Why Does My Golden Retriever Attack Other Dogs? 7 Things You Must Do


I’ve just welcomed a new golden retriever puppy into the family, he’s playful and sweet with everyone, well, every human, that is. 

He didn’t show any signs of aggression until we went on a playdate with other puppies.

Instead of playing nicely with them, he played almost too aggressively them which was unexpected since he never showed this behavior before.

For all his gentleness, I didn’t expect him to go attacking other dogs like that. Of course, I took him and returned home immediately and I looked it up.

Why does my golden retriever attack other dogs? Some of the reasons include improper socialization while young, playing with too much enthusiasm, being protective, or one of the dogs mistreated them in the past. They could also attack to show dominance, because the other dogs are larger, more threatening, or are getting attention from their owners. 

After a lot of research, I learned how to train my puppy to never repeat that behavior again and what method I should follow. Want to train your furry friend to play safely with other puppies? all you have to do is keep reading.

Why Is Your Golden Retriever Aggressive with Other Dogs?

Image of golden retriever fighting with another dog to illustrate the answers to why does my golden retriever attack other dogs

There are many reasons why your dog could become aggressive with other dogs even if they are gentle and friendly in general. 

Here are 5 Possible reasons:

  1. Dominance.
  2. Improper socialization
  3. Protection.
  4. Past Mistreatment.
  5. Enthusiasm.

Dominance 

Sometimes when dogs meet other dogs, possibly for the first time, they like to show them who’s the boss.

So they start being aggressive to prove who is the strongest that will be the leader to their group.

But this doesn’t happen in golden retriever much often. Goldens do not have the dominance instincts found in other animals and are not territorial by nature. These two reasons play a big role in why they’re very friendly (check the complete list of reasons they’re friendly all the time here) and why they make such good family dogs. 

If your golden retriever showed such behavior they will usually stop responding to you  (which sometimes could just be a lack of training). In this case, they will need some training to stop that aggression as soon as possible. 

Improper Socialization 

When your golden retriever is a puppy he would have interacted with other puppies on a daily basis.

In that time they should learn that other dogs won’t attack them, that other puppies are their friends, and do not want to harm them.

They will also learn how to control their bite. If your dog still shows signs of aggression towards other dogs, then you will have to train them and let them know that aggression will stop any fun time for them because it’s important for them to stop.

You can check our guide on golden retriever aggression and how to train them here.

Protection

If your dog is being protective they will also be aggressive around people, not just other dogs. 

They can be aggressive to protect their owner or aggressive because they feel threatened and scared.

It’s worth noting that while goldens do not have strong protective instincts, they are known to turn aggressive to protect their owners at dire situations where they feel that their lives or their owners’ lives are at stake. To learn more about this topic, you can check out my post of will my golden retriever attack an intruder here. 

Mistreatment

Your dog could also be aggressive towards other dogs if they were previously mistreated them. For example, if a certain dog has previously played too roughly with your dog, they may start playing too roughly in return to show this dog that they can retaliate. 

While dogs don’t hold grudges, they do remember the mistreatment or the aggression and they can start being aggressive with the other dogs to protect themselves or scare away the other dog. 

If this happens, and you notice one dog playing too roughly, you should tell the owner that their dog is being aggressive as this will usually lead the other dogs to start playing more roughly which always ends in someone getting hurt. 

Enthusiasm 

Sometimes it may look like attacking but it’s actually playing but with too much enthusiasm.

But this kind of playing will develop an aggressive behavior which will lead to unlikable traits like biting or growling. Of course, there’s no need to say that stopping this is a priority.

It’s really important to let you know that if your dog shows aggressive behavior, punishing them or using violence will only make it worse. Training them will be the best solution and will make your life much easier. 

Why Does Your Golden Retriever Bite other Dogs? 

Being mistreated in the past could lead to biting other dogs. Or if they felt threatened, probably by bigger dogs could lead to an aggressive behavior like biting.

If they weren’t exposed to other dogs while they were young, they could consider biting as a normal option for them. 

7 Ways to Stop Your Golden Retriever Being Aggressive With Dogs 

  1. Use Positive Association 
  2. Get Professional Help 
  3. Growl class
  4. Avoidance
  5. Create space
  6. Be calm
  7. Give them confidence in you

Associate and get a treat

Teaching your dog to positively associate with other dogs is one of the most effective ways to stop your dog from being aggressive with them.

It’s simply giving your dog his favorite treat when they are behaving well around other dogs.

This makes them connect the dots that being good with other dogs is a good and positive thing.

Soon enough, they will be excited to be around them again because they’re expecting the treat. 

You can also give them the attention they’re craving and his favorite treat whenever they see a dog walking by and stop it when the other dog walks away.

It’s also recommended that the treats be really special to them, so, while training them, do not give them these specific treats unless they are around another dog. 

Get Professional Help

Dog behaviorists, trainers, or the vet are also good options if your golden can’t stop being aggressive towards other dogs.

The behaviorist or professional dog trainer will help you to stop your dog’s aggression.

They will find the reason behind their aggression and they will deal with it.

Growl class

Growl class is where the dogs are trained to be not aggressive around other dogs. 

It’s taught by professionals that have a good experience with all dog breeds. 

Avoidance 

If you can’t stop your dog from being aggressive with other dogs, then when you see another dog on the street just ignore them and move along.

It teaches your dog that when we see other dogs we avoid them and not attack them.

Create space 

You can also create some space for your dog, for example when you notice that another dog is walking towards you and your golden retriever, you can pass the street or just turn around and do not give your golden the chance to face them. Just fake it till you make it.

Be calm 

It’s better if you stay calm to focus on the triggers of your golden retriever’s aggression.

If you get anxious around other dogs it will boost their instinct to be careful and cautious of other dogs. 

Give them Confidence in You 

Whenever there is an encounter between you or your dog with an aggressive dog, you should teach your dog that it’s your problem, not theirs. If your dog feels it’s their responsibility to handle the situations, they will be too aggressive with the other dogs which will make them more aggressive in general. 

Instead, you should hold tight to your dog’s leash, bring them (without pulling on the leash) behind you so you step between him and the other dog. 

This teaches your dog that they don’t need to start barking and growling at every dog they meet unless you really need them. 

Related Questions: 

What Dogs Get Along Best with Golden Retrievers?

Golden retrievers do not only get along with every person they meet but also other dogs and cats. Golden retrievers get along best with: 

  • Golden retriever (duh)
  • Labrador retrievers
  • Australian shepherd
  • English springer spaniels
  • Collies 
  • Corgis
  • Pugs
  • Beagles
  • German shepherds 
  • Poodles 
  • Maltese
  • Boston terriers 

Why Does My Golden Retriever Nipple on my Cat?

There are a few reasons why they are probably doing this like they could be jealous of the cat, they are being dominant, they haven’t learned to control their bite yet, they are just playing, or your dog could have a strong prey drive, which is rare in golden retrievers. 

Sources 

Dog Behavior Problems – Aggression

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