Golden Retrievers are wonderful, amazing dogs. They are loyal, smart, and very friendly to us. There is no surprise that they are incredibly popular all over the world.
However, they are not the best guard dogs, mostly due to their friendliness.
But, will a Golden Retriever attack an intruder? A Golden Retriever is unlikely to attack an intruder unless the intruder is physically threatening you or a family member. Goldens have strong protective instincts that will push them to protect their owners in dangerous situations.
It’s important to understand the difference between a Golden Retriever attacking an intruder that’s attacking the family or one that is attacking the family.
Being a watchdog and being protective of their owners are two completely different things, and Goldens are actually quite unique in certain aspects from other dogs.
To understand more about how your Golden Retriever will behave in different situations, we need to discuss this a bit more.
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Golden Retrievers VS Intruders
There is something really important to understand; dogs have lots of instincts, and some dogs’ instincts are different than others.
For example, a Golden Retriever is incredibly friendly because they do not have particularly strong territorial or aggressive instincts. They are just chill, so they always welcome strangers.
However, their weak territorial instincts mean that as long as the Intruder is friendly, your Golden is more likely to let the intruder in than to become aggressive with them.
The protective instincts, on the other hand, are strong. This is why your Golden Retriever is likely to stand up and become aggressive if you’re attacked by someone.
Actually, many dogs become confused when faced when an Intruder situation because they really don’t understand what’s happening. They’re like “who is this stranger, and what should I do”.
If this happens and a more protective dog, say a Pitbull, was the dog in the house, the dog will be like “stranger, you’ve chosen poorly” and the Intruder is very likely to leave with serious injuries. Despite their fluffy appearance, golden retrievers can actually be trained to be good guard dogs as explained here.
Will a Golden Retriever Protect Their Owner?
Everything changes if the intruder becomes aggressive towards you. A Golden Retriever will become aggressive and attack if an intruder becomes physically aggressive with the dog’s owner. Even the friendliest, most docile Goldens are known to turn aggressive at signs of danger on their owner.
I know people whom Goldens whelp and whine when they are threatened by other dogs but have shown that they can turn into monsters if their owners are threatened.
Are Goldens Protective?
Golden Retrievers are very protective of their owners, and will always try to protect them from dangers. Their strong protective instincts, smarts, and ability to read body language enables them to read dangerous situations and react quickly to protect their owners.
Even the friendliest, most docile, most obedient Golden Retrievers you have ever met can turn into a monster to protect their owners in case of a serious threat.
This isn’t only limited to humans, too. Golden Retrievers will fight Coyotes and lions to protect their owners, and that’s literally. In 2010, Austin Forman was in their backyard in Boston Bar, British Columbia, 130 miles north of Vancouver when his mother noticed that the dog was keeping an unusually close eye at him.
The boy even told his mom that the dog was staying unusually close to him, and he liked it as it was a first.
The 18-month old Golden retriever’s sixth sense was fired up, and Angel, the dog, refused to leave the boy out of his sight for a second. At 5:30 p.m on the same day, they figured out why.
Out of no where, a cougar charged at the 10-year-old, and before the wild beast reached the boy, Angle was charging at her to intercept. The dog successfully stopped the animal from reaching the boy, and a fight broke out between the docile, friendly (and still young) Golden Retriever and the Cougar.
The mom, of course, rushed to call the police, and thankfully, a constable was right around the corner and rushed to the deck where the fight between the cougar and the dog was still going on and shot the cougar dead.
The cougar never reached the boy thanks to Angel, who truly lived up to his name. Thankfully, the dog lived, but suffered serious injuries.
This story, and countless others like it, show that Golden Retrievers can fight stronger, larger, and much more dangerous enemies to protect their owners.
However, don’t count on it.
Golden Retrievers are not bred for protection
Golden Retrievers were bred to be the perfect family dog, and I would argue that they are indeed.They are too good-natured to be counted on for protections.
Protection dogs need to be a bit more cautious and wary of strangers. They need to be less-friendly and more territorial. I love Goldens to death, but I never recommend them for anyone who is looking for a protection dog.
Do you want a dog for protection? Get a Pitbull, a Bulldog, a German Shepherd, but don’t get a Golden Retriever for protection, this is not what they are for.
Can your golden retriever protect you in dangerous situations? Absolutely.
Should you count on it? No.
If you still want a good family dog who is also a great guard dog, get a German Shepherd, they are truly awesome. German Shepherds are less friendly than Golden Retrievers, but this makes them better guard dogs than Goldens.
Three Methods to Train Your Golden To Be a Better Guard Dog
You can make your Golden Retriever a better guard dog if you invest a little time in training them. We’re going to go over three training methods pretty quickly and we’ll probably have a complete post with much more details later.
Method 1 – Teach Them to Pay Attention to Visitors
Objective: To train the dog to pay attention when someone comes to the door.
In this method, you should start training your dog when they are very young to pay closer attention to strangers. I have not used this method before, but it gets recommended a lot, and here how it goes;
- Ask someone to come at the door
- Whisper at your dog and point to the door
- If the dog pays attention to the door, reward them.
- If the dog ignores, repeat until they pay attention to the door.
- Repeat a number of times over a period of two or three weeks, and reward the dog every time they pay attention.
This should teach they should pay attention to visitors and keep an eye on the door. This will make them more attentive of their surrounding.
Method 2 – The ‘Bark’ Verbal Cue
Objective: The goal of this method is to teach your dog to bark on command. Here is how it should go:
- Create a situation in which you know your dog will likely bark
- Command the dog to bark
- If they bark and continue to do so after the command, reward them.
- If they don’t bark, don’t reward them and try again another time
- Try again with a place or an object you want the dog to guard, and try with people the dog haven’t met before
- Point the dog to bark at the new people, and ask the people to move away when the dog does
- If the dog continues to bark while the strangers move away
- Only reward the dog if he keeps barking until the humans are out of sight
- Repeat this practice a few times each week and for a few weeks until your dog develops a habit of barking at strangers if they get too close
Method 3 – Defined Boundaries
Objective: To make the dog understand his territory and be more protective of it.
Here how it should go:
- Fasten the dog to long leash and take him on a walk around your house.
- Go around the boundaries of your house a couple of times
- Repeat this at different times of the day so the dog understands that it’s about the place, not the time.
- Don’t distract the dog with anything else. You want them to completely focus on the path you’re walking (the boundaries) and nothing else. Don’t even talk on the phone while doing it and stay completely silent.
- After some time, the dog will understand this is his boundaries, and you should then train him to socialize with family members and friends while in these boundaries so he is only aggressive with strangers who cross these boundaries but is still friendly with people you welcome in your house. This includes people and their pets, by the way.
Is a Golden retriever a good watchdog?
A Golden Retriever will not make for a good watchdog. They can be protective of their owners only in cases of a serious physical threat to their humans, but other than that, they are unlikely to take actions against intruders.
The golden retriever’s good nature means they are more likely to be friendly to strangers than they are to be protective of the property.
Do Golden Retrievers bite their owners?
Yes, golden retrievers can bite their owners, much like any dog else. This can happen when the dog has not been well-trained or well-socialized. They may also bite when they are in pain or to defend themselves if they believe they are being threatened.
Golden Retrievers, like all other dog breeds, start to nimble on everything when they are very young. It’s critical at this point in their growth to teach them that their bites can hurt.
Mama dogs do that really well by acting hurt when the puppies bite her, and with time, she teaches them how to control the strength of their bites.
Golden Retrievers are often trained by hunters to “soft-mouth”, meaning to hold things in their mouths without biting too hard into it to leave a mark.
Can Golden Retrievers be Stubborn?
Yes, Golden Retrievers can be very stubborn indeed. Goldens are one of the smartest dog breeds, and this can make them stubborn at times. If your dog doesn’t want to do something, you can expect them to resist your orders.
Early training and socialization can help a great deal with this as it can help your pup be more tuned-in with you, but you can still expect some stubbornness even if they’re very well-trained.
Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources
- Want the best diet for your dog? Check out the best and healthiest foods for golden retrievers at every age here – Dry, Wet, Homemade Recipes, and Treats!
- Looking for new toys? These toys will prove to be fun, engaging, and will stand their heavy chewing.
- Make them look GLAMOROUS with the best shampoos and conditioners and the best brushes here.
- Taking a walk? These are the best leashes, collars, and harnesses for the buck that you can find.
- Find my list of recommendations here.
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