Aggressive Golden Retriever: Identify Aggression Signs & Fix it!

It’s really a non-digestible fact that Golden Retrievers are aggressive! But at times they too get aggressive. You must have always heard that they are the best family dogs and are affectionate dog breeds with a pleasant behavior among kids and a versatile dog breed.


golden retriever aggressive

Although they have aggression as the other dog breeds do! What actually causes a Golden Retriever to be aggressive and how to deal with an aggressive golden retriever is covered in the article.

Well, let’s straight jump to the topic!

If you are in a hurry you can refer to the ‘Table Of Contents’ section, it would save much of your time.

Can A Golden Retriever Be Aggressive?

Aggression in Golden Retrievers is not a regular or habitual behavior. Usually, Golden Retrievers are loyal, sweet, gentle, and friendly companion dog. Either due to genetic or environmental factors, a Golden Retriever can be aggressive. Good dog breeder and proper socialization would really help you to get out of it, make sure to avoid punishments.

How To Identify Aggressiveness In Your Golden Retriever?

golden retriever 1

It’s quite easy to identify aggressiveness in any dog. In Golden Retriever if you see their ears erect, tail moving stiffly side to side, and excessive low range barking, snarling, snapping, and growling. The chances are less for a bite by Golden Retriever but it also depends on various other factors.

But aggression always doesn’t mean that your Golden is angry with you or with any person, the reason for aggression in dogs could be divergent and it can be situational, for instance, it could be pain aggression or something different. 

That’s the reason it is important to identify the aggression, like humans they also experience in the pain and that’s one of the reasons you should be responsible to give them the utmost comforts.

Puppy Behavior And Aggression Are Different

Puppies do play a lot and their behavior during that phase is really playful which consists of chasing, growling, biting, barking, and more. Pet Owners sometimes consider this thing as aggression but according to bestfriedvet this is normal behavior and a pet owner should be able to distinguish between normal and abnormal behavior.

So, always make sure that the normal playing of your Golden Retriever puppy can’t be termed as aggression!

You’ll observe this behavior in puppies mostly when they are of 5-14 weeks, I have been through this when I adopted Max.

Nothing uncommon, this behavior in puppies is  obvious

Now, what can you do? Well, start socializing your puppies with the surrounding people and dogs. This stage is really very important and socializing them at this phase is recommended, it would help your puppy to avoid later problems with aggression.

Finding out the real reason behind aggression is significant as I said that reasons behind aggression could be a pain, fear, food, object guarding, negative experience with other dogs, and many more!

So, get to the proper reason behind the aggression, if you are not able to figure out the proper cause you can take the help of the vet and he can definitely help you out.

According to ASPCA real aggression in your doggy is:

  • The body becomes Still & Rigid
  • Guttural bark (Sounds threatening)
  • Lunging Forward
  • Growl & Showing Teeth
golden retriever on a walk

Other dogs can also set off aggression in your canine for fear or any other situation/condition. At that moment you need to pretend as if nothing has happened and command your pooch to sit.

The behavior you desire from your Golden can be achieved just be a good owner, obedience training, socialization, and command him the right things, and if he executes it well then you can reward him, this would really help you a lot. And also make sure that you  don’t reward or punish the undesired behavior of your Golden. 

What Are The Causes Of Aggressive Golden Retriever?

This is really important to know what triggers your Golden Retriever to be aggressive. Like it’s totally impossible for an owner who sees his dog is sweet, gentle and then when he experiences the aggression in his dog he gets disappointed but things like aggression are possible.

Witnessing the aggressive behavior for the first time would really disappoint the owner. But you need to understand that aggression is a natural response and not something intentional.

Sweet, gentle, intelligent, and best family companion suits Golden Retriever but the word ‘aggressive’? 

Word aggressive is inappropriate with Golden Retriever.

Well, I myself have a Golden Retriever which is not a puppy is an adult, but I’ve also experienced aggression from him, but honestly, the word aggression never suits a Golden Retriever!

Now let’s have a close look at the causes of aggressive golden retrievers! 

I’ve listed the common causes that a Golden Retriever Aggression may embrace.

Poor Breeding Practices

Always check the pet parents or the breeders from where you’ll be getting the puppy! It’s very important to know the temperament of the parents of the offspring. Make sure to get a Golden Retriever Puppy from a well-known and trustable breeder.

There are no problems in puppies but if the parents have the non-required traits then the offspring would inherit those, and that’s the reason to go for a well-known breeder! 

Be away from the fake and fishy breeders who never gives you a valuable pooch and promotes poor breeding practices just for the sake of capital.

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Intentionally harming or teasing, ignoring, punishing, neglecting emotionally or physically, and many more. There are a few times when people do this purposely and that triggers your Golden Retriever to be aggressive.

There are many different ways of abusing a Golden but never do that, this shows how cruel a person is towards the dog.

I too personally hate that kinda people who purposely intimate cruelty toward the sweet dogs.

Your Golden will defend himself if he/she experiences threats.


Yes! Fear is also a factor that causes aggression. Also known as defensive aggression. There are a number of reasons behind your dog getting scared or panic.

Below are a few reasons listed that can make your Golden afraid a few times.

  • They might have been mistreated in their new environment.
  • Illness
  • Injury
  • In a timid phase
  • Punishing them for undesired behavior.
  • Lack of socialization


Pretty easy to understand! If a Golden Retriever is ignored they might get aggressive in behavior, if still no actions are taken to discourage him then your doggy will continue his aggressive behavior. 

(Aggression in this phase is not at that intense level, it’s mild)

Dogs love to be with their owners, ignoring can sadden your dog! But honestly, you can’t ignore your dog for more than 30 mins, for me I will break my ignorance at 30-40 seconds. Check out this video, a short 58 seconds video that will definitely entertain you!

Let me ask a funny question to you! How many minutes you can hold up the ignorance for your Golden Retriever? Let me know in the comments!

Lack of Proper Socialization

If your dog is not properly socialized then your dog may become afraid, worried, and more unfamiliar things can take place. It also contributes to some serious behavioral problems like aggression.

Proper socialization is very important right from the puppy phase. If you have not socialized your Golden at the early stage you can socialize him now too when he is in the adult or older stage, it’s never too late to socialize your dog.

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Irregular Training

Not training your dog on a regular basis and not spending time with your Golden can lead to new and strange problems and one of them is aggression.

It’s never too late to train your dog. You can acquire some training knowledge from one of my best articles, In the article ‘How To Take Care Of A Golden Retriever – The Definitive Guide’ go to chapter 3 called ‘Chapter 3: Training – Way to Obedient Dog Personality’ and have a look towards that chunk of information I’m sure that you’ll learn something new from that related to dog training!

Make your Golden Retriever’s training sessions regular, consistent with fun!

Pain, Illness, or Insecurity

I’ve mentioned these things above too, but have not touched it deeply! Let’s understand more about it.

Having pain in the body, not feeling well, can lead to behavioral problems, aggression. Mostly Golden’s don’t convey their mini pain problems, but if the problems are excruciating, they will express it in the form of aggression.

When Golden’s are in pain they are more vocal, it’s not that easy to spot their pain. But a Golden Retriever will express it through his vocals like whining, yelping, whimpering, snarling, growling, and even howling.

At such time, Immediate visit to your vet is recommended!

Your female Golden Retriever can get aggressive when she is undergoing the heat cycle. She may display nervousness symptoms. There are different ways that your Golden can express nervousness when she is in heat. You can read more about it here – Golden Retriever Heat Cycle Explained.

Territorial Aggression

Like most of the dogs Golden’s are territorial and do like to have their own personal space.

If there’s a stranger who tries to occupy your Golden’s space your doggy would get aggressive and that time too.

Golden’s love to be in their own space.

They can display their territorial aggression by growling, barking to lunging, chasing, snapping, and biting.

If your Golden suddenly meets a bunch of strangers that could also trigger aggression as your Golden will feel threatened.

How To Deal With The Aggressive Golden Retriever?

Use ‘Distraction’ as a tool to deal with an Aggressive Golden Retriever. Divert your Golden’s attention to something else.

But if your Golden is substantially aggressive it could be a dangerous situation, seeking professional help is always recommended at that moment.

Damage can be caused in this situation to the people in the surroundings. The safest option would be to call for professional help!

Although knowing the root cause of the aggression is also really important, if you get the cause of aggression your problem can be solved, and dealing with an aggressive Golden would not be that hard after knowing the cause. And make sure not to reward your Golden Retriever for aggressive behavior.

How Can You Limit Golden Retriever Dog Aggression?

Well, proper socialization can limit your Golden Retriever Aggression. Expose your pooch to the surroundings let him also experience the new environment and people.

To limit the aggression you should start socializing your Golden right from the beginning phase that would help you a lot. Also, keep this thing in mind that never to punish a Golden Retriever, it can result in aggression.

Keep your doggy well-groomed, hygienic and handle them with utmost care as it is also considered as one of the reasons to get your Golden Retriever aggressive.

Comparing Golden Retriever Aggression With Other Aggressive Dog Breeds?

If I tell you to describe a Golden Retriever you will never include the word ‘Aggressive’ instead in dog breeds like Pitbull, Rottweiler, Doberman, GSD, or Great Dane the word ‘Aggressive’ is pretty common.

Golden Retriever is friendly, gentle, and a happy companion for humans and also considered as the best family dog.

There are several causes that trigger a Golden Retriever towards Aggression I have mentioned most of the causes in the above section. You can stop the aggression by diverting their attention to something else.

Don’t give him a toy or treat in a myth that it will be used as a distraction instead it will encourage your Golden Retriever towards aggressive behavior.

Now, you might be having some doubts and queries! Let’s move to the FAQ section.


What To Do When A Golden Retriever Is Aggressive?

If you know the root cause of your Golden Retriever being aggressive then you can handle that situation by the exact solution. For Instance, if your Goldie is aggressive and you know that the aggression cause is pain or illness, calling a vet for a home checkup will solve this issue. Yet if you don’t know that cause then calling for professional help is a wise decision.

Are Golden Retrievers Destructive?

golden retriever close pic

Usually, they are friendly, gentle, intelligent, trustworthy, and loving dog breed. There are possibilities of Golden Retrievers getting destructive if there’s a fear of threat, frustration, or any illness/injury.

Why Does My Golden Retriever Growls?

golden retriever sleeping

Growling helps your Goldie to communicate with you. But there are plenty of reasons that a Golden Retriever can growl. It shows that your Golden is undergoing some issues, some of the common reasons for growling maybe pain, injury, illness, fear, protecting their territory, feeling threatening, and more. If your Golden’s growling gets worse call a vet for a home checkup.

Can Golden Retrievers Attack Humans?

Yes, they do bite yet they are not that aggressive as other dogs. Golden Retrievers will bite, nip, and snap but the chances of going as aggressive as Pitbull is less, as Golden’s are less likely to bite. The chances of an aggressive Golden Retriever puppy to bite is more compared to an adult Golden.


I’m sure you have got it! From the causes to the solutions for an aggressive Golden Retriever. The above article covers everything you need to know about an adult or puppy Golden Retriever when he/she is in aggression.

Aggression in Golden Retriever sometimes may lead to severe problems it’s better to know the causes and the right way to deal with it. Socialization is a very important factor that can limit aggression in your pooch!

Or else a dog bite can leave you in trauma if it is done to others except you because the owner is liable for that.

You should know that you can train your Golden as they are one of the intelligent dog breeds. Obedience Training is recommended.

In a severe situation when your dog is aggressive call a professional for help.

I hope that you are now clear with this aggression thing in your Golden Retriever. Still, you have any questions related to Aggression leave them down below in the comments section, I’ll definitely reply to you!

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