Join Date: Oct 2008
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Thanked 6,987 Times in 2,795 Posts
It sounds like Max gets wound up really tight and is trying to find ways to express his excitement. Try getting him plenty of exercise, including mental exercise, to moderate those impulses. Spend 10 minutes a few times a day working on basic skills with treats, and join a puppy class if you can.
When you do see the undesirable behavior, teach him that it makes you stop interacting with him. If you yell at him, you may accidentally communicate him that you're excited and making noise too. If you physically discipline him, you may teach him to be fearful and aggressive. If you teach him that the undesirable nipping and growling turns you into a statue, you'll send a clearer (and kinder) message that it simply doesn't get him what he wants.
If he happens to offer a good behavior, like sitting or bringing a toy over, reward that with your attention and engagement.
There's nothing a Golden retriever hates more than an owner who becomes a statue, and they'll work really hard to learn how to reactivate you. Remember that when you first try this method, the dog will often do the problem behaviors even louder and more excitedly. That's the beginning of the extinction phase, and it means your technique is working. If you give up and offer attention (even negative attention) at this time, you'll teach him that being louder and more obnoxious is what works. Stay strong and eventually he'll offer a creative new behavior, often something that you've taught him that has gotten him a reward in the past (like a sit). Once he does, give him what he wants.
Rewarding good behaviors is much, much more effective than trying to extinguish bad behaviors through negative stimuli. Redirecting bad behavior into alternative, positive behavior is the swiftest, longest lasting way to teach a dog manners.