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Golden Retriever DOMINANT! HELP

March 3rd, 2008, 06:28 PM

My golden has been kicked out of 2 different obediant classes. He loves the family, but he is very very fussy what friend of ours or stranger he allows around him. He is very 'ALPHA' and 100 pounds. He has a low growl he shows everyone who pets him but he still wags his tale but then he shows his teeth and he wags just until he'll attack. I do not trust him, for some reason he's 100% fine with 10% of strangers otherwise he is muzzeled. He does not let my 3 yr old son go near him , he is the BOSS! He loves my 10 yr old daughter but as soon as she sits on the floor he tries to 'mount her'. He is fixed?? He loves me but will not listen to me until I repeat, and repeat. He sleeps on the bed and refuses to move, you must walk over him he will not move. He is the BOSSSSSSS! He lays at my feet, yes I am mommy but he'll take his bum and push me while i;m walking across the room into the wall. He will cut me off! He is so DOMINANT! [b][b][color="Blue"][color="Black"]My biggest concern is with strangers, why is he so fussy to whom he allows in his life?? Even if he's met the same person many times he still with growl and growl while being petted? Why does he let the one in a million complete stranger pet and kiss him without even a growl? What is he thinking??? Why does he HATE small children? Is he just being protective of me? I can do anything to him he does not growl at me. Some just say he's vocal but i've seen him attack. He attacks 9 out of 10 dogs until they submit. I can;t let him run with dogs he'll kill them!! What do I need to do to help my BOY BEN????
thank you kindly,

March 3rd, 2008, 06:41 PM
He's not dominant - he is a monster!

Please don't take this the wrong way but you either have your work SERIOUSLY cut out for you or you need to put him to sleep.

First and foremost - stop thinking of yourself as his "mommy". You are HIS boss and he needs to listen to YOU.

If I were you I would do the following - in this order.

1) Put a muzzle on him any time there is a chance that he will be exposed to a dog or person that he doesn't know or if your 3 year old is in the room.

2) I would keep a short leash on him at all times so that I could correct unwanted behaviour the instant it happens.

3) Find a behaviourist that can help you get this beast under control. From the sound of your post - he is a statistic waiting to happen.

March 3rd, 2008, 06:59 PM
I know you are right! I love him but he is my second golden and 1000 times different from my first. I do muzzle him as soon as we go out for walks and him and my son are never in the room alone. My son ignores him and he ignores my son. I will be calling someone to help me tomorrow. Thank you for confirming my thoughts!

March 3rd, 2008, 06:59 PM
I totally agree with LavenderRott :thumbs up. How old is this dog?

March 3rd, 2008, 07:03 PM
He just turned 5 and he was like this at 4 months old! Yet he sleeps with my 2 cats....and he is so loveable and silly and funny but then there is his 'other side'.........YOU ARE RIGHT, I have to act on this if I love him like I do.

March 3rd, 2008, 07:03 PM
I agree 1000000% with what lavendarott said.
I honestly would have that dog anywhere around my child

March 3rd, 2008, 07:04 PM
I would get a dog behaviourist to come to your home. :pawprint:

March 3rd, 2008, 07:08 PM
Ouch. I do not envy you the job of retraining 5 years of bad habits.

If you do a search of the site (Search button at the top of this page) for NILIF, it will give you a place to start. While Ben may never, ever be safe around strangers and dogs - it really is not to much to expect him to listen to you the FIRST time you give him a command.

March 3rd, 2008, 07:13 PM
If it something Ben wants or attention he'll come ASAP but otherwise he pretrends he's deaf. Our family does love him, he was like this with my daughter when she was young but as she grew older now he'll listen to her basic commands and he loves her sooo much. I was hoping the same would happen with my 3.5 yr old son. Ben has never bitten the children and now loves my 10yr old daughter, I was hoping he'd be the same as my son grew older. I DO TAKE CAREFUL MEASURES AT HOME AND IN PUBLIC...I need to fix this NOW....and I will. Thank you for your honesty....sincerely,

March 3rd, 2008, 07:16 PM
I can't add any advice beyond what the others have said, but can provide you with a couple of names of people who may be able to help:

Bob Ottenbrite of Lietash

Kim Cole of Bark Busters

You should be able to find contact info for each online. Both are in the Halifax area.


March 3rd, 2008, 07:19 PM

He has been kicked out of obedience classes? Have the instructors given you any suggestions or did they just give up on him? If they gave up then I don't think they were very good trainers.
You need professional help and fast before he bites or attacks someone. He is out of control and you have allowed him to rule the house. The first thing he needs to learn is that you are in control and you may need a professional teach you how to do this. Until you do get help I can suggest you look into NILF (nothing in life is free).
He should not be allowed on the furniture, should be made to sit and wait before he eats. He needs limitations and because he hasn't been given any he is in control.
You can check with your local golden retriever club for a trainer that specializes in dealing with dogs like yours. You can also ask your vet for a reference.
Are you able to contact his breeder. Perhaps he/she could recommend a trainer.
I have fostered a great many goldens and while it isn't common to see this kind of behavior it does happen. I haven't dealt with an adult like yours very often but I have had puppies who needed to be taught that humans are in charge and not the other way around.
If you can't find a trainer in your area, please feel free to IM me and I will try and help you find someone through one of my contacts.

March 3rd, 2008, 07:30 PM
Hi, thanks again. Ben , well they gave up on him to be very honest, after two tries I did not think anyone would want 'us' so I decided at home to try my best with him. He does have to wait and sit before he eats and my daughter feeds him and he eats last in the house. He does listen to basic commands but when he has his mind set on something or someone then he does not hear me. He listens to my husband, all my husband has to do is whisper and he listens to him. My husband was firm with him when they first met and he did not even yell at Ben but Ben 'pee'd' on the floor. Ever since there is pretty much a respect between the two males.
I just don't understand why the heck he either loves or hates you and he literally is in love mode at home or attack mode when he meets most people. What makes him choose who he likes or does not like with strangers..He DOES have full potenial to be a good dog. Yes, I must get more firm and be the BOSS , not mommy. That is a comment that was made and that is correct. I am here to fix my mistakes and help him with his.
thank you kindly,

March 3rd, 2008, 07:42 PM
Yes, I must get more firm and be the BOSS , not mommy. That is a comment that was made and that is correct.

Sorry. I didn't really mean for that to sound so harsh. Truth is - most mistakes that people make is being "mommy" to their "furkids" and forgetting that our pets are dogs first.

March 3rd, 2008, 07:56 PM
He souns like he has serious dominance issues, but I believe with alot of hard work and dedication he can be rehabilitated. Your whole family needs t be involved, your whole family is the BOSS over him, you need to take back your home!! You need to treat him like a dog, and let him know where he stands in the family, and that's last.

I know some here don't agree, but I really like Cesar Milan, try watchnig his shows and readnig his book, and be a calm and assertive pack leader!! excercise dicipline and affection, in that order!

March 3rd, 2008, 08:09 PM
No need to feel guilty or that you have done something wrong. You realize now there is a problem that needs to be fixed.
I have a rescued golden that has has aggression issues however unlike you I don't have young children. Chloe's aggression started a few years ago and escalated slowly until it became out of hand.
Her problem was partially due to a thyroid problem. Medication helped as did obedience classes. It was very humiliating at first walking into class and having your dog lunge at all the other dogs but the other people were great, kept their dogs away and within a few weeks I had a different dog. At the Christmas party, six weeks later I was able to allow her off leash with the other dogs.
I had tried classes with her a few years earlier and it was disastrous. What made the difference this time was the trainer.

March 3rd, 2008, 08:29 PM
Wow, regarding the training that sounds just like Ben. He'd lunge at all dogs any size. He were asked to come in 5 min late and stand and learn in the corner. Then when they allowed the dogs 5 min off the leash at end of class we were asked to leave. He was only 6 months then. We tried again a yr later but the same thing pretty much. I've moved from that area and now maybe I can get a different trainer.
I'll check back tomorrow and I'll take all this advice to 'heart'. Thank you all so much! I am going to give Ben a big kiss and belly rub and I am NOT GOING TO LET HIM SLEEP IN BED TONIGHT! His kennel is in my room and he can sleep in his own bed! :)

Thank again,


March 4th, 2008, 06:33 AM
There's lots of stuff you can do that will help. You might feel like Hitler or a drill sergeant but it really does help.

On walks, take charge. You go the way you want and at the speed you want. Ben doesn't get to lead walks.

Sit and do tricks or whatever before food and treats. Don't free feed. I go through a whole routine of sit, give both paws and sometimes lay down for about 2 minutes before food is given. Belle has gotten so used to it, if I'm feeling lazy one day and don't make her go through all the steps, she will not go to her food unless she's done her bit for me. It's cute.

Half hour sit/stay in the home and not allowed to move. If he goes to sleep, that's ok.

Sit back away from doors when going somewhere, and coming home. People always go first, dogs last.

Sleeping in the crate is a good idea. But only gets let out when he's quiet and waiting patiently.

You choose when play time starts and when it ends. No tug of war games.

Ben should come to you for affection and not have people approach him to give affection. Leaders are approached by followers and the leader may choose to not give affection and may instead ignore.

According to some philosophies out there about dog behavior, it's said that being dominate and acting the part of pack leader can be very stressful on the dog and that a dog may very well be happier when not having to be leader.

Give Ben plenty of exercise where people make the rules, and make sure he's good and tired. As Cesar Millan says, exercise, discipline and then affection. He has a free video on Google video, called "People Training for Dogs." It's been there for several months and if Cesar didn't like it being there he could have screamed copyright to Google to remove it but they have yet to remove it.

Check out the Canine Good Citizen training and tests. Or in Canada, it's called Canine Good Neighbor. You don't have to do the tests, but the training is something EVERY dog should go through, no matter the size. - watch a rescued pit bull pass the test

Please give periodic updates!! You can do this and will be successful. Just have patience for yourself and Ben.

March 7th, 2008, 06:37 AM
Bob Ottenbrite of Lietash

Kim Cole of Bark Busters

Bob Ottenbrite is amazing, i went to one of his schools, i mean i kno i should have put a little more efrort in then i did, but enzo learned so much there and enzo is leash aggrressive to ward people (sometimes) dogs..and 18 wheelers...:rolleyes: but the end of the 8 week classes enzo could walk in and out of the building with out having a major freak, but he still freaks out on the street, but i think if you went in for one on one lessons they would help a great deal.i mean they started out out in the corner, not like secluded, but one of the trainers where i was, had the exact same problem with her BC and she knew how frustrating it is, so they gave us a little more space then the otehr dogs got, which i thought was really helpful, and but the 4th or 5th lesson there was a dog on eitehr side of enzo, i mean yes he did still eye them and i had to step in but they teach you to look for signs like that, during the lesson. Every classes there is a 3-4 trainers in the room so the command is taught to the owners by one person and all of the otehr trainers help with any problems. I'll stop rambling on about this now, but if you want to know more, you can just pm me :)

Thank you all so much! I am going to give Ben a big kiss and belly rub and I am NOT GOING TO LET HIM SLEEP IN BED TONIGHT! His kennel is in my room and he can sleep in his own bed! :)

Good Start! also,its great that you are looking for help with this!

Try to keep him off all of the furniture to, as thats where you the leader gets to be and since he is below you he cannot sit there. Keep a leash on him and llet him drag it around the house so that way if he does get uup on the furniture you can grab that and you wont have a chance of getting bitten. Just grab the leash and pull him off with a firm "OFF" he may try to get back up and everytime he does just pull him off and say "OFF" he will eventually learn that he cant go on your furniture. Also around your house put him on umbilical with the leash attached to his collar, only at thome though. If you have a field near by that you can take him on, or a big carpeted rooom in your house, take him there and put him on umbilical (only do this when there is nothign round he will aggress at) and attach the leash to his collar and not the muzzle or halti (it will hurt his neck with this exercise) and start running. Every time Ben goes infront of you switch direction, and any time you want just randomly switch direction. He may get 'Hung up ' a few times, but he will learn to stay close to you, and watch/pay attention to you. hope all of this helps a bit.

Any luck finding a behaviourist or a trainer?

March 7th, 2008, 07:43 AM
I hope things work out for Ben - I find it alarming that he can't be near your son. Since your hubby has a respectful relationship with Ben, maybe you could try using him to guide Ben as to how to act around your son. I think you have a great resource in your husband, if he's willing to use his authority in a training way.

Good luck!

March 7th, 2008, 09:57 PM
Check out They have 2 trainers in Halifax.
Your dog is a pack animal. Every pack needs to have a strong leader. If your dog doesn't view you as that, he's going to apply for that job whether he's qualified for it or not.
A qualified behavior therapist can help to show you how to gain your dominace in a gentle, dog friendly manner. You want your dog to think with his brain & not his stomach and to do things out of respect for you as opposed to bribing him with a treat.
In order to train your dog, you need 2 things:
communication - where your dog actually understands what you want
leadership - where your dog actually cares what you want
One of my dogs is a fear biter. Once he actually understood what I wanted & I was able to show him that I was the leader, he calmed down & hasn't bitten anyone in over a year & a half. Will he ever be a super friendly, party animal who loves everyone? No, But now he trusts me to take care of stuff instead of taking it upon himself to worry about it.