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My name is Ingrid and I have two wonderful Golden retrievers, the joy of our house and to be honest, my loyal companions and the ones that saved me from depression and sadness. You can imagine how I feel about them, they are my best friends. I have 3 kids, my daughter is 23 and moved back home at the beginning of this year, and my two teenage boys 16 and 12. They loved my dogs. I have a 5 year name Tucker and when we got him he was the easiest dog you could ever ask, but because he deals with allergies from the beginning and got sick frequently we spoiled him and filled his life with tons of love and attention. Back in 2017 we decided it was time to get a second dog, Tucker spends long hours at home by himself and we felt like he need it a brother, and since he was the perfect dog, we figured getting another one was no problem right! Not the case!! We got ourselves an extra fluffy and oversized golden retriever, at 10 weeks the little turkey was that, a stuffed turkey and weighed 29 pounds. We were not told his weight at the time that we picked him up, but couldn't helped to notice how big he was, but from the moment we got there, even with having 20 puppies all over us, he picked us, and we were instantly in love with him. He came to the house after a 4 hour car ride and simply fit in with us. His name is Dallas and he is 1 1/2 old now and is a joy. Smart, loving, loves to cuddle, loves to play and run, and man he is energetic and go go go all day! We loved him from the beginning but couldn't help to noticed how shy he was, and got very afraid and nervous every time people would come over, or would asked to pet him, but he is a golden retriever, we figured he would outgrow that and grow up to be a nice temper, gentle giant LOL!!


Well that never changed, he hides when people comes to the house, at times if they touch him he pees and shakes and is so sad to see him like that, so we just avoid getting him anxious. He started too realized how big and strong he was at about 7-8 months and used that to bark, charge at other dogs, and he definitely got his way. This of course was a new situation for us and decided that maybe he need it to socialize more, since we sheltered him and kept him away from other dogs, other than his older brother. So we took him to puppy classes, and the next class after you complete that, and kept practicing what we learned and use it in a positive way, also decided to venture and took him to the dog park. Bad idea, he would just show his teeth, growl, bark, and charge at other dogs and it was so heartbroken for us, because here we have such a wonderful creature that is simply a joy at home, but with dogs he can get so angry. Also, the shy behavior with strangers never got any better. The other thing that I want to add is, if he noticed a loud tone of voice from us when we are correcting him, he gets extremely scared and pees because he can't handle it, is almost as he gets anxious and scared. For the most part, Dallas is the most obedient, smart and easy to handle. He learns anything you teach him very quick and is just easy when it comes to leave him at home alone unsupervised as long as him brother is with him.


 


A year ago we moved to a new house that we built with a big yard and more space, thinking about our dogs too. Moving in to a new home was easy transition for both dogs, as long as there is no people coming and dogs walking by, but when Dallas sees a dog, if it wasn't for the electric fence, Dallas would go after them and we don't know what he would do. My husband has intervene every time he gets in to a confrontation with another dog and at times he's end up on the ground, all because again he is so strong and big.


 


 


We got use to the idea that he is just who he is, but a little less than a month we had an incident where kids between the age of 7-8 years decided to ring our doorbell and run, and after repeatedly doing it, my husband surprised them when the door open and caught them running away, screaming because they got caught, Dallas went chasing after them and manage to push one of the boys to the ground, and grabbed him by one of his arms and pulled his pants, leaving teeth marks and bruises all over the poor kids. Worse day of my life, I think about the little boy and can't even imagine how he felt. Right away my husband ran after Dallas and stopped him from doing keep grabbing the kid. One thing we noticed is, Dallas didn't bark, growl, or acted angry, he right away stop and got in to a sitting position waiting for my husband to help the kids and right away knew he was in trouble. This end it up being an incident where the police was called and they open a case and register the incident. The parents claimed Dallas attack and bite their son (which I totally understand) and put him on a 10 day quarantine, which we followed and ever since are more careful about him around people and other dogs. Sadly this past weekend we were on a short walk and one of the neighbors and his kids asked if the dogs can be pet and with a little of hesitation we said yes (which we feel very anxious, and stresses immediately) but my husband kept a tight grip on Dallas leash, trying to keep him calm and well behaved. To our surprised he was very well behaved, and let the girl touch him and even hug him. But once she stopped and took off, Dallas went after her and grabbed her from her arm, again leaving teeth marks that later will turn in to a bruise. My husband grabbed him quick and after getting firm and loud at him, Dallas stopped right away and just laid down, which is what he does instantly when he is naughty. I don't need to tell you how horrible, sick, and sad we felt. I kept apologizing to the parents and offered any help, and took total responsibility for the incident. But as it was expected the parents were very angry, rightfully so. They simply said unacceptable and dismiss us. It’s a friendly neighborhood and unfortunately has a facebook page, so we heard about the incident on social media and couldn't help but feeling defeated, sad, and scared for Dallas and his future at home and in the neighborhood. I understand the parents feelings and put myself in their shoes, but I wish they can also understand the difference between a dog attack and this type of incident and accept that the kids never got any broken skin, bleeding or nothing major "Thank God" but maybe that's just my love for Dallas that makes me see things that way. They are now considering calling the cops and report it (which will make it a second incident). I feel so sad, and unsure about Dallas future, but I so wish he can be given a chance. Ever since we noticed how he is, we isolate from people and other dogs, simply because we want to avoid anything that may cause trouble and unfortunate events. I literally hide at my house, which by the way is their heaven, they both love being at home and simply going out in our yard, enjoy the sun, grass and limited times outside, just to keep Dallas from being labeled as a dangerous dog.


 


My boys are so sad, they keep asking me to post videos of our interaction with him at home, but I know this won't help the situation, but I also don't want to send him away. I feel like he won't have the loving life that we provide for him. And I really believe that all dogs with behavioral issues deserve a chance, but he's already the talk of the neighbors.


I just need to know what can I do to help and I would like to hear peoples input. Is it me being wrong about keeping him and finding ways to avoid contact with other? Does he have what it takes to be a good dog around other people? Am I being selfish by thinking that the incident wasn't enough to escalate and get the cops involved.


I need someone's help and advice and reassurance or opinion.


Thank you for reading my long post, but I just wanted to share my story in this forum with people that are animal lover just as much as I am.


Ingrid
 

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Ann
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Hello, your dogs are beautiful. I’m so sorry you are having difficulties with Dallas. I, too, have two male Goldens, Lincoln 10 yrs old, and Bear, 10 mos old. I’m sad that you have to “hide” in your own home. Have you considered getting a professional trainer to come to your home? I’m sure the neighbors would appreciate you getting a dog trainer to work with him. I can’t imagine why he’s behaving like that but am encouraged to hear that he stops once he is corrected. Please don’t give up. I’m sure the forum will come up with plenty of advice for you. Please keep us updated.
 

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I have two males that I love. One is 8 and the other just turned a year old. My 8 year old has a very dominant personality, and is protective of me if I'm alone. He is extremely well trained, and has never bitten, or marked another person, but he's made it abundantly clear that given the wrong situation he would protect me.

One thing I will say to you is it is perfectly acceptable to tell people it is NOT okay to pet the dogs. We go camping a lot and if I am walking Duke alone around a camp ground and a man approaches he will heal very closely to my side. I can notice an immediate difference in his body language. If the man starts to approach I normally move away, or I will simply accept their compliments on how beautiful he is and explain he is a little protective. When they start to get to close Duke will sit almost on my feet directly in front of me. This could be mistaken for wanting to be pet. That is not what it means, and it's my job as his owner to know that. He doesn't react this way with children, families, or women. It is a thing with him and I when a man approaches. I am still fully in control and that saves me, and him. He has never shown this behavior if any one else is with him, or handling him. I only take him out alone in public settings when I have to. If I was walking him and my husband was with me there would be absolutely no problem with anyone touching him. I take him to Disney World Fort Wilderness every year and with that many people as long as I respect his body language we are absolutely fine.

Here's my pet peeve. People see a Golden and often don't respect their space. They rush toward them, or fall all over them. That is fine for most Golden's but there are a few that have boundaries. Duke is the opposite of your guy going from your description. He is the alpha male, and has that attitude. He has had professional training and it has done wonders. He's field trained, high strung, built like a freight train, and is the dog that will retrieve anything when hunting in the field. I am his mom. I have babied him since day one and I think that all that drive in the field is probably what also gives him that little edge in his personality. I live on a farm and have a business on my property. My dogs are very social, but I know Dukes limits. If a truck driver comes up I let my husband go out and speak to them if Duke is in the office. He only protects me.

I think you need professional training help before you have any other problems. I would never accept my dogs pulling away from me to go after someone. This is where your biggest problem is in my eyes. You need firm obedience training. If he's timid he may need a very motivational trainer, but still he needs firm obedience. If I say heal they do not pull from me. If I say sit they should sit. These things would stop what is happening to you. I would not take him back out in public until I could trust him.

I also read that you have an electric fence. That is not good enough in your situation. You need a true barrier to protect your dog and your neighbors. A determined dog will run through an invisible fence.

I have had a professional trainer do 4 dogs for me. Two Golden's and two labs for my son. He is a highly respected field trainer in our area and has done a great job with the ones he did. I sent him my newest puppy at 6 months old and it just didn't work out. My new guy has had a few health issues. It has made him timid, but high strung. He doesn't do things just to make you happy, he wants to be happy too. We've had to get a different trainer and we've had to change how we are training. Dogs personalities play a big role in how they receive training.

I think you can find a way to make everything work. He may never be that Golden you want to take to a child's Birthday Party, but he can be a well behaved pet. It will just take a lot of work and commitment. I would consult a professional trainer as soon as possible. I'm not a fan of group training for any kind of real issue. You need individual training sessions.
 

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Have you had the thyroids checked, the adrenals?? You might even have to change his diet.
I would do eveything not to give away Dallas and would work together with a dog behaviourist immediately which should have been done a long time ago. Not a basic trainer.
 

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I second what the other posters have said about consulting a professional trainer or behaviourist. This is something that's going to get worse if you don't do something about it, and it's not the kind of problem that advice from the Internet is going to resolve. You need someone who will come to your home and watch your dog's behaviour, and give you the tools you need to deal with it. Your dog has bitten twice now, and that makes him vulnerable. I'd suggest that you have him wear a muzzle if you take him out in public. This is for his own protection: in most jurisdictions, a third bite would be a death sentence for him.



Also, it's perfectly ok to tell people they can't pet him. It's very risky to allow a child to hug this dog. You can simply tell them that he doesn't like being petted.



Last, as Dbltrbl said, your electronic fence isn't enough for this dog. It might keep him in (for now), but it won't keep other dogs or people or children out. For your dog's protection, you need a real fence.


Best of luck. I hope you find a solution.
 

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I second what the other posters have said about consulting a professional trainer or behaviourist. This is something that's going to get worse if you don't do something about it, and it's not the kind of problem that advice from the Internet is going to resolve. You need someone who will come to your home and watch your dog's behaviour, and give you the tools you need to deal with it. Your dog has bitten twice now, and that makes him vulnerable. I'd suggest that you have him wear a muzzle if you take him out in public. This is for his own protection: in most jurisdictions, a third bite would be a death sentence for him.



Also, it's perfectly ok to tell people they can't pet him. It's very risky to allow a child to hug this dog. You can simply tell them that he doesn't like being petted.



Last, as Dbltrbl said, your electronic fence isn't enough for this dog. It might keep him in (for now), but it won't keep other dogs or people or children out. For your dog's protection, you need a real fence.


Best of luck. I hope you find a solution.
First, let me say that I have never had this experience with any of the dogs we have had in the last 43 years...That said, I quoted ceegee simply because if I were in your situation, I would definitely begin using a muzzle for the reasons mentioned. Likewise, since you already have an issue with biting, I also agree that an electric fence is a recipe for future issues. My concern is that if Dallas has a strong enough desire to go after someone or another dog, he could easily break through the electric fence. Goldens have a high threshold for pain, and while your electric fence has worked so far, all it will take is the next bite. For me, the risk would be too high. Likewise, as mentioned, an electric fence will never keep other dogs, people, children or predators out.

I wish I could help you more. I read your post and felt terrible for you, your family and especially for Dallas, not to mention the kids he has had a bad experience with. Yikes! It's time to do all that is within your ability to address the problem. Hang in there, but start taking the suggested steps now. The legal fees you could encounter if someone decides to come after you could well outweigh the cost of in-home observation/training, a muzzle, and a real fence. Keep us posted on your progress.
 

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First, have a full physical done on Dallas, have a full thyroid panel run, not just the in house T4 your vet does at his clinic.

Second, you need to find a board certified veterinary behaviorist to consult with, as well as a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant trainer and have that person come evaluate him and give you a training/management plan to work on.

Third, if you have an electronic fence/underground fence as your containment for him, you must immediately have an actual solid fence built around your yard. You have absolutely no way to stop people, children, or other dogs from entering your yard while he is out there and him attacking them.

With the help of the certified veterinary behaviorist, and the certified behavior trainer, you can develop a management and training program to help him behave better. But you need professional help - before he does serious injury to a child.
 

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thank you everybody for your advice and for the replies. As soon as we noticed the first incident with the kid that came in to our yard we made sure Dallas is always supervised when he is outside. He is out only for runs and when he does his business and late in the evening when people are mostly indoors. We stay in the back yard and play with him and our other dog. I contacted the trainer right away and she got back to me, unfortunately she was out of state and I end it up getting a call just yesterday and she advice me to send him to a behavioral vet at the U of M, which I contacted and they are set to call me and set up an appointment with them to evaluate him. Also I contacted a behavioral trainer and they will set up in home classes, but I need to get Dallas to the vet first for evaluation and also blood work and everything that is involved. This situation hurts me so much because we love Dallas so much and had tried our best to make things better on our own, thinking at some point he would get better. Dallas is very territorial and protective of us, specially myself, and we figured this was the reason of the incidents, since my other golden is the same, very protective but in a different way, he would never hurt anybody, as a matter of fact Tucker would let any stranger come in to the house and let them take everything!!


We just want to give Dallas the best environment and try out best to keep him because he is not only our pet, he is family.
 

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Dear as I wrote before,please and please have his blood panel made for thyroids & adrenal.Most of the problems arise from these problems. How many dogs are labeled as "agressive,fearful,oc and people spend thousands of dollars on trainers without first making a reserach on the reason. I would also contact the breeder if they have encountered this problem beforehand.If they will tell you the truth I do not know. Maybe,he went through sth as a puppy. Or they were handled wrong. Sth the mother dog refuses a puppy which cause further problems
thank you everybody for your advice and for the replies. As soon as we noticed the first incident with the kid that came in to our yard we made sure Dallas is always supervised when he is outside. He is out only for runs and when he does his business and late in the evening when people are mostly indoors. We stay in the back yard and play with him and our other dog. I contacted the trainer right away and she got back to me, unfortunately she was out of state and I end it up getting a call just yesterday and she advice me to send him to a behavioral vet at the U of M, which I contacted and they are set to call me and set up an appointment with them to evaluate him. Also I contacted a behavioral trainer and they will set up in home classes, but I need to get Dallas to the vet first for evaluation and also blood work and everything that is involved. This situation hurts me so much because we love Dallas so much and had tried our best to make things better on our own, thinking at some point he would get better. Dallas is very territorial and protective of us, specially myself, and we figured this was the reason of the incidents, since my other golden is the same, very protective but in a different way, he would never hurt anybody, as a matter of fact Tucker would let any stranger come in to the house and let them take everything!!


We just want to give Dallas the best environment and try out best to keep him because he is not only our pet, he is family.
 

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Dear as I wrote before,please and please have his blood panel made for thyroids & adrenal.Most of the problems arise from these problems. How many dogs are labeled as "agressive,fearful,oc and people spend thousands of dollars on trainers without first making a reserach on the reason. I would also contact the breeder if they have encountered this problem beforehand.If they will tell you the truth I do not know. Maybe,he went through sth as a puppy. Or they were handled wrong. Sth the mother dog refuses a puppy which cause further problems

I sure will, I have been writing down the critical things to discuss at the appointment that I'm trying to set up at the U of M vet behavioral clinic. Also contacted his vet who's a good friend too and I trust and ask if he's equipped to perform the testing need it to figure out if his thyroid is ok, or to send me to the right place. I been on the phone all day today trying to expedite things.
 

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Sorry to hear about the situations with Dallas. I had a dog too who would bite out of anxiousness - it became a positive feedback loop for him because strangers would leave as soon as he bit them, so to his mind biting worked out. He even started getting aggressive to our friends who he's met quite a few times.

At first we tried to acclimate him to strangers, but he would just get so anxious, so we went the complete opposite direction - we dialed his "safe space" way back. If we have people over in the house, I put up a gate at the bottom of the stairs or put him in a room as far away from the noise as possible, and he gets frozen kongs.

When we go out on walks, I will cross the street as soon as I see someone coming. If we cannot avoid them (there's people on the other side, it's unsafe to cross, or we get surprised by someone), we go up into the driveway or behind a car, so that there's a safe distance for him. I get his attention and we practice "watch me" with treats when I'm waiting for the people to pass. If people (or dogs with their owners) run up wanting to say hi, I tell them that he's not friendly. I tried really hard to keep the anxious threshold low and to give him a bubble.

After a few months or a year of this, I think he started to understand that I'll always keep him safe. He became a bit less reactive. He will see the people or the dogs coming, allow me to hold him back or to the side, and then immediately look at me for treats. We kept practicing this on daily walks. After another year of this, he was much better at ignoring people and dogs without me holding him back or him needing for treats. However, we were still careful to not push him too hard. He much preferred walking in quiet places without other people. He would never become the friendly neighborhood dog, but he was the sweetest dog at home and was everything to us.
 

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Sorry to hear about the situations with Dallas. I had a dog too who would bite out of anxiousness - it became a positive feedback loop for him because strangers would leave as soon as he bit them, so to his mind biting worked out. He even started getting aggressive to our friends who he's met quite a few times.

At first we tried to acclimate him to strangers, but he would just get so anxious, so we went the complete opposite direction - we dialed his "safe space" way back. If we have people over in the house, I put up a gate at the bottom of the stairs or put him in a room as far away from the noise as possible, and he gets frozen kongs.

When we go out on walks, I will cross the street as soon as I see someone coming. If we cannot avoid them (there's people on the other side, it's unsafe to cross, or we get surprised by someone), we go up into the driveway or behind a car, so that there's a safe distance for him. I get his attention and we practice "watch me" with treats when I'm waiting for the people to pass. If people (or dogs with their owners) run up wanting to say hi, I tell them that he's not friendly. I tried really hard to keep the anxious threshold low and to give him a bubble.

After a few months or a year of this, I think he started to understand that I'll always keep him safe. He became a bit less reactive. He will see the people or the dogs coming, allow me to hold him back or to the side, and then immediately look at me for treats. We kept practicing this on daily walks. After another year of this, he was much better at ignoring people and dogs without me holding him back or him needing for treats. However, we were still careful to not push him too hard. He much preferred walking in quiet places without other people. He would never become the friendly neighborhood dog, but he was the sweetest dog at home and was everything to us.
Wow, is like you’re describing my Dallas! He is not very receptive to visitors and once he sees someone come inside the house he doesn’t growl but he for sure let them know that he’s bothered by their presence, but what he does is he hides under our dining table and as long as his face is under he is perfectly fine with everybody sitting and him being under the table, which we always say is his hiding place. He’s never act aggressive towards anybody while at home that tried to win him over with a treat, sometimes he would take it and others he just ignores them, but surprisingly he’s never react angry or tried to bite their hands. He is not sociable that I will say, so we just respect that and warn people that he’s that way.

Dallas is also very obedient, I have to say he’s even more obedient than my oldest golden. He stays on his spot when is meal time, tries his best to be patient when his food is being handed and never ever complains if we take his food away, or my kids get close to his food, he just lets you do it. He waits for his treats, he doesn’t jump on people, on less he sees the leash, that gets him so excited, he can’t barely sit still and wait for our command to go outside. Also if he’s outside with us he sits by our side and never runs away, but will never lose and opportunity to play catch or hide and seek.

Dallas is unpredictable because one day he can be totally fine outside and doesn’t care if someone walks by with a dog, and other times he will just run after them but immediately stops because he knows the fence will hurt him. But he’s not ok with certain dogs and has tried to go after them, and end up growling-barking-biting them without causing major harm, just enough to scared the other dogs, is almost as if he’s warming them that is his yard, or if a dog gets close to us at the park, he reacts right away and goes under our legs and doesn’t leave us, same with people that talks to us.

He’s never gotten in to a fight with our other dog, the biggest thing is he can’t be away from him because he gets anxious, but I have to mention that he definitely lets him know he’s the alpha and bullies him, he takes his toys away but never being aggressive, also he doesn’t like it if we cuddle with our other dog, right away he goes in our lap mind you he’s a big dog and demands you to only dedicate time to him, and my other dog lets him get away with that, luckily Tucker is patient and puts up with him. But like I said in one of my replies, we never allow him to get away with his behavior. He definitely knows I’m the boss and that there will be consequences for his bad behavior. When you get mad at him and discipline he always obeys. When he’s outside and we notice people walking by we make him sit and stay in one spot and talk to him about “being nice” he listens, he knows he can’t move, and when he’s walking and notices a dog we make sure to let him know that he stays by our side.

We have no issues with him not listening to a command, first time and he does it. I just don’t know what caused him to react to the two kids the way he did, and is so unfortunate because it only takes once for a dog to be labeled and this is definitely the case, and sadly end up worker because he did it again in less than a month. Also if my boys have friends over and take him out to play he will more than likely keep them busy and entertained because he’s very playful, more than my other golden who never leaves my side and prefers to be by me 24/7.

I just hope there’s hope for him because we want to keep him. I am just anxiously waiting to get him check and evaluated, I am committed to do what it takes to give him the life that he deserves because I love him so much, and it doesn’t help that he’s so darn cute.
 

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Yeah it's hard when the dog is looking cute like they're smiling, they're just people magnets! But I think it's good for other people to learn that they can't approach dogs without checking with the owner first if it's okay.

He sounds so sweet otherwise, I really hope the behavioral vet evaluation works out!
 

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I’m feeling a little hopeful today. I was able to set up an appointment at the University of MN Vet clinic to meet with a Animal Behavior Counseling and Training therapist and veterinary. Dallas will go Tuesday May 28th to be evaluated and check by both specialists. They will help me figure out what’s going on with my pup. I had a very long phone conversation with her and she asked me so many questions, and also gave me some input, at least from what she can hear and told me that by the way things sound, Dallas doesn’t sound like a dog that appears to be aggressive because of his nature and thinks that his anxiety and shy personality is leading him to get anxious when he encounters unknown situations. She’s hoping some training and techniques will help, and also told me that this could very well the ya t that he’s transitioning from a young puppy to adulthood and is making him go though some changes. But he’s set to have testing done as well to see if this is a chemical imbalance or genetics. I just hope we can figure things out and give Dallas a chance to be the normal golden retriever that we hope he can be. So far he has been his normal shy puppy, enjoying life at home with his family, he’s just not going out without supervision, and is also enjoying going on runs with my husband with no problems. I pray that his appointment comes soon so we can have some answers.


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I’m feeling a little hopeful today. I was able to set up an appointment at the University of MN Vet clinic to meet with a Animal Behavior Counseling and Training therapist and veterinary. Dallas will go Tuesday May 28th to be evaluated and check by both specialists. They will help me figure out what’s going on with my pup. I had a very long phone conversation with her and she asked me so many questions, and also gave me some input, at least from what she can hear and told me that by the way things sound, Dallas doesn’t sound like a dog that appears to be aggressive because of his nature and thinks that his anxiety and shy personality is leading him to get anxious when he encounters unknown situations. She’s hoping some training and techniques will help, and also told me that this could very well the ya t that he’s transitioning from a young puppy to adulthood and is making him go though some changes. But he’s set to have testing done as well to see if this is a chemical imbalance or genetics. I just hope we can figure things out and give Dallas a chance to be the normal golden retriever that we hope he can be. So far he has been his normal shy puppy, enjoying life at home with his family, he’s just not going out without supervision, and is also enjoying going on runs with my husband with no problems. I pray that his appointment comes soon so we can have some answers.


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That's great news! I have no doubt you can make this all work out with some good help. Sounds like things are headed in the right direction. Keep us updated.
 

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Hi Ingrid! I hope you had a good appointment yesterday! Please let us know how it went!

I also sent you a DM regarding my experience. In that message I forgot to mention that my dog (Lloyd) was diagnosed as hyperthyroid very young. He was under 1 year. Getting him on the right medicine made a big difference for us. It didn’t solve all the problems but it was a start in the right direction! He had unfortunately learned some behaviors that were difficult to undue and he’s still an anxious dog overall, but being in the meds made him less reactive overall. We still aren’t able to approach other dogs on walks or go to the dog park, but after training and getting his health sorted out, we can now walk peacefully and he won’t react to other dogs as long as he has enough space where he feels safe.

I really hope you get some answers to help build a plan for your sweet boy!
 
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