Goldendoodles are still considered a new breed of dog despite being around for a few decades. These adorable “designer dogs” or “hybrids” first came to be in 1969 via a breeder named Monica Dickens. Goldendoodles are a cross between the Golden Retriever and the Poodle. Breeders in North America and Australia began crossing these two breeds intentionally in the 1990s, and Goldendoodles instantly became very popular.
Goldendoodles continue to be a popular combination even though there is no registry or breed club in existence. It’s no surprise that this breed was such a welcome addition to the dog world since both the Poodle and the Golden Retriever have so many positive qualities. Mixing them together only seemed to enhance the good qualities. Poodles are known as one of the most intelligent breeds while Golden Retrievers are friendly, affectionate and loving dogs.
Are Goldendoodles aggressive? No. They are generally not known for their aggression but for their loving nature. In some rare cases, a Goldendoodle may show signs of aggression, but these cases are usually the result of specific circumstances and/or lack of training and socialization. Aggression, particularly in a gentle-natured dog like the Goldendoodle, can be dealt with through patience, socialization, and consistent training.
While the chances of you getting a Goldendoodle that’s downright aggressive is probably pretty low, canine aggression comes in different forms and is triggered by different situations.
The focus of this article is to make you aware of the types of aggression and teach you how to identify the signals and behaviors before things turn ugly.
Common Types of Dog Aggression
When we hear the words “dog aggression”, we automatically think of a dog growling or trying to bite someone or something. We seldom take the time to determine what type of aggression it is or what’s causing the aggression. However, it’s important to understand the type of aggression the dog is exhibiting. Is it normal? Is it misdirected? Knowing the type of dog aggression a dog is having can make it easier to deal with the problem. Here are some common types of dog aggression and what might cause them.
This is when a dog shows aggression around his food and may growl or even bite another dog or person that gets near his food. This type of aggression often does not limit itself to the dog’s meal but may include doggie treats and even toys. Food aggression is a very common type of dog aggression and can be very dangerous if not corrected.
While it’s normal for a dog to bark at a stranger, there’s a difference between normal barking and being aggressive. Aggression towards people can be more than just barking. It may include snapping, lip lifting, growling, lunging and actually biting. It’s very difficult to completely cure a dog of this type of aggression. It’s more a matter of controlling the situation.
Towards Other Dogs
Some dogs are aggressive only towards strange dogs while others are even aggressive towards dogs they know or even live in the same household with. Aggression towards another dog is probably the most common type of dog aggression, but it can be aggravating and dangerous in a two-dog family. However, it’s also quite normal among dogs.
Towards Family Members
A dog showing aggression towards family members may be set off by any number of things, including fear, anger, dominance or territorial dominance. This type of aggression can be caused by many things and can also be frustrating and even dangerous if the situation is not kept under control and dealt with.
What Typically Causes These Aggressions?
Aggression may come for many different reasons. Some of it may be breed-related while other times it may come from some other situation or occurrence. In the case of the Goldendoodle, which is typically a calm and good-natured dog, aggression usually has a specific cause or reason. The most common causes of dog aggression are:
- Fear –This is the most common cause of aggression. If a dog is afraid, aggression is his way to express himself.
- Illness or pain – A dog in pain may exhibit aggression to protect himself from other dogs or people.
- Frustration – Although it’s redirected, this type of aggression stems from the dog being frustrated over something he can’t get, have or do.
- Protective – This is not a dog being a good watchdog but one that’s overprotective towards his family, home or possessions.
- Leash aggression – A dog that is not properly leash trained will show aggression when walking on a leash.
- Social aggression – This aggression occurs when the dog is in a social situation where there are other dogs and people.
- Anxiety – This type of aggression may occur any time the dog is anxious about a person or situation.
- Resource or possession guarding – This type of aggression is when a dog is guarding what he perceives as “his property”. It may be a human, a dog treat or even a toy.
Reducing the Likelihood of Aggressive Behaviors
Dogs may exhibit their aggression in different ways and for different reasons. Often, knowing the signs that a dog is being aggressive or about to become aggressive can make it easier to nip it in the bud. Signs a dog may be aggressive or headed towards aggression include:
- Ears tucked back
- Eye aversion
Training and socialization can play an important part in reducing the likelihood of dog aggression occurring regardless of the reason for the aggression. Eliminating the types of situations that may increase the likelihood of aggression can be a good first step towards training the dog to eliminate aggression.
If the dog shows aggression while entering the dog park, turn around, take the dog back to the car and wait until he calms down. If he doesn’t calm down, take him home. If he does calm down, praise him and try it again. Dogs are smart creatures and often quickly realize what behavior gets them treats or praise and what behavior doesn’t.
The earlier in their life the dog gets training and socialization, the more effective it will be. There is a lot to be said for nipping it in the bud and providing positive reinforcement. Few things make a dog happier than knowing their owner is happy with them. The dog should never be rewarded for inappropriate behavior. For instance, a dog that is growling may be distracted from his growling by getting a treat. However, giving him the treat is like rewarding him for bad behavior.
Dealing With An Aggressive Goldendoodle
Dealing with an aggressive Goldendoodle may seem like an impossible task because Goldendoodles are normally so well-mannered and loving, but it’s their personality that may make it easier. Training and socialization at an early age can make a big difference. That cannot be overemphasized. Puppies that are around well-behaved dogs will pick up on that behavior. A dog will seldom be aggressive with a well-mannered dog that’s minding his own business.
Keep in mind that Goldendoodles are very sensitive dogs. Yelling at them and punishing them will not make the dog behave better but may increase the likelihood of the aggression happening again. They respond much better with positive reinforcement training and praise. If the dog hasn’t had the proper socialization as a puppy, it’s still not too late.
It may take longer, but the dog will eventually understand what appropriate and inappropriate behavior is. They love praise and will respond accordingly. It may take a little longer to properly socialize an older Goldendoodle so he’s not aggressive, but it is possible, and the rewards will make it more than worth the work and effort.
If you want to learn more about proper socialization, be sure to check out our complete guide, here.
Do Goldendoodles bark a lot?
No, Goldendoodles do not bark a lot. They’re a relatively quiet dog by nature. In fact, they are not considered a good watchdog because of how infrequent they bark. It has to be something pretty special or surprising to make a Goldendoodle bark.
What causes dogs to growl and what does it mean?
Dogs will growl for a number of reasons. It’s their way of communicating their feelings. Although fear is the most common reason for growling, they may also growl to express pain or exhibit territorial aggression. Some dogs even growl when they’re playing. Knowing why the dog is growling is important and the first step towards correcting and eliminating the problem.
That’s A Wrap!
Goldendoodles are loving and wonderful dogs that make fantastic companions and family pets. Proper socialization and consistent training can ensure this dog does not exhibit inappropriate aggression and grows up to be the kind of dog that has made this hybrid dog so popular worldwide.