Why Are Golden Retrievers Aggressive and How to Deal with This Behavior?


Do you have an aggressive Golden Retriever in your care? Being aggressive is unusual for this breed. These dogs are known to be sweet, friendly and playful. It is uncommon for Golden Retrievers to throw tantrums and become aggressive, but at some point, they become aggressive because of some reasons.

When a Golden Retriever becomes aggressive, it is an indication that there is something wrong in their upbringing that leads to them to have this behavior. The owner of a Golden Retriever must be responsible to give the dog the attention needed. These dogs need to be properly taken care of to avoid aggression from developing.

Here are some of the reasons why a Golden Retriever may become aggressive.

1. Lack of attention.

Golden Retrievers are known to be attention-seekers. They love attention, especially from their owners. If you are not attentive with your dog, especially if they want to be petted and loved, they tend to misbehave just to get your attention. They will have the tendency to attack you or attack other people just to show you that he needs you to notice him.

Golden Retrievers are friendly and loving, but when they lack attention, they resort to misbehaving.

2. They experienced abuse.

When abused, humans tend to resort to bullying and dogs behave the same way. When a Golden Retriever experienced abuse growing up, he becomes aggressive. He will feel that anyone who touches him will hurt him again. This is a behavior that is difficult to treat in a Golden Retriever and it is difficult to win their trust again.

The Golden Retrievers are known to be sweet and love to be petted. But when they are abused, it makes them afraid of people coming near them and touching them.

3. Poor Breeding Practices

A Golden Retriever breeder must be knowledgeable in breeding these dogs. They are a sensitive breed and they need a lot of attention. When a breeder is not knowledgeable enough about Golden Retrievers, the dog is most likely to become aggressive. If their essential needs are not met or if they are not exercised or fed properly can result to aggression. The attitude and nature of a Golden Retriever are easily managed by a responsible breeder.

4. They feel fear.

One of the reasons why Golden Retrievers become aggressive is when they feel threatened. They fear for their safety even though they are not literally threatened. They may misinterpret petting for hitting and this is not a good indication. Most of the time this is because they experienced being hit and punished unjustly while growing up.

Sometimes, the dogs can also feel insecure especially if they are being compared to other dogs. The Golden Retrievers are intelligent dogs and they know when they are being compared to others. They begin to show an aggressive behavior by growling at other dogs, snapping at them and sometimes will even bite them. This can also happen with humans.

5. They are sick.

When a Golden Retriever is sick, they would want to have attention. If you don’t give it to them, they become grumpy, thus they show an aggressive behavior. When your dog is sick, it is best to take care of him and give him the attention he needs. Just like humans, dogs also want to feel loved and cared for.

Golden Retrievers are naturally sweet and friendly. It is not common to see an aggressive Golden Retriever. Although they can sometimes show an aggressive behavior, it can still be corrected. A responsible breeder and owner will do the best to dispel the aggressive behavior of a dog.

If your Golden Retriever has shown aggressive behavior, do the following to immediately get rid of that behavior.

6. Keep them happy.

Your Golden Retriever is a happy dog by nature, so to fix their aggressiveness, try to keep him happy. Know what makes him upset and agitated, this way you can communicate better with your dog and make him the friendly and outgoing dog again.

If you think played less with him recently, make up for the lost playtime and play with them. It will not only make them happy, but it will help them to exercise as well.

7. Spend time to play with them.

Golden Retrievers are known to very playful. It makes them happy when they get to spend time with their owners and play with them. For them, playing is the time when they can bond with their parents and exercise at the same time.

8. Find out why they behave that way.

The most effective way to fix your dog’s aggressive behavior is to find out what causes it. A dog can feel jealousy and fear, or maybe they are sick. As a breeder and owner, it is your responsibility to watch over your dog’s well-being.

A Golden Retriever is an outgoing dog, so keeping him isolated and refraining from playing with him will cause him to misbehave. They need attention and love. They are intelligent beings and talking to them in a gentle way can change their aggressive behavior rather than punishing them. Punishment can cause more aggression and it should not be done to any pets as they register it as abuse.


Golden Retrievers are a lot like humans. They have feelings and they can feel if they are being mistreated or not given enough attention. They are born to be friendly and playful and they need to stay that way. It is the responsibility of the fur-parent to take care of their fur babies’ well-being.


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