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Old 04-12-2019, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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Protective Male Golden

Hi,

Maximus is now 8 months and a bit. He has started lifting his leg for a pee in the last month, still unneutered. (We will neuter him soon)

I am with him most of the day as my partner works and I’m a student, so I would say Maximus is quite attached to me. I didn’t really realise how attached he was because he also a really chill dog and isn’t anxious when I leave or being alone or anything. My partner does tell me that when I go and study he does look really sulky though.

I also train him and give him treats, walk him every day etc all of that.

Anyway, so I noticed some strange behaviour first surrounding food. He’s not protective over food at all, but one time we were eating dinner and he came to the table (which he knows does not reward him anything) and looking at me. When my boyfriend petted him, he started baring his teeth and got all weird slightly growling. When I petted him he was fine and looking for food in my hand (again I never give him food at the table).

Another time he was in his basket where I do give him food. When I’m near the basket and my boyfriend tries to pet him, he begins to growl. If I’m not near and my boyfriend pets/plays he’s totally fine. He likes playing with my bf. (We live together so raised him together).

He has a bone and I never go near him when he’s enjoying a bone. I was sitting on the couch and the bone was left on the rug somewhere, and all was normal. But when my bf came to sit on the couch he got all weird and protective, just because he was near the bone on the rug. But I was also near it, so don’t know why he got weird with my bf and not me. Maximus wasn’t even eating the bone.

Anyway so I told my bf it’s fine, he’s just protective of the bone. But then when my bf came a bit closer, Maximus growled more, took the bone and then ran to ME and dropped the bone/ate it on my lap. Like *** lol he kept giving me the bone. My bf has never taken food from him ever.

One day I was chopping up some boiler chicken for Maximus, I was at the kitchen counter. Again Maximus never gets food near the counter but I supposed he knew it might be for him. My boyfriend came to see me and therefore was close to Maximus and Maximus started growling at him ?? As if he was gonna take his food. Sooo weird.

I suppose I do treat Maximus solely myself. My bf does give treats too but he’s hardly home and we worry about his diarrhoea so it’s often me who gives it. But I also have this weird obsession with feeding other people my food, so when I make my own food, I often force my bf to try some and give him random spoonfuls. So perhaps Maximus sees some weird competitive thing there? (I don’t usually give Maximus human food so strange)

But then today, I went to the bedroom with Maximus and, unusually, I let him up on the bed with me. I fell asleep and we both were napping. When my bf came and saw us, he thought it was very sweet and kneeled beside us to pet him. Maximus started growling at him and no food was involved. I told Maximus to 'kiss daddy', which I say often and which Maximus loves to do. When they are play-wrestling together, I often tell him to 'kiss daddy' because I think it's funny when he starts licking his ears. But this time Maximus sharply moved his head away.

So I’m wondering is he trying to protect me? So strange because when I’m not in the equation they both have so much fun and Maximus brings him toys all the time.

Could this be because he is unneutered? Like a male dog thing? Just wondered.
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Last edited by nancie; 04-12-2019 at 12:33 PM.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:14 PM
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It does almost sound like he is resource guarding YOU, or being protective...which I would say generally is not the temperament of most goldens. I would say that your boyfriend needs to be more involved with your pup. Maybe for a while your boyfriend is the only one giving him treats, feeding him his meals AND taking him out on walks solo. Your boyfriend should be involved with training your dog too. Has Maximus completed in any obedience training? I would suggest having your boyfriend be the main 'trainer' in a class.

Right now it sounds like Maximus is viewing his 'pack' as you + him, and your boyfriend may be seen as an outsider. He is giving warning signs right now (baring his teeth, growling) that something is making him upset. Have you consulted a behaviorist? They would be better able to give you an idea of whats going on. You want to do this sooner rather than later before anything escalates..
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:55 PM
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Couldn't agree more with Emmdenn. It certainly looks like the bf is the outside that is fun to play with when nothing else is better to do but right now it's him and you and the bf isn't welcome when he's with you. I would have your bf do an obedience class as suggested and let it be him the first couple classes and you should be there after a few classes. This way he will learn that even you're around he's still to listen to him. Can't be doing a class and when it's over and your home he will do the same things. Your bf will have to do training at home as well. This will reset the pecking order and should make him respect all in the house

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Old 04-12-2019, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by nancie View Post
So Iím wondering is he trying to protect me? So strange because when Iím not in the equation they both have so much fun and Maximus brings him toys all the time.

Could this be because he is unneutered? Like a male dog thing? Just wondered.

I would be concerned about this behaviour. I don't think he's trying to protect you, I think he's trying to guard you, as a resource. I agree that you need to address this quickly, before it gets out of hand. And no, resource guarding has nothing to do with being neutered or not. Neutering won't make it go away. It's a serious issue that needs to be dealt with.



If he were my dog, I'd do the following:
(a) I would no longer give the type of resources that he may have guarded. So no more bones, for example.
(b) I would no longer allow him near the kitchen counter when I am preparing food, or near the table when we are eating. Crate him if necessary to keep him away.

(c) I would no longer allow him on the furniture or on the bed - at all.
(d) I would have the bf give all the dog's meals, and make the dog work for them: i.e. obey a series of commands before the bowl is given.

(e) I would generally use the "nothing in life is free" approach, i.e. make the dog work for everything. I would not pet the dog on request either.
(f) I would stop giving treats immediately and make sure the only treats the dog gets are treats given by the bf.
(g) I would suggest that the bf takes a training class with the dog, to establish the right type of relationship.

(h) It's important not to punish growling, but if the dog shows any signs of guarding you as a resource - growling or whatever - you should move away immediately. Don't say anything, just go and sit somewhere else. Don't pet or pay attention to the dog if he follows you - tell him calmly and kindly to go and lie down, and make sure he does so.



It's a good idea to call in a good trainer who can watch the dog's interactions with you and your bf, and give you some tips on what to do.



Good luck.

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Old 04-12-2019, 07:15 PM
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I strongly encourage you to print a copy of the suggestions Ceegee gave to you and stick them on the fridge. Things are not good at your house and need to be addressed immediately.

Have Maximus wear a 2 or 3 foot leash in the house (cut off a cheap one or make your own) and use it to enforce the new rules. Maximus will not be pleased but you need to be extremely consistent and this dog should not be allowed up on ANY furniture anymore. It will take a while, be patient, but no more on the furniture and your partner can use the leash to do impromptu obedience around the house or to guide Maximus to follow instructions without putting hands on his collar or body.

Do a google search for "Nothing In Life is Free" and invest in the home visits from a trained behavior specialist to come to your home to help work through this.

I can't stress to you enough that there is absolutely nothing positive or loving/cute about this behavior. You received excellent step by step advice above, I truly hope you follow all of it. This has to stop to make sure Maximus has a good life. It has the potential to be quite serious.


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Old 04-12-2019, 08:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nancie View Post
So I’m wondering is he trying to protect me? So strange because when I’m not in the equation they both have so much fun and Maximus brings him toys all the time.

Could this be because he is unneutered? Like a male dog thing? Just wondered.

I would be concerned about this behaviour. I don't think he's trying to protect you, I think he's trying to guard you, as a resource. I agree that you need to address this quickly, before it gets out of hand. And no, resource guarding has nothing to do with being neutered or not. Neutering won't make it go away. It's a serious issue that needs to be dealt with.



If he were my dog, I'd do the following:
(a) I would no longer give the type of resources that he may have guarded. So no more bones, for example.
(b) I would no longer allow him near the kitchen counter when I am preparing food, or near the table when we are eating. Crate him if necessary to keep him away.

(c) I would no longer allow him on the furniture or on the bed - at all.
(d) I would have the bf give all the dog's meals, and make the dog work for them: i.e. obey a series of commands before the bowl is given.

(e) I would generally use the "nothing in life is free" approach, i.e. make the dog work for everything. I would not pet the dog on request either.
(f) I would stop giving treats immediately and make sure the only treats the dog gets are treats given by the bf.
(g) I would suggest that the bf takes a training class with the dog, to establish the right type of relationship.

(h) It's important not to punish growling, but if the dog shows any signs of guarding you as a resource - growling or whatever - you should move away immediately. Don't say anything, just go and sit somewhere else. Don't pet or pay attention to the dog if he follows you - tell him calmly and kindly to go and lie down, and make sure he does so.



It's a good idea to call in a good trainer who can watch the dog's interactions with you and your bf, and give you some tips on what to do.



Good luck.
Thanks guys for all your help. And Ceegee I’ll definitely follow all this! Now that I know it’s not loving or anything, I’ll be more disciplined about all this. And the furniture/bed changes will be easy as he isn’t usually allowed on them anyway. I’ve already told my boyfriend to give him more treats and stepped back. The only reason he wasn’t training him is because he’s usually at work so instead of not training Maximus at all, I’ll just usually spend time doing it since I’m free. But I’ll balance that out more and I’m sure my boyfriend can take him on a walk when he’s back from work even if I already have (can’t complain about 2 walks! Lol). These have been very strange and isolated incidents, and have only popped up in the past week or so, but I’ll be firm because I wouldn’t want it exacerbating and then making it harder to teach positive behaviours. The good thing is Maximus is very receptive to the things I don’t like. If he’s seen that something does not reward him when it comes to me (without punishing) he catches on real quick. In the past he even used to be food protective with me but after I learned what I was doing wrong and changed, he also changed super quick. So I’m sure with his intelligence this can be addressed promptly (and permanently!). Thanks!

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Old 04-14-2019, 06:43 PM
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Hi nancie. I had a similar problem with my last golden and one of our daughters. My daughter would have been 8or 9 at the time. We had Odin in obedience classes with a great trainer. Odin was about 8 months old. Our one daughter would always be on the floor playing with him etc but she did not take part in the training. He started to growl at her and even snapped at her a couple of times. So we called Charlie and explained what was happening. What he he told us is pretty much word for word the same as the list that Ceegee has written. We took all his advice to heart and were very strict with the training. It didnt take long and the problem was solved. I continued to train with Odin but my daughter also had to train (obedience) him everyday for 10 min or so. We never encountered the issue again with Odin. He was the dog everyone wanted but we put the time in with training. It paid off in spades.


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Old 04-14-2019, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Guys I am really upset and worried. Things have escalated in a weird way, and I can't figure out what the connection is anymore. While before, it was happening with my boyfriend touching him, now it's happening with me as well.

Basically, since I wrote this post and saw you guy's replies, my partner and I immediately changed the way we do stuff. We've always been pretty strict and structured so this was not a problem at all. Maximus has always had a regular feeding schedule, regular every day exercise, sleeping pattern, everything. Even this 'nothing is free' is a concept we already apply every day, because that has always been important for me to have a well behaved dog. Even the furniture and couch - he is almost never allowed on them, and the times he is allowed is only if we are also on the couch and he comes up for a short 5 minute cuddle, then gets put back down. He sleeps in the living room and not in the bedroom with us even. Of course we are extremely loving and expressive, but we have structure in order to give him the best life.

Anyway so he's usually the sweetest most gentle intelligent dog. I don't think he's ever shown aggression since that time he was a puppy and for a week or so he got food protective because of the mistakes I had been making. Once I stopped what I was doing, everything was perfectly fine.

So this is what we did: as most of the things did not need changing, we just focused on me stepping back and my boyfriend bonding with him more. So my boyfriend has been the one giving most of the treats in the past couple of days, giving him his meals, and solely taking him out. Again, this isn't that much of a change because in weekends my boyfriend usually does take over to balance it out, but it's been more emphasised.

Then today, we gave him a bath. What we have noticed with Maximus is that after a shower he gets quite timid. He sleeps long hours, and gets really lazy, almost like the wetness makes him feel vulnerable. The thing is we've always thought this was cute and it's always been a 'sweet' thing, he likes to be petted and shown affection during this time. Today after his bath he was doing the similar thing, just laying in his basket and being more sleepy than usual. We usually brush him a few times after his shower, so occasionally we would go and say hi, be sweet with him, give him a little brush and some gentle kisses. As usual, he was fine and enjoying it. Sometimes he will even lick our hands.

Then, I had been studying a bit so I was away. I came back in the living room and my boyfriend told me Maximus had gone to his lap and was nursing. (He often likes to suck on a teddy or something and goes into a trance). Even though Maximus was on my boyfriends lap out of choice (my boyfriend was sitting on the floor with him, not on the couch), my boyfriend said that when he petted his head, Maximus started growling again and baring his teeth a bit. Although I say this as if it's very graphic, Maximus does it quite slowly, it's not full on or anything. I was really surprised. At this point I was at his basket saying hi, and so I turned to him as I usually do, putting on my 'dog mummy' voice and being all sweet saying 'what's wrong with you baby? you feeling sleepy?' etc just cute babbles that he usually loves, and as I was petting his head, he started looking up at us weird. Like we recognise when he's about to be weird and aggressive with us because he goes all stiff and stares at us.

I thought maybe it was because my boyfriend was near or.. ? So I told him to move away, I even told him to get out, but then he turned the stare/focus towards me and started doing the same thing. The growl isn't continuous, it's like he growls a bit at first, then slowly lifts his top lift, but obviously we immediately stop so he stops. I was so shocked.

My boyfriend saw this. I moved away to the couch and decided maybe I could try to get him to come to me and break the trance. When I spoke to him all happily he sort of wagged his tail and reacted as normal, quickly wanting to get up and come, wanting to see us, but then when I petted his face again, he got all stiff and staring and growling. Why is he coming but then doing that? I don't know, I was so confused so I decided to just figure out what was going on.

I let him go back to his basket and was just sitting nearby so observe how he would react towards me. When I spoke as normal, he acted normal. I asked for a paw, and he was so happy to give the paw, it was almost automatic when I put my hand out. But then when my hand went near his face, again he got all weird.

My boyfriend tried to call him all happily as well, and Maximus again happily went over to him, even wagged his tail, happy to be there. But when he petted his face, he would go weird again. He was a little bit more aggressive with my boyfriend for some reason, because he actually got up as if to snap. I got so upset and mad with him when he did that, because it really frightened us. I just said 'no, Maximus, that's bad.' and he actually walked over to me, sat in front of me and watching me. I couldn't tell if he was sorry or if he was doing something weird again. The new thing I noticed was when he was in his basket, he was licking his lips, and I remembered that's a warning sign too of a dog trying to steer conflict. I have no idea why he is suddenly doing this!

Usually he is doting towards me, today he acted as if I was his enemy. I am so loving towards him, we both are, he is like our baby. We think of nothing but his health and what's best for him, and that's even why we have structure.

Anyway, what SUPER confused me was that even at one point, my boyfriend sat at the couch and called him over again, and it was like Maximus had even forgotten what he had done. He happily ran towards my boyfriend and was even in a more playful mood. He dropped down and was showing him his belly (Maximus is so submissive, even when he plays with other dogs, he usually always is on the floor showing his belly. I don't think he even understands what aggression is). So my boyfriend was happy, talking in a baby voice to him, but then suddenly when his hand went near his face, Maximus stopped and went stiff, all the while still showing his belly. My boyfriend moved back really confused, and Maximus then rolled back and lay normally, staring at him in that weird way. Like... what is happening? Such mixed signals.

I really can't help but think it is his hormones.. I mean even if I take the 'bath' into consideration, he has had SO many baths in his 8 months of life. We live in Scotland so it often rains and gets muddy. In these cases, he will get showered every day almost. While on the rare occasion, I have pampered him thoroughly afterwards, he has never even cared. He hardly even notices. But today we didn't even pamper him, he was in his basket the whole time, and the only time we interacted with him was just baby talking and very gentle brushing.

The thing is, Maximus' balls haven't descended. The vets couldn't even find them in his abdomen, meaning they're lodged god knows where inside his body. He is getting neutered this coming Friday, but it's not just because of 'neutering', but we actually have to do this procedure as he could develop testicular cancer and things like that by keeping them up in his body. So I don't know what to think.. is it his testosterone and maybe also this weird condition doing something to his behaviour? Maybe the fact that his balls are up in there, it maybe is producing more or god knows what? I am being as unbiased as I possibly can, because I want to find any problem that I myself am doing or my partner, but I honestly feel that everything else we do is not contributing to this behaviour. Anyone who knows me (or has seen my previous posts) will know how disciplined I am, and so for one it could never be the case that he is being spoiled. But I also am extremely loving (my youtube of Maximus can attest to that).

Just don't know what's going on. :/ I left it for a few hours, came back, and I was trying to feed him treats while gently stroking him, gently going towards his face, so that he can see there is no threat. Perhaps give some positive reinforcement. Like maybe he had a frightening dream or something. He was happily taking the food, but then growling when I touched him. I feel like he hates me/us and I am so upset. I love him so much

[Edit: P.S. Yes he has had obedience training before. His obedience training has been at home as well as in class - we've always been consistent and kept on with whatever we learned. He honestly is the most intelligent dog and picks things up so quickly. A few months ago I was trying to teach him how to walk nicely beside me. He picked that up so quickly - when we are out, he is such a considerate walker. Even while he was being weird with us today, at one point he saw some plastic thing on the floor and I naturally said 'no, leave it', and he immediately left it. Even while in that mood he was listening and everything.]

[Edit Again: I probably should be explaining this to my Vet and I will this coming Friday, but in case anyone else could relate to this experience and share any answers, Maximus also has this really weird excessive discharge from his genitals. This is why I think now maybe it's related to his hormones. I did read up and I also spoke to my vet on the phone, and they said generally it's normal and healthy for a male to show that, but we don't actually know what healthy and normal looks like. It must be at least a little strange though that Maximus has so much discharge that we often find drops of it on the floor. If he does get up anywhere, he leaves marks on the couch/bed, like these stains. Also - I'm really sorry this is so gross, but it's green. At first it was like.. yellow.. but it's seemed green this past week. His genitals is basically always covered in it and quite drippy. He does clean himself, and as you read above he gets showers often, but yet it is still excessive. I haven't owned a male dog since I was a little girl, but I've had friends and family who have had male dogs... come to think of it, I had never seen anything like this with them.. ]


Last edited by nancie; 04-14-2019 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 04-14-2019, 08:44 PM
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I wonder if he's having pain in his mouth from something?


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Old 04-14-2019, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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I wonder if he's having pain in his mouth from something?
I did wonder that too, but he was eating things just fine. He was basically wolfing down the treats, and they were hard biscuits. :/

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