A remarkably talented and beautiful breed, Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. The human-loving dogs are also known for being friendly and non-aggressive.
Although they can be protective of their loved ones and territory, Golden Retrievers are not considered to be guard dogs because of their naturally gentle and friendly demeanor. This question is frequently asked because of their generous disposition: Are golden retrievers aggressive?
Let’s find out what makes these dogs tick and whether there is any reason to believe they aren’t as loyal and loving as they appear to be.
Can a Golden Retriever Be Aggressive?
A Golden Retriever is the perfect family dog. They’re friendly, affectionate, and enjoy spending time with their humans. However, like any other dog breed, a Golden can be aggressive when provoked or threatened.
If your dog shows signs of aggression toward you or another person, it’s essential to get them help as soon as possible. Aggressive behavior can be challenging to control and may even result in the need for euthanasia if not appropriately addressed. Your Golden Retriever will display certain behaviors that alert you to the presence of aggression.
Signs of Golden Retriever Aggression
If you notice any of the following signs, you may want to give serious thought to obedience training.
- Barking: A barking dog is rarely a sign of aggression, but if they start barking at something or someone who isn’t there (or at nothing), this could be a sign that something else is wrong. Barking at strangers is okay. However, if they continue to bark aggressively after meeting new humans or dogs, this could indicate a deeper issue.
- Snarling: Snarling is another sign of aggression in dogs. Sometimes it’s subtle, so it’s essential to pay attention. Usually, there is low growling combined with snarling, but it’s not uncommon for dogs to show their teeth silently.
- Growling: Growling is another normal behavior, especially if your dog senses the presence of a stranger. They may also do this when they first encounter a new dog. However, continuing to growl with additional signs like raised hair could mean trouble.
Why Do Golden Retrievers Become Aggressive?
It’s important to remember that aggression isn’t a breed problem. Instead, it’s an individual, case-by-case problem that depends heavily on multiple external sources.
When you notice aggression, it’s essential to contact your vet or a professional dog behavioral specialist. Alternatively, if you’re aware of the source of the aggression, you could rectify the situation on your own.
The following reasons could drive aggression in your Golden Retriever:
Lack of Training
As with many breeds, Golden Retrievers need plenty of training to help them understand what is expected from them and how they should behave around people and other animals. If you don’t train your dog at an early age, they may develop behaviors that could be considered dangerous.
This includes aggression towards people or animals who do not respect their space or become anxious when meeting new people or animals (including strange dogs). They also may become reactive and bark at the slightest stimulus.
It’s critical to work with your dog at an early age and socialize them while they are young. You may find it difficult to socialize your dog once they’ve reached adulthood.
Some dogs are just born more aggressive than others. In these cases, there’s nothing you can do about it except try to keep them safe from harm while still attempting to socialize them (if possible).
Fear and Anxiety
Golden Retrievers tend to be very sensitive and easily frightened by loud noises or sudden movements around them. This can lead them to lash out at anyone they see as a threat, including other dogs or children playing too close by.
If your dog has previously been attacked by another animal or bitten by someone who scared him, this could also trigger an aggressive response in the future. This can be a difficult challenge to overcome because of unpredictability.
Unneutered male dogs and spayed female dogs are more likely than others to become aggressive as they get older. It’s believed that neutering or spaying reduces or eliminates their ability to express normal predatory behavior (i.e., hunting).
Therefore, keeping your Golden Retriever unneutered or unsprayed from an early age until maturity (at least one year) may help prevent aggression problems later on.
How to Correct Aggression In Golden Retrievers
Use the following steps to curb aggression in your Golden Retriever:
Socialized and Trained
The first step is to ensure that your dog is adequately trained and socialized. If you don’t already have a routine for training and socialization, start there. Your dog will learn better manners and become more confident if he knows what’s expected of him and if he’s been around other dogs and people.
Never Use Force
Never hit or physically punish your Golden Retriever for any reason, including aggressive behavior. This will only make things worse because it won’t solve the underlying problem — which is fear. This can also cause physical damage to your dog’s body, which will only make him more angry or afraid later on.
Instead of hitting or punishing your Golden Retriever when he acts aggressively (or any other time), try using positive reinforcement instead by giving him something he wants as an alternative reward: a treat or a toy or praise from you (“good boy!”).
This will teach him that good things happen when he does what you want him to do instead of misbehaving. It will also help him learn to behave appropriately with results that last.
Have you ever asked, “are Golden Retrievers aggressive?” If you said yes, then the steps mentioned above could give you a real chance at correcting your dog’s behavior. It’s important to remember to test different types of training until you find what works for your dog specifically.