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Discussion Starter #1
My puppy Valentine is almost 6 months old. She comes from a performance line, but the breeder chose the softest, mellowest puppy for us as we are both old and inexperienced. And – thank God – Vala has an off switch. I have used all the advice in the forum to help when she was going through the very bite-y teething stage. And it worked! No more scabs all over my hands! Or maybe she just outgrew it. But we have entered a scary new phase.

She has been very easy in most ways: No potty accidents from early on, easy to put in the crate for night-night (not so much during the day though; we used an ex-pen.) She knows about fifteen or so commands, though recall is only reliable indoors. Outside, she is on a 25 foot leash.

Recently she has gotten kind of teenager-ish with attitude, like: Who you talkin' to? Me? Sit? In your dreams! Along with that, there are two times when she threatens to bite us or our clothing: 1. We are stopping her from doing something she wants to do, like dig a hole to China. She turns her head and bares her teeth at us. It is scary with her new big girl teeth. 2. She has had the zoomies, and got so excited she starts jumping up and biting. By that time, there seems little we can do. Her bite inhibition has kept her from putting any holes in me, plus, I pull my body parts out of reach to the best of my ability, but I am forced to wear my sacrificial clothing.

Here is what we have tried:
•Three days a week of half-day outdoor daycare to tire her out. She doesn't get tired.
•We can't shove anything in her mouth; she won't take it, whether treat, stuffy, chewtoy.
•We still practice gotcha collar grabs, though not as often as when she was teething.
•If we turn our backs, stand stiff, and pretend to be a tree, she bites our legs, butt, and back. I am reminded that she loves chewing sticks, which come from trees.
•She won't listen to ah-ah or no.
•She won't obey a command to sit or touch (usually her two most reliable commands, along with stand, which she is already doing at that point.)

Advice? Thanks in advance. Y'all have been very helpful all along.
 

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Kristy
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I know there are no obedience classes going on right now, but are you practicing on leash obedience work with her on a daily basis where you have her work for you? Have you worked with a private trainer? If you're inexperienced, I can't encourage you enough to do some research, find a good trainer who is experienced with large breed sporting dogs and invest in a few private lessons. Your local Golden Retriever Club or an AKC obedience club could help you find someone who knows Goldens or see if your breeder can help you, we probably can help if you tell us your metro area. You can work through this with her with patience and continued effort but she does sound a bit sassy :)
 

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Kristy
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In the meantime, I would have her drag a cut off leash when she's out of her crate and in the house or a long line in the yard cut off to an appropriate length, maybe 10 ft? and that way you always have a way to get immediate physical control of her without putting hands on her. If you give a command and she ignores you, there need to be immediate repercussions, she can't just go on her merry way. If you have the leash and she's jumping and biting on you and ignoring command to 'touch', you have the ability to take the leash and step on it, that will keep her from jumping and biting. She has reached the age where she needs parameters. I really would get some help from someone in person.
 

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Sounds like resource guarding her hole just like a dog may resource guard a favorite spot. I think you need to work on that.
 

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I agree with everything said.

For the hole, I would work on a very good “leave it” as opposed to touching her. Maybe use the leash to reinforce the leave it outside, don’t grab by the collar.

Sometimes in our higher drive dogs, they can become overstimulated doing something and use their teeth when startled or distracted.

She may also be choosing to resource guard the hole, as said above. In either case, the training methods applies. Nolefan has given really good advice.
 

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Have you worked with a private trainer? If you're inexperienced, I can't encourage you enough to do some research, find a good trainer who is experienced with large breed sporting dogs and invest in a few private lessons.
We are somewhat inexperienced. Our private trainer is a huge asset. She comes in once every two weeks, helps us with behaviors to work on, and answers questions about things we've been working on. Most importantly, she helps us to recognize how some of the behaviors we want to get rid of...are being caused by us. Fortunately, nothing too serious. But, they're foundational things, and I can see where, down the road, they would impact how well we work together.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks everyone. I will definitely use the step-on-the-leash method. I do practice obedience daily, but not with the leash on if we are indoors or in the back yard...which is where she digs the holes. She has gotten good at "leave it" with blowing leaves while on walks, but I haven't tried it with digging. I don't think it would work. I hadn't thought of the digging as resource guarding.

And she never resource guards with food or treats...though come to think of it she won't give up a bully stick without a treat in exchange (no baring of teeth, though)...and she also plays keep away on the rare occasions she manages to snag a sock (no baring of teeth here, either. It seems more light hearted.); we can only get her to "drop it" with a very tasty treat, which I think is also some resource guarding. I guess that is her problem behavior. Her 3x/wk daycare guy told me she digs at his place, too, but he doesn't care.

Regarding training, I would love to hear about some experienced golden or other sporting dog trainers. I live in San Francisco proper, on the southern side of the city, en route to the peninsula, not near the fancier northern side everyone thinks of as San Francisco. We did two zoom puppy obedience classes through SF Puppy prep, and they have some private trainers, though lockdown here is pretty severe, so I don't know if any will come even to a backyard.

I do feel like we have come to a critical period where it is imperative that we nip these behaviors in the bud (though I am afraid they are a bit past the bud stage. More like in full, sassy bloom.)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I should clarify, by "two classes" I mean two sets of classes. What they called kindergarten and middle school.
 

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I would also suggest more daily exercise. This time of year swimming is great. Teach her to fetch and play with a chuck it for 20-30 minutes twice a day. I have a field bred 2 year old and at six months old he was just a ball of energy.
Definitely all the training advice above as well.
 

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i would start to take note of the hole resource guarding like the others have said. baring teeth when being stopped to do something would be a no no for me. like the others said you can let her have her leash on at all times even when she is running about your garden so that if you stop her, you can reinforce the behaviour. practice her recall randomly when she is outside so that even if she starts digging a hole you can call her and she will leave it to come to you, if she doesn't reel her in.

Best if you can stop her hole digging in the first place, before she gets really really into it, but you would need your daycare place to enforce that and not let her dig there as well.
 

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Kristy
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Is she food motivated at all? If she is, I would ALWAYS have a bag of yummy treats (not a dog biscuit but something soft and stinky) in my pocket or on the counter within reach. When you're outback and she starts digging, call her to you, be happy and excited and reward her with a treat. If she blows you off, use the line to make her comply. I would not let her outside unattended anymore, midnight or daybreak, someone needs to be out there with her to keep her from digging. Totally normal to dig as a way to burn off excess energy. Someone else pointed out she probably needs more exercise than she's getting. Focus on teaching her to retrieve if you haven't done so already. This is where she actually returns to heal and sits and waits for you to throw the ball again. Get a special toy that she only plays with to retrieve and when you're not playing the game it gets put away so it's special. Start on the long line with short distances so that she can't blow you off. Here's a training bumper: get the white in the 2x10 size Avery Hex Bumper You can find these any place with outdoor/hunting/dog training supplies but it's easy to order them.

Some of these clubs are starting back up in a week. Make some calls and see if you can get a referral to someone experienced with retrievers and will come to your home for private in person and work in the yard or meet at a park. Makes a huge difference to have help in person. Consider it an investment in Valentine's future. She needs to understand that she's not the leader in your relationship, you are. Keep us posted :)

[email protected] is DeeDee Anderson and she might be a good resource for finding someone to help you in person.
Here are two obedience clubs near you:
www.dpdtc.org

[email protected]
 

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Discussion Starter #12
She is very food motivated, thank goodness. We actually never let her out unattended, but we don't know what to do for "repercussions" or "consequences", other than dragging her away when she doesn't listen. Is that what you mean?

I just tried the step-on-the-leash thing today, when she got a bit jumpy/mouthy, and it worked great.

And, though there is nowhere in San Francisco proper where it is safe for dogs to swim, (dirty pond water, too many unleashed dogs, rip tides at the beach) I have contacted a doggy swimming pool place about 40 minutes south to see if they will let us come in alone and before regular hours to keep us Covid-safe (as seniors, we are in a high risk group), and they said yes, mid-week. We'll try that.

Our local agility place went under due to coronavirus, but some of the advanced students and staff have banded together to reopen elsewhere, and once they have finalized it, and we can start that with a puppy class, that should also help with exercise.

I will try Dee Dee, but I think she lives several hours north; California is a huge state.

You guys are the best.
 
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