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Categories: Dog Aggression , Kids and Dog Aggression

Q. Our one year old Golden Retriever has a tendency to get very aggressive. I've been bitten a number of times as have 2 of my children. Help!

We have a male Golden Retriever who is turning one year old next week.? He was neutered at 7 months of age and we have had him since he was 8 weeks old.

With the help of your videos on Establishing a Pack Structure and Dealing with Dominant dogs we have for the most part an obedient dog who stays and comes on command. Walks well with us and responds to verbal correction when he wants to wander toward other dogs or to sniff around.

Unfortunately he has tendency to get very aggressive at times. We have three young children in the home and are concerned we will never be able to relax with him around in fear that he may snap.

Here are some scenarios we see too often.

1.? He is laid down relaxing next to me on leash while I am seated watching TV.? One of our kids walks by to go sit on the couch and he growls aggressively towards them.? Like he is annoyed that they are around when he is resting

What correction should I give? Currently I give a stern "No" which often riles him up more. Should I give a hard correction or pull him up onto his hind legs? We use a prong collar now which we find has helped a lot with walking.

2.? He senses that a treat may be forthcoming as he sees us milling around in the kitchen or putting away dishes from the table.? He gets fixated on that and if we verbally try to get his attention he may growl and if I try to pull him away he gets aggressive and has even lunged to bite me.

3.? He is sniffing around while on lead in the kitchen trying to scoop up crumbs and rice dropped by the kids at the table. If you try to get him to stope he has bitten me (this was prior to us having him on lead all the time).

I have been bitten in these scenarios a number of times. Two of my children have been bitten when they wandered past as he lounged around. I have given stern corrections with the prong collar in these last two situations and immediately crated him?but his behavior has not changed.

We are currently having him in his crate in the basement all day except for walks and potty breaks. He eats in his crate and we do not feed him at the table or give him toys in his crate.


A. This sounds like pretty extreme behavior for a one year old golden.

I'd go with a dominant dog collar and a properly sized muzzle. We also have directions on how to measure the dog for a muzzle.

The prong collar can escalate aggressive behavior, so I would not use that when he needs a correction in and around the house. Use the dominant dog collar and have a muzzle on him so he can't hurt anyone.

I wouldn't be letting him lounge around, he would be under strict obedience control anytime he was out of his crate and I would NOT allow your kids within his range.

I'd also recommend finding some professional help locally, if he's behaving like this at one year of age by the time he's mature he’s going to be extremely dangerous.

Here is a section on preventing dog bites in kids.

Good luck, I hope this helps.
Cindy Rhodes


Thank you very much for the reply and suggestions.

Do you think that this is behavior that can change through the training or is this something we will have to use avoidance scenarios and muzzle for his whole life?

  Follow-Up Response:

I can’t answer with any certainty, there are just too many variables to accurately predict.

I know that just about every dog can improve but whether you can completely extinguish the unwanted behavior can’t be known for sure. My advice would be to take one day at a time and not be focused too far ahead right now because that will get in the way of your progress.

Sorry I’m not more help.

Cindy Rhodes
Recommended Products
Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs
Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs
3 Hours, 30 Minutes
In my DVD, I provide 3 1/2 hours of information to help people solve their problems with dominant dogs and aggressive dogs. This information is based on 45 years of experience training dogs. For the last 30 years I have studied the art of protection training dogs. I was a police K9 handler for 10 years, and was chairman of the training committee for the WI police dog association for a number of those years. I have bred German Shepherds for police service work for 28 years. During this time I have bred over 350 litters of working dogs. I have dogs from my kennel working in law enforcement, Search and Rescue and competing in Schutzhund all over this country. No one I know in the United States can make these claims.

Dominant Dog Collar
Dominant Dog Collar
This collar is not intended to give a painful correction. It is intended to take the air away from a dominant aggressive dog. More dogs are put to sleep everyday for aggression problems than they are properly trained. Killing a dog must ALWAYS be the last resort. Learning how to use a dominant dog collar can and will often make the difference between having a dog put down or ending up as a pack leader and a dog the you can live with. Some dogs will often get over-stimulated by a prong collar resulting in a more hectic and aggressive dog. The Dominant Dog Collar is designed to be used on handler aggressive or dog aggressive dogs. Using a Dominant Dog collar correctly on the takes the drive and fight out of the dog. Leerburg's Dominant Dog Collars If you have a problem with dog aggression or a dominant dogs, we recommend that you get the Dealing with Dominant and Aggressive Dogs DVD. We also have an extensive collection of articles pertaining to dominant and aggressive dogs We recommend you read the article on Dealing with the Dominant Dog written by Ed Frawley. Individuals who use this collar for handler aggression should have their dog undergo through a solid pack structure program. For adult dogs, we recommend the Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet DVD. For puppies, we recommend the Living with Your Puppy - Establishing Pack Structure DVD. Due to government restrictions, countries such as Australia and a few in Europe do not allow the use of remote or electric collars. These dominant dog collars are a viable alternative.

Option 1:
Option 2:
Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet
Establishing Pack Structure with the Family Pet
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The goal of our pack structure training program is to produce a dog that is calm and submissive and a dog that follows the rules of the pack leader. This DVD teaches people how to become a pack leader that their dog respects and loves. Most people are not born pack leaders. In fact, far from it. The majority of dog owners (many who have owned dogs their entire life) simply do not know anything about the instincts that control our dogs or how strong these instincts are in the domestic dog. Oh people may have heard that they need to be a pack leader or they may have heard they need to be an ALPHA with their dog but they do not understand what this really means or how to accomplish it.


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