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Hi guys my first post here, so a bit of background.

My names Tom from the UK, I live with my partner and my 10 month old Goldie called Alfie. He is neutered. We've had a few niggle issues over the last 8 months of ownership but ultimately all of them a puppy thing that we've got over.

But, recently he did something that scared me and has left me doubting if I even want him since. Whilst chewing a knuckle bone on the floor quite happily he snapped a piece off in his mouth and began wobbling it around. Seeing the danger I approached him and got this awful GRRRRRRRRRRRR and then a very quick snap accompanied with an awful sounding aggressive noise.

As a child (I'm only 22 now) I was terrified of dogs and to be honest probably am still dubious, and this has only compounded that. I backed off and sat down to compose myself. He's done this once before over exactly the same issue with a knuckle bone but it was only a growl.

I then confidently as I could stood up, approached and removed the bone completely without a response. I then made my way into the kitchen to cook tea and clear my head and he laid by my feet, never done that before. Almost in a "I'm really sorry" although I don't think he was, even slightly.

Let me inform you guys that he get's 3-4 long walks/off-lead socialising sessions per day and is a neighbourhood favorite. He is made to work/sit/stay for ANYTHING he gets, be it his regular meal or a treat. We make him lay down while we place his food bowl on the floor and he WILL NOT move until we say "release". We can even pick this up from him without even a slight response. The control we have over this dog in some areas is immense.

In others, as I found out this past weekend, we're falling very short. It's been me he's not been happy with both times. I'm very scared for the future as I'm not confident I could stand there if he did it again and attempt to calm the situation, my immediate response was to back off in fear, I can't help that I don't want to be bitten.

He's a beautiful chap and regularly gets bullied and beaten up by other dogs (in a play way) even right tiny ones and is a model citizen with children and the disabled.

But I don't know what to do, I'm really stuck and need some Retriever related advice. Some forums have said this is "relatively" common for a Retriever and others have said about rehoming. I love him but if he continues like this I can see me finding it hard to!?

HELP!?
 

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Nancy
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Welcome Tom. I'd like to start off by saying that I am no means an expert with aggression in dogs. IMO though, it sounds like you handled it very well. If this is the only problem you're having, and possibly I'm over simplifying the remedy, but I would just stop giving him knuckle bones.
 

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I know it's frightening when they act this way, my first reaction is to freeze also, but I have learned to stand my ground and the dogs respond to that. I agree with not giving him the knuckle bones, apparently they are high value to him and he is guarding them. If you do give them to him and see a need to remove it in the future, get up go into another room and call him to you, he will probably come find you to find out where you went and you should be able to go pick up the bone.

I would also start playing the "trade" game with him. He has a toy or chew bone, you offer another item he likes and trade him for what he had. Eventually he will learn that allowing you to take the item he has gets him something equally good in return.

Also look into good positive methods to teach the "drop it" command, (that's one I have trouble with).

He may be picking up on your lack of confidence, but you can turn that around. It sounds like you have done wonderful training with him already, but search for "Nothing in Life is Free" on the internet and read through it to see if you think it might help him see you as more of an authority figure.
 

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Flora does this with marrow bones, and, like you, I actually get chills and freeze because I don't know what to do. I have stopped giving her marrow bones, and that's stopped the problem. She is fine with any other kind of bone and will in fact seek me out to chew them whilst laying on me, but for some reason raw marrow bones make her very stingy.

Doesn't mean your dog is a menace. Just means that he's a little greedy and maybe needs to stay away from the knuckle bones for a while.
 

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Welcome to the forum,
I am sorry that Alfie scared you. I think a normal response like you did is normal and correct. You dont want to do something in anger or fear that could cause more problems later on. It sounds like resourse guarding and not agression. The treat is a very high value item to him and he didnt want it taken away.
Here is a good article that you might have some information for you.
http://www.paw-rescue.org/PAW/PETTIPS/DogTip_ResourceGuarding.html

I would also look into an obedience class if you can, it will help both of your relationships. Also look into NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free). There is alot of information on the web about it.
 

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One very simple answer is to stop feeding your Golden Knuckle/Marrow bones. If you insist on giving him a bone then just leave him to it.

Taking a toy away from him, or a treat or even his normal dinner bowl is one thing, but to attempt to take a bone away from a dog is potentially asking for trouble. Some dogs will allow you to take it from them others will respond with a growl or maybe even a snap.

That bone could be smelling of meat and marrow and maybe even blood and whilst chewing away on it the dog, in his mind, could be back in the wild. Ever heard the expression..."Never come between a dog and his bone."

I once saw an experiment carried out by, I think, the English dog trainer Barbara Woodhouse. Sit a man at the dinner table and allow him to start eating the food before him. Without warning and very quickly snatch away his dinner plate. As you do this watch his initial reaction carefully. Some men, for an instant, showed an aggressive response. ie "Hey what the hell are you doing ?"

Animal reaction...fascinating stuff.

I think we should at all times remember that a dog, even our beautiful Goldens, are animals and as such in certain given circumstances we should not be surprised to see an animal type reaction.

I sometimes think that people expect too much from them.
 

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For now I have 3 dogs, all were raised at the same way.

I teach this to my dogs since they were puppies.
First - I'm your friend - I give you food and I can take it from you anytime I want. Hand is not the enemy - hand gives you food. Sometimes I grab bowl and feed them by hand. I take bone and hold it while they bite it, followed with lots of "good boy". If they ever growl at me while eating something (it happened maybe twice - specially after my older dog had several attacks by malamute) I take the bone and scold him. I come back in half an hour with bone in my hand, give him to bite it carefully from my hand, prise him and then let it down again and all over again - if he lets me take it I pet him say "good boy" and give it back. I would never allow that I can't take something from my dog.
Some day I will have kids and they will probably try to take something from dogs and I don't want to worry if they're going to bite them or not.
 
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