Here`s another great article:
I'm hoping that someone comes across the video below of our 10.5 month golden retriever and can relate to what's going on/has an idea of how to solve this issue. If you don't want to do a lot of reading, see the TLDR at the bottom for a summary. Appreciate anyone who takes the time to read all of the details!
To get straight to the point, our golden 'attacks' (but not viciously) people that he knows randomly at times (although there is some predictable scenarios in which he attacks) and we have not come up with a good solution since this behaviour has been going on for many months. He attacks me much less than anyone else and hasn't attacked me in over a week. However, he attacks my wife daily. In fact, it has increased in frequency over time. Watch the video below to get an idea of what the attack looks like (my wife allowed it to happen so that she could get the video so we would not normally just let him do it). He does not bite very hard during the attacks and has never done damage to anyone during his outbursts. We have shown it to a trainer that we have gone to and they said they thought it looked playful but still not appropriate.
Here are some situations that he does these 'attacks':
Fairly quickly (within a minute) of being walked by anyone but my wife and I (e.g. dog walkers, our parents, etc.). He's completely fine with these people at any other time (e.g. loves my dad when comes over). I even had my dad try to walk him for a bit while I was right beside him the other day and within 10 seconds he jumped on my dad's leg to hump him and then started with this. We carried on and he did it a couple more times but eventually was able to be walked without doing this in that session. Both my wife and I have full-time jobs so we want other people to walk him so he can go out during the day. Not sure how relevant it is but since my dad hasn't had success walking him, he comes over once a week and just plays with him instead. He used to randomly attack my wife and I on walks but that seems to have disappeared. Completely randomly when my wife is at a park. She says sometimes there is dogs around and clearly wants to get to them (he loves to play with other dogs). However, sometimes there is nothing around and she can't come up with any reason for why he suddenly does this. He also starts getting like this (but a much milder version of it) when he gets frustrated during training (e.g. if he doesn't get something right away… even though I do my best to avoid this). If he is overexcited/aroused (e.g. really wants to play and we don't allow him to play right away) but this is fairly rare. He USED attack me in the backyard and then I realized that I was always playing with him in the backyard anytime I went out there. So I have stopped playing with him in the backyard (which kind of sucks) and now just give him treats for being calm out there. This seems to have stopped the attacks but this is really the only case of success we've had in dealing with this. He still attacks my wife occasionally in the backyard.
What we have tried:
If he's inside when he has done this, we have put him in his exercise pen as a timeout. We have also done this when he's in the backyard but that means we have to pull him inside with the leash (so it would take about 15 seconds or so to get him to the pen). Calmly restrain him using his collar (on a trainer's recommendation) until he calms down but he will just roll onto his back and then I feel awful because it seems like I'm pinning him. We only did this a couple of times and didn't feel like it worked. In the end, we weren't comfortable with it. If he's outside (e.g. on a walk), we have tied him to something and walked away. We have stopped doing this since it's hard to find something to tie him to and in the meantime he attacks the person the whole time Redirecting to toys/treats This works sometimes but then we were worried that we were rewarding the attack behaviour. Sometimes he could care less about the treats/toy in that moment.
What we are currently doing based on our trainer's recommendation/what we have read:
Say 'Eh' and if he doesn't stop then walk away if we are near a door in the house and shut it behind us so that he is alone for a minute. Say 'Eh' and if he doesn't stop, then pull up on the leash (rather than the collar) and calmly restrain him between our legs (sometimes easier said then done). Wait until he's calm for a little bit. Then carry on with what we were doing. Sometimes this has to be repeated a couple of times. He was starting to destroy bushes in our garden if we left him outside in the backyard after an attack so we have had to bring him into the pen. I have since removed those bushes so we could go back to just leaving him out there.
He's not neutered in case that has any significance here.
He's actually a very sweet dog and seems to love people/dogs. He is definitely very energetic and would play non-stop if we let him. However, we take him for at least 3-4 walks per day that are at least 20 mins long or more and play with him for at least 10 minutes 2-3 times per day. We usually do a training session once or twice a day for 5 minutes or so. We have very few doggie daycare options in the area that we live and I tried one for one day but decided they would do more harm than good. So he doesn't get a lot of dog-dog interaction since we don't have a lot of friends that have dogs. But I do go to dog park that usually doesn't have any dogs in it at least a couple of times a week (and he usually meets a dog once per week that he ends up playing with… although sometimes I don't think they are the best behaved). He is very tired after that. He is very fixated on dogs during walks/if we go to parks and seems to want to play with every single one that he sees. Although he just recently was growled at on a walk by a big German shephard and then he was growling back apparently (my wife was walking him). Not sure how much of this info is relevant but just wanted to include it just in case.
Thanks to anyone who took the time to read all of this!
TLDR: We have a 10.5 month golden retriever who randomly attacks (but not viciously) people he knows on walks, in the park, etc. and it is increasing in frequency. We want to try to decrease (and eventually eliminate) the behaviour but are worried that the methods we are using aren't working. See the video to get an idea of what an 'attack' looks like.
Any feedback is helpful. Please don't hesitate to be critical and let us know what we are doing wrong and how we can fix what we're doing as we want to set him up for success in whatever way is best.
Streamable link to the video: https://streamable.com/1s5y9
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