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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi. I'm new to the forum. We got our Golden Retriever when he was eight weeks old. He is now about ten months old. He is usually very sweet. He loves our whole family and he loves giving kisses and he is very sweet with other dogs and people. The whole issue with him is that everyday around dusk and sometimes in the morning, he goes into a rage and bites viciously. We've tried telling him no, closing his mouth, holding him tightly by the collar, or pinning him down, but he continues, with his mouth open and his nose all scrunched up. We don't understand why he does this. Is this a sign of dominance or something else? What should we do?
Also, another thing is that when we are walking, he constantly pulls ahead and goes wherever he wants, dragging us behind him. If we try to slow him down or take him where we want to take him, he jumps on whoever is holding the leash, trying to bite, so that we will let go of the leash. It has become very common. We don't want to seem like we are abusing him, by trying to act like the boss in public, but he really jumps and bites viciously when he wants to go off on his own. Is there anyway to teach him that this is not okay?:no:
Cosmo also loves jumping on the counters and stealing stuff from the sink and tables. How do we stop him from jumping?
One last thing about Cosmo is that he is very possessive. Ever since he was a tiny puppy, he guards stole items and growls fiercely if anyone tries to take anything from him. He is not afraid to bite. It has really become scary. The moment something is taken away, however, he goes back to being his angelic sweet self. Is there any technique for a teaching a dog to drop and leave something?
Cosmo is our first dog, so we've come to realize the things we should have taught when he was younger. We love Cosmo so much and he usually is very sweet, but sometimes in the day he is unmanageable. We were wondering if these problems are common with other goldens? And is it to late to train him, or is there still a chance? Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!:)

(Cosmo is a male golden, eighty pounds)
 

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You need more help than can be given on a forum. Please look for a certified behaviorist in your area to help train you and your dog. This is a situation that will not get better without outside help.
 

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Do you have access to any training classes? Any trainers around you? Your profile does not say where you are.
He is a teenager and some of what you are saying comes with it but it does need to be nipped in the bud.
 

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I agree with the above posters. You need help beyond what people on the forum can give you. It sounds like there are multiple problems going on, and without knowing the whole story it would be incredibly challenging for any of us to tackle such an issue or give you advice. Please search for a certified trainer that can work 1 on 1 with you and your dog. These behaviors may be influenced by the age of the dog... But they are behaviors that can become very bad, life long habits very easily if not taken care of pronto.


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It is NOT too late. But go get help soon!
 

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Please understand that we aren't trying to push you away with not giving you advice.. but at 10 months... it's past the puppy stages really and he's starting to get confident with his behaviors. You can't really try and fix this without a certified animal trainer/behaviorist. Putting it simple... for 10 months he's tried these antics (guarding/pulling/biting) and has gotten the reward (left alone, freedom, or attention). Please keep us up to date if you find someone and how it goes with the training. Without fixing these problems it can become something more serious.
 

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Closing his mouth, pinning him down- this only exacerbates problems. Teach him solid obedience commands at other times, so he knows his down-stay rock solid, and can be put on one. Make sure he burns off a ton of energy daily with off leash running and games likr tug with a very strict "out" command mixed in. No "out" no play. Lower the protein in his food. Make sure he knows it is not a self serve world. He musst do something for you to earn any resource. Want to go out? Down. Want your breakfast? Down, sit, Down. Try not to give this dog any freebies while this behavior is occuring. Regulate his toys and treas so he is working for them.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
We took him to Petsmart classes when he was younger. He does very well on his commands, such as sit, down, stay, come, watch, leave, when in a controlled environment. When he is too excited he wont listen.
We also asked a private instructor to come to the house. He came a few times. The only problem is that Cosmo doesn't act with the instructor how he does with us, so it is impossible for the instructor to show us what to do in certain situations. For example, the instructor showed us how to use a choke collar properly to correct, but if we use it on him for walks, he holds his leash in his mouth so that we can't correct him.
Anyway, thank you for trying to help. I appreciate that you all took the time to read my post. I'll look for other solutions.
 

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Hi. I'm new to the forum. We got our Golden Retriever when he was eight weeks old. He is now about ten months old. He is usually very sweet. He loves our whole family and he loves giving kisses and he is very sweet with other dogs and people. The whole issue with him is that everyday around dusk and sometimes in the morning, he goes into a rage and bites viciously. We've tried telling him no, closing his mouth, holding him tightly by the collar, or pinning him down, but he continues, with his mouth open and his nose all scrunched up. We don't understand why he does this. Is this a sign of dominance or something else? What should we do?
Also, another thing is that when we are walking, he constantly pulls ahead and goes wherever he wants, dragging us behind him. If we try to slow him down or take him where we want to take him, he jumps on whoever is holding the leash, trying to bite, so that we will let go of the leash. It has become very common. We don't want to seem like we are abusing him, by trying to act like the boss in public, but he really jumps and bites viciously when he wants to go off on his own. Is there anyway to teach him that this is not okay?:no:
Cosmo also loves jumping on the counters and stealing stuff from the sink and tables. How do we stop him from jumping?
One last thing about Cosmo is that he is very possessive. Ever since he was a tiny puppy, he guards stole items and growls fiercely if anyone tries to take anything from him. He is not afraid to bite. It has really become scary. The moment something is taken away, however, he goes back to being his angelic sweet self. Is there any technique for a teaching a dog to drop and leave something?
Cosmo is our first dog, so we've come to realize the things we should have taught when he was younger. We love Cosmo so much and he usually is very sweet, but sometimes in the day he is unmanageable. We were wondering if these problems are common with other goldens? And is it to late to train him, or is there still a chance? Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you!:)

(Cosmo is a male golden, eighty pounds)
I think the op may be overstating some of the behaviors. This is a first time dog owner with a rambunctious golden who's describing rough play. If the dog was actually viciously biting her family, he'd be drawing blood, seriously injuring her family and she'd likely be way past posting on a forum as the first time a family member went into a hospital for treatment they'd have gotten animal control involved. If you can afford it then sure, see a specialist, it will be more effective and quicker then a regular obedience class/trainer.

However if as I suspect, the biting is nipping that may scrape you, but doesnt deeply penetrate the skin then Cosmo is in a place where you likely need to increase his exercise and get into some obedience classes. Couple that with the lessons you can learn in the book linked below and your family as well as Cosmo will likely be a lot happier. The trainer in your obedience class will suggest a collar or halter to you. Buy it the first day as this will allow you to start walking the dog for exercise. He should be getting at least an hour of walks per day. Somewhere in the 2 - 4 mile range depending on your fitness level. It doesnt sound like in his current state he is getting any kind of exercise with you. Off leash play time doesnt count on this, I find the walk really makes a difference.

Meanwhile, I would stop any form of "dominance corrections" you or your family has been doing. Do NOT hold a dog down to punish them for this kind of behavior and do not use any corporal punishment. This type of attention may curb the behavior for a brief time but it escalates the intensity of the play. The best way to handle aggressive play like this is a brief time out, either turning your back on him, or taking him to the bathroom for 30 seconds - 1 minute on his own in a dark room.

book on dealing with possessive aggression:
Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs: Jean Donaldson: 9780970562944: Amazon.com: Books
 

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The reason that Cosmo is acting differently towards your trainer is because he views the trainer as an pack leader or an alpha, and he obviously does not view you that way. You need to assert dominance over the dog, and make sure you are the boss of him, not the opposite. This would be greatly helped with a professional trainer. An e-collar might be a good tool for training your dog, but you would have to consult a trainer as to how to use this. Grabbing and holding your dog down is not a really effective way to assert this, is should be done with your voice and body language.

With the biting, he is not drawing blood? More of a nipping? The scrunched up face is actually really common among goldens. My grandmother calls in Ripley's "smile" and she does this when she is really excited. For her, it is not a sign of aggression, because she does not have an aggressive or possessive bone in her body. If she was alone in the yard, and burglars came in, she would greet them excitedly. We used to think that the "smile" was an aggressive thing, but her breeder told us that all of her dogs did it, and it was just because they were excited :)

Don't lose hope, he can be trained to be a great dog still, but you need to spend a lot of time with him, and probably change the techniques you are using. Good Luck!
 

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A few classes at Petsmart won't train your dog for life...obviously. We were in classes for almost 3 years; almost constantly.

Find a trainer who offers classes that are sequential. Cosmo isn't beyond hope but you need to get busy with him. You can start with my thread in the puppy section about loose leash walking. Sol Invictus put in some really great videos with very clear instructions. Please read thru that thread.

I agree that physical punishment like pinning is just going to make him more reactive. He's fighting for survival when you do that and he will gradually fight harder.

Please get help for him.
 

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I'll respectfully disagree:

http://avsabonline.org/uploads/position_statements/dominance_statement.pdf

Honestly sad to find members here believe in dominance theory.
If you read through my post, you would also see that I do not agree with using force to assert dominance, it should be done through body language and vocal tone, not yelling, but assertive. Dogs are intelligent creatures, and if they can get away with it, they will walk all over you. Mine tries with me, because I am the big softie in the family, and would let her get away with murder, while my father has never laid a hand on her, but is her "master" (even though she is my dog! :p) and if he told her to come and she was off leash a mile away, she would come running. Maybe I worded my post in a way not to communicate my actual beliefs on this, but I don't think anyone can get anywhere with using physical force on their dogs. If your dog dosen't respect you, they will not listen to you. The respect is what you need to actually be affective in training.
 

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I did completely read your post the first time, it made me sad to read it.

The reason that Cosmo is acting differently towards your trainer is because he views the trainer as an pack leader or an alpha, and he obviously does not view you that way. You need to assert dominance over the dog, and make sure you are the boss of him,
This is straight out dominance theory, disputed by the official position of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, who have eloquently explained, much better than I can why this type of thinking is faulty. Read the link I posted please. Frankly it's terrible advice for this situation, possible the worst thing the OP could do.

An e-collar might be a good tool for training your dog, but you would have to consult a trainer as to how to use this. Grabbing and holding your dog down is not a really effective way to assert this, is should be done with your voice and body language.
Using an e-collar is corporal punishment, whether you choose to acknowledge it as such or not. Can you get good results out of it? Sure, but you can beat the fight out of him too. Don't kid yourself if you did either to your children it's abuse, how is doing it to your dog any different?

E-collars can be useful in specific situations related to curbing natural instincts in hunting and field training, not my choice/experience but I've read at very high levels of competition it's done, even by the best trainers. However the OP is not in a situation anything close to requiring this type of training. Suggesting it in any way for these issues is a very sad thing for me to see. This is a pet not a highly trained competitive athlete.

Edited to add the position paper on the use of adversives like the e-collar, alpha rolls, etc

http://avsabonline.org/uploads/position_statements/Combined_Punishment_Statements1-25-13.pdf
 

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Dogs are intelligent creatures, and if they can get away with it, they will walk all over you. Mine tries with me, because I am the big softie in the family, and would let her get away with murder, while my father has never laid a hand on her, but is her "master" (even though she is my dog!
Ugh. Dogs are not people, they don't think like this, you are not a dog, she doesnt think you are. If she misbehaves for you then you are either inconsistent in training her, have accidentally reinforced this behavior, or the dog is testing the boundaries of her training.

Specific to another problem you've mentioned in other posts - Your dog doesnt come when called, use positive reinforcement for your training and stop trying to dominate her. There are no shortcuts to a well behaved dog.
 

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How much exercise is the dog getting? If it is around a particular time of day, try wearing him out before that time happens.

I am just speaking from my personal experience and I haven't work with a lot of dogs but I think they have a ton of energy as puppies and if they aren't getting exercised, it will come out somehow. My dog will get zoomies and run up and down the hall like a maniac if she doesn't get enough exercise and sometimes even if she does get enough exercise.

I wouldn't recommend putting yourself in a position where the dog might bite you. Sometimes I will use treats to get my dog to drop something. She'll drop anything for a treat.

p.s. Have you tried using a squirt bottle filled with water? My dog hates the squirt bottle and it works great for catching her counter surfing.
 

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Hello!

Just a quick interjection here. Not all people who subscribe to the "pack leader" philosophy utilize (or even believe in) dominance theory.

For example, from the link in your quote:
"Dominance is defined as a relationship between individual animals that is established by force/aggression and submission, to determine who has priority access to multiple resources such as food, preferred resting spots, and mates (Bernstein 1981; Drews 1993)."

You can still establish yourself as "pack leader" without aggression. No need to alpha roll a dog to establish that what you say goes.

Does my dog come when called? Yes. Did i beat him to encourage that? No. But he was CORRECTED for disobeying (i.e. the walk of shame back to where I was when I called him).

I hear rescues describe different dogs as "needing a strong leader" and the dog in question may in fact NEED a strong leader. That doesn't mean strong as in physically stronger and making "abusive" corrections. But one that will not let a dog blow them off.

Honestly sad to find members here believe in dominance theory.
I wish forums were safe to give advice without being judged by other members for assumptions made about that person. If trainers (or people who simply have a variety of knowledge about certain issues) could talk without getting censored or shamed for their contributions, maybe the forum would attract more people from different backgrounds and philosophies. :wave:
 

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Ugh. Dogs are not people, they don't think like this, you are not a dog, she doesnt think you are. If she misbehaves for you then you are either inconsistent in training her, have accidentally reinforced this behavior, or the dog is testing the boundaries of her training.

Specific to another problem you've mentioned in other posts - Your dog doesnt come when called, use positive reinforcement for your training and stop trying to dominate her. There are no shortcuts to a well behaved dog.
Wow, okay. I really don't appreciate being personally attacked in a post that I meant to help another member. You are entitled to your own beliefs in regards to training your own dog, but criticizing the the advice of someone trying to give aid to another is uncalled for. I have never caused harm to my dog through training and am very insulted that you would insinuate that. I feel like you are trying to play the devils advocate here just to provoke me, and its really not appreciated. I do not know why you have taken the time to look though my past posting, and bring this up on this topic. If you have a problem with what I have said, this should NOT be posted on a publicly viewed forum. Feel free to PM me if you have an issue with me.

What you must understand is that not everyone agree's with your way of dealing with your own dog, and as long as they are treating their dog with love and nurture, then you have no right to insinuate otherwise. I am respectful of your beliefs, please have the same respect of mine.

I would also add that in asserting dominance, it does not mean by any means that I adhere to the dominance theory or expressing aggression towards a dog as a form of training. I believe you have misconstrued my intentions.
 

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Hello!

Just a quick interjection here. Not all people who subscribe to the "pack leader" philosophy utilize (or even believe in) dominance theory.

For example, from the link in your quote:
"Dominance is defined as a relationship between individual animals that is established by force/aggression and submission, to determine who has priority access to multiple resources such as food, preferred resting spots, and mates (Bernstein 1981; Drews 1993)."

You can still establish yourself as "pack leader" without aggression. No need to alpha roll a dog to establish that what you say goes.
Hi Jen,

Thanks for your response. I'm sorry but I will disagree with you, I think you are under a misconception. Dominance theory IS pack leadership, this is exactly why the position paper was posted by the AVSAB! Because dominance theory has made a come back in popularity due to Cesar Milan.

Further your quote from the position statement is out of context I think for the point you were trying to make. The line you have quoted talks about dominance relations between individual animals, it is not intended to refer to animal - human relationships.

The correct quotes on the topic of dog-human relationships and dominance/pack leadership are:
"
People who rely on dominance theory to train their pets may need to regularly threaten them with aggressive displays or repeatedly use physical force. Conversely, pets subjected to threats or force may not offer submissive behaviors. Instead, they may react with aggression, not because they are trying to be dominant but because the human threatening them makes them afraid."

Emphasis mine - All of the talk Cesar Milan does about 'assertiveness', poking dogs, backing them with physical intimidation, this is all aggressive display, all dominance theory, like it or not.



"the relationship(dominance) lasts only as long as the higher-ranking individual is strong enough to retain this rank. Thus, high rank may be short-lived in both human-animal and animal-animal relationships."

I dont dispute it can work to train an animal, but specific to the OP's position with a dog that is potentially aggressive and/or playbiting. I believe escalating this with physical intimidation, e-collar etc. Is the exact wrong course of action. I posted as I did because I strongly believe so - and so does the AVSAB.


I hear rescues describe different dogs as "needing a strong leader" and the dog in question may in fact NEED a strong leader. That doesn't mean strong as in physically stronger and making "abusive" corrections. But one that will not let a dog blow them off.
People who run rescues are just as fallible as the rest of the population in believing the "fad" in training that is pack leadership.


I wish forums were safe to give advice without being judged by other members for assumptions made about that person. If trainers (or people who simply have a variety of knowledge about certain issues) could talk without getting censored or shamed for their contributions, maybe the forum would attract more people from different backgrounds and philosophies. :wave:

I hope you understand that I responded as I did to show that the most well respected experts in the US on this subject think the idea of dominance theory which IS what was suggested is complete bunk.

Here are a few more links that I believe confirm what you are talking about IS dominance theory and is exactly what the position paper I posted originally is talking about.

Pack Leadership and Dominance Theory | Dog Training

Dog Behavior and Training - Dominance, Alpha, and Pack Leadership - What Does It Really Mean? | VCA Animal Hospitals

LEE CHARLES KELLEY
 
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