My client has a 12 week old Golden Retriever that growls a lot when she plays with her toys. Do you have any suggestions?
I teach a puppy kindergarten class. I have a question from one of my students about their dog that I cannot answer, and I am looking for some advice. They have a 12 wk old golden retriever that is showing some dominance. Today it bit the owner in the back of the leg and broke the skin. They were in the front of the house playing, and decided to go to the back yard and play. She started walking and the puppy went after her and bit her in the leg. Also, the puppy seems to play at home very fiercely. When he is playing with a toy, he grabs it and shakes it violently, and growls while he is doing this, and it isn’t a play growl either. In class the dog does fine. He is very good with others and seems to listen. Although the owners did say that he listens more to the husband than the wife. They are expecting a baby in a few months and are extremely worried. Do you have any suggestions?
Also, when they went to the breeders, they did see the father, he was out in the yard playing. But the breeder wouldn't take the mother out of the kennel to show them, so they only saw her and didn't get to meet her.
Thank you for your time, and I hope you can help. Erin
This may be dominance, but is more likely strong prey drive.
Get a prong collar on the dog right now, and start them working the dog on the prong, this will establish leadership.
If the dog had environmental problems (afraid of stranger sounds, slippery floors) this would be an indication of a real problem. It does not sound like this so it’s just strong prey drive. It actually sounds like a good dog.
Once the dog has had obedience (if they are up to it) it should be fine. Tell them to leave a ton of toys around for him to play with. Practice taking them away, trade for a treat or another toy so he learns he does not have to fight for his toy. He will get something else that’s as good if he gives it up. They do not have to take the toys away a lot, only 2 or 3 times a play session.