golden has to go - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 10:48 PM Thread Starter
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golden has to go

I just registered. I am at my wits end.

I am a single mom with three girls, 11, 8, and 5. We've had our golden for two years...she was only 8 weeks when we got her. Our very first dog and a huge leap for me!

Goldie (of course, the kids named her!) is very aggressive, always has been. Obsessive with toys. Wants constant attention. We've tried trainers...we are novices...we know we made mistakes, but we've tried our best.

We live on a small lake and Goldie LOVES the water, loves to play with her toys on the dock, bats her toys until it almost falls off the dock, then catches it. If she doesn't catch in time, she jumps in after it. She entertains and challenges herself for hours. We believe she is a very unique, smart dog.

Last week, she got my youngest daughter TWICE in one swoop...on the chest (no skin broken, but teeth marks galore and lots of bruising). Then she got her on the forearm, breaking skin top and bottom with puncture wounds....lots of bruising too.

My daughter admitted much later that she did pull at Goldie's back to get her away from the spot she wanted to be, but no one witnessed this and I feel that this cannot possibly be tolerated. Goldie has never been mistreated and we all love her. Everyone in the neighborhood loves her and we are sick about having to let her go, but I don't feel we have an option at this point.

Since the incident last Monday, Goldie has been in a neighbor's care. The police (came to the hospital) tell us they will call in 10 days to see how Goldie and my daughter are...then I have to decide what to do.

My oldest daughter is heartbroken...she was terrified of dogs before Goldie and is the biggest reason we got a dog....a golden, we thought, was supposed to be the ultimate family pet....Now we are all distraught and don't know what to do....

Any prolific thoughts, ideas, advice would be very much appreciated.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 10:53 PM
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The first thing is to contact her breeder. Any breeder worth the title will insist that dogs that they have bred come back to them.

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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-07-2009, 11:02 PM
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Hi. This is a scary situation. I'm really sorry your daughter got hurt, and I hope she's OK physically and can still relax around the dog.

As far as the dog's situation, first, be aware that if you give up this dog at this point, she may have to be euthanized because of her history of biting. I know it's unacceptable for a dog to bite a kid, and that may push you to but you need to maintain a sense of the dog's perspective. She probably bit because she thought it was the only way to maintain her safety.

That said, there are a whole lot of things that an experienced trainer can do to help eliminate biting, and her behavior may, in fact, make a lot of sense from her perspective. If your kids have been grabbing the dog in a way that makes her feel threatened, it would explain her behavior.

Right now you have a dog that has learned that kids are a threat and that biting protects her from that threat. You need to change her perceptions of how that works. I know you said you've had trainers before, but have you had a certified behaviorist examine her?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-08-2009, 12:16 AM
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I am sorry that your daughter was hurt by the bites. The first thing I would do after the 10 days is to contact a golden retriever rescue. They can help get her into a foster home. Rescues can work with dogs to help the problems and will only adopt out to a home without children. The dogs are put in a foster home with someone so you dont have to worry they are sitting in a shelter atmosphere. You can rest easy she will find a wonderful home.

Here is a list of golden retriever rescues in the US

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-08-2009, 05:45 AM
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I agree that contacting her breeder first and a rescue second is best. If you are close to me geographically (Maine), I will take her right away,work with her, and rehome her to experienced golden owners who do not have children at home rather than see her put to sleep!

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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-08-2009, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Ljilly28 View Post
I agree that contacting her breeder first and a rescue second is best. If you are close to me geographically (Maine), I will take her right away,work with her, and rehome her to experienced golden owners who do not have children at home rather than see her put to sleep!
I hope you are close enough to help, that is a wonderful offer.

"To my mind, I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man."
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."
Mahatma Gandhi

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-09-2009, 06:55 AM
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You have gotten wonderful advice so far, from very knowledgeable people. Good luck to you. Hopefully something can be worked out.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-09-2009, 07:35 AM
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Sounds like she doesn't accept her correct place in your pack. My older dog, 11 now, bit my son a couple months ago but he pulled on her and hurt her - she struck out and got him once in the hand. One of her canines punctured his skin which led to super swollen hand and 2 stitches. She is old and sore and grumpy, and my son knows better so I totally put that responsibility on my son, not my dog. I too had to wait the 10 days and got a do not destroy your dog letter in the mail. If I had gotten a "destroy the dog" letter I would have burned it.
The only small comfort here is that she was correcting your daughter, not attacking her as it was one bite and done. It sounds like your dog doesn't respect that your daughter is higher on the pack list than she is. Perhaps she sees her as an equal or below - that would explain why she feels it's appropriate to correct your daughter and doing it once may have made your dog feel empowered and moving up in the pack structure. That's my 2 cents anyways, and at the very least, gives a better understanding of what happened and way.
Saying that, as a parent, I would completely understand after a 2nd episode why you would consider rehoming her rather than take the chance while you are working through her issues as a family, a 3rd incident takes place. If you do that, please take everyone's advice and get in contact with a rescue- don't give her away to someone you've met only 1 time because people can lie and you don't really know how your dog will be treated. If you go with a rescue, your dog will get behavior help and be guaranteed a super checked out wonderful home.
Lastly, I want to say please don't let this experience with your golden turn you off from the breed. All goldens I've ever known are very sweet, great dogs. You just got a golden with a super dose of attitude - and that's not the norm. Please consider while you are talking to the rescue, asking about any they have that need to be homed or consider getting another golden puppy. This time, however, get a boy - girls can be more independent and boys are big goofy dependent goofs - did I mention goof? At least mine is and I wouldn't trade him for the world!! If you do get a puppy, be prepared for the work and the land shark quality - bite clothes, people, etc - puppy behavior amplified and not sure how your daughter would take that - would it scare her now? or would she see it was baby behavior as she should? Which is why again, it might not be a bad idea to ask the rescue if they have a golden who would complement your family as rescues would not let you adopt any dog that wouldn't thrive in your home - it's much less of a crap shoot.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do - again, please don't let this turn you off of goldens. If I could I'd let you and your daughter spend some time with Max just so you could see how sweet, loving, and silly they should be.

"Some days you're the dog, some days you're the hydrant."

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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 11-10-2009, 10:10 AM
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Can I just say how truly wonderful it is that the folks who have replied have done so in a kind way? Everyone wants what is best for this family, including the dog (a member of the family, after all!) I am just very impressed with the responses to the OP. Thanks, GoldenRetrieverForum, for being a place where we novices can go with out questions and concerns and NOT get slammed!

KatieMollyMaya, I hope things work out for all of you.
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