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I have a 2 year old Golden Retriever, he is a great dog but has a serious issue, he keeps going after little dogs. My family and I have an underground electric dog fence, and he goes after little dogs when they walk by or are near the yard. He has never attacked another dog in someone elses yard, a park, hike, etc. I got him from a breeder who had both mother and father on site, and had all documented AKC papers. It wasn't until he went after one of our Chihuahua's that I started to notice this issue. I took away all 'stuffed animal' toys thinking he looked at small dogs as he does a toy. My mother pointed out to me when this issue happened that his father was aggresive when I first went to pick him up as a puppy. I do not know if it is genetic or if he is inbred or if it just a dog issue. I know Goldens don't have that temperment and while he has never hurt another dog this behavior has to stop. My Golden loves kids and is never vicious towards humans. I don't know what to do, more BarkBusters training, obedience school, more socializing with other dogs, etc.
 

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Is he running up barking at another dog or does he attempt to bite them? What is happening exactly when he is "aggressive"? thank you
 

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To me, a dog's prey drive isn't a defect in temperament. They should have a prey drive, IMO, so yes it would be genetic but I think it's correct temperament for a golden. Constant aggression is not correct temperament, but I can't tell if you're talking about actual aggression or prey drive.

What happened to make you think the sire of the litter aggressive when you picked up the puppy? What exactly is your dog doing when the dogs walk by?
 

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Oh boy, contact an animal behaviorist as they dislike invisible fences for the reasons that you are experiencing... there is barrier frustration among other things...
 

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I have invisible fence, but I live in the middle of 68 acres, so mine practice nothing. they are also not out unless I am home.
 

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Kate
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Most dogs that I've seen have turf issues when they are left outside for long periods and given a chance to see other dogs infringing on their "territory" but out of reach.
 

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Going after small dogs is not a correct display of a prey drive. Dogs can tell the difference between small dogs and prey animals. It sounds like barrier aggression due to the underground fence. Since you have this problem, the first thing to do is NOT LET your dog out alone with the underground fence. Do not let him practice this behavior. The more he practices the behavior, the harder it will be to resolve.
 

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Yep, dogs can definitely tell the difference between prey and other small dogs. Ranger has an incredibly high prey drive - catches and kills almost every little critter he can - but is the gentlest dog when there's a tiny foster puppy in the house. I was worried at first about a puppy getting zoomies and running outside if Ranger was there, as in "will ranger think they're prey?" but that wasn't an issue at all. Even when fat little GSD puppy zoomed around, looking like a fat baby bunny, Ranger would chase her but just in fun - NEVER in aggression or predator mode.

I agree with the others, stop letting him practice behaviours and distract him when he attempts to go after smaller dogs. Work on recall with high value training treats or something so he's not allowed to focus his energy/attention on other dogs.
 

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That's why I was wondering. He seems to be thinking it's prey drive with taking away the toys, but my dogs play with stuffed toys and have fairly high prey drive and still are fine with little dogs. Jack was in love with a little scottie puppy at the show this weekend. That dog was smaller than the bunnies and critters Jack chases in the yard but he was very gentle with it.
 
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