shoved him off and yelled at him. He went after her. Again very bad, attacking, multiple puncture wounds on her hands and leg. She was screaming and it didnít stop. We all came running up screaming and he was afraid and growled at my husband and other daughter. He looks up to me and has bonded with me the most so I calmly told him to come with me which he did. I put him in the garage so we could get her to the ER. At this point Iím ready to get rid of him.

About 5 days have gone by and he seems normal again. Very loving and happy to the whole family. Iíve tried to minimize the contact between my daughter and Jay Jay. We had an excellent trainer come to our house and told us we can absolutely work with and give him firm obedience training. Obviously we have stopped all running through the house, screaming, taking things from him, rough housing, etc. Weíve been calm and loving and given him firm commands. I think we might be able to turn this around. We are also going to, as a family watch dog behavior videos and work hard to all be on the same page with training him. Weíre going to remain calm around him and not rile him up, only play outside with his toy that he will drop first before we throw it. Also we will continually have the trainer come to the house.

Also we are planning on getting him neutered ASAP.

Sorry this is so long! Any thoughts would be welcome.

Last edited by Goldielover123; 05-21-2019 at 12:01 PM.
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 12:35 PM
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No rescue will take this dog now that he has caused puncture wounds. If you rehome him you will need to disclose this. It is a liability. If you do not disclose this, rehome him and someone else gets bit, they can come after you.

This is serious. All people who interact with him should follow strict protocols. No rough housing. PERIOD. EVER. Your daughters are risking getting bit every time they rough house with him. You cannot allow this to happen ever...if you had taught him (and them) fair trade, you may have avoided the bites.

Your options for rehoming him are limited. If you don't wish to euthanize him (humanely), you need to put some rules in place. Neutering him is not going to solve your problem.

If you are serious about helping your dog please reach out to someone who is specialized in resource guarding. Management and teaching fair trade are the best way to turn this around. I get worried when I read the word "firm" in your comment. If you utilize aversive training with a dog who resource guards you are going to end up with a dog that bites without warning. A good book to read is "Mine". You can order it on Amazon.


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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the suggestions.

NO aversive training. Only positive reinforcement training. NO rough housing at all!! Or running in the house or yelling or getting him worked up. Just outside play with his toys and with him dropping it on his own first.

Your picture is so sweet.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Goldielover123 View Post
Thank you for the suggestions.

NO aversive training. Only positive reinforcement training. NO rough housing at all!! Or running in the house or yelling or getting him worked up. Just outside play with his toys and with him dropping it on his own first.

Your picture is so sweet.

Thank you for the compliment. I love my boys :-)

Those are great steps that you have started. I had a dog (for a brief period of time) who resource guarded and I ended up rehoming her because she was attacking my other two dogs. It was stressful so I empathize with what you are going through. Your children's safety has to come first (as you know). I can imagine the feelings you have because it's apparent you love him. The only way to save him is with strong management practices (and even then mistakes will happen). Someone will forget. I didn't mean to sound harsh about his options, but the reality is you really are his best option. But you, he and your daughters need to be safe. If all parties involved agree to practice fair trade with him, no rough housing, etc. you might still be able to get somewhere here. But always keep the knowledge in the back of your mind that he can bite.


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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 01:31 PM
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Neutering will take the testosterone levels down....and along with strict boundaries and training....neutering may take him down a few pegs behavior wise. There are reasons why million dollar colts are gelded when they are too hard to handle. Testosterone plays a role in aggression...as does lack of training, and rules.

I agree he cannot be rehomed. To me it looks like a dog that was not an easy dog from the start...and was treating your daughter like a littermate. He "corrected" her when he did not like the way things were going, and was easily riled up...and all of the testosterone flowing....not a good combination.


Neuter him, work with a trainer and behaviorist...and give him way less freedom. Implement NILIF in his life...with no special privileges, or extra attention...he must work and earn everything. If that does not work....then it's a one way trip to the vet.
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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 01:44 PM
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1. Your 14 year old daughter is way too old to be doing the stuff you described. The kind of behavior you describe is acceptable for a little kid, but the age she is - she could be the one working with the dog and doing obedience training, feeding him, walking him, and doing a variety of other things that will help him learn to see her less as a littermate to roughhouse with and more like his "person" who he relies on. Having your daughter be more involved with more mature activities with the dog will help her relationship with the dog + will help her period. Most kids who grow up working with animals tend to be years more mature and level headed than their counterparts who are clowning around and babied by their parents.

2. Obedience training is important. There was no mention of obedience training at all. And quite frankly that's more important than neutering your dog as soon as possible. And I don't care what kind of training you are doing, it's obviously not working.

I have a 10 month old who is like bottle lightning. Meaning that he's super active and hyper and does all kinds of crazy stuff that makes us laugh (see thread I posted with him standing on our kitchen table), but he obeys every single person in my family. Even my 2 year old niece when she was visiting with her family for 2 weeks - she had this dog sitting and lying down on command and he did not grab anything from her or my 1 year old nephew. This is what you get with a good obedience program and Doing the Work.

3. I'm actually less concerned about the hyperactive behavior of the dog - since it's clear about where it's coming from or what's causing it, and more concerned about two different statements.

The dog is bonded with you the most. You want to get rid of him.

If you are the one who the dog is bonded to the most and you don't want him - it would be better to place him.

Oh, and people talk a lot about "aversives" in training - but actually don't know what they are talking about. In this case, it sounds like an overstimulated dog who has no concept of manners. I would not go about pinning him (meaning you - because most people are all over the place with pinning and it turns into a wrestling/roughhousing game from the dog's point of view), but you need to exert yourself as boss with this dog. This means follow through and it means corrections because treats and praise mean nothing when your dog is overstimulated and going nuts on you. And don't fly off the handle about the evil of using corrections or "aversives". You threw the dog in the garage - that's a correction and a bit more scary to the dog than being grabbed by the scruff and dragged him down in a pin (which I would have done if I saw my dog doing what you described). And don't read books and watch you tube videos for training ideas because people make mistakes in translating what they see or read to actually doing with their dogs. Taking privates with a good trainer would be a lot more helpful.

The problems you describe with the dog - they will go away in the 6 months to a year if you guys follow through and train this dog. Give him a job to do. And actually, with summer starting - this would be a good thing to set that 14 year old to work doing with him. A private instructor would work with your daughter and help her maintain control over the dog + communicate with your dog. I think it's pretty important for her long term anyway.


Last edited by Megora; 05-21-2019 at 01:55 PM.
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Great thank you. I looked up NILIF and I know this will help as well with him as well as the behavior of jumping on us when we come into the house which no one likes!
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for taking the time to be so through!

I made the point that heís bonded to me the most to try to paint a clear picture of the family situation. I said I wanted to get rid of him out of dire fear for my daughter being attacked again and feeling so much in the dark about this whole situation and not knowing what to do about it.

It would break my heart to have to get rid of him. Iím starting to feel much better now that I had a private trainer come out to the house last night who seems to really understand dogs, their behavior, training through positive reinforcement, etc. He has trained all kinds of dogs including rescues and aggressive ones for the last 2 decades and his approach feels right and makes sense to us. The session last night went well and we will continue to work with him with obedience training. Iím also feeling better and more educated with the feedback Iím getting here! Iím really understanding our dogs complete lack of training by us and I am fired up to work with a trainer and the family is too.

We didnít really realize it and basically just kind of tolerated our dog doing what he wants most of the time. It was basically bad manners, but now I know he needs some serious training and it will be so much more pleasant to have a well behaved dog.

My 14 year old does walk and feed him, but she will be involved in his training and obviously no more rough play. I love how you put that: ďthat will help him learn to see her less as a littermate to roughhouse with and more like his "person" who he relies on.

Thanks again for your advice! Your dogs are gorgeous.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldielover123 View Post
I’m so grateful to have this forum with so many experienced Goldie owners and lovers!

At 8 months old she tried to take a piece of trash out of his mouth and he bit her on the arm and hand. She screamed and he stopped. We told her not to take anything out of his mouth. We also had him in basic training learning sit, stay, leave it, come, wait, etc. He listened most of the time. Leave it was the hardest for him. He tends to get overstimulated and anxious.
^^^^ This part right here.... Your problem started when he was very young. He needs training. I'm not a huge believer that neutering him will change much. I do know that if you neuter him you will still have to be vigilant with training. My take on this situation would have been different. I wouldn't have stopped having my daughter take things from him. I would have made the puppy start to trade to get things. It was a warning sign of problems to come.

I would hire a private trainer immediately. Not one from PetSmart or Petco, but a reputable trainer with experience with Golden's. I would start by having him/her teach me how to handle the dog, and then when the trainer felt it was time I would have him teach my daughter to handle the dog. If she loves the dog and is playing with it she just needs to learn the appropriate way to play, and so does the dog. She could start practicing obedience and then teach him some tricks. It's really rewarding to watch progress with a dog while your training it.

I think it can be fixed with the right trainer and the right attitude from everyone involved. Until then I would keep him leashed to me when we were all at home. He would become my sole responsibility.

My 4 year old grandson can get my 13 month old Golden to sit, heal, place, and down. He loves "Place". It's the biggest game. He yells "Place" and Moe runs and gets in position and my Grandson laughs and laughs. He also knows that he doesn't take the dogs toys, and they don't take his....

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 04:20 PM
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I'll preface this by saying that what you have here isn't the type of problem that's going to be resolved only with advice given on the Internet, because none of us can actually see the nature of the dog-human relationship and the events that trigger the dog's behaviour. The trainer who comes to your home is in a much better position to help you.


Having said that, and based solely on your description of what happened, it's interesting to note that the three biting events involved only your daughter, and took place when your daughter had worked the dog up into a frenzy. What you describe in your post is a lot of loud human behaviour (yelling, screaming, slamming doors in the dog's face) and a lot of human behaviour designed to make the dog lose control (running away from him, chasing him, grabbing things out of his mouth, rough-housing, etc.). A dog in a frenzy is an out-of-control dog that isn't going to be respectful of the human who's got him that way; he's going to behave as he would with another dog in a similar situation, because instinctively that is what he's conditioned to do. And that includes biting to correct her or to get what he wants. I would venture a guess that this is a situation created to a large extent by your daughter's behaviour, and both she and the dog are now paying the price for it. The problem is, the price the dog will pay is likely to be a lot higher than the price your daughter will pay. He may lose his home and quite possibly his life because of it. If, by "puncture wounds", you mean that the dog has bitten hard enough to draw blood, it will be next to impossible to place him with another family.



It's good that you've stopped your daughter from behaving in this way with the dog - it will certainly help. More than that, though, as Megora points out, now that the problem has been created, it's vital for your daughter to change the nature of her relationship with the dog, and that means becoming involved in training him. Training doesn't just happen in classes or in sessions with an in-home trainer. It's a permanent state of affairs. It needs a shift in attitude by everyone concerned, along with an investment of time. When the trainer gives exercises, those exercises need to be practised - several sessions per day, every day - until the dog's behaviour becomes conditioned. There's no point in hiring a trainer if you don't follow through. For every hour with the trainer, you need to plan several hours of practice. There are no short-cuts to getting a well-trained dog. You have to put in the time. Your daughter is old enough to understand that she's been instrumental in creating this situation and that her dog's life may now depend on her willingness to make an effort with him.


Second, humping isn't related to the fact that your dog is not neutered. It's a training issue. The worst "humper" I know is a spayed female dog. Right now, based on your description, your dog seems to be running wild and treating your daughter like a littermate because that is how she treats him. Once you change the nature of that relationship, the humping is more likely to stop. Neuter him if you like, but it won't automatically eliminate the humping, nor will it automatically make a difference to the biting. The dog is not biting because he's intact, he's biting because he's out of control, and because he thinks he can get away with it.



I wish you good luck and truly hope that things work out for you and your dog.

Christine

Ruby 13-01-2007 to 18-03-2015.
My dog of a lifetime. I'll miss you forever.
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