Dog barks & snaps at other dogs

Posted by Goldngramz
Aug 29, 2010
I have a 3-year old golden retriever female. Definately an Alpha dog that we have had to work diligently with. We adopted her at 2 yrs (she was a previous show dog). Please note: she was not retired from the ring due to behavior problems, however, I would have thought being around other dogs most of her life, we wouldn't be struggling with this issue.

She loves people but nips at other dogs. She loves greating other dogs and is fine with them for the first five minutes but almost always ends with her barking or nipping at the other dog. It happens out of nowhere. She seems to be getting along great with the other dog then her behaviour turns.

This is very frustrating as we live in a subdivision with many dogs and I don't want our neighbors afraid to bring their pets around our dog. We have worked on the Alpha issues. She does not go through a door first, she is fed after we eat and we do not give her attention when she demands it. We've had her for 9 months now and can't seem to get her to kick her behavior towards other dogs. Please help!
Posted by kjd
Aug 29, 2010

Do you know the person who showed this dog? Or the previous owner? This seems like a really weird reaction to other dogs. I've never shown in conformation, but I wonder whether there is something tied into that 5 minutes of good behavior than nip! Might help you if you could find out why she does this. It just sounds like learned behavior rather than aggression.

Posted by KOPCaroline
Aug 30, 2010
Hey there,

Another question, is she speyed? It might be an adverse reaction due to hormones, especially when she's not cycling. As in, she might not be "accepting" male dogs coming up, and females tend to show more interdog aggression towards each other.

The fact that she's ok at first and then decides she doesn't like the other dog is a bit puzzling. It does sound learned, but certainly she couldn't have acted aggressively at shows and gotten away with it.

If she's "alpha dog" trained its not likely to be a dominance thing, moreso just interdog aggression. It could be she's asserting herself over other dogs, accepting that she's submissive to you, but not them.

There are a few general things you can do to try and sort out the situation. First, sternly correct her when she exhibits this behaviour, with "no" or "enough", for example. Immediately remove her from the park or area if you're out, and if you're home, take her to a "time out" area (a room by herself, tie her up outside, put her in her kennel/crate, whatever you've got). Leave her there, make sure she knows she "did wrong", for at least 10 minutes. Do it everytime she acts out.

You can try a halti or muzzle lead to correct her in public, and keep her from actually getting her teeth on other dogs. It'll take your being stern and commanding of her everytime she becomes aggressive, but these can help get a point across.

You can try DAP or other pheromone products in your house, especially when you know you've got doggie company coming. These can help calm your girl down in the house and make her less anxious around company.

Try buddying her up with a friends dog, you can always use a muzzle at first if you're wary of the situation. Take them for walks together, play together, train together. If you pay more attention to the other dog, give it treats first, make a big deal of it, it will help her accept her buddy as an equal, or maybe dominant, and she will be better with accepting him/her. This opens the door for her to accept other dogs and react better to their presence. You've just got to be sure to speak in bright tones, and like I said, pay first (and more) attention to the buddy dog.

Try these if you can, I hope they help.