Aggressive golden retriever: How to fix this behavior

aggressive golden retriever
aggressive dog

In most cases, you’ll find the majority of golden retrievers to be kind, loving and caring. But there’s the exception of dogs that can make you think twice about this, due to their aggressive and unruly behavior!

An aggressive golden retriever should not be taken lightly and is to be attended to as soon as possible. There are many reasons why you may find a golden retriever behaving aggressively. Some more common than others.

In this post, I will take you through a few topics on why your dog may be acting aggressive and how you can fix it now.

Is it common to find an aggressive golden retriever?

No, not at all. This breed is commonly known for the complete opposite. Surprisingly, unlike many other dogs, the golden retriever accepts being of a lower rank in the house and is quite happy to stay there. They do not usually have the temperament in wanting to become the dominant being within your home or amongst other dogs too.

There are many different causes that you will come across that may cause dog aggression. Some reasons can be meeting new people and other dogs, feeding, walking and even a knock on the door. In most cases, I have found that other parents rarely know the cause or the trigger of what is causing the issue.

aggressive golden retriever

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How aggressive is your dog behaving?

So it is important for you to identify when and what is the cause of this behavior in order to fix it. Whilst the common behavior is not to be aggressive in this breed it does not make any dog exempt from acting in this way.

This is because it is all down to the experience each dog has had. For example, you may find that 90% of the other blogs on the internet describe aggression as a form of fear. Well whilst that is true it is doubly important to identify where the fear is coming from and why they are having this feeling.

There have been cases where parents have adopted a dog with issues or even overlooked experiences that their dog has gone through as a puppy. In most cases, this can be overlooked and the root of the problem was something from long ago. It’s usually a reactive behavior that causes dogs to lash out and if they are used to acting in this way.

It can also be a habit that has developed more recent too. Keep reading to find out how this can happen.

dog about to bite

How do goldens become aggressive?

Two common reasons you may come across an aggressive golden retriever is from parents having a lack of knowledge about their dog or breed. As well as separation from parents or family at too young of an age.

An interesting fact as to why retrievers become aggressive is down to energy. When the golden retriever was first bred it was designed to go and retrieve items for games played amongst the Lords.

There is no denying the fact that these dogs have a major energy outlet and if that is not encouraged to be let out. Then you may find your dog trying to figure it out themselves in some way or form.

There are two types of aggression that can be found in dogs. Which are true aggression and reactive aggression? Neither one is better than the other and in most cases, you will need to seek expert advice if you find yourself dealing with this.

True & reactive aggression

True dog aggression is when your dog has honed the skill of being aggressive based on previous experiences throughout their life. This is usually a behavior that they think is suitable on a regular basis that is used in multiple situations.

This type of aggression is when your dog has a trigger that causes them to become aggressive. An example of this could be from the postman knocking the door or a dog next door in the backyard. This type of aggression is usually classed as less severe and may be easily fixed if early diagnosed.

aggressive golden retriever

How to solve an aggressive golden retrievers behavior

This will totally depend on how severe your case of dog aggression is. My advice would to first assess how severe their behavior is to then determine what actions to take. If you feel the aggression is very bad then I would advise you to seek professional help. When you seek professional help the trainer will perform a few basic exercises to test and see what level of aggression your dog has.

I always love to say that the best cure for anything is an early diagnosis. And that’s what you will also find in most cases with aggressive dog behavior. The sooner you can identify, the easier it is to fix. But don’t think that you are much worst off if you have identified this at a later stage. As the cure will all depend on each and every dog’s temperament and willingness to learn. So, don’t be thrown off by such statements.

Is your golden retriever’s aggression is mild?

If you find that your dog has mild aggression that is only triggered by certain environments. Then you may be able to try some at home dog training first.

I was against using this method but was quickly impressed with the results I was able to achieve at home. If you do decide to go down the home training route then I still highly recommend that you take an at-home course that covers this type of training.

What age does aggressive behavior start from?

There is not a set age as to when I golden can start to behave badly. I became a parent to an 8-week old puppy and she was very badly behaved when first got her. Age has not been a defining factor in aggressive behavior as life experiences usually override any change due to age.

In most cases, you will find that your dog is not being stimulated enough with games and activities to keep them happy. This is why it is so important for you to gain the right knowledge in taking care of your dog in all ways possible. By educating yourself you are able to handle changes and problems that seem to pop up time and time again around behavioral issues.

stats and facts on dog aggression

Stats & Facts about dog aggression?

According to the ASPCA, around 90% of dogs that become conflict aggressive are in older ages is usually between 18 to 36-month-old males. But in most cases, you will find that aggression is usually reported to be in younger dogs, mostly puppies.

This is because by the time most dogs are older the aggression would have already been fixed. Continue on to find a few tips on what to do if you are currently experiencing dog aggression.

stats and fact about dogs

How to manage your dog’s aggression

1. Know what your dog enjoys doing (your specific breed) – Understanding your dog will be the most important thing you can do through their life. By understanding them you will be able to better make decisions on how to keep them happy and stimulated in the future.

2. Do your research – Which is why I take it you are here. But find out as much as possible about what could be the cause of this behavior and find a professional if need be.

3. Being aware of your pup’s usual behavior – You need to be able to identify the change in behavior or common actions. This is can help you early diagnose any behavior issues before it gets out of control.


Whether you have a young pup or an older golden Retriever then it is super important to fix any behavior issues as soon as possible. Whilst an aggressive golden retriever behavior is not common, it’s still just as important to keep an eye for it too.

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Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Retrievers R Us. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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