We have a 6 year old Golden Retriever that is getting more and more aggressive. He is gun shy, jealous, and very needy of attention. Now he is snapping at the grandchildren if cornered, and was approached by a friendly man, and he snapped at him. Is there anything that we can do to change this situation?
Hello and welcome. My name is XXXXX XXX I have been a professional in the dog field for 25 years. It will be my pleasure to help you today.
have you had your golden checked for a thyroid problem?
Has the dog suddenly gotten aggressive or has he always been a bit aggressive and it is getting worse?
Our vet discouraged having Cooper's thyroid checked. He said he had not seen that make any difference. Cooper always turned into "CUJO" if he was in the car and someone approached it & talked to him - even our daughter. Otherwise he was very friendly
thank you for that information. It will take me a few minutes to type my answer, don't get discouraged, take this time to do something else until you see the answer appear:)
would get the baseline blood test done for thyroid and I say this as a trainer who has seen many dogs change or decline because the thyroid was just a little out of whack.
I would worry about any type of pain such as arthritis that is causing him to act out before he gets hurt.
If he barked when people approached when he road in the car then he could have a fear aggression and when a dog is in a car who has fear aggression they are trapped ( meaning flight or fight mode) so their objective is to move everyone away before they approach and feel more trapped.
Children are very scary to a dog with fear aggression because they show fast ,loud, and uncertain movements that a dog if unbalanced does not know how to handle. Obviously at this time it is better to put the dog away until the children can be taught how to approach the dog and until the dog himself has had more training. Scolding the dog will make him more fearful so what you want to do is change his thought pattern through positive training, nothing negative.
I will direct you to a site for positive training and once you get started if the children are old enough you may want to bring them in one at a time with you to also train. This will have the dog see them in a different light, one who is going to be gentle and rewarding for the dog.
This is not going to be an overnight success if the dog has had issues brewing for a few years so don’t expect miracles , but make a big deal out of every small step.
I would get a good physical from everything from blood to bone/arthritis testing to be sure none of this is related to illness .
The sites below will take you step by step in training and the clicker only costs about 3 dollars in a pet store. Invest in a treat bag to hang on your belt for about 5 dollar unless you own a fanny pack as the reward has to be immediate after the good behavior is displayed.
Clicker training/positive method training
video’s to see how clicker training is done, scroll down to videos http://www.clickertrainusa.com/clicker-training-videos.htm