Are Golden Retrievers Destructive? How To Train Them Not To Be

Golden Retrievers are nothing if not energetic, and sometimes this energy can be a bit a bit too much handle. Even worse, when your golden is not getting enough exercise on a daily basis and can’t find a way to release this pent up energy, they may turn to your couch, clothes, and shoes to release this energy.

So, Are Golden Retrievers Destructive? Golden Retrievers can be destructive when they are not getting enough exercise as they will have too much energy and no other way of releasing it but through chewing furniture and clothes. Make sure your golden gets enough physical & mental exercise daily to stop them from getting destructive.

Let me tell you that I’ve been there, done that, and I’m here to help you with it. So Carry on reading to know the different reasons your golden retriever might be destroying things and how to deal with each one.

Are Golden Retrievers Destructive?

As stated above, yes, golden retrievers can be quite destructive, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise to you at all. They are big, energetic dogs, so you really can’t expect anything else other than getting a bit destructive when they have too much pent-up energy.

But goldens can also be quite destructive for other reasons, so let’s take a quick look at the other reasons that may make your golden retriever a bit destructive;

Why is my golden retriever destructive?

Various reasons encourage your golden retriever to start destroying things; these include Asserting Dominance, boredom, abuse, teething, separation anxiety, fear, possessiveness, frustration, or even injury.

Asserting Dominance

Although so playful and amusing, Golden Retrievers are still naturally creatures that abide by the idea of dominance, so making a scene through destroying items around the house may be its way of claiming the role of the alpha.

Injury or illness

Golden retrievers may exhibit destructive behavior whenever they feel under the weather or generally not well, so check for any signs of pain or aching.

Experiencing Abuse

Golden retrievers acting destructively is common with owners who often use abusive and physical punishment to train their dogs. Golden retrievers might seek vengeance through acts of destruction.


Is there something that happened in the past that caused them trauma? Or is anything happening right now that your dog fears? Maybe fireworks, loud noises ..etc.?

Feeling scared can make your golden retriever resort to destruction as a defense mechanism.


Your Golden Retriever will become suddenly troublesome and begin gnawing on objects excessively during the six months of teething.

You must be gentle with your puppy at this time since it is simply doing so to ease its discomfort. 

To prevent the destruction of items you don’t want to be destroyed, give it plenty of things to chew on and follow the instructions in the section below.


Not only do Golden retrievers become attached to their owners, but also to their toys, areas, and everything they claim as theirs; feeling a threat onto any of these things may cause them to act aggressively and start going around ruining things.


Just like we, humans, grab our pillows and scream at the top of our lungs to express our frustration, Golden Retrievers use damage and destruction to express theirs.


Instead of boredom, Golden Retrievers may keep themselves occupied destroying. So ask yourself: Is your Golden Retriever left alone for a long time?

If your dog doesn’t receive a lot of practice, he’ll probably become bored and develop his method of enjoying himself, including destruction.

Separation Anxiety

Damage might be triggered by the fear of separation when your Gold Retriever is alone, and this leads to the destruction of objects as a means of coping with being left alone.  

There might be many more problems with such cause; therefore, it is good to consult an animal behavioral expert or a vet.

General Behavior

Since destruction is a naturally adopted behavior, it can happen on so many levels, meaning that your golden retriever may simply be more damaging than others. 

Dogs’ violent behavior is a common problem; certain dogs tend to need training and behavior.

7 Ways to stop your golden retriever from being destructive 

To get your Golden Retrievers to control his hyper behavior, you should always start by knowing the cause as each reason has its solution: to treat the issue from its roots. 

You should always bear in mind that it is important to start young and prevent the problem even before it starts; here are seven things to do to turn your golden retriever’s destructive behavior around by 180 degrees:

Keep them in your presence when you’re around

What better way to stop the damage than actually keeping an eye on the culprit? Always keep your golden retriever close by when you’re at home to monitor its behavior.

Lots and lots of exercise.

Golden retrievers are as energetic as they come. They are full of energy that is just waiting to be let loose; you get to choose whether it gets released during playtime or through chewing on the leg of the couch.


If you cannot keep your golden retriever company for a long time, then find an alternative; Daycare sounds like a great option to keep your dog busy, socializing, and directing its energy towards other activities that are ruining your stuff.

If daycare doesn’t work, you can learn about alternatives on my guide in how to leave your golden retriever alone here.

Reduce access to things

If it’s not right in front of his eyes, what damage can he do? Either by placing your dog in a confined area or simply keeping valuable things away, it is always wise to limit the access to stuff that you fear being ruined.

Consult a professional

If things get out of hand, it is always recommended to let a professional offer a helping hand or even take the reign of things. 

So if you ever feel like your golden retriever has become overly violent, call up your vet or resort to an animal behaviorist.

lots and lots of toys

Since golden retrievers commonly do damage in their teething phase, Keep them distracted all day every day, give them toys and things to chew on to eliminate destruction. You can check my picks for the best golden retriever toys here.

Avoid physical punishments

You might think you’re solving the issue when you’re making it worse; physical punishment will lead your dog to fear you, not obey you out of love. 

Physical punishment may cause dogs to suddenly snap or become even more violent as a reaction to being aggressively treated.

When should you get professional help? 

Is your dog displaying signs of aggression? Does your golden retriever growl if you ever try to take things away from him? 

Does your dog do things that are against its endearing nature? And do these things happen more often than they should? In short; are there signs of aggression that worry you? If you don’t know what exactly you should be looking for, you can learn about the signs of golden retriever aggression here.

If there are indeed signs of aggressive behavior and you are not feeling ready to tackle them yourself or if the issue is too much for you as a nonprofessional to handle, then it’s time to seek professional help – visit your vet or contact an animal behaviorist to get some help in disciplining your four-pawed friend.

Related Questions 

Are all golden retrievers destructive? 

Golden retrievers are destructive. It’s normal for your dog to bite and nibble on things until they are no longer of use, but most golden retrievers lose their dangerous tendency as they age; that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t alter this behavior as early as you can, though.

Are Golden Retrievers bad chewers? 

Like all dog breeds, Golden retrievers like to chew on things, and it’s healthy for the health of their jaw, bones, and teeth – you just need to be smart enough to choose what to let them chew on it toys or your favorite cushion.

Do golden retrievers tear things up? 

Golden Retrievers tend to tear things apart, especially during their teething phase, but with some toys, lots of physical activity, and training techniques, it is nothing too hard to handle; Tearing things up is also another thing dogs grow out of by time.

Retrievers are friendly and compassionate partners who typically express love and affection (as well as a lot of willingness to play). Unusual behavior that may turn aggressive and destructive is not uncommon, but I’ve been there, and I can tell you that once you know the cause, the solution is always simple.

Helpful Resources 

Why Goldens Do That: A Collection of Curious Golden Retriever Behaviors by Tom Davis (An enjoyable and informative book which you can also find on Amazon here).

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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