Golden Retrievers are affectionate, playful, and loyal dogs. Their natural temperament makes them perfect pets for loving families. They are gentle, intelligent, eager to please, devoted, and easily trained.
Providing they have been appropriately socialized, they are tolerant and non-aggressive with people and animals alike.
They were initially bred to work as gundogs to retrieve games meaning that they have a great need for mental stimulation and physical activity.
But as intelligent and loyal as they are, do their gentle nature, and open-heartedness prevent them from making good guard dogs? In this article, we will discuss whether a Golden Retriever would attack an intruder?
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Do Golden Retrievers Attack Intruders?
Most Golden Retrievers don’t bark a lot and are too friendly to make it likely that a Golden Retriever would attack an intruder. It is more likely that they would be curious about this visitor and even want to play.
They may react aggressively if they are frightened or protective instincts are triggered, but they are not considered protective in the way traditional guarding breeds are. Golden Retrievers do not make good guard dogs.
Are Golden Retrievers Protective?
To understand what it means for a dog to be protective, you must consider the hereditary reason for these instincts. Dogs are social animals; their wild ancestors lived in groups, so they fit in so well with human families because they are wired for community.
More dominant members of the pack would need to protect the weaker, more vulnerable members like young cubs or pregnant females. This instinctive drive to protect is still engrained in modern dogs, but not to the same extent in all breeds.
We see such various dogs, from the Chihuahua to the Great Dane, that mankind favored certain traits in different dogs for specific purposes and selected for breeding accordingly.
Each dog has its purpose, and a Golden Retriever was bred to be a gun dog. This has given us the intelligent, gentle, loyal Golden Retriever we know and love whose easy-going, open temperament allows it to work with different humans.
The protective instinct is a combination of steadfast devotion to a dog’s people and mistrust of the unfamiliar; this is a hereditary disposition.
Traditional guarding breeds such as German Shepherds and Mastiffs are just as loyal and loving, but they don’t share the same openness towards new people or situations as Golden Retrievers. They were bred to be wary of the unfamiliar. This makes them more protective because they are more likely to distrust strangers.
A Golden Retriever shares these following protective instincts to a degree.
- They are loyal and unyielding in their devotion to their owners, but they are much less wary of new people or situations.
- A well-socialized Golden Retriever is more likely to be curious about a stranger entering the home.
- If the intruder doesn’t do anything to frighten them, they will tolerate their presence. If the intruder is aggressive towards a Golden, the dog might get scared.
- They may or may not respond with aggression depending on the bloodlines and how dominant the dog is. But it is a different story when someone the Golden loves is attacked.
Will Golden Retrievers Protect Their Owners?
Like all breeds of dogs, Golden Retrievers are capable of protective behavior, and if someone they love is in danger, they have been known to be brave enough to put themselves between their person and a threat.
However, their protective instinct is not as strong as other dogs like the guarding breeds, and it is just not something you can count on.
They are not recommended for protection roles, so if you want a dog to protect you, get a Pitbull, a Mastiff, or a German Shepherd. They are less friendly but just as loyal, and you can depend on them to see off any intruders in your home.
If your Golden Retriever does not attack an intruder, it is not a reflection of their loyalty to you. With the proper training and socialization, your Golden will display its love in other ways, such as seeking out your company and being by your side no matter what. Just don’t expect them to jump to your defense because you will be disappointed, and you may also be putting your Goldie in danger.
Can I Train My Golden Retriever To Attack?
When owners train guarding breeds to protect their livestock, property, or person, they harness the dog’s innate traits.
From an early age, the pup will be socialized to form strong bonds with its herd or owner. As they progress through their training, they will be rewarded for being attentive to their surroundings and the whereabouts of whomever or whatever they are protecting, i.e., their herd or your family. It is the combination of loyalty and wariness of the unfamiliar that makes them so protective.
Theoretically, you could draw out your Golden Retriever’s protective side through training to make them react more aggressively to strangers, but you would be going against their core nature.
They would be successful in forming bonds’ early socialization stage, but getting them to be wary and mistrustful of new situations could be a challenge for the open, curious, and trusting Golden.
The instinct to be mindful of strangers was bred out of them a long time ago. Nonetheless, there are some training techniques you could apply to strengthen your Golden Retriever’s attentiveness to danger and wariness of strangers.
Suggested – Best Golden Retriever Training Books
Training Tips For Your Golden Retriever
Obedience training should be part of your routine with your Golden Retriever from day one, but if you want to harness your Golden’s protective instincts, there are a few things you can try.
Teach Your Golden Retriever To Be Attentive To Visitors
This exercise aims to get your Golden to pay attention when anyone comes to the door.
Use a partner to play with the visitor, get them to the front door, and wait outside. When your Golden notices there is someone outside, reward them with a treat. Repeat this exercise regularly until your dog starts paying attention when anyone comes to the door.
Teach It To “Bark” On Cue
You can teach your Golden to bark on command and then extend that to include barking at strangers.
Create a situation where you know your Golden will probably bark.
When he does, say ‘bark’ (or whatever command you chose) and reward him with a treat.
Here’s a short video by Zak George that can help you to teach your Golden to bark:
Repeat this several times until he gets the hang of it.
Then using a partner, get them to approach you and your dog. Command your dog to bark when they approach. Have your helper move away and once they are a certain distance or out of sight (you choose), stop rewarding your dog.
Extend this training to include strangers in the park. You might have to ask people you don’t know to help, but they will probably think it’s fun to explain that you are trying to help your Golden be more protective.
Define The Boundaries Of Your Home
This exercise helps your dog identify the boundaries of your home so that he can be more aware of his territory and possibly even defend it.
Take your dog out on a leash and walk around the boundary of your home. Take your time and focus on this one task. Don’t do anything else simultaneously so that your dog can focus on the path you two are walking.
Walk around the boundary of your home a couple of times before ending the exercise. Then repeat at different times of the day and over a few weeks. In time your Golden will understand that this is its territory.
Videos Of ‘Golden Retriever Attack Intruder’
Below I’m listing a few YouTube videos, where you can see how Adult Golden Retrievers and puppy Golden Retriever react to intruders and their reactions when the intruders are near them.
Do Golden Retrievers Attack, Their Owners?
Yes, but only in rare circumstances. It would be improbable for a healthy, well-socialized Golden Retriever to attack its owner. This may happen if it was abused, injured, or ill. Golden Retrievers are very loyal and gentle. Aggression is rare in this breed which makes them such a great family pet.
Do Golden Retrievers Attack Cats?
Yes, it’s possible, but only if it was a poorly socialized animal. Golden Retrievers are very suited to families with cats because they get along with most other animals. Many dogs love to chase cats, but a Golden Retriever would more than likely want to, unless a cat attacked it first; a Golden Retriever would probably leave it alone.
Do Golden Retrievers Attack Humans?
Yes, any dog is capable of attacking a human. It is less like than with other breeds, even Labradors, which are a related breed. A Golden Retriever may attack a human in rare circumstances, like if they feel threatened or someone they love is being attacked, but they will be more likely to be frightened or confused.
Do Golden Retrievers Attack Other Dogs?
Yes, a Golden Retriever may attack another dog if it has had a bad experience in the past. Golden Retrievers are unlikely to attack other dogs if they are well-trained and adequately socialized from a young age. Golden Retrievers are known for being good with other dogs, but if they have experienced trauma in the past, for example, a dog attack, this may be expressed through aggression towards other dogs.
Your Golden Retriever is a lovable, playful, loyal member of your family. Goldens are big hairy dogs, so their size alone might deter an intruder from entering your home. They were bred to be gentle and tolerant, and unlike the guarding breeds, their protective instincts may not be strong enough to trigger aggression when under threat.
If you want a dog that will protect you and your home, a Pitbull, German Shepherd, Doberman, or any other guarding breeds, it would be a good solution because you can train them to be companions and protectors.
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Nonetheless, you cannot assume that a Golden Retriever would not attack an intruder simply because of their natural tendencies. Any unsocialized and poorly trained dog can exhibit aggressive tendencies.
But to keep you and your Golden safe, never expect it to attack an intruder because you can’t rely on your loyal Golden to leap to your defense.