If your Golden Retriever has been biting other dogs, you probably want to know why and how to get it to stop. In this post, I will show you common causes and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Golden Retriever bite other dogs? Possible reasons are that it was mistreated by other dogs in the past, it hasn’t had much exposure to other dogs or that it is reacting to your own emotions.
There are many different reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it, but there are things you can consider when figuring out the main cause. There are also a lot of things you can do about it.
Why your Golden Retriever bites other dogs
Below are common reasons why Golden Retrievers bite other dogs and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours has been doing it.
The reason might be that another dog mistreated it in the past and it is now distrustful of other dogs. This would be more likely if you know that another dog mistreated it or if you adopted it from a shelter.
In this case, it would help to follow the training tips below. If it is particularly violent around other dogs then consider getting the advice of a dog behaviorist or trainer in your area.
It hasn’t had much exposure to other dogs
It could be the case that it did not get much exposure to other dogs as a puppy and it did not learn that it can trust most other dogs.
Also, when Golden Retrievers are puppies they will bite each other. When one puppy bites another too forcefully the other puppy will react negatively which will teach it not to bite so hard. If your Golden Retriever didn’t interact with many other dogs as a puppy then it might not have learned to control its bite.
It’s protecting you or its territory
The cause might also be that it is being protective. This would be more likely if it is more aggressive when it is around its home. But, this would be less likely if it does it around friendly dogs that are showing no signs of aggression.
You get emotional
Golden Retrievers will react based upon their owner’s emotions. If their owner becomes highly emotional when they are around other dogs then it will cause the Golden Retriever to react. If you tend to get highly reactive when it is around other dogs then it could be that it is causing your Golden Retriever to overreact.
Instead, it would help to be calm when interacting with your Golden Retriever and to follow the training tips below so that it learns how to behave.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out why your Golden Retriever has been doing it.
When it first started doing it
If your Golden Retriever did not always bite other dogs, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it.
If it started attacking other dogs suddenly then it would be more likely that it does it because of things such as being mistreated by other dogs.
Whereas, if it has always done it then it would be more likely to be due to being distrustful of other dogs perhaps because it did not meet many other dogs as a puppy.
How old it is
It would also help to consider the age of your Golden Retriever. If it is still young then it would be likely that it hasn’t learned to control its bite yet. It would help to allow it to socialize with other dogs in a controlled way.
What types of dogs it does it to
It would also help to consider the types of dogs that it does it to.
If it does it more to small dogs, it might be due to them being aggressive towards it. But, Golden Retrievers are not known for having a strong prey drive so it is not likely to be due to a strong prey drive like with other dogs such as Siberian Huskies.
If it does it to all dogs, it would be more likely that it does it because it does not trust other dogs, because it was mistreated by them or because it has been trained to be that way.
How to get your Golden Retriever to stop biting other dogs
Below are some things you can do about your Golden Retriever biting other dogs.
Calm it down when it starts misbehaving
One option you have would be to get it to calm down by grabbing ahold of it or putting it on a long lead when it starts to get aggressive. Then you would get it under your control whenever it starts misbehaving again.
You can watch the video below to see more on how to go about doing it.
Positive reinforcement training
Another thing you can do is to give it positive reinforcement training. This is where you get your Golden Retriever to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it behaves that way and avoiding rewarding it when it does not.
I have written about how you can use positive reinforcement training to get your Golden Retriever to stop attacking other dogs in this post.
One option is to try desensitization training where other dogs are presented at a sufficiently large distance so that it doesn’t have a chance to give a negative reaction. You’ll then reward it for doing so and then gradually lower the distance. When it does give a negative reaction, increase the distance until it stops and then start again.
Take it to a growl class
Another option would be to take it to a growl class if there is one in your area. A growl class is where a group of dogs are trained to be less aggressive around other dogs and people.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you cannot get your Golden Retriever to stop doing it or you cannot figure out why it does it, the best option would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist. By doing so you will be able to see how to train your Golden Retriever in a safe and secure manner and why it has been doing it.