- What Are the Common Reasons That Dogs Show Behavioral Issues?
- Golden Retriever Puppy Behavior Problems
- Rescued Dog Behavioral Challenges
- Golden Retrievers Are Easy to Train and Rarely Have Severe Behavioral Issues
Golden Retrievers are known for their excellent temperaments and their love of people. These dogs make great family companions, and they are suitable for all kinds of obedience training as well as showing or even hunting. Most people will tell you that their Golden Retriever is the nicest dog that they have ever owned and a real joy to be around.
However, there are some kinds of behavioral challenges that are common to this breed that can crop up from time to time. Puppies can show behavioral issues when they are learning about the way that you want them to behave, and older dogs might show new behavioral issues when something about their environment changes. If you have chosen to rescue a Golden Retriever, you might have to attend to behavioral problems related to abuse or maltreatment of the dog in question.
No matter the reason for your dog’s behavioral issues, you will want to know how to resolve these problems before they become difficult to grapple with. The sooner that you can address behavioral challenges in your dog, the better for you and your pet.
What Are the Common Reasons That Dogs Show Behavioral Issues?
There are some common reasons that your dog might be showing behavioral issues at any age. The kinds of common solutions listed here can be easy to apply to nearly any behavioral issue and might be the solution that you have been looking for to make your dog a happy and well-behaved dog again. Remember that changes to your dog’s environment can be stressful and that some behavioral changes can be short-term. Be patient with your dog as you try to resolve these issues as well. Dogs can tell when you are unhappy with them and can be more reactive than they would be otherwise.
1. Lack of Exercise
Dogs need to be exercised. Only very old dogs will have a limited need for exercise and this might not even apply in all cases where a dog is elderly. Puppies, in particular, will need daily exercise and attention. When you are not giving your dog the time that it needs, it might start to show behavioral symptoms that are not ideal. You should always make sure that your dog is getting exercised enough before you assume that a behavioral activity that you do not like is something that needs training or attention specific.
Change can be one of the biggest catalysts for behaviors that you do not like your dog displaying. Dogs can react negatively to added pets in the home, to changes in location, or even to changes in their diet. You will need to consider a major change of any kind as the opportunity for your dog to become flustered and show behavioral changes. Some dogs are more prone to feeling insecure than others. While Golden Retrievers are not often anything other than accommodating, some dogs can be impacted by even small changes to their routine in this way.
As dog’s age, sometimes their patience with certain situations can change, or the fact that they do not feel as well can make them grumpy or less willing overall. Golden Retrievers are a very loving and happy dog breed, but older dogs might be suffering from discomforts or illnesses that make them feel less like doing the things that you want them to do. Be careful with old dogs that you are not disciplining them for an issue related to their health. If your older dog has been making messes in the house or seems grumpy all the time, make sure that you take your pet to see the vet before you assume that this is a behavioral issue.
Golden Retriever Puppy Behavior Problems
Adult dogs and puppies can show the same behavioral issues. Puppies are just learning about how the world works and they will often try out all kinds of different behaviors to see if they are allowed. When we take puppies away from their mother, we become their parent and their pack. This means that we as humans need to give puppies all the guidance that the pack of other dogs would otherwise have given them.
Golden Retrievers can exhibit a wide array of behaviors that you might not want them to display, but most of them are simple to deal with. Often all you need to do is show your dog the right way to do something and they will stop showing the negative behavior that you did not like.
Adult dogs can display behavioral issues for a wide array of reasons, but most of the time, these behaviors are in response to changes in their environment. This might be a move to a new home, the addition of a new dog to the house, or even taking on an adult dog that you did not raise from the time it was a puppy. Adult Golden Retriever dogs are still very trainable, and you will usually have no problems getting your dog back on track.
1. Making Messes in the House
This is a very common puppy behavioral issue and it is easily remedied. The best way to teach your Golden Retriever not to make messes in the house is to crate train them. Make sure that you get the right size crate that is small enough that your puppy can just stand up and lay down comfortably inside of it. Dogs will not make messes in their dens where they sleep, so installing a crate in your home and making it the place where your dog spends unsupervised time is a great way to teach them that the crate and the house are your dens.
When your puppy does make a mess in the house, you will want to simply press their nose to the puddle or mess and say firmly, no! You can then put your puppy outside to show them that this was where they should have made this mess. You will want to make sure that you are watching your puppy carefully when it is loose in the house and being certain that they are given time outside at least every half hour. If you have older dogs in the house, they will help show the puppy what the proper bathroom routine is.
2. Chewing Things Up
This can be a hard behavior to combat when dogs are young. This is often a teething behavior, and it will end when your puppy has all of its adult teeth. Some Golden Retrievers love to chew on things, but if you give them their own toys to chew on, they will typically make sure that they chew on their own possessions and not your shoes. Make sure to keep temptation at bay by putting your shoes and other items away from where your puppy can access them.
3. Jumping Up on People
Puppies have a wealth of energy, and they can sometimes display it in ways that are not ideal. If your puppy is jumping on people, you can work on teaching them not to do this by teaching them to sit. You can then ask them to sit down and wait when people walk up to them. Teaching them that the only way to get attention is to wait to be touched will show them how to ask for attention properly so that they stop jumping on people. This is a good thing to address when your puppy is young so that they do not continue to jump on people when they are fully grown.
Golden Retrievers can be prone to digging in the yard because they are driven to try to hunt for things to pick up and bring back to their owners. If you are dealing with an adult dog that is digging in your yard, make sure that you give them enough exercise and consider teaching them to fetch their own toys in your yard. This will teach them to think of the yard as a place where they play with their toys instead of digging.
5. Marking in the House
This is a common behavior for male puppies, but it is less common in adult dogs. If you have an intact male dog, this behavior can be hard to combat because their instincts will tell them to mark the house to protect it from other dogs that might challenge the safety of the house. When you have an adult dog that is marking in the house, you will want to take them to the vet to make sure that there is nothing medical that is causing this behavior. In housebroken dogs, suddenly marking in the house can be a sign of a variety of health concerns that you should not discipline your dog for.
6. Jumping Out of The Yard
When adult Golden Retrievers jump over fences, they can roam and get into trouble. Golden Retrievers are big dogs, and you do not want them to be jumping over the fence and getting loose. You can attend to this behavior by making sure your fence is tall enough that your dog can’t get over it. You should also be sure your dog has enough toys, water, and comfort items in the yard to be content.
Make Golden Retrievers are more likely to do this but Field Retrievers of both semesters can be prone to roaming. This is never a good idea since dogs can get into trouble, get hit by a car, or eat things that are bad for them while they are away from home.
7. Being Aggressive With Other Pets in the House
This behavior can happen when the dynamics of your pack of dogs or pets change. In some cases, an older dog might have been at the top of the pecking order and once it is gone, a younger dog will start to assert dominance that is not warranted. Intact males can display this behavior toward other young males, or an older female might also be dominant with other dogs as she ages.
Another common issue that can happen is your Golden Retriever might choose to chase cats or smaller animals in the home. They are hunting dogs after all, and this can be a significant concern for smaller animals in the home. While your Golden Retriever is not likely to do anything more than pick up the animal and carry it places, it is still not an acceptable risk to let your Golden Retriever chase other animals in the house.
When aggression is the issue that you are dealing with, sometimes calling in a dog trainer is the best way to solve the issue. Aggression can be complex to resolve, and you will find that many dogs that are displaying aggression will want to come back to this behavior over and over again. Sometimes you will need to feed the aggressive dog in another room or give them some hours outside alone each day to be calm and quiet. There are also some calming medications that can be used to help your dog to feel less intense toward the other dogs or pets in the home.
Check out our articles in this series to learn how to deal with behavioral issues of Golden Retriever Puppies:
- 6-Week-Old Golden Retriever: Developmental Milestones to Expect and Mistakes to Avoid
- 8-Week-Old Golden Retriever: Growth, Developmental and Behavioral Expectations
- 3-Month-Old Golden Retriever: Training, Feeding, Sleeping
- 4-Month-Old Golden Retriever: Training, Feeding, and Behaviors
- 5-Month-Old Golden Retriever: Behaviors, Feeding, and Training
- 6-Month-Old Golden Retriever: What to Expect from Canine Adolescence
- 7-Month-Old Golden Retriever: Full-Blown Adolescence And You
Rescued Dog Behavioral Challenges
Rescued dogs can have lots of unique behavioral challenges that their owners need to attend to. Most of these dogs have been abused in some way or neglected, and they might have been taken from their mothers too soon as well. This kind of history can lead to a dog that displays odd patterns of behavior that are not ideal. When you are dealing with a rescue dog that is showing signs of behavior that is not correct, you might want to consider having a trainer come help create a training plan for the dog.
It can be hard to address complex cases where abuse is involved and you might need some help to make sure that this dog can integrate into your home without major issues. Many rescues will be upfront about the kinds of issues that the dog has shown while they were rehabilitating it, but sometimes a move to a new home can bring out new behavioral challenges that were not expected.
8. Pacing or Whining
Many dogs that have lived under extreme stress or fear for years will learn to be ready for an attack at any time. This kind of frantic and worried behavior can take months or years to subside and some dogs are prone to these reactions to stresses for the rest of their life. Your vet can prescribe calming medications to help your dog when particular stresses are present, but you will want to be sure that you have a training plan in place to help your dog to learn more productive coping skills.
Giving your dog their own space such as a crate, where they can relax and rest is important and you can also work with your dog to teach them to sit and lay down when they are pacing and worried. Being able to change the activity that these dogs display when stressed can teach them to self-soothe. This is one of the more chaotic and worrisome behaviors that abused dogs can display and you will want to try and correct this behavior pattern for the sake of your dog and your family.
Dogs that are scared can be dangerous without meaning to be. Dogs that feel under attack can bite, can chase humans, or might run away. You will want to make sure that you are truly prepared to take on a dog that has been abused and is highly fearful. These dogs can be very hard to retrain, and they might not be suitable for living in a home with children or other pets. Make sure that you know all about the right ways to help retrain this kind of response so that your dog does not inadvertently hurt someone.
Fear can be addressed by building trust in your new dog, and you can also teach them to come back to you when they are scared. In pack dynamics, when the dominant dog in the pack asserts control over a situation, the other dogs follow their lead. Make sure that you are a kind, but firm, a leader with your fearful dog as you train them to get used to meeting new people and other dogs.
10. Destroying Furniture or Chewing
Some dogs that have been kept in less-than-ideal situations do not know how to behave inside a house. They might chew your furniture or eat your shoes and other items that they find in the house. Make sure that you start out with your dog being kept in one room in the house as they adjust. Set ground rules in this smaller room to help your rescued dog to understand what the rules are in their new home.
Once your dog knows that chewing is not allowed, give them some of their own toys and let them out into other spaces in the house. Your dog should be able to make the jump in understanding from being in the smaller space to moving into this larger area with more temptation. You can also put your dog outside or in a crate when you are gone so that they do not feel tempted to destroy anything in the house when you are not there to tell them to stop. Remember that chewing is a behavior that dogs do in the wild, and this behavior is often driven by instinct and not a desire to damage anything.
Dogs that have been treated badly might have learned to snap at hands that reach for them. Make sure that you treat your rescue with respect and do not just reach out to them abruptly until you are sure that they will not bite at things that move near them. You will need to build trust over time to show your rescue dog that you are not trying to hurt them when you reach for them.
Biting can be a real problem when other people who are not aware of your dog’s past try to interact with them. Make sure that you keep your dog’s interactions under control carefully when they are first learning about human contact again. You do not want your dog to bite someone because you will likely have to put them down if this happens. Biting can be handled by establishing careful boundaries with your dog and sticking to them as they get to know you.
Golden Retrievers Are Easy to Train and Rarely Have Severe Behavioral Issues
If you have been thinking about getting a Golden Retriever, you should now feel assured that your Golden Retriever will not be difficult to live with. This is a breed that is bred to be highly loyal and very loving and you will find that your Golden Retriever will be very motivated to do exactly what you ask of them at all times. Most Golden Retrievers with behavioral issues just need more exercise or a little more time learning some skills. The kindness and trainable nature of this breed make them very simple to care for, and they are rarely difficult to teach new behavioral patterns to.
Remember when you get a dog from a rescue that it might have lots of issues that you will need to address. Golden Retrievers that have been mistreated can take some time to learn new ways of coping with life, and you will need to be sure that you can take on this challenge before you bring home a rescue dog that might need extensive retraining.
The Golden Retriever breed is one of the most loving and generous dog breeds that you can add to your family and you will love everything about your new companion. If you need the help of a dog trainer at any point while you are getting used to living with your new Golden Retriever, there is nothing wrong with reaching out to a professional for some help.