- 6 years ago
Sorry, this may be kind of long but every time I just ask the general question, I get an obvious answer and it’s not one that applies to my situation.
So, I have a female Golden Retriever dog who is about 18 months old. I got her from a farm where she was raised with her puppy siblings and a bunch of kids. She was 11 weeks when she came home with me. When I first got her, I noticed that A) she was the biggest in her liter and B) she would run and hide under anything she could simply because she was anxious. Fine, I still loved her. I brought her home, and the behavior continued (she hid under coffee tables, chairs, anything that she could fit under). I have a boxer, who was 9 at the time we got my new pup, and they got along famously. My golden loves to play and my boxer is very patient and mellow, so she would always jump all over him, but be submissive when he had enough.
I socialized her heavily for the first two weeks of her life. With all of the dogs in my neighborhood, my friends’ dogs, and a LOT of kids. She was always submissive; running up to each dog and child and scootin her lil butt up and then rolling over to show her tummy. Great! I loved it.
A couple of months later, I met my Fiance. She’s about 7 months at the time, and I introduce her to his two black labs. They got along great and his dogs taught her how to actually play fetch, rather than just chase after a tennis ball and that ends the game. About two months later, when she is familiar and comfortable with his dogs, she got aggressive with one of them. And when I say aggressive, I don’t mean a growl or a bark, but an all out attack that needed to be stopped by me. She didn’t give any warning, nothing.
I didn’t think much about it and thought that she was just being protective of her ball.
Fast forward to us moving in together, and this behavior continues. She goes after his same black lab, and sometimes his other one. Sometimes it’s when they are playing, but other times it’s when they are walking behind her while she’s eating. One time, when his parents came to town to visit, they brought their yellow lab. We were all relaxing and talking in the family room and the dogs were semi-calm, chewing on toys and walking around, and then BAM; my golden goes after their 11 year old lab for NO reason at all! There was no growling as a warning, no snarling; just attack mode. I thought this was a dominance issue….
There are instances here and there that happen, but once again we just shrug it off as a dominance problem/toy possession, but now they are happening almost every day. If not, every other day. She has split his black labs ear open…twice. I’m mortified. We’ve tried to train her and correct the problem, but now she’s starting to growl even when they walk by. This is not normal for a Golden Retriever! I have tested her. I have put my face right next to hers while she is playing with her ball, tugged on her tail while she’s eating, put my hands in her food, everything…and she is so sweet. She is still so gentile and submissve with children and with my Fiance.
When it comes to the other dogs, she is getting increasingly worse. We have to muzzle her when all of the dogs are in the house. Otherwise, she’s in the house while the others are outside or vice versa.
She continues to have anxiety in places that she is not familiar; when we go to the dog store her tail is in between her hind legs and she is a nervous wreck. We went to PetSmart the other day, and there was a greyhound there who was gentle and not all up in her face, but (luckily) my girl started growling at the dog and we had the chance to remove her from the area before she lashed out.
I’ve spoken to my vet about it, and once again they said it’s dominance. I say bull shit. This is gotten out of hand and the dogs KNOW she’s dominant; hence they now avoid her at all costs. I also thought it was her anxiety; maybe she’s just a nervous wreck and that’s why she attacks other dogs when she feels overwhelmed. But what about my FI’s parents’ dog? There was no hostility around her then! And most of the time she is playing when the attacks happen!
I’ve posted on a golden retriever forum, and they suggested it may be a tick borne disease. I’m taking her to the vet today to get her blood work done, but if it comes back negative, I don’t know what I’m going to do. She can’t keep attacking my FI’s dogs and I don’t want to have to muzzle her or always be nervous when she’s around the other pups.
Has anyone ever seen this behavior? We are trying to train her to break her from it because she is still very coachable, but I’m worried sick.