8m Golden Retreiver biting 4 year old

Posted by jnall3
May 23, 2011
We have an 8 month female Golden Retriever that otherwise is a good dog, but she shows her Alpha dog with our 4 year old daughter by trying to play bite her, knock her over, and jump on top of her. We also have an 8 year old son, she does it to him occasionally, and she never does it to us. So, I know it is her trying to be the alpha dog. I am just not sure what to do about it. Any suggestions.
Posted by KOPCaroline
May 24, 2011
Hey jnall,

What do you do when you see your goldie doing this? What does your daughter do?

It might not be alpha behaviour, but playing, because children are obviously smaller, more energetic, louder, etc. Dogs sometimes just get too excited around children and dont understand whats too much for them.

Try to tell you daughter not to laugh or scream when this happens - excited noises will only get your dog, well, excited about the play thats happening in her world. Tell your kids to calmly stand up, say no in a loud voice, and turn their backs on the dog, ignoring her. If she still won't calm down, your kids should either go inside for a few minutes (or out of the room), or ideally put the dog out for a few minutes. Wait til she's calm, then let her back with the kids.

You can give her "no" commands as soon as you see the behaviour start - if she recognizes you and your husband as dominant, she should listen, but itll take you paying close attention and calling "no" at the same trigger each time, so she gets the idea of enough is enough at a certain point. You can be the one to put her out of the room/house, it doesnt have to be the kids, but if you want your children to be dominant over her in the house heirarchy, they should partake in her discipline as well.

Hope this makes sense and helps you, let us know how it goes and if you need more suggestions!!
Posted by jnall3
May 24, 2011
No, it definitely is a alpha dog thing. We have tried the things you suggested before. Just not sure where to go from here other than shipping her off to a farm.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
May 25, 2011
Hi jnall3,

I also think it is a play thing, rather than dominance. 8 months old is a teenager age and I have seen so many playful and hyper golden retrievers, jumping on people, mouthing people's hands, just out of control

A golden retriever living in a house across the street from us is 2 yrs old and she is still out of control. I would never bring my 5 yrs old grandson close to her since it is just too dangerous.

To be honest with you, I don't know what to tell you, rather than keep disciplining her. Has she got any obedience trainings or puppy trainings? Enroll her in a class and attend it along with your 8 yrs old son is a good thing. In addition to that, have him feed your dog ever meal, while giving your dog a "Wait" command. Make sure that your son is not at the same level of your dog. All goodies will come from human beings. You and your husband can lift your son's position by giving him help at any possible situation, such as when she doesn't listen your son, when she play bites him and doesn't stop, etc. If she doesn't obey him, you will make her obey, or take her to a time-out.

As for your 4 yrs old daughter, I will not let her go close to the dog, unless you are right there with her. It can cause a serious injury to her if your dog doesn't behave.

Above all, make sure your dog gets plenty of excercise to burn her energy, as well as playing with her dog buddies By the way, the dog across the street is also the only dog and I don't think she gets enough daily activities.

Does your dog fetch? If not, teach her to fetch. She will learn quickly since she is a retriever. Have your son throw balls for her for good 15 minutes every single day. If she misbehaves, put the balls away and that's the end of fun for her. She will then see him differently, with more respect.