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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 2 year old golden named Rio (Not Neutered) - I've had him since he was about 3 months old. I've trained him myself, he's always been obedient, and has never had any behavioral issues before.
Recently he's started to disobey me, doesn't come on command, doesn't listen to commands, just stares at you, and then does what he wants when he wants.. He's attempted to bite me a couple times over the last month.. He is playful only when he wants to be, it's almost as if he wants to do things on his own terms. He's never been like that, and he has always obeyed me and even on walks he walks by my side without a leash.

Now when i tell him to get off the furniture, or to go lay down, he is not listening unless it is convenient to him... Why has his behavior changed drastically and what could cause this? Do you think that neutering him will help? is this a phase or is he trying to prove his own dominance and take control?

Rio Never barks unless someone is at the door, he has generally been very calm and curious... Any help on this issue is greatly appreciated. Thank you in Advance!
 

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I don't think that him being intact has anything to do with it. All our make dogs were intact thru their entire life.

I would just go back to basic training (sit,stay,lay) and hand feed him his kibble during this time. He has to re-learn that if he wants something he has to listen to you. I see it just like with kids; we become complacent that they just listen until they don't.

I do not like the sound of him trying to bite you; I would check with the vet and rule out any health problems. Some people on the forum posted thyroid problems can change behavior. I personally do not have any experience with those problems. Maybe some that do will chime in or you can do a forum search on thyroid.
 
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I suggest taking him to obedience class - they can help proof your recalls and deal with the alpha dog mentality. I use a choker and give them a quick jerk but I am old fashioned in my training. I am sure some people are anti chokers but I am still pro choker!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've checked with the vet about his biting -- they just said that it is most likely due to him being intact and he might be trying to break the dominance and become known as the pack leader himself. he has managed to get a good grip on me once and has left me with a scar on my hand. He hasn't growled or tried that again since.

To be honest, it has left me a little uneasy being with him sometimes - but i do not let him take dominance and stand my ground until he backs down.
 

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The first thing I would do if my dog has a sudden change in his behavior is to rule out any medical reasons.

Then I would ask myself have I become less consistent in what behaviors I ask for and when I ask for them because he has lulled me because he has been so good.

Another thing is I don't work for free and most dogs work for some form of payment also. They don't actually think it but what happens is they act in accordance to "what is in it for me".
What rewards are you giving for the good behaviors? Are they rewards you think he likes or are they things that he really values?

If I am Rio and for some reason I value being up on that couch what makes it valuable to me to not be on the couch?

Again if I am Rio and I am sniffing a great spot on a lawn and you call me to you (that spot is really valuable to me) what are you offering me that is more valuable to me to come to you?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I haven't tried the choke collar - I use a body harness even at this age for him, because it gives me control over his full body - I will consider the choke collar, I've had a golden before and 2 German shepherds and they have all been very well behaved and never have they done something like this.
 

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I don't believe in alpha or dominance being the problem. Dogs do what they think will work. If Rio thinks snapping and or biting you will work and he can continue to do as he pleases he will use those tools to get what he wants.

It really is all about being consistent and rewarding the good behaviors. But those rewards have to be more valuable to the dog than what he is self rewarding himself with.

The idea is instead of being confrontational find the things he likes that you think are acceptable and ask for those alternative behaviors and reward for them.

So instead of asking him to get off the couch and when he doesn't listen become confrontational, pick up a toy throw it and ask Rio to get it. When he does reward him for that.

Then if you don't want him on your couch teach him to lie on a bed or a rug instead.

Recall training is an ever on going training. Again you must reward for the behavior or it goes away.
 

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Why would you use a choke chain? Using an aversive on a dog that is already attempting to use force on you just adds in more force and violence on his part.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I will definitely try to reward him for his good behavior and see if that helps in changing his attitude. I've tried the toy thing, by tossing a toy and telling him to go get it, but he just ignores it, and will go get the toy when he wants to.

I am going to try the basic training that we did as a puppy and give him treats and rewards for good behavior and see if that helps in the long run.
 

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Before I can say anything about the biting, we need more information about the circumstances behind the attempts. My girl bites we all the time when we play, but I allow it and it is a game with rules. Can you give us more details?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Selli-Belle,

I do not play any games with him that involve biting, and do not promote any growling either - there were 2 occasions where he lashed out - once was in the middle of the night, i was heading to bed, he was laying on the floor next to my side of the bed and when i went to pet him before i got into bed he growled and snapped at me, i made him go lay in the living room for the night.

The time he got a grip on my hand was the following day, when i got home from work and I had told him to get up (so that i could harness him before walking him) and he growled... when i sternly said NO, and pointed my finger at him he lunged up and managed to get a grip on my hand... I had to lock him out on the balcony to calm him down. I had him vet checked after those incidences and they found nothing that could make him behave that way.
 

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You have gotten some good advice here. Animal behaviorists will tell you that the truly dominant dog doesn't go around snapping when it doesn't want to do something. If it were my dog, I might attach a leash to the collar when I am home so I can move him without confrontation... I would also enroll him in obedience class to work on cementing his response to commands. And remember dogs' sexual and social behavior/ maturity occurs usually from 18 to 24 months and you will sometimes see things in your dog that you didn't see earlier. I have seen puppies in practice that were great until they reached 18 months and then they would try things in here to intimidate and make you back off...
 
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