If your Golden Retriever has been being naughty you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of possible reasons why it has been doing it and what you can do about it.

So, why is my Golden Retriever naughty? Possible causes are a lack of exercise, not getting enough training, wanting more attention, rewarding the behavior, it’s teething or that it has separation anxiety.

There are actually many different possible causes and it could be due to a combination of different reasons. However, there are some things you can consider that will help in figuring out the exact cause. There are also a number of things you can do to get it to calm down.

Possible reasons why your Golden Retriever is naughty

Each of the different reasons why it is disobedient will likely come with some clues.

Below are a number of possible causes of why it is badly behaved and what would make them more likely.

Exercise

Golden Retrievers are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise daily. When they do not get much exercise it can cause them to develop behaviorial issues and it could be why yours has been misbehaving.

Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise daily. If your Golden Retriever has not been getting that much exercise it would help to make sure that it does.

Training

If you have not given your Golden Retriever much training then it will not know how it is meant to behave and it will behave the way it feels like behaving. The way it feels like behaving is unlikely to be the way you would like it to behave. This is why it is important to give it training more will be discussed on this below.

Attention

The reason why it is being naughty could be that it is looking for attention. If your Golden Retriever isn’t getting much attention then it could have learned that the best way to get it is to misbehave. If this is the case then you can try ignoring the behavior (unless it’s destroying something) and then rewarding it, when it starts behaving, with your attention.

Fear

The cause could be that something has been causing it to be fearful. This would be more likely if it starts being naughty at specific times where it might be fearful such as when there are fireworks outside.

Location

If you can get your Golden Retriever to listen to you in one location but not in another then it would not be an unusual occurrence. The different distractions that it has in the new location can be too much for it to remember what you trained it to do before. Your best option here would be to train it again in the new environment as you did in the old environment.

You’ve been rewarding it

It could be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged it to be naughty by giving it things that it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats when it starts misbehaving then it might have learned to do it more in order to get more rewards.

Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it does it, to wait for it to calm down before rewarding it, to redirect its focus when it seems like it is about to be naughty and to use positive reinforcement training to change its behavior.

It’s teething

The cause could be that it is teething which would be more likely if it is a puppy and it has started nibbling on things a lot. To prevent it chewing on things that you don’t want it to you will need to train it not to by following the tips in the video below and to give it lots of toys to chew on instead.

Separation anxiety

It could also be the case that it has been doing it due to having separation anxiety which is where it does not like being left alone and being left alone causes it to become anxious. Separation anxiety would be more likely to be the reason if it is naughty when you are gone and if it starts to become anxious when you are leaving.

In this case, you could try to reduce how anxious it becomes without you by doing something such as:

  • Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
  • Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
  • Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
  • Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Golden Retriever
  • Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer

You can see more tips on how to do this in the video below:

How to get your Golden Retriever to stop being naughty

Below are some options you have when getting it to be better behaved.

Train it

If you have not given your Golden Retriever much training it would be important to start training it so that it learns how it should behave. It would help to start by teaching it the basics such as to sit and stay and then to build up to more challenging things after.

If your Golden Retriever is being naughty then it will likely be trying to destroy things. You can train it to stop doing this directly by doing lots of spontaneous “leave it” training whenever it starts being destructive.

You can watch the video below to see how.

Exercise

As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that it is able to get exercise on a daily basis. Generally, it is recommended for Golden Retrievers to get at least an hour of exercise daily.

Reduce its ability to be naughty

You can also take measures to reduce how naughty it is able to be. You can do this by keeping it away from things that you don’t want to be destroyed, preventing it from being able to escape and by giving it lots of toys to keep it occupied.

Crate training

Another option would be to give it crate training which is meant to give it an area where it can go in order to feel safer.

You can watch the video below to see how to train it to become comfortable in its crate.

Get help

If you are unable to get it to stop being naughty or it is being aggressive then it would help to seek the guidance of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist in your area. By doing so, you should be able to see how to get it to stop being naughty in a secure manner.

Things to consider

Be patient

It is important to be patient when you are training your Golden Retriever. It is unlikely that you will be able to get big results after just training it once or twice. But, if you are consistent with the training, you will be able to get much better results over the course of weeks.

Avoid punishing it

It would also help to avoid punishing it when it misbehaves since it might not know why it is being punished, it could become aggressive in response and it could cause it to become resentful. Instead, it would help to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that you can train it by reinforcing good behaviors.

When it first started doing it

When trying to figure why your Golden Retriever has been being naughty, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.

If it started doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as a change in its diet, becoming fearful, learning that it gets rewards or a sudden change in its daily routine.

When it misbehaves more

It would also help to consider whether or not it misbehaves more at certain times since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.

For example, if it becomes naughty when you are away or when you are leaving it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety.

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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.