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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi there! We have a beautiful 8 month old girl golden. From reputable breeder and I have friends that have a male dog from same breeder who does not exhibit the following. Since she was young our girl hasn’t liked being restrained (at vet, held as a little puppy) and she usually reacts with a growl, scrunch face and rapid biting. I’ve paid for trainer, puppy class etc but now the behavior is happening even with a normal pet session. She will start to seem uncomfortable, growl at one of us and snap back with a rapid bites (a few times). I’ve had goldens most of my life and never dealt with this. It’s making both of us uneasy and I’m starting to wonder if this is the right fit or if she is unhappy. Please send any suggestions.
 

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Kate
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hi there! We have a beautiful 8 month old girl golden. From reputable breeder and I have friends that have a male dog from same breeder who does not exhibit the following. Since she was young our girl hasn’t liked being restrained (at vet, held as a little puppy) and she usually reacts with a growl, scrunch face and rapid biting. I’ve paid for trainer, puppy class etc but now the behavior is happening even with a normal pet session. She will start to seem uncomfortable, growl at one of us and snap back with a rapid bites (a few times). I’ve had goldens most of my life and never dealt with this. It’s making both of us uneasy and I’m starting to wonder if this is the right fit or if she is unhappy. Please send any suggestions.
Don't restrain her.... it could be a response to being alpha pinned if she was ever pinned. Even dogs who have never been pinned but hugged to death by family members will or have learned to clear their space by growling and snapping. It's already a learned behavior, so don't set her off. Being hugged and squeezed and carried around - these are all behaviors which dogs are less than thrilled about.

You are going to have to watch for subtle signs that she's reacting and back off so she does not progress more than she already has. Don't be afraid of your dog, but be respectful of her limits.

I would suggest you check around for dog training classes to help build more of a normal relationship between you and your dog. Help her see you as her calm and kind leader who is boss but isn't going to kill her.
 

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Kristy
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Have you let the breeder know what's going on? Have you been to the vet lately? I'd schedule an apt and bloodwork and ask for a referral to a certified veterinary behaviorist. Here's a link to find one in your area. DACVB

Since you know what 'owner directed aggression' means, I'm guessing you have done some research and asked for help from a basic pet trainer and need help taking it farther. Have her drag a short cut off leash in the house when monitored and use that to control her, but no more restraining her by holding her body or collar. Is she funny about anything else? Having her nails done etc? I'd get on this asap to try to head off worse episodes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Have you let the breeder know what's going on? Have you been to the vet lately? I'd schedule an apt and bloodwork and ask for a referral to a certified veterinary behaviorist. Here's a link to find one in your area. DACVB

Since you know what 'owner directed aggression' means, I'm guessing you have done some research and asked for help from a basic pet trainer and need help taking it farther. Have her drag a short cut off leash in the house when monitored and use that to control her, but no more restraining her by holding her body or collar. Is she funny about anything else? Having her nails done etc? I'd get on this asap to try to head off worse episodes.
Hi there. Thank you for the info. I have let the breeder know and they are pretty shocked by what I am describing. They even suggested we take here there so they can observe her as well. And yes she has paw sensitivity as well. Sometimes she tolerates the petting it she is calm and relaxed. But if she is any sorry if overstimulated (vet, excited, after play) these scenarios keep happening. Thanks for the leash idea as well.
 

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Kristy
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Hi there. Thank you for the info. I have let the breeder know and they are pretty shocked by what I am describing. They even suggested we take here there so they can observe her as well. And yes she has paw sensitivity as well. Sometimes she tolerates the petting it she is calm and relaxed. But if she is any sorry if overstimulated (vet, excited, after play) these scenarios keep happening. Thanks for the leash idea as well.
I would get her to the breeder or ask the breeder to come to your home to observe her. There is a possibility that if your breeder is no-nonsense and very confident with handling dogs, that she could have your puppy come spend a week at her home and never see a hint of this behavior. Many times there is a component of the puppy being babied and not given structure with family members and then the adolescent dog thinks that he/she can bully the family members. It may be that you can work through this with more structured obedience and dog management or you and the breeder may decide that she isn't a great fit for your home and would be better off being placed with a very experienced owner who handles dogs with a lot of confidence and structure. I recommend you getting her involved in person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I would get her to the breeder or ask the breeder to come to your home to observe her. There is a possibility that if your breeder is no-nonsense and very confident with handling dogs, that she could have your puppy come spend a week at her home and never see a hint of this behavior. Many times there is a component of the puppy being babied and not given structure with family members and then the adolescent dog thinks that he/she can bully the family members. It may be that you can work through this with more structured obedience and dog management or you and the breeder may decide that she isn't a great fit for your home and would be better off being placed with a very experienced owner who handles dogs with a lot of confidence and structure. I recommend you getting her involved in person.
Thank you for the info. I plan to take her there soon.
 

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Is there any chance she could be in pain? Probably a long shot but if there’s a pattern to where you pet her and her going for you- such as on her back or her legs it could be linked. It might be worth a general vet check just in case.
Hope you can get to the bottom of it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Is there any chance she could be in pain? Probably a long shot but if there’s a pattern to where you pet her and her going for you- such as on her back or her legs it could be linked. It might be worth a general vet check just in case.
Hope you can get to the bottom of it!
Thank you. Vet wants to do some X-rays to check her hips and gi tract jusr in case. Need to schedule it. She growling has occurred since she was very little though probably 9-10,weeks. Thanks for input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hello, sorry to hear you are dealing with this. When she started growling at young age, did you ever try to tell her that is unacceptable behavior? There were some other threads posted recently with a similar issue as yours, e.g. Help, our puppy is growling at us.
We just tired to ignore it and remove ourselves safely. Trainer didn’t want us to eliminate growl since that’s more dangerous.
 

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Here is another thread Teeth, Growling and if able, biting - 9 week old puppy - when picking up. Like you. this owner had Goldens before and was dealing with it for the first time. I have wrote about the way I would deal with this on these two threads, if you are looking for ideas to solve this.

People don't expect Golden puppies to growl or bite. Some do. Even human kids bite. You have to teach them that this is not appropriate behavior. I don't think that ignoring them is going to solve this. Also, I agree that you should pay attention to what makes your dog uncomfortable, but do not be afraid that if you not let them growl at you that they will go and bite you. For example, they can choose to move if they don't like to be petted. Also, there will be times when you have to touch them, and they have to learn to accept it.

You already got suggestion on this thread. Use a short leash in the house to be able to correct the dog whenever she growls at you. Take classes and train her daily. A good trainer can point you in the right direction, but you will be the one who will have to work on the issue regularly to resolve it.

Another thing I would do since she seems to be fearful of being touched is to desensitize her. Look for videos on that. You work in short sessions where you reward her for letting you touch her. You can do that with paws, cutting nails, lifting her, restraining her, or whatever you feel she doesn't like. Make sure you are in control and don't get bitten.

I am sure you can fix this. Don't expect to see results immediately. A breeder might be able to help you, but don't be surprised with their reaction. They personally don't have this problem with puppies they keep because they know how to deal with this. However, they must have encountered buyers who are struggling with it, if they have been in the business for a long time. They won't talk about it, because it isn't in their advantage to say that they see this in their lines. Plus, most will honestly believe it is buyer's fault. Sometimes, it is really no one's fault. It is more about circumstances and personalities. If you are comfortable providing more information about your situation, people might have additional ideas.
 

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I'm sure it can be fixed also. And it IS to some extent the owner's fault, for not getting on it immediately and adequately. ... but your advice on the short lead is wonderful, correct immediately, and what strikes me as super important is to do this NOW while pup is small.
 
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