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Golden Bite son and wife

November 20th, 2007, 10:03 PM
We are in dire need of good info.

We have two Goldens....Brother and sister of same litter almost 3yrs old. The female is excellent as is the male. However, in the last 2 weeks the male bit my wife when she tried to take some food away he swiped off the table. Then tonight my son got bit....not sure why...I think dog startled or him talking loud to him. Drew blood, possible broken finger...he is alright but this is second time he got bit...first time was just a nip a long while back.

He is a good dog but is agressive with his sister sometimes with barking and such. he certainly has a mind of his own sometimes and does run away a few times but come back. It would seem that he is very territorial with food and such when this happens.

We dont want to put him down but it that what it takes???

Please help.

edit...I ahve being reading some other posts to try to make heads or tails of our dogs behaviour. We are going to be contacting our vet tomorrow for a thyroid test as he is a little high strung. Plus we will be consulting our local obediance school.

November 21st, 2007, 12:28 AM
Your best bet is to rule out anything medically wrong (I see you're contacting the vet :thumbs up & obedience school)

How much exercise do the pair get? 3yr olds are in need of a good amount of exercise. A tired/mentally stimulated dog is a happy dog - lots of walking, swimming, ball/frisbee throwing etc

The repeating of obedience training would be good for both dogs to go through.

Next step you should start with basic obedience & advanced esp working on recall (for his running away) & if the school is not qualified for dealing with aggression issues, contact a trainer or animal behaviourist who is :)

good luck & keep us posted on your progress with your dogs.

November 21st, 2007, 07:48 AM
Thankyou for reply....

Most of the aggressive behavour is when we do something to him. ie. reach for food, son gets to close with surprising him.

This should be correctable.

What about getting him fixed? We have not done that yet but were planning on it this fall.

November 21st, 2007, 08:16 AM
Yes, definitely get him neutered. As a dog approaches sexual maturity (as yours has), latent aggressive/dominance impulses will surface. Neutering does help. You won't see results right away, though--it takes testosterone months to be removed from the body.

Definitely see a behaviorist about your dog. It's a matter of life and death for him--if the biting becomes a habit, you can't have him around your kids, and it will be extremely hard to rehome him. We had a similar scenario with a 3-yr-old intact English Setter years back--luckily we had a fenced yard, no small children and got little company. Our dog was classified as timid/submissive--he would submit but would not be subordinate--he was always making a bid for the Top Dog position. But, since he was timid, also, he'd only have the courage to bite those he trusted--us. You can see where this would have been a gargantuan problem had we left it unaddressed.

It was a tough row to hoe--back then there were very few behaviorists--took us forever to find a 'dog psychologist' at a university that didn't just say "put him to sleep, he's a $million law suit waiting to happen..."

The good news is, we were able to work through the problem. First step was neutering which, we're convinced, did do some good as the aggressive episodes did subside in a few months. But you'll also need to have him evaluated by a behaviorist and work seriously to follow his suggestions. It won't be easy, but it is doable. We were able to work with Gauge, got good results, and he lived for another 7.5 years before dying of unrelated causes.

But you need to jump on it and stay diligent. You'll need to get your son in on the training, as well. The sooner the better.

Good luck and keep us posted!

November 21st, 2007, 08:28 AM
As usual good advice has been given. I agree first the vet. Then behaviorist and make sure your son is very involved in the training. Also do not forget to give your female a good share of attention you could get jealousy issues if she feels he is getting all the attention and you do not need another problem. Good luck and keep us posted.

November 21st, 2007, 09:00 AM
Yes get both of them fixed. They will be happier not having to deal with overpowering sexual urges.

Read up on dog leadership training, where you're the leader and practice this every day. Some people call this the "Nothing in Life is Free." Gotta do something before you get what you want. Do this with both dogs.

Some simple things that I use:

At meal times, humans eat first. If you can't feed the dogs around the same time as people meals, then make sure they see you eat something before you prepare their food. It can be anything. Someone on another forum I frequent suggested saltine crackers.

After I do all that, I have the bowl with food in hand and stand there and hold it. I don't say anything, but wait until the dog sits, becomes calm and waits for the food.

Then while the dog is sitting/laying down calmly, I put down the food bowl. At this point the dog gets kinda excited so I make sure she stays calm and doesn't charge the food bowl. I do this by standing over the bowl and not letting her have access yet. Mine lays down because she can't sit very long on our wood floors and just slides around and so she gives up on sitting and just lays down. :laughing: She can't get a good paw grip on the wood floor for some reason.

I then make her stay, maybe shake paw, wait a moment or two and then say OK and she eats. I leave her alone while she eats and when she's finished I remove the food bowl, but always leave water.

I've only had this dog for a short time, and it took about 3 days to catch on to this feeding ritual. Now the butt promptly goes to the floor, and there's constant eye contact and she will lift paw without me asking.

When going for walks, or heading out of the house to do whatever, put on leash after dog sits calmly. People always go out the door first. Don't allow to go out until calm. When coming back into the house, same thing. Sit and wait for the door and be courteous enough to allow humans enough room to open door and not be run over by dog.

Keep an eye out for mischievous behavior such as sniffing in the air around the kitchen while people food is being prepared. Respond with a correction. I use a short, low voice, but not loud, HEY to break the nosy mental state and ask her to sit in her favorite spot in the kitchen. My retriever is fine with this method, as she just wants to be where people are and doesn't want to be alone.

Don't allow dinner table snacking. Feed at same times every day.

For other types of training I really don't know much but am in the process of learning. I just make sure to act the part of leader always and not let any animal run the show. It's a gentle but firm leadership, not Nazi style. :laughing:

Would love to see pics! Retrievers and labs are my fave breeds.

Sorry to hear about your family members getting injured. Hope everyone heals well and doesn't develop fears with the dogs.

If you get a chance, order a catalog from a hunting gear company. They have lots and lots of training tools for the hunting dogs like fowl decoys, dummies, remote control collars that vibrate, bottled scents and all sorts of neat stuff.

That company is a bit on the expensive side, but you can at least see the items available for dog training and mental stimulation and then shop around for better prices.

Developing the retriever hunting skills is something I'm going to be getting into next spring with our new family member. They even have competitions for these kinds of dogs where decoys are hidden in different spots unseen by the dogs, and then the handler directs the dogs by the remote control vibrating collars, whistles or hand signals or a combination thereof. Then the dog gets the decoy and returns to the handler. They go through water obstacles, woods and the whole bit and is a timed event.

Here's one of the websites about this type of dog training.

Another cool game you can do is to have family members go and hide behind a tree or whatever and call the dog to them. Becomes a hide-n-seek game and helps with recall.

November 21st, 2007, 10:21 AM
Just back from the vet. Up to date shots done. Found out he has a minor yeast infection starting in the ears. Essentially she says get him fixed asap so currently discussing to get it done this week.

Both dogs are good behavours for the most part and have being trained well. The food dish thing above....we do that and they are very very good. At supper time they know to go away from the table while we eat. They get fed a 2x regular each day.

Doc thinks must get fixed to calm him down first then go back to obidiance for behavour change for food recognition.

Ranson(boy) on Right....Cinnamon on left...both purebreds from same litter.

Ford Girl
November 21st, 2007, 11:16 AM
Beautiful dogs!!! :lovestruck:

All of the advice above is great, when I first read your post the first thing that came to mind was exercise, how much exercise do they get? Not including playing together in the back yard, cuz that doesn't count, they end up releaseing their energy on each other...i.e. your male becoming agressive with the female. Back yard play doesn't give them leadership or an outlet for their energy unless you are there with them throwing balls and giving commands and interacting with them directly. I also think obedience class and professional help is required and I'm glad you are being proactive with your dogs, usually the bite is their last resort, some where someone missed a signal he was giving, a growl, a air snap, a freeze stance, at that moment the behavior should have been corrected. NILF, as mentioned above is great, and easy once it becomes routine. Socialization with other dogs is a must, and practicing manners in every situation.

Glad you are getting him nutered, are you taking the female in too?

Keep us posted, we are all rooting for you and your dogs!!

November 21st, 2007, 11:21 AM
Oh my those are beautiful dogs!!


Sorry I rambled earlier in the other post. Didn't realize you had done the other stuff and was only going by the initial post.


November 21st, 2007, 11:24 AM
Thanks Ford Girl...(hey...nice name)

We have him booked in for 8am tomorrow to get neutered. The female is already fixed quite awhile ago by original owner (we got her when she was little over a year.)

They are our "SOCCER DOGS"...just love playing with soccer balls. We go through 2 or 3 a year usually. I know we dont get our with walks as much as we would like but we do the soccer thing in the back yard lots. Plus at times I just take them out in the country and let them run for a while.

Thanks for all the help on here so far. We love our Goldens and can't think of being without them.

November 21st, 2007, 12:00 PM
Multi goldens owner here too , and foster family. Both of them are gorgeous ! :thumbs up Good for you to get your male neutered.

November 21st, 2007, 12:09 PM
You may need to work on your male recognizing your son as being ahead of him in the pack too. My last dog, who didn't have an aggressive bone in his body, and who was neutered, would try to mount my nephew, who was smaller than the dog at the time, just to prove he ranked higher in the pecking order. Took some training to get him to realize that just because a child is smaller than you, doesn't mean you rank higher.


November 21st, 2007, 03:26 PM
Beautiful dogs! I, too have two Goldens - a boy and a girl but mine are a year apart in ages. Awesome companions!

November 21st, 2007, 09:30 PM
Beautiful dogs, Redcrew! :lovestruck:

:goodvibes: for tomorrow!

November 21st, 2007, 09:41 PM
:thumbs up Glad you've got the neuter setup for tomorrow :highfive:

November 22nd, 2007, 09:39 AM
Good luck with the neuter!! I haven't chimed in since everyone already mentioned all the good advice...

From one Golden lover to another :goodvibes:
p.s. I am partial to the redheads too! Gorgeous dogs!

November 25th, 2007, 01:27 PM
I know we dont get our with walks as much as we would like but we do the soccer thing in the back yard lots. Plus at times I just take them out in the country and let them run for a while.

Thanks for all the help on here so far. We love our Goldens and can't think of being without them.

The neutering should help with the aggression. But... there are plently of intact males who are not food-aggressive (or aggressive period).

Just as exercise is important so training trianing training. You will amazed what YOU learn from a good trainer. Shop around until you find someone who meets a good standard (knowledgeable about breeds, understands the way dogs learn and think, understands the way humans learn and think and above all else takes a non-violent approach to teaching and learning). I know you mentioed obedience before ~ I'm just reminding you that this is as important as anything else you do.