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Hi,
I have a golden retriever named Tammy. She is eight years old. She has never been a nice dog. She bit me in the face once when I was petting her while she was eating when she was maybe 2. She growls often, at both me and my sister and my father, but never my mom, who feeds her. She is also hostile towards guests, but never initially. She will act excited to see someone at first but then start growling and baring (sp?) her teeth. We tell her NO , which we have been doing for YEARS but she never listens. Admittedly, she is showing mild signs of hip problems so she gets sore and cranky, but this behavior has been typical ever since she grew out of puppyhood.
We had a golden retriever before Tammy, who was the complete opposite, which leads me to believe the way we are training her is NOT affecting her bad behavior. I don't understand what is going on! I am at a complete loss, and I love Tammy, even though she is a pain to live with.
 

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I am 100% responsible for my dog. If my dog is displaying undesirable behaviour it is truly my fault. I have taught or allow my dog to behave this way, therefore I'm bad. I am a believer that there is no such thing as bad dogs just bad dog owners! Every time Tammy has displayed the behaviour it becomes an ingrained behaviour. So why put her in the same situation for years, were you are setting her up for failure? If telling her no didn't work why would you repeat this?

I don't think you have a bad dog. To me a bad dog is not just a dog that displays undesirable behaviour, a bad dog is truly evil in the depth of his or her heart. Also I don't think it is helpful or constructive to label your dog bad. By placing a label of bad upon Tammy you are setting her up to be bad. Also you will be treating Tammy a certain way (negative) because she is bad, even if you are trying not to you will.

For instances if my attitude towards Tammy was that she is bad when communicating with her my tone would be negative and probably harsh, my energy and body language would display that I think Tammy is bad and this in turn will have a negative impact upon Tammy and possible make her behaviour worse. Think of the difference in facial expressions when you meet someone you don't like, verses someone you are fond of, huge difference. Because Tammy relies so much on energy, facial expression and body language to communicate, it is important that she receives positive body language etc from you.

Not matter what labeling Tammy bad is not constructive, Tammy has some issues that need to be addressed, but with love, attention, positive energy and a commitment to training Tammy can over come these issues.

You need to take Tammy to a vet to insure this is not a medical issue. If you suspect Tammy has problems with her hips, why have you not taken proactive action to address this. You need to immediately contact a trainer. The trainer will assess Tammy's behaviour and teach you how to train Tammy to display the behaviour you desire. There is no magical solution that can be found on the net. You need professional help for Tammy's sake, as I don't think she is having a happy life displaying the behaviour you described. If you tell us what area you live in someone may be able to recommend a good trainer.

With love, effort, time and a commitment to Tammy I am sure Tammy can become a wonderful example of a golden! When you decided to get a puppy you make a life long commitment to Tammy and now you need forfill your end of the bargain!!
 

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In the Moment
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This is not normal golden temperment. Please have your vet give her a complete check up, including full thyroid panel and blood work, xrays if needed to determine her hip status. If all checks out, then I'd find a good behaviorist.
 

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Does anyone else think this is a troll?

Well if you are a troll, all I can say is sucks to be you!! And realistically I'm not bothered as someone else might one day do a search and find this helpful!
 

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Does anyone else think this is a troll?

Well if you are a troll, all I can say is sucks to be you!! And realistically I'm not bothered as someone else might one day do a search and find this helpful!
No, I don't think this poster is a troll - but I do think you may have got out of bed on the wrong side :confused:

I think this person is worried about the dog and is asking for suggestions - simple as that.

As others have said it is not typical golden retriever behaviour, but any dog can be cranky if not feeling completely well. Best thing first, I think, is to eiminate any physical problem, which means a visit to the vet. This dog is now 8 years old and may not be likely to change dramatically, but it is possible to make improvements, although I do think a bit of sympathetic professional help may be needed to make an assessment of what is going on.
 

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No, I don't think this poster is a troll - but I do think you may have got out of bed on the wrong side :confused:

Nope I can't get out the wrong side of bed, no matter what side of the bed I get out of I'm always met by a wiggles bum, a smile and lots of loving! Just to reaffirm my post was in no way write in anger or by a grumpy person. If you check through any of my previous year or so worth of posts you will see I am not a grumpy, rude or particularly negative person.

Maybe my post was quite harsh if this is so then my apologies it was not meant to offend, but merely to be straight forward and to seriously address this individual. I can sincerely state that what I wrote was not written with a hurtful intent.

Also I did not write my initial reply directed towards a troll, that was an afterthought. The reason I thought maybe the post was a troll was because I couldn't believe someone could display such negative feeling towards their dog. The title of the thread is really really mean golden and the way the post refers to the dog not being a nice dog and a pain to live with. Yes the poster does say she loved her dog, but this seemed like nothing more than a token gesture.

The way I read the post was that it was written in a very derogatory manner directed towards Tammy not Tammy's behavior. Also the way the owner compared Tammy to her previous dog was crass. The owner mentioned that Tammy had bitten her as a 2yr old, what was the intent behind this? Too prove to the forum members oh what a bad dog Tammy is? I cant stand dogs being defined and labeled as a result of one behavior. There are plenty of forum members that have dogs with issue and they still love and cherish their dogs and wouldn’t dare label them bad or nasty!

Also the owner mentioned Tammy’s hip pain as a possible impacting factor in regard to Tammy’s behavior. If you know Tammy has issues with her hips and may be in pain please take her to have this treated. Unless there are other complicating factors that have not been mentioned, there is no reason for Tammy to be uncomfortable or in pain.

Also I thought it could be a troll because I couldn’t believe that someone would spend a few years with a dog displaying such a serious behavior and the only action was to say ‘no’ and to repeat this and set Tammy up for failure time after time. But really when I think about this I can imagine people engaging in this cycle.

Let's be honest we all get frustrated with our loving four legged friends, but it the way we act that is important and the unconditional love that many forum members display towards dog that may be considered troublesome or ‘hard work’. I hope for Tammy's sake the owner follows my and other members advice of seeking medical care and a reliable and established professional trainers assistance.
 

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Thanks for the comprehensive reply Bbuzz. When I first read the post my understanding was that this was perhaps a younger person, still living at home, so it maybe that she has not full responsibility for the dog, but wants to be more involved now she is older. I agree with what you say generally and it does seem unusual to decide to do something about things when the dog is now 8 years old. A dog sholdn''t be labelled as "bad" as you say it is often a matter of understanding what is going on behind the behaviour. We can only see what we read in the posts and it is difficult to be specific about advising how to make a dramatic change with an older dog - hence I think it would be best if a professional could assess and make appropriate recommendations. It would be a shame if they decided the dog had to go after all these years.
 

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Unfortunately there are Goldens with fundamentally unsound temperaments--I have met them, and heck I owned one. These dogs need special management, and even having successfully raised as "good" Golden before does not mean that the owners will have the skills and tools to manage such a temperament. The longer the dog is allowed to boss peop[le around with this behaviour the more competant and confident they get in doing so--it has been working in their getting their way, so why would they discontinue it? These issues can be exacerbated by health issues such as an out of balance thyroid, or pain due to orthopedic isses.

I would recommend getting a comprehensive health screening to eliminate the possible contributing health concerns, but given that it is a longstanding problem, a consultation with a qualified behaviourist (either Vet with formal behaviour training, or graduate psych training with a specialization in animal behaviour.) It will not be easy to correct after it has been self-reinforcing for so long.
 

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The golden does not seem to be a "really, really mean" golden as the OP says. But I question why someone would wait 8 years to try and correct a behavior. I know I let Lucky get away with things I don't let others get away with. He used to back talk me about cutting his nails and I let him get away with it. He would sneak on to he sofas and recliners as he got older. I let him get away with it but I made noise when I would get home and delayed slightly going in to give him time to get off the furniture. I created his sometimes bratty behavior and I would not have changed him for the world.
 

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I think it is really important that you seek a professional since this has gone on so long. You do want to rule out and get treatment for any medical reasons that can affect the behavior.
Shelly's suggestions on the type of professional are spot on.

I do want to say that each dog is an individual and because your first golden learned well with a certain type of training doesn't mean the next golden learns the same way.

From my experience of two goldens my first golden was very sweet, gentle and smart. No matter how deficiant I was in my training I had a dog that did wonderful. He did everything right even if my training skills were not always the best.

My new golden (3 years old now) was a handfull. He is smart also but he had different needs. He has never been a "calm" gentleman. He is full of himself and goes from calm to very highly aroused in 2 to 4 seconds. I had to make a lot of adjustments to my training to have a dog that acts appropriately no matter what the occasion is. He also wasn't as confident as my first dog so I had to do a lot of confidence building along with a lot of impulse control training. He is a wonderful dog just different. We have had a great 3 years with me learning to adjust and grow in my training skills and we have had tons of fun on the way.

Don't give up hope just get the help you need you may be surprised that your golden isn't mean but just didn't understand what you really wanted. And taking thing slow you two may eventually have a better understanding.
 

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Let me clarify a few things:
It's not that we all dislike or hate Tammy, we love her of course, but she is just a negative energy. She doesn't growl all the time, she acts happy sometimes, but usually when we go to pet her, she will growl. She's not mean, I guess, just really really grouchy.
We have not had her thyroid checked, but I will definitely look into that as so many of you suggested it!
 

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If she's growling when you pet her, my first thought would be that she's in pain. You mentioned her hips are getting sore, is she getting any glucosamine or pain maintenance meds? What does she have to lie on during the day? When my golden got old, he started getting really stiff after lying all day on his thin blanket, so i went out and bought some thick foam - 5 inches thick - and covered it with a fleece blanket. He loved his new bed and it helped with his arthritis.

Does she growl when you pet her in a certain area? Are you petting, as in stroking, or "patting"? Some dogs, especially arthritic dogs, don't like to be 'patted'. Some dogs are head shy, maybe she's losing her sight and can't see hands coming towards her head. Try to pinpoint WHY she does things and see if you can find the cause. For instance, if she's excited to see visitors, but then starts growling...is she growling because they reach down to pet her? That's a natural reaction for visitors but if she's arthritic and they're doing the typical "patting", especially on the shoulder (which I HATE) then that could explain why she goes from happy to grumpy.
 
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Why in the world would you or your family let this behavior go on for so long without seeking help? You and your family are the dogs guardians and should hold their well being as important. I do not understand.

I would write more but not sure if you're a troll or not.
 

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Thanks for the comprehensive reply Bbuzz.
Yes sorry about the comprehensive reply, couldnt quite help myself! I just really didn't want you thinking I was a grumpy or spiteful person that had written the post without putting any thought into it. Also I feel for Tammy, I keep imaging the life she is living.

Everyone's posts have been spot on, full of useful information and knowledge which would help Tammy and her owner if they are real.
 

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BBuzz wrote:I am 100% responsible for my dog. If my dog is displaying undesirable behaviour it is truly my fault. I have taught or allow my dog to behave this way, therefore I'm bad.

I just want to say that I really liked a lot of what you have said in your post.

I was in total agreement in your statement above until you said " I'm Bad which equates to bad owner".
Unfortunately, that statement can lose the person you are intending to reach. I know I have done it also. We care so much for the dogs, we focus so much on the dogs well being sometimes we come across harsh to the human.

Sure there may be some bad owners. Usually, the owner isn't bad though. They just don't know any better. Many owners do not understand how sensitive our dogs really are....
They do read our body language better than we can. We can think we are doing things just right but our body language or facial expression can be different and they can read us wrong. Which then can be so confusing to the dog.
The unintentional learning happens the human/owner gets frustrated as they don't know they are giving mixed or wrong signals and it just continues to spiral down hill.

It is like the movie with Bill Murray about the groundhog (I forget its name) repeat, repeat, and repeat. :(

I do hope the owner of Tammy will seek the professional help as someone on the outside can sometimes see what we can't.
 

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Thanks for the comprehensive reply Bbuzz.
Yes sorry about the comprehensive reply, couldnt quite help myself! I just really didn't want you thinking I was a grumpy or spiteful person that had written the post without putting any thought into it. Also I feel for Tammy, I keep imaging the life she is living.

Everyone's posts have been spot on, full of useful information and knowledge which would help Tammy and her owner if they are real.
Don't be sorry - I was intending to compliment you for being concerned enough to reply. I too feel sorry for Tammy (and her owners). Things could probably have been so much better all round if only the problems had been addressed when she was younger, rather than getting to 8 years old. Instead they managed and lived with things, which is a shame.
 

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The answers are in front of you. Your training is not addressing the issue. The dog has now formed a habit. The dog does not growl at your mother---you should find out why. As others have suggested, start with a visit to the vet. Then your best bet would be to probably consult a professional unless you are friends with someone who is excellent as a behaviorist.

Don't forget that dogs can be different, just like people.
 
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