Golden retrievers and doodles suffering from reactivity and aggression issues.

As a dog trainer who specializes in working with reactive and aggressive dogs, I see golden retrievers and doodles very commonly. One might suggest that this is because there are such a  large number of these dogs in my area and I think that that is definitely part of the equation. Another thing to keep in mind is that oftentimes these dogs are referenced as being dogs that need very little training and are amazing with humans of all types and other dogs as well.

While this is often the case, of course, it is not the entire truth.

The vast majority of golden retrievers and golden or Labradoodles that we see have very little obedience training and most of them stop training after puppy training. The general thought seems to be that because they are such great dogs they will not need training. This has only been made worse in the last year-and-a-half because of covid. Many breeders have been producing dogs of lesser quality in an effort to produce more dogs to fill the demand that has come with these challenging times.

With the doodles, we tend to see very bratty over the top behaviors. We call this problem “All Gas No Brakes?”  They tend to have more issues around other dogs because they don’t listen to other dogs’ cues very well sometimes and can be obsessive about trying to force other dogs to play. This for obvious reasons can get them into trouble at times.

With Golden’s, we tend to see them being more human aggressive because oftentimes people think that a golden retriever should deal with anything any human tries to do to them and this can be problematic with more sensitive golden retrievers. Dogs that are naturally sensitive to handling and resources are often made worse by people taking things away from them and playing with their food. These things can be very beneficial if they’re done properly but unfortunately, some people do not see their dog as being sensitive and progress in a way that makes their dog worse. When playing with a dog’s food to help to make them less sensitive around resources it’s always best to feed them in a wide-open space in your house or on your deck or in your yard and always approach them with a higher value reward when they’re eating. Don’t force your dogs to be social with people that they are uncomfortable with unless you really know what you’re doing, or you could make things worse. Around grooming, this is an area where we often see issues with golden retrievers and nail clipping.  Again start at a young age and keep your sessions short and make things very fun. Just because your dog is doing well at a young age doesn’t mean you should stop making the grooming or nail clipping time fun and exciting for your dog.

All dogs have the ability to show aggression regardless of breed. Don’t assume that your dog will be fine with everything that happens to them in the world because this is not always the case.

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