Monday, November 23, 2009

Cesar Millan... HELP!

Dear Dog Whisperer,

Do you make visits to homes in England by chance? We could use your help and would be more than happy to fly you over here.

Carol and Shawn B.

In all seriousness, we're having some issues with our pooch and can use some help. Dog training is not one of our specialties, and I think we will definitely be seeking help/advice either here in the U.K. or when we move back to Michigan.

Fletch is 2 and 1/2, is a wonderful, loving dog, and we all love him tons. The problem is that if he is off of his leash/lead, running around and getting exercise, he will not come when called. He pretty much comes when he's good and ready and usually comes back half gray, half golden. We do realize that he's a hunting dog, loves squirrels and other small creatures, and is just behaving as any red-blooded retriever would. We just want him to be obedient.

Ever since he re-joined us in October, 2008 after having been apart from us for 5 months, he came back not so tolerant of children. He was staying with friends of ours that have no children, but have a Golden Retriever of their own, and Fletcher was extremely happy there. They loved him very much and basically spoiled him. That didn't bother us a bit, we truly appreciated how they cared for him.

As he acclimated to his new environment here with 5 children that he knew for over a year before we parted from him, he displayed low tolerance for our younger 3 children. He was trying to put them lower than him in the hierarchy of our family. He would give them a low growl, and also show his teeth at times. We have taught the twins how to show dominance and it has been fairly successful, however he still will growl at them at times.

This has been going on for about a year now. Just yesterday we had friends over with their two children, ages 10 and 7. We are cautiously aware of Fletch's tendency to try and dominate children, and so try to make everyone aware, all the while leaving him out so that we can try and get through this. Sure enough the 7 year old goes to pet him and he snaps at her, leaving a little mark on her hand. She becomes terribly frightened, cries, and gets lovingly consoled by her mom. We, of course, are embarrassed, frustrated, and upset at Fletch. We put him up in our bedroom for several hours as we visited.

Outside of this bad behavior, he is THE most loving dog. I honestly don't know what to do. After our friends left, I said to Shawn that we need to get a muzzle for Fletch so that he can be around children. His thought was that we just put him in another room to protect the children. I think that's good as well, but it doesn't solve the problem.

Help! If you have any suggestions or recommendations, please comment or e-mail me.

Here he is all gray and golden and ready for a bath.

Look at that poor face. He so doesn't like his bath.

We're committed to getting to the bottom of this. Thanks for listening. It feels good to get it off my chest.

(P.S.) S & L, we are so sorry for what happened yesterday.


He & Me + 3 said...

I am no help...sorry. We just got our little doggie and if she can get out and leave the yard...she will do it. I am afraid she will get hit by a car, we keep her fenced all the time. I have no help. She is 3 or so, so we are wondering if obedience school would do her good. Good luck.

Darcie said...

That is so unusual for a Golden. Maybe like you said she got so comfortable with the no kid factor. We have a golden and I am surprised at how protective she is of our property. I think she would protect it if it came down to it, but she is very gentle when it comes to kids. I am positive Cesar could help. You will have to keep us updated.

Joyce said...

It is unusual for a Golden...I think dominance is the key but with guests that's hard. Plus you want to be able to trust the dog out of your sight with kids in the house. We had a shepherd who was 'testy' around kids (not ours but guests)...I never left her out when people were in the house because I just couldn't relax. That said though, I don't think that helped make her less grouchy. If I were doing it over I"d probably get a trainer to come to the house.

You can submit a question on Cesar's's the link:

You've expressed it well...maybe he'll answer.

Rachel said...

I feel for you. Pets are trying, to say the least. But I have no advice for you - no dogs here!

Best of luck!

E @ Scottsville said...

Ahhh, I love Golden Retrievers... all that we've had have been calm and obedient though. It's unusual for them to be like yours. But he is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Hope you guys have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving tomorrow!!!


chili pepper said...

Well, I have caught up a bit. Thanks for the visit.