Are Golden Retrievers Dangerous?

by Matt Bostic

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Are Golden Retrievers dangerous?

I have decided that I would like to get another dog.  I have decided that the Golden Retriever fits my lifestyle, but I need to know more about their personality.

Taking some time out of my busy day, I looked up this topic for more details.

Are Golden Retrievers dangerous?

No, Golden Retrievers are not usually dangerous dogs as this breed is loving, friendly, and gentle to almost everyone they meet.  Golden Retrievers are not dangerous because they love making friends and forming close bonds with those they love most.  For a Golden Retriever to be dangerous, they would need to be put in a specific situation that warrants them defending themselves or those they love and hold dear. 

For any dog to be considered dangerous, one must look at its behavior rather than breeding.  Each dog is unique regardless of breeding and background.  How they were raised, if they were trained and socialized, how healthy they are, and the environment they live in or have lived in will affect how dangerous they are.  A Golden Retriever will only be considered dangerous if they have bitten or aggressively attacked a human.  

When a Golden Retriever does attack or bite, it is usually related to mistreatment, abuse, or neglect, whether past or present.  It can also be related to how they feel health-wise and what their training and social skills are.  To prevent a dog from being dangerous, they should be trained, socialized, and treated respectfully at all times.

Golden Retrievers are a dog breed that was bred for hunting.  Their size, physical abilities, and skill make them excellent in this arena but can give people the wrong impression about who they are as a dog.

Golden Retrievers are gentle and friendly dogs that connect and bond well with others.  This includes bonding with humans as well as other animals.  They bond very closely with their family and feel healthy and happiest when closely connected to their loved ones.

While their nature is sweet and loving, Golden Retrievers are still dogs, and there is always the possibility that they can be dangerous depending on the dog and situation.

When put in a situation where they feel threatened or need protect, they, like any dog, will usually not hesitate to act accordingly.

Being a dangerous dog is not related to breeding as much as it is related to who the dog is in the moment.  Some breeds can have a higher tendency to be dangerous to others due to their background. Every dog needs to be considered individually.

Some dogs that are historically considered dangerous dogs based on breeding may not be so, while other dogs that are not regarded as dangerous based on their breeding can sometimes be dangerous.

Many factors can contribute to who they are as a dog, including their breeding.  How well a Golden Retriever is trained and socialized, how they were raised, what their health situation is at the moment, and the immediate environment they live in will contribute to whether they are dangerous or not.

For a Golden Retriever to be considered dangerous, they would need to bite or attack someone.

Being dangerous for a dog is often related to how they are treated.  Dogs treated with respect and love, that are not exposed to mistreatment, neglect, or abuse are less likely to be aggressive and dangerous to others.

This will include how they were treated in the past, as well as their present home life.

If the Golden Retriever has been thoroughly trained and socialized, they are also less likely to be dangerous.  Respectful treatment of the dog and training to respect others creates a healthy and responsive dog that acts according to the situations they are in.

Should a Golden Retriever owner be worried about their dog attacking them?

This answer depends on their dog.  Golden Retrievers have a reputation for being loving, friendly, and gentle, but each dog is individual.

The owner must know their dog.   They must understand the dog’s health and temperament, personality, and triggers to stressful situations.

It is a good idea for a Golden Retriever owner to know the dog’s past, who their breeder was, and their lifestyle in the past.  They should also understand what their Golden Retriever likes and doesn’t like, including particular people, places, and things.

The owner must also know if the dog has ever behaved aggressively and attacked before and how to calm them down, and how they might respond to aggression with their body language.

Once the owner knows their dog, they can determine if they should be worried about their dog attacking them.  If they find that anything is not as it should be with their dog, meaning they have attacked a human in the past or shown aggression after thunderstorms it can be helpful to make some lifestyle modifications.  In this case, these issues should be addressed with a professional trainer and their veterinarian.

In the meantime, the owner should create a safe home environment until this issue is addressed.  This can include keeping the dog in a comfortable crate at night while they sleep, which can provide safety for the owner and the dog.  If this cannot be done, a separate room can also just work well.

The owner should also attempt to minimize stress and triggers from the dog’s life for the time being.  If they are bothered by children, keep them away from children.  If they become agitated by someone ringing the doorbell, disassembling the doorbell can help.

These are extreme situations where an owner might adopt a Golden Retriever abused in the past, and they believe the dog can be rehabilitated, not to mention they also love the dog.

All dogs have the potential to attack and be dangerous, but most are not.  One of the best ways to prevent issues is to be respectful of the dog.  The relationship between dog and owner goes both ways.  Like children, they also learn behavior from their environment, and that includes their owner too.

If, for some reason, a dog owner feels completely unsafe at any time after adopting or welcoming a dog into their home regardless of breed, it is best to remove them from the house temporarily.

This is not a means of punishment but to protect the owner and find a solution to the underlying problem that has caused aggressive behavior.  This can include behavior modification, medication, and retraining the dog.  Whatever is done must be done with respect for all involved, including the dog and be dealt with through their veterinarian.

What should I do if my Golden Retriever suddenly becomes dangerous and attacks?

The first step in a situation where a Golden Retriever suddenly becomes dangerous, and attacks is to defuse the situation.   Depending on the unique situation, this can include placing your dog in a crate or separate room, so they cannot harm anyone anymore.

After that, of course, one should attend to the well-being of the person or animal who was attacked.   This can include taking the person or other animal to urgent care, the hospital, or the veterinarian.  Depending on the severity of the injury, it may be necessary to call an ambulance.

It is essential to comply with the local authorities regarding the situation if it is severe and have contact information for the person or animal injured.   It can also be helpful to contact your veterinarian to inform them of what has occurred and what is being done.

The most important thing to remember in these situations is to remain calm, which can be very hard to do.  In any emergency, remaining calm helps get things done as smoothly and quickly as possible.

Is there any way to prevent my dog from attacking someone before it happens?

Yes, some things can be done to prevent your dog from attacking someone before it happens.

First, it is best to be proactive and teach all who encounter the dog to be respectful of the dog at all times.  It can help to inform children and those who haven’t been exposed to dogs what is acceptable and not acceptable treatment of your dog.

Beyond that, always keeping a close eye on your dog when they are around others can be helpful, particularly in new situations when new people are around.  If this can’t be done, it is best to keep the dog on a leash around others.

Finally, while keeping a close eye on the dog, you can watch their body language.   Before any attack happens, all dogs will show their intentions through body language, which is their primary form of communication.

Body Language that shows that a dog may be dangerous, become aggressive, or bite include:

  • A Stiff or Frozen Body
  • Wrinkled Nose
  • Showing Teeth
  • Snarling, or Excessive Barking
  • Curled Lips
  • Seeing the Whites of Their Eyes
  • Arched Back
  • Ears Erect
  • Staring with Focus

These are a few of the possible body language signs that a dog is dangerous and could become aggressive or bite.  If your dog shows any of these signs, it is best to remove them from the situation as calmly as possible.

Are Golden Retrievers dangerous?

Final Thoughts

Any dog can be dangerous under the right conditions, although most are not.  When these situations arise, body language can signal that aggression is not far behind.

For perceptive owners, much can be done to reduce the chance that their dog is dangerous.  This begins will solid training and social skills that are reviewed throughout their lives.

While any dog can suddenly become dangerous, most dogs will likely never be an issue if all these areas are covered.

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