Biting Aggression in Golden Retrievers

So what’s the deal ?

Are Golden Retrievers becoming more aggressive towards their human counterparts ?

Is there some sort of aberrant behavior thing going on due too inferior breeding practices ?

Have Golden’s finally lost their minds ?

Or is it something much more simpler ?

Here’s the scoop, poop or whatever else you like to call it. Golden Retrievers just like every other breed of dog, depend on and need adequate mental and physical stimulation. Along with somebody to spend quality happy time with that animal. Lets not forget a dogs whole life is dependent on us for everything, love, affection, food, health care, mental stimulation which is directly tied to physical activity and playing.

Let me repeat that part, ” a dogs whole life is dependent on us for everything.”

Back to this Golden biting aggression thing, there is a certain segment of the population that will blame any and every type of unwanted behavior on poor breeding or some other type of genetic defect. Well hell, actually most folks in the dog world will explain away behaviors in this manner.

The truth of the matter is, biting is a normal behavior. There are a couple main reasons why this is brought about. Some people the first time their little puppy or dog growls at them will just totally freak out and start spending less time with the animal, this in effect will exacerbate the problem.

Too often dogs are yelled at or disciplined for play behaviors that are not understood, effectively confusing the shit out of the dog. Dogs growl and bite when they play. Another related problem to misunderstanding the dogs mind is when our dog becomes scared at something and he starts growling or barking, we again will yell at the dog to stop it.

Another potential problem ; People with small kids that never really had a dog usually wind up getting a Golden retriever or Labrador retriever. Especially since a lot of people advocate the retrieving breeds as family pets to the less experienced dog families. By doing so, those individuals are unfortunately showing their lack of knowledge when it comes to dogs and people.

Remember if you have a dog that growls and / or barks seemingly ferociously or aggressively at things, he is afraid of that thing. So instead of yelling at him we must know how to make the dog more comfortable through our body language and voice.

Regardless of how much experience we think we may have with dogs if they are displaying any behavior we do not know how to rectify, we do not have as much experience as we think we do.

The Spirit Dog

Copyright © 2009 A.S.Papszycki

31 Responses

  1. At times your website will be loading gradually, better find a far better web host.

  2. […] Biting Aggression in Golden Retrievers | The Spirit Dog – Jan 24, 2009  · I have an 18 month old golden. I could never even imagine this breed biting someone. Of course, I’ve spent considerable time around her as a puppy, and … […]

  3. I have a 14 week old golden retriever and he’s biting me and my daughter iv tried everythink a behaviourest told me standing my back to him he jst bites my clothes sayoling no in a firm low voice and holding his mouth closed he is getting aggresif I don’t know what to do

  4. My 11 month old Golden is growling and bearing his teeth. There is no specific trigger for this It is random. I have owned 5 Goldens and this has never happened before. Please help. I’m so sad about this.

  5. I have a 10 month old Golden who as a young pup, showed more than average bite aggression. I worked tirelessly on correcting it. He started obedience training at the age of 10 weeks. He is walked three or four miles per day and I am home with him all day. Occasionally, if I correct him for getting on the furniture for example, he will growl and show his teeth at me to which I respond with a sharp NO. But yesterday, I tried to take a stick away from him because he was eating it and he snapped at me, biting me so hard that I bled profusely! I am devastated! I love this dog and cannot believe that he would bite me like that. I need help. I am not giving up on him.

  6. I have a 1.5 year old golden and recently a man came up to the back of our ute while be was tied on and in supervised he bit the man. The man did not ask for permission for patting him. He has never ever done this beforehand I was so shocked! I then took him for a walk around a lot of other dogs and people and he was fine. I then took him for a walk today and he almost bit someone not sure what to do of what’s going on with him.

    Very upset as he is my baby boy.

  7. My 9 months old golden retriever turn agressive and jump on my wife trying to bite her when she want the dog to stop running in the house or off from the bed.

  8. My five months old golden bites me eventually while we play outside. She jumps up and bites my hand or my leg pretty hard. I hate it when she does that, and she just won’t stop or let go, so we have to get her inside. It’s horrible.

  9. My 3year old golden growled at me and tried to bite me when i tried to get her off the couch. I told her: off! Then yelled off , then pushed her gently and she became very agressive

  10. My golden can never be off the leash. When he is walked in the park
    other people with tiny dogs attack the golden. We have to carry mace
    to walk the dog. He is becomming more agressive. These dogs
    understand more language that we think.

    Thank you,


  11. I have an 18 month old golden. I could never even imagine this breed biting someone. Of course, I’ve spent considerable time around her as a puppy, and she has been thoroughly socialized with other humans, dogs, and cats. Unimaginable to think that she has cousins out there that would show any signs of aggression. The worst I ever got was occasional play biting when she was a small puppy.

  12. You already know therefore significantly in the case of this topic, made me individually consider it from numerous varied angles. Its like men and women aren’t involved unless it is something to do with Girl gaga! Your individual stuffs great. At all times maintain it up!

  13. I have a golden, since a puppy, broght him from pensylvania, cz in Virginia could find a breeder golden. Traine him myself for a year to go to the bathroom, using those fake grass than they sale in Pet’s store, and eventualy make him walk in the morning and afternoon. Also bought a cage keep him in the cage and give him enough space for him to sleep and no messing with his “bed”…cz dogs do not poop in their own bed. then he start barking and taking to the outdoors.
    Took him to a trainer and show me some tricks that it was difficult to apply into him so I change the trainer way a bit and it work, is like the kids somtimes you have to find a psicologist reason to make that work.

    One time I gave him a treat (cookie), and I thought he did not notice that it was one more piece left on the floor and I went to pick up the piece and he start groaning and I told him not to do that to me and poiinting my finger to him on his face…guest what?…he beat me, but it went to fast that I screem NO!, that he releases me in a second, but already with a mark on the arm, bleeding.. He was in the laundry (his room) for the rest of the day, he was feeling bad to do that, but also in my part it was my fault messing with his treat, the reward that they take very seriuosly…Other than that my dog is very obedient and hiper dog, like any other human with different minds to leave life…that is all!…

  14. I have worked with thousands of dogs at a shelter, where they are more stressed and more likely to bite than any other time. I worked for an open shelter meaning we had to take in any dog from any terrible person at all times. I was in charge of evaluating these dogs which I went to school for and had many years with different shelters and clinics training to safely evaluate these wonderful creatures. I also worked in a low income neighborhood in a city that saw many pitbulls. I can firmly say that they were the number one dog to come in my shelter and that many of them had terrible owners who never tried to do the right thing for them. Pitbulls themselves with good owners though are sweeter than many dogs I can think of. They are loving animals who have been bred to respect humans and not attack them but to attack other animals. To say ban a breed is stupid. I saw more attacks of people by german shepards, chihuahuas, rottweilers, and labs than I did pitbulls. That could be because most people are scared of pitbulls and wont go near them while thinking other dogs are totally sweet, wronnng. Dogs are generally very sweet in the right hands (any dog) however with bad ownership comes bad dogs. I have 2 pitbulls and they love my twin 2 year old nephews and sleep with my kitten and little corgie. They start wimpering and crying if they cant be around my little corgi. It is ignorant to blame an animal that only takes commands from humans and lives to serve us.

  15. I don’t know that I would say Goldens have become more aggressive, but I do think there are a lot more aggressive Goldens now than there were a few decades ago. Many rescues are now cautious about accepting stray male Goldens, or male Goldens surrendered to shelters for anything that might be translated as “aggression,” because they are worried about dominance aggression. We saw several male Goldens euthanized last year for dominance aggression. It’s become a pattern. I met one of these dogs once – he was a beautiful, calm senior. He was surrendered to a shelter for biting, but the rescue decided that, after extensive temperament testing, he showed only mild resource guarding. So they pulled him. I never would have suspected any temperament defect when I met him, and his handler that day raved about how wonderful he was. His foster family swore he was perfect. A month later, he suddenly started snarling and lunging at his foster mother. He was euthanized for dominance aggression.

    That being said, I do believe that MOST Golden-inflicted bites are a result of the breed’s reputation. Yes, Goldens make good family dogs. But the basic temperament has to be there, and the dog has to be socialized. I was raised alongside a pair of Golden Retrievers – they were only six months older than me. My parents bought them while my mother was pregnant with me. They were awesome dogs, never would have bitten a human, especially a child.

    BUT I spent the last two years working at a vet’s office, and the most dangerous dog I handled during that time was a Golden Retriever. She was very timid and fear-aggressive, and when I gave her a bath (she had peed all over herself), she tried to bite me in the face. Repeatedly.

    Too many people think all Goldens are good with children and will tolerate anything. In reality, although many Goldens are quite good with kids, not every Golden will tolerate a child yanking its ear, touching its food, or jumping on its back. They aren’t born thinking “I loooove kids, I’ll let them do anything to me!” Socialization is key.

    Also, too many people are enamored with their beautiful Golden and think nothing of breeding it. They then go on to sell those puppies to people that know little about dogs. Dominance aggression aside, we’re back to the socialization issue. You can have the most wonderful, docile puppy in the world, out of the very best parents – but if you tie that dog to a tree for the next six years, it’s gonna bite.

  16. i have a golden who is 2 years old male.He is lovely 85% of the time but then he gets over excited and then it turns into aggression, its like he looses control of his mind.He3 has never bit but has ripped my clothes and made my arm black.
    I got him from a pet shop here in greece, he was brought over from hungry.I truly believe his problems are from breeding.I still dont have his papers and am worried maybe he is a mixed breed.
    I have also taken him training and is very well trained.

  17. If friends come to my home and shake my hand my golden will try to bite them.

  18. First of all nothing you said really mattered to me because my 5 months old golden retreiver keeps on biting me the whoie I got stiches and bruises out of it , got any answers? And I don’t care if he barks at strange objects because he is scared well that makes me laugh but biting doesn’t , so thank you for wasting my 10 mins on reading this shit fuck you and good night

  19. Good luck with your dog, Pramee.

  20. On the hunt for a good trainer, thx. There hasn’t been any signs of aggression since the incident I referred to earlier, but they tend to be far between.

  21. Hello Mike,

    A big part of the problem today is, people don’t spend the required amount of time with their dogs as they should.

  22. Sorry for the delay, Pramee.
    Neutering may help some dogs and have no affect on others. Have you contacted any local trainers ?

  23. I’m no expert, but I will throw this out there. It seems to suggest that in the past people were better owners, therefore the dogs, or golden retrievers, were better behaved. I don’t think people of the past treated animals any better, loved or were better trained in animal behavior. If anything, we are better informed today about animal behavior and we have the most recent research. Today people carry their dogs in purses and put sweaters on them and take them to the store with them. Socialization is very important to a dogs happiness and well being, but genetics is also a large factor. Try socializing herding out of a border collie. It seems to me that over breeding, puppy mills and lack of responsible breeding has produced dogs that are farther away from the golden’s characteristics. I also think there is not one simple answer.

  24. I need some advice. I’m a first time Golden Retriever owner and have been having my angel for about 2 years, from when he was a pup. Sheriff is very exuberant and we spend as much time as we can together. When he was younger he used to play with another dog of mine who is a quarter his size and they were the best of friends. But one day earlier this year he attacked her. Once when I wasn’t there and my mum had seperated them. I thought it might have been a play thing and she over reacted but then he did it infront of me. It was unbelievable the aggression. She was trying to play with him and he was out for blood. For her safety we seperated him from her and the other dogs with whom he had also picked fights (my other 3 dogs are less than half his size, two females and 1 male with whom he was very territorial and aggressive) and they come out on a rotating timetable of every six hours. When he does come out he is the pampered baby who is even fed by hand if he doesnt eat meals on time. Through the timetable we have controlled the dog fights but over the last year there have been more and more minor incidents of aggression towards visitors. Even though he is very friendly he is growing unpredictable, sometimes growling and lunging at visitors from time to time. If I am close at hand I discipline him and immediately give him a time out in his kennel. He hasn’t been uncontrollable yet.
    He is particularly close to me and a family friend who comes home almost everyday. Today he attacked her while I was talking to him. I think he may have got a little startled by her even though he seemed to realise it was her before he lunged at her. If I hadn’t been at hand I doubt she would have been able to walk away with just the scratch on the head and ear. After I pulled him off I told him to sit and attended to her, He grabbed more hair than anything else in that first bite. He was obidient and timid like he knew he had done something wrong or just reacting to my aggression, I don’t know.
    I am really afraid this problem is escalating. As he is a good pedigree I have been adviced against neutering him but I think maybe I should do it before its too late.
    Please advice anyone? There are children at home and I’m afraid I will have to give him up. I don’t think I will be able to bear that..

  25. I don’t understand why people think that supervising a dog will prevent him from biting. Do you seriously think a person is faster then a dog and can stop it on time? No .. but it’s true that you can prevent further damage .. the first bite will still be there !

  26. hehe. This is so true. Pretty much explains everything.

  27. […] Boston Terrier Facts You Need To Know Before Owning | Dogs.netGolden Retriever Videos | Dog VideosWhat You Need to Know before Buying A Golden Retriever Puppy!! Biting Aggression in Golden Retrievers […]

  28. I have had my golden for three years now. he is the end all and be all of goldens. people walk up all the time and want to moon all over him. I can understand why he wouldnt like this. Its just like some strange person wanting to walk up and run their fingers threw your hair. I dont know about you but people need to respect the confort zone.

  29. Hi Stacy,

    That seems to be the big problem, many people think that Goldens are like on automatic pilot were you don’t have to teach them a dam thing.

  30. Oh thank you finally someone that understands. I think the golden’s good reputation is what is damning these dogs. Here is my theory about why golden rtrievers are seemingly “becoming more aggressive”.

    They have always enjoyed somesort of popularity and like all other dogs, when properly trained and socialized they make marvelous family pets. So as time goes on their reputation gets better and better. Then they start to get wildly popular. Now it’s not just the hunters or knowledgeable people who want to own these dogs, it’s also many many other less dog-savvy people. Among those, the kind that believe they can leave their poor golden tied up all day and he’ll magically blossom into a wonderful family pet. As more and more idiots start owning goldens believing they will automatically be perfect pets, less and less goldens are getting the proper training and interaction they need. It’s because of their own good reputation and popularity. And now because so many idiots think they can slack as long as they get a golden retriever, we have a higher number of golden retriever bites. I think their bite numbers are just an indication of how many more goldens are owned by idiots who don’t train them or care for them.

  31. Two weeks ago I was walking in the park with my Bichon, who was on leash. A gorgeous Golden Retriever came bounding toward us from 50 yards away. I was not worried, initially, because I’ve only known nice Goldens. But in the last few feet I realized this dog was about to attack mine. So I bent down, got my dog out of the way (intending to then get it up off the ground) and before I could that Golden bit into my forearm. He did not let go. He started yanking and tugging and off went a huge chunk of flesh. It required 40 stitches, at three levels. I’m still in bad pain. The owners, initially, blamed me, because I bent down, and that frightened their dog. They didn’t seem concerned that their (3) Golden Retrievers were ALL off leash in a public park where ALL dogs are require to be on leash. I recognize Goldens need lots of exercise, but it is not fair to subject the rest of us to the chance that their beloved dogs might go nutz.

    I’ve owned dogs my whole life. The Bichon is the first little guy I’ve had. The others ranged in weight between 60 and 130 pounds. But they were never, ever off leash in a public situation. Truth is, although many folks thought I was cruel, my dogs were never off leash outside of our home and backyard. I’ve always thought it was wildly inconsiderate for dog owners to subject others to the unpredictable behavior of an animal.

    One of my dogs, Buddy, was chow/lab rescue, and I spent over $1000 to have him properly trained and rehabilitated when a $1000 was like $5000 today. Yet that dog, as loving and wonderful and magnificent as he became, was NEVER off leash. Truth is, you could trust him with children far more than you could trust most people. But again, he was never allowed to be with kids (who weren’t family members) unless I was with him, at his side, and he was under my immediate and complete control

    I’m 55 years old, and now when I go to the park, which is a block from where I live in suburbia, I’m terrified by all the Big Beautiful Dogs Off Leash. Something’s quite wrong here. I know Labs and Goldens and are wonderful dogs. So are a thousand others. But it’s wildly irresponsible to have these pups off leash in public parks (where the law requires they be on leash).

    Please appeal to your readership to be responsible and obey leash laws.

    Thank you,


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