Golden Retrievers make amazing pets. However, it’s important to note that these smart, affectionate dogs can bite anytime.
The dog breed is a wonderful companion for the whole family, including children. There are some records of Golden Retriever attacks. A golden retriever dog may bite even the owner due to several factors such as stress or fear.
Golden Retriever Dog Bite Statistics
In 3 decades, there have been 11 recorded Golden Retriever bites. Usually, there are different reasons why such even-tempered dogs turn aggressive. They might be fearful, stressed, suffering from PTSD, or just too playful. However, it’s rare for a golden retriever to bite someone.
While it’s clear that Golden Retrievers can attack, it’s important to understand their bite force. Also, learn the reasons behind the attacks and how you can prevent this from happening. If an attack ever happens, it’s essential to know what to do.
This article has clear information about Golden Retrievers’ dog bite statistics. These dogs rank 30th in terms of attacks, so they are a much better breed to have at home.
Golden Retriever Dog Bite Statistics
It’s not uncommon to hear Golden Retrievers termed affectionate, intelligent, and even-tempered dogs. These are gentle dogs that many people have as pets in their homes. They get along great with kids and other pets in the house.
However, there have been some cases of Golden Retrievers attacking and biting. This is the source of the Golden Retriever bite statistics.
Even gentle breeds like the Golden Retrievers can attack and bite. In the last three decades, there have been 11 documented cases of bites and attacks.
Dogs can get aggressive, so you have to pay attention to their demeanor and behavior.
The reported attacks and bites by Golden Retrievers are between 1984 to 2014. The results rank Golden Retrievers at number 30 for bites and attacks.
This average to about one attack every two years by the dog breed.
How Strong Is a Golden Retriever’s Bite Force?
Golden Retrievers have a bite force of 190 psi. But, it’s worth noting that this is an estimate and not a conclusive result. There have been very few incidences of Golden Retriever attacks to get a definite bite force.
Since Golden Retrievers rarely show aggression, few studies have taken place to measure the bite force. The breed’s bite force is known as a ‘soft bite.’ This is because it’s not too forceful and almost compares to that of a mature human being.
A grown man or woman can have a bite force of 100 psi. If they use their molars, the bite force is 150 psi. The soft bite of 190 psi of Golden Retrievers is in character with the gentle and affectionate breed.
From the beginning, Golden Retrievers were bred to go out hunting with hunters. The dog breed is trained for retrieving, hence the name. The dog would bite at the prey, usually waterfowl, and bring it back to the hunter.
Since the bite isn’t their strongest defense mechanism, Golden Retrievers rarely bite.
Why Do Golden Retrievers Attack and Bite?
While Golden Retrievers are gentle and affectionate, they can bite. So, it’s better not to encourage such behavior lest it causes nasty incidents.
The dog breed can attack and bite for several reasons, such as:
Force of Habit
Golden Retrievers were bred to work with hunters initially. When they went waterfowl hunting, the dogs would dash into the bushes to retrieve the downed birds. That innate desire to bite still lives in Golden Retrievers.
So, things can get a bit rough when playing around or fetching sticks. While they may not bite as hard, it still shows these are dogs. That impulse or instinct to bite is still within them even when they live indoors.
A fearful dog, no matter the breed, is a dangerous dog. Fear is among the top triggers that can cause your Golden Retriever to attack and bite.
They may feel unsafe and backed into a corner, so their best defense at that moment is using their bite force.
That is why it’s important always to ensure your dog feels loved and safe. Check your home for any triggers or keep them away from other animals that cause them to be fearful. Also, if you notice fearful behavior, try and find out the cause.
Imagine how uncertain and out of place you feel when stressed. You’re likely to be anxious, jittery, and frustrated. The same happens when a dog, even a Golden Retriever, feels stressed out.
Stress has many causes, including boredom and isolation. If your dog is cooped up in the house alone all day, they can feel stressed. Walking them is important because they get to release all that pent-up energy and relax.
Sickness and Pain
Is your dog injured or sick? Are they in pain? If by mistake, you touch or your child tries to play with them, the Golden Retriever can bite them. It’s a defense mechanism because they’re in pain and can’t handle any disturbance.
So, be cautious when handling an injured or sick dog—even moving them from their crate to another when cleaning must be done carefully. Also, keep your kids and other pets away until your Golden Retriever is fully recovered.
Suffered Abuse and Trauma
Adopting a dog is a great way of giving them a new home. Most of these dogs, including Golden Retrievers, have been abandoned and suffered abuse and trauma.
As a result, you can notice your dog is always on edge. In such cases, always handle them with care and love. But, also be prepared for an attack or bite since they have many triggers. Abuse and trauma can cause PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in dogs.
Did your Golden Retriever get training as a puppy? Training is important for all dogs, even Golden Retrievers. Yes, the breed is gentle and affectionate, but they still need proper training to learn acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
If your dog gets improper training, it may attack and bite. This can happen to you, those around you, or strangers on the streets. Training helps them learn commands and how to handle different situations without being aggressive.
Defense against an Attacking Dog or Other Animal
Dogs need to defend themselves against attacks. So, if another dog or animal comes after your Golden Retriever, they can exhibit defensive aggression.
This is the best way they know how to stop the onslaught from the other dog or animal.
In addition, your dog can even defend itself against an attack from a child, teen, or adult. This occurs if there’s nowhere to escape.
Socializing your dog is part of proper training. They need to be around other people and dogs. If you bring a poorly socialized dog into unfamiliar territory, it might become aggressive.
On the other hand, if you keep your Golden Retriever outside alone most of the time, they are likely to respond aggressively to new people.
Your dog is fearful and stressed at that time, which are both recipes for disaster.
What Can You Do When a Golden Retriever Attacks and Bites?
What if the worst happens and your Golden Retriever bites? How should you respond to such an incident?
Immediate and fast response is important after a dog attack. Begin by removing your dog from the room. If they bite you, find a safe place to be until you can get some help. If they bite another person, move the dog away from them immediately.
Next, check the skin to see the effect of the bite. Often the dog bite can break the skin or not at all. If the skin is broken, treat it immediately.
For broken skin:
- Head to a tap with running warm water and clean the wound. Use a mild unscented soap.
- Apply pressure to the wound to increase bleeding for a short period. This is important to get rid of as many bacteria as possible.
- Apply an ointment or antibiotic cream on the bite after the bleeding stops.
- Fetch a clean cloth and wrap the wound while getting ready to head to the ER (Emergency Room).
For unbroken skin:
- Use warm water and mild soap to clean and rinse the area.
- Apply an ointment or antibiotic cream
- Observe the area over the next few days. If you notice symptoms like swelling, redness, tenderness, and fever, seek medical attention.
Dog bites are notorious for introducing bacteria into your body. You have to seek immediate medical attention when such incidences happen.
Apart from bacteria, you also risk getting rabies from unvaccinated dogs.
Therefore, always find out information about the dog that attacks you. If another person’s Golden Retriever bites you, demand to know and see evidence of vaccination.
Can You Train a Golden Retriever to Stop Biting?
As a puppy, you can notice biting behavior in your Golden Retrievers. This is common among all puppies, no matter the breed. But, it’s something that you have to regulate from a young age lest it escalates as they grow.
Fortunately, training a young Golden Retriever doesn’t take much effort. Thanks to their even-tempered and affectionate behavior, they take on instructions easily. But, ensure you start training from the beginning and keep it going as they grow.
Check to see which are the most aggressive or gentle of your litter at the start. Those that are too playful and bite a lot need additional attention. But, ensure all your puppies do get to know attacking and biting have limits.
The first rule is never to reward bad behavior. If your Golden Retrievers bite, this is not the right time to give them a treat. Instead, you have to reprimand the behavior and wait to reward them when you see positive results.
Another good tactic during training is giving them a chew toy. This item becomes the focus of their attacks and bites, not you. Also, you can take them for formal training to ensure your Golden Retrievers learn.
What Precautions Can You Take Against Golden Retriever’s Bite?
At home, there are several measures that you can take to prevent Golden Retriever bites, such as:
Proper Care and Treatment
Is your dog sick or injured? It’s better to take them to the vet for proper care and treatment. The minute they get relief from the illness or pain, they can have a better mood.
It’s the same way you feel when you’re ill or are in pain. Seeing the doctor and getting the right medication makes everything better once more.
Creating a Fear and Stress-Free Environment
Always ensure your home is a safe sanctuary for your Golden Retriever. The minute they feel safe and stress-free, they won’t feel the urge to exhibit any aggressive behavior.
In addition, take your dog outside for a walk and spend time in a park. Running free and mingling with other dogs helps ease anxiety.
Getting Help for a Dog with PTSD
PTSD brought on by past trauma can cause your Golden Retriever to act aggressively. If your dog gets this diagnosis, proper care and treatment are important. Speak with your vet about the best way to handle such a dog and any medication that can help.
In addition, create a relaxing routine for them that includes daily walks, play sessions, and positive reinforcement.
Better Care for Senior Dogs and Puppies
Senior dogs and puppies are more likely to bite. Therefore, you have to be alert when handling them. Ensure your senior dogs are comfortable and not in any pain.
Also, you can create a safe space for them away from energetic kids and other animals in the house.
As for puppies, training is key. Start training them as early as possible. This is the best way to ensure they learn proper behavior early.
Are Golden Retrievers Good Family Dogs?
Golden Retrievers are even-tempered and affectionate dogs. Their mild behavior and friendliness make them the perfect dogs for a family home. They even have good behavior around young children.
As puppies, your dogs can be bundles of joy for everyone. They have lots of energy and love being up and about playing with kids. Plus another positive is Golden Retrievers are among the easiest breed of dogs to train.
If you have it in you to take good care of a large breed, a Golden Retriever makes the best pet. Training and socializing will create a long-time companion for you and your family.