If your Golden Retriever has been grunting, groaning or moaning you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get it to stop.

So, why does my Golden Retriever groan? Possible reasons are that it is excited, looking for attention, bored, ill, injured, fearful, protecting food or possessions or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.

There are many reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider which will help in figuring out the exact reason. There are also a number of things you can do about it.

Why your Golden Retriever grunts, moans and groans

Each of the different possible causes will likely come with some clues.

Below are a number of possible reasons why your Golden Retriever does it and what would make them more likely.

Excitement

Sometimes dogs will make noises when they are excited and it could be the reason why your Golden Retriever has been doing it. This would be more likely to be the reason if it has been doing it in situations such as when you come home or when you are about to take it out for a walk.

It wants your attention

The cause could be that it is trying to get your attention. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.

Another possibility is that it is trying to get your attention because it wants something like food or a walk. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more at a specific time such as when you would normally feed or walk it.

If it seems like it is doing it because it wants to get attention from you, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by playing with it, training it and exercising it. But, it would likely help to wait for it to stop being noisy before giving it attention unless it seems to be doing it for a specific reason such as to get let outside to pee.

Illness or injury

Another possible cause is that it is ill or injured. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as limping of vomiting. If it does seem like illness or injury could be the cause, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Warning

It could be the case that your Golden Retriever groans as a warning. This would be more likely if it does it when people are trying to intimidate it or to enter its space. It would also be more likely if it shows signs of aggression (mentioned below) when doing it.

It’s protecting food or possessions

It could also be the case that it is doing it because it is trying to protect food or possessions. This would be more likely if it does it more when it is eating or when you are trying to sit in the same spot that it normally sits in.

Dogs that are normally friendly can become aggressive when they are being food aggressive so it would be advised to seek the guidance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist in your area to train it to stop.

Boredom

The cause could be that it is bored. Golden Retrievers are meant to get a lot of exercise daily. When they do not get much exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally and it might be why yours has been making noises. This would be more likely if it starts making the noises on days when you haven’t walked it or at around the same time that you would normally walk it.

Generally, it is recommended to give Golden Retrievers at least an hour of exercise daily. If yours has not been getting that much it would help to make sure that it does provided that it is healthy.

Fear

The cause could also be that something has been causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely to be the reason if it has been doing it more in situations where it might be fearful such as when there are noises outside.

Aggression

It could be the case that your Golden Retriever is making noises at you because it is being aggressive.

This would be more likely if it shows its teeth when it grumbles, it has its ears erect and it moves stiffly from side to side.

If it is the case that your Golden Retriever seems to be doing it in an aggressive way, the best option for you would be to get the help of a dog behaviorist in your area.

Things to consider

Below are some things you can consider when trying to figure out why it has been doing it.

The way that it grunts, moans or groans

It would help to consider the way that your Golden Retriever has been doing it since it will impact what you should do about it.

If your Golden Retriever shows its teeth, lunges towards you, stands more erect and moves stiffly then it would be a strong sign of aggression. In this case, it would be best to keep your distance from it and to get the help of a professional dog behaviorist.

If your Golden Retriever does not show any signs of aggression when it does it then it would still be important to be cautious since dogs can still be aggressive even when they are not showing signs of being aggressive.

When it first started to grunt, groan and moan

It would also help to consider the timing of when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start. It would help to consider if anything else changed at around that time frame.

If it started doing it suddenly it would make it more likely to be due to things such as a sudden change in its daily routine, getting ill or injured or something causing it to be fearful.

When it does it

It would also help to consider when it does it more since the timing could have something to do with it.

For example, if it does it at around the same time that you would normally walk it then it would make it more likely that it is trying to remind you to walk it.

How to stop your Golden Retriever from grunting, groaning or moaning

Below are some options you have when getting it to stop.

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding your Golden Retriever for doing what you want it to and avoiding rewarding it when it does not.

To use it to get it to stop grunting, groaning or moaning you would do something such as:

  • Stop giving it attention when it starts to make the noise
  • Give it attention when it stops making noises
  • Stop giving it attention again if it starts to make noise
  • Repeat the above and reward it with treats when it does not make noise when it normally would

Avoid negative reinforcement training

Negative reinforcement training is where you give it things it wants when it starts misbehaving causing it to do it more. Instead of giving your Golden Retriever rewards when it starts being noisy, try to reward it when it is quiet and to wait for it to calm down before rewarding it.

Make sure it isn’t ill or injured

If it has started doing it suddenly and you’re not sure why or it has been showing signs of illness or injury, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Golden Retriever.

Give it attention throughout the day

It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it is less likely to feel the need to seek attention from you. Ways that you could give it attention would include walking it, playing with it or giving it training.

Get the help of a dog behaviorist

If you can’t get your Golden Retriever to stop doing it or it seems like it might become aggressive, it would help to get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. By doing so you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Golden Retriever a

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.