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From bad to worse(50 Posts)
I have a beautiful golden retriever. She’s 4 in May. She’s a big girl. True to the breed she loves mud, water, rolling in Lord knows what and eating. All good.
Recently, she’s becoming really narky. Don’t get me wrong, she’s never been a softie but she’s getting more and more defiant. I can’t take her to the park to throw a ball because she’ll just steal other dogs balls and then get really aggressive and won’t given them back. I have to bribe her to give what she’s stolen back. She’s always been possessive but it’s escalating to a point where I can’t allow her to play with other dogs. She’ll start by playing but as time goes on she get proper snarly.
She’s had a lot of training. One lot of residential training for a month where we weren’t allowed to visit her. She came home not much different. I’ve also done three lots of training near home. One lot of it “one to one”.
Also, she refuses to walk say, around the block. She wants to go HER WAY (where she knows the mud and water is). I can’t MOVE her forward or back (as the trainer said to do) and I can stand there for ten minutes ++ but have to give in and go HER way, in the end.
Today, I wanted to cross the road at a slightly different point on the due to road works. She wouldn’t allow me to. I know that sounds bloody stupid but I HAD to cross in the usual spot or go nowhere. Drivers could see what was happening and were chuckling in their cars but....I was in tears by the time I got home. It’s not funny and I’ve had 3 and a half years of it. It’s warming me out. I think...”god, I’ve got to walk the dog now”.
Any suggestions ? Is she ill, naughty, bored, lonely (I’m at home all day but busy busy) or just plain wilful?
Residential training is something that won't make a blind bit of difference - dogs need to be trained with their owners not apart from them. I hope you weren't conned.
What kind of stimulation do you give her? She needs change, variety, new places, new things to smell. At home she needs brain games - feed her in kongs, scatter her kibble so she has to use her nose, play "find it" with food in the garden - make things exciting again.
How often do you walk her and for how long? And how often do you spend, daily, on training/reinforcing previous training?
It sounds like you have done lots of training but perhaps not the most useful. I am not fond of residential training. It looks like a really good thing, send your dog away and they come back trained. But I know my dog behaves differently with me and with DH because of the training we do individually with him. It's us that needed training WITH him.
I can see that you had 1-1 training but only once. Now this I am a fan of. Every time I do individual training we move on dramatically. Could you afford a good behaviourist that can work with you and see why she is behaving as she is with you? If not I would still try and find a good 1-1 trainer to keep walking with you.
This is very common goldie behaviour especially the refusing to walk.
What you need to do is treat whilst the dog is moving NOT when the dog is still and then treat to GET the dog moving.
If the dog refuses to move get a book and sit it out. Crossing the road is a hard one though!
Ditch the bowl make her work for all her food this could be scatter feeding, simple trick training, treating her when moving forward etc. All food comes from you not the bowl. This makes a huge difference to her relationship with you.
A hand touch is a good tool to have in your tool box. She gets rewarded for putting her nose onto the palm of your hand. This can be used a lot for getting her moving ask for hand touch and she can be moved across the road following your hand. Weird but dogs prefer this to being pulled on the lead.
Does she have a harness or collar?
Residential training does have a place eg some very disturbed dogs with major behavioural issues, that are a safety issue or need specialised help 24/7 eg shadow chasers so I feel that the sweeping comments above are harsh.
To be far you have not really done a lot of training Training is life long with dogs......
Thanks So much for the replies. I didn’t think I’d get much help tbh.
So, I will review her feeding regime. Can I give her a small bowl of food as she has a mix of dry and wet so, I thought I’d give her some of that in her slow feeder/King and then “hide” food. I was beginning to think I had a dog on the autism spectrum what with her clinging to routines and set routes 😊 (My DS has asd...which is why we got the dog 😐).
She has had a harness (still does for canal walking as she goes in to swim and sometimes needs hoiking out. Mostly, she wears a soft slip lead but with her collar on when off lead iykwim.
This morning we went to a field we haven’t used before. Saw a few dogs but mostly managed to distract her with the ball. We did some sit/stay/wait work. On the lead we did some stop/go work. I will try the hand bump thing.
My DH wants to get another dog 😐 am trying to explain what a BAD idea that’d be. It wouldn’t be fair on a rescue dog and a goldie pup would be terrified of her. No. We will not be getting another.
I would try using the harness more than a slip lead - as you pull the slip lead it will cause discomfort to the dog hence she may not walk as it is hurting.
I would at the minute keep her away from other dogs or follow the 123 greet. Literally sniff butts for 3 seconds then move on.
I agree with you re another dog you have enough on your plate at the moment to introduce another dog that will also bring with them their own issues - no need to voluntarily make life harder for yourself.
video to help with hand touch
Brilliant idea re the food
Used the harness this afternoon. “Treated” her as we were walking.
We will see....
Also, got some doggy herb supplement to sprinkle on her food. Especially for the “overexcited” and hyper dog 😐
Yes, slip leads aren't a good idea. They'll hurt her if she pulls which might put her off.
How much exercise does she get each day? And what kinds? I ask because my beagle behaves very differently when he's had lots of interesting things to smell. I can walk him for hours around the park, but if we go somewhere new (or somewhere we don't go often) he has lots more to sniff and explore and is always more tired.
I also try and include some form of training in each walk - be that walking to heel, recall or sits and stays. I always carry treats and make sure he works for every single one!
Our lab was very much the same until small treats were introduced on our walks as she was a bit wary of traffic and different routes ,maybe you could try it and see if it works
I would definitely get a vet check to be sure there are no underlying health issues.
A vet check is always a good idea if behaviour changes. The snarliness could be pain. Is she properly aggressive? Objecting to OTT dogs? Is it all dogs?
I use a dogmatic. On it my wolfhound can’t pull me about or refuse to move.
I have spent two years doing training. But it’s not the weekly sessions that really really count. It’s the day in day out stuff you do at home that works. (That’s why residential isn’t often much help.)
Her walks are these...
Mornings about an hour of walking, playing in a field, retrieving the ball, a swim. We do some sit and stay and some wait, and she will do all that UNLESS there’s something BETTER to do ie. another dog/squirrel/stick. I try to take her out for a quick “round the block” around 1pm - 2pm but, she realises it’s a pavement plod and throws herself to the pavement. I CAN not move her. So, that’s more or less been phased out. Her late afternoon walk is on the lead around the lake and then some off lead running with lots of sniffs by the river (I try to keep her out of the water since she’s already been soaked in the morning and has a huge coat). Playing at home is usually some rough play with toys and some treats for bringing toys back to me.
Yep, that’s it.
I make her wait for food. She never gets to dive in.
She also HATES walking in town (we live in a fairly small market town) and will hunker low and drag me off up the street!
I’ve tried a Gentle Leader. Also, still have a dogmatic somewhere. Neither good. I just ended pulling her by the nose.
With other dogs it starts as waggy friendliness but then she WANTS THEM to take her stick/ball and when they attempt it she gets proper grisly. She once bit another dog’s ear. She’s also bitten me.
This is her...
So she’s only snarly if she has a stick or ball? Resource guarding?
Stupid question alert! How are her feet/nails? Is it hard surfaces she struggles with when walking on pavements or about town?
If only they came with a book with all the answers eh? Mine isn’t keen on road walking. It’s boring! But also scary. She doesn’t like lorries or bikes or scooters or wheelie bins. Wheelie bins. FFS!
No problem with feet. Nails are trimmed by the nurse at the vets.
When she was a puppy, I’d drive into town and walk her one way down the village high street and up the other side. We’d sit on a bench for a bit where she’d get lots of fuss (😊) then a two minute walk back to the car. She was nervous but did it and, seeing how she was a pup, I just carried on with treats and did it 4/5 times a week. However, as the months went by, and she got bigger, she’d stop/drag me over the road if she saw a bin, balloon, for sale sign, awning, flag basically, anything above her eyeline, jutting off a building. Eventually, I accepted that I was never going to be able to walk through town and sit outside a coffee shop with her 😐
I came to the conclusion that as a “person” she’d have her own personality and likes/dislikes and that the biddable gentle dog I’d hoped for, wasn’t likely. So, we did woods/field walks and a short “pavement plod” as her last walk of the day. Then came the refusal for that “plod” and we stuck to fields and wooded paths and “quiet times” in parks. But, I can’t have her muddy and soaked through 3 times a day as she HATES being washed. HATES IT. We had a tap with adjustable heat put on an outside wall...just in case it was the cold water. It wasn’t the cold water. She just hates being washed. Not fond of being brushed either.
She’s a riddle for sure. We LOVE her though 😁❤️
Nervous could explain the dislike of pavement walking.
Does she need three walks a day?
I think there are coat type things you can buy. A friend has a little dog. She has sort of waterproof trouser type things that cover legs and tummy somehow.
They all have their foibles don’t they!
@Wolf, they do indeed!
We’ve tried coats. Again, refused to budge. She immerses herself in mud so, it’s bath time, EVERY DAY. Interesting about the “how many walks does she need”. She’s my first dog so, I read up a lot before she arrived and since. The general consensus for the breed is, they can go all day and LOVE to walk. In other words....work ‘em! My mum’s with you. She thinks the poor dog is over exercised.
You could be over-stimulating her with too much exercise? I'd try cutting it back a bit to better quality and shorter. Works with mine, he gets really hyper if he gets too much exercise. And try a calming collar, my mum swears by Adaptil for her nervy Yorkie. She sounds like she's a nervous dog, and is resource guarding.
I'd also double check what food she's on.... we've had a few hair raising weeks if my cocker spaniel has been on too high a protein as it makes him a bit manic. He's on Millie's Wolfheart 50/50 mix so it's made him much calmer.
I have a lazy dog! She’s quite happy with one good walk a day. That could be an hour or two.
Growing up we had a higher energy dog and he had two walks every day.
I know it’s a bloody nightmare at the moment but is there anywhere you can walk that avoids mud at all?
And yes to the food. Mine is calmer on raw but that’s certainly not a choice for everyone.
@Wolf....there’s the rub of it! The walks she’ll willingly do involve fields, ponds, rivers, woods (with slutch and bog ditches). The ones with none of the above involve paths AROUND parks and pavement plods.
Did you SEE the photo above? That was her this morning!!! 😐
I dont like being too breed specific but not walking is quite a common goldie trait.
It is a very easy way to get attention and is very effective I would not be too worried about physical issues if she walks ok in places of her choice.
She is beautiful Kitty
I would give her on good walk a day and maybe some kongs and brain work eg sniffing out food.
I had a goldie that was quite good at agility except if there was a crowd. She knew if people where watching and would run to top of the A frame and literally stay there almost waving at her crowd, smiling and wagging her tail. It could take at least 10mins to get her down -
She is gorgeous. I think one long walk around fields and wooded areas would be plenty for her ,the pavement walking might be harder on her joints causing a bit of discomfort. .If you cut it back to one walk in the morning she might to go for a quick pavement walk in the evening