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Yesterday a friend brought over their mix (part pit bull) rescue dog of 8 years. My golden and she did fine for the day. The other dog really wasn't into playing but nothing happened. Until I made the mistake of giving them both a chew. My dog left hers and went over to the other dog's and started to go near hers while she was chewing. The other dog growled. Hadley stopped but then went towards her again and the dog snapped at Hadley and then they really went after each other. It looked awful and thankfully we were able to pull them apart before either got hurt.

Do I need to be concerned about Hadley's reaction? Is this indicative of an aggressive golden or just a puppy and an owner that shouldn't have given them treats? I'm worried I've done something that will have a very negative impact on her temperament.
 

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Kristy
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Giving two dogs high value items (chews) who aren't in the same household and who you don't know their long time relationship well (these two were complete strangers) was a major mistake on your part, not your dogs.

Hadley is still a puppy and is learning manners and you should not have allowed her to walk over to the other dog. Some dogs who have an established relationship will trade off on bones in a situation like that. Unfortunately, the mix dog didn't want to, which was certainly her right. If your friend's mix dog has bully breed/pit bull in her, you're darn lucky that Hadley isn't in the hospital over this. The thing that makes bully breeds dangerous is the force of their jaws and the fact that once they latch on and start shaking they generally will not let go. They can do serious damage that another breed might not.

Hadley isn't a bad dog and your friend's dog isn't either, it was bad management on the part of the humans.
 

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Giving two dogs high value items (chews) who aren't in the same household and who you don't know their long time relationship well (these two were complete strangers) was a major mistake on your part, not your dogs.

Hadley is still a puppy and is learning manners and you should not have allowed her to walk over to the other dog. Some dogs who have an established relationship will trade off on bones in a situation like that. Unfortunately, the mix dog didn't want to, which was certainly her right. If your friend's mix dog has bully breed/pit bull in her, you're darn lucky that Hadley isn't in the hospital over this. The thing that makes bully breeds dangerous is the force of their jaws and the face that once they latch on and start shaking they generally will not let go. They can do serious damage that another breed might not.

Hadley isn't a bad dog and your friend's dog isn't either, it was bad management on the part of the humans.
A little harsh, no? Seems like an honest mistake and something that anyone would do that unfortunately had a rare consequence. Marycul, I'm sure Hadley will be fine and learned her lesson the same way you did!
 

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Kristy
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What matters is that you learned an important lesson and it won't happen again. It would have been ok to let them have chews while you chatted with your friend but they both should have been on leash. Don't beat yourself up. Count yourself lucky and move on. Hadley will be fine. If you haven't worked with her on trading, maybe some work on that just for good practice and don't worry about it.
 

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Kristy
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A little harsh, no?
Actually, No, it wasn't harsh at all. Marycul was concerned that the incident indicated that there is some issue with Hadley's temperament, that she has aggressive tendencies. I wanted to make it very clear that the blame did not lie with EITHER dog, it was the people. This was something that didn't have to happen. The important part is that Hadley is fine and Marycul learned something super important about dogs that she will use for the rest of her life.
 

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If your friend's dog and your dog are going to be around each other regularly then this was probably an inevitable lesson for your pup to learn.

There are two dogs in our house, but they are separated by baby gates 95% of the time because my 5 month old golden is too big and playful for the small older poodle mix. They love playing together outside and get along. However, they had their only dog fight when we once gave them both a bully stick outside and one of them finished theirs first. The older dog is a treat monster and can get really scrappy. Since then, the golden pup un-motivatingly guards his treasures from the oler dog and doesn't ever ever try to get them back...only barks at the older dog playfully (or helplessly-- hard to say lol).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Giving them treats was about the dumbest thing I could have done. And any consequences are totally on me. There is no question in my mind. I also was wondering, only because I don't know, was this an understandable reaction for a golden retriever or should I learn something specific regarding Hadley's temperament from the interaction.
 

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I don't think it is too harsh. For others who may be reading this, it is a good lesson to imprint and something like this could change behavior of the dog permanently.
Jules
 

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I found out quickly that my puppy is a resource guarder with chews. I tried to pet her when she was chewing one when she was only 8-9 weeks and my sweet cuddly fuzzball turned into a rabid animal. Since then, I've been VERY careful giving her chews until I can get a professional trainer to help me break that of her. Once I noticed that, I did a ton of research and realized that it's somewhat common for dogs to resource guard - sounds like the pit mix does too.
I think it's important the pit mix taught your dog some manners, but I've also heard that after a dog fight, it is VERY important to reintroduce your dogs in a safe positive way ASAP so your dog doesn't form a negative association with other dogs.
 
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