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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! I've read a lot of threads about puppy behavior and wanted to ask for some feedback to make sure I'm doing the right thing. My 7-month golden girl is a very smart puppy. We got her when she was 12 weeks, she was already potty trained, she learned all the basic commands pretty quickly and even though it was tricky to get used to her energy, she has been doing great. However, over the last few weeks, she has developed a concerning behavior - whenever she is biting something she is not supposed to (furniture in particular), and we tell her to leave it, she gets very frustrated, so she bares her teeth, she starts air snapping, barks and sometimes growls. We try playing more with her to distract her, offer her other things to bite, but nothing works once she is set on a specific object.

We talked to our vet and she is completely healthy. He suggested to not back up, which is what we were doing, and firmly say 'hey' to stop that behavior. This worked for a couple of days but now she is doing it even more. We honestly don't know what to do now because she is well-behaved most of the day, except when she doesn't get to do what she wants.

Is this normal or should we be concerned?

For reference, she takes 2 long walks during the day, plays a lot with different toys and puzzles, so I don't think it's an exercise issue. She is also crate trained, so we try to use this also as a time out.

Thank you so much!
 

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My guess is that this is a phase of puppy adolescence- that doesn't mean it'll just go away on its own though. She's testing boundaries, re-checking that the "old rules" still apply, etc. So back up, remember what you did at 8 weeks or whenever you got her, and do what you did then. Primarily, reward for the leave it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My guess is that this is a phase of puppy adolescence- that doesn't mean it'll just go away on its own though. She's testing boundaries, re-checking that the "old rules" still apply, etc. So back up, remember what you did at 8 weeks or whenever you got her, and do what you did then. Primarily, reward for the leave it.
Thank you so much for your reply. We will work on that for sure.
 

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Kristy
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If you're not enrolled in puppy obedience class with her, it's definitely time. She needs to have daily, on leash obedience practice. I would also suggest looking up the training/management protocol "Nothing In Life is Free". She is getting too big for her britches and needs a reminder that she's the dog and you are the leader. Work on skills like "Leave it" go to "Place" and "settle". Down/stays are also important. Leash walks where she gets to sniff and be a dog are great, but they aren't really exercise for healthy, adolescent Golden. She really needs some aerobic exercise every day - a good 20-30 minutes minimum. Puppy play dates, formal retrieving, swimming, kicking a soccer ball around for her to chase - for a good half hour that leaves her tired and panting.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
If you're not enrolled in puppy obedience class with her, it's definitely time. She needs to have daily, on leash obedience practice. I would also suggest looking up the training/management protocol "Nothing In Life is Free". She is getting too big for her britches and needs a reminder that she's the dog and you are the leader. Work on skills like "Leave it" go to "Place" and "settle". Down/stays are also important. Leash walks where she gets to sniff and be a dog are great, but they aren't really exercise for healthy, adolescent Golden. She really needs some aerobic exercise every day - a good 20-30 minutes minimum. Puppy play dates, formal retrieving, swimming, kicking a soccer ball around for her to chase - for a good half hour that leaves her tired and panting.
Thank you so much for the advice! We have been practicing the 'Nothing In Life is Free' method and it has been working the last few days. She also has time to play outside with formal retrieving and similar activities, but she always gets tired after 5-10 minutes of doing that. It's kind of tricky to find places to take her swimming where we live, so we are doing the best we can to keep her busy. We are also using now high-value treats for the instructions that she struggles with the most and it has made a huge difference.
 

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Kristy
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Thank you so much for the advice! We have been practicing the 'Nothing In Life is Free' method and it has been working the last few days. She also has time to play outside with formal retrieving and similar activities, but she always gets tired after 5-10 minutes of doing that. It's kind of tricky to find places to take her swimming where we live, so we are doing the best we can to keep her busy. We are also using now high-value treats for the instructions that she struggles with the most and it has made a huge difference.
Several years ago I had a dog who needed an evaluation from a Certified Veterinary Behaviorist. The vet was Tufts University trained (the gold standard for animal behavior in the U.S.), a long history of dog training etc., practicing for about 30 years and he told me he still uses Nothing In Life is Free to manage his two Labrador Retrievers in his own home. I figured you don't get a better testimony that that for a training plan. I really feel that our dogs with strong working/sporting dog traits need kindness and fair treatment in life but they also really need rules and structure and "teamwork" with their owners/families. Just like people, some dogs need structure more than others and when they don't get it, the results aren't the best. Keep a notebook on what you're doing and her schedule and make note of her best days (and yours) and the days that didn't feel great. I bet you'll see a pattern and it will help you from feeling frustrated when you see how far you've brought her. It's a 18 month to two year commitment of training to get a Golden Retriever puppy developed into a nice young dog even with an "easy" dog. Just keep your attitude that it's a long term project and results will be measured over weeks and months - this will be so worth while and your sense of accomplishment and the bond you build with her will make it all worth while. Keep us posted! And keep up the exercise - try to get creative on places to take her - schools? playgrounds, athletic fields - anywhere there is some fenced area where you could throw a frisbee or kick a soccer ball. Play "puppy Ping pong" where you call her back and forth between two family members and reward with a yummy treat - build some agility items like a wobble board or a small jump out of PVC pipe, buy a children's heavy duty play tunnel - join a retriever club or obedience club and find some nice young dog to have 'puppy play dates' with. Have fun, you can do this.
 
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