Four Common Bad Habits of Golden Retrievers


Golden Retrievers are widely recognized as one of the most affectionate and loyal dog breeds, known for their friendly nature and playful demeanor. These intelligent and beautiful dogs have captured the hearts of millions of pet owners around the world. However, like any other breed, Golden Retrievers can develop certain bad habits that can be challenging for both the dog and its owner.

In this article, I list four common bad habits in Golden Retrievers and provide insights and strategies to address and correct these behaviors. By understanding the underlying causes and implementing appropriate training techniques, you can help your beloved Golden Retriever break these habits and become a well-behaved and happy companion.

A Golden retriever puppy

Bad Habit #1: Chewing and Destructive Behavior

Golden Retrievers, with their adorable floppy ears and playful nature, have an innate desire to explore the world with their mouths. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to unwanted chewing and destructive behavior, leaving your favorite shoes or furniture in shambles.

Identifying the reasons behind destructive chewing

Before addressing the destructive chewing habit, it's important to determine why your Golden Retriever is indulging in this behavior. Chewing can be a result of teething, boredom, separation anxiety, or simply a lack of appropriate outlets for their chewing instincts.

Strategies to prevent and redirect chewing behavior

To protect your belongings from the jaws of destruction, provide your Golden Retriever with plenty of chew toys and puzzle treats that can keep them occupied and satisfied. Ensure that their toys are safe and durable, allowing them to fulfill their chewing needs without causing harm. If they display interest in something they shouldn't chew, redirect their attention towards an appropriate alternative. Remember, patience and consistency are key when breaking a bad chewing habit.

Bad Habit #2: Jumping Up on People and Furniture

Ah, the infamous jumping habit of Golden Retrievers! Their boundless energy and excitement often lead them to jump up on people and furniture, leaving muddy paw prints and potentially causing accidental harm.

Understanding why Golden Retrievers tend to jump up

Golden Retrievers, being highly social and friendly, often jump up as a way to greet people or show their excitement. Their exuberance can sometimes get the best of them, resulting in their paws reaching for the sky.

Training exercises to discourage jumping behavior

To discourage jumping, it's crucial to establish consistent boundaries and train your Golden Retriever to greet people with all four paws on the ground. Teach them the "sit" command and reward them for calm behavior when greeting guests. Consistency is key, so ensure that everyone in your household is on board with the training process. Remember, a polite paw shake is way more impressive than a mid-air collision with a wagging tail!

Bad Habit #3: Pulling on Leash and Poor Walking Etiquette

Walking your Golden Retriever should be a pleasant experience for both of you, but if your furry friend has a habit of pulling on the leash and showing poor walking etiquette, it can quickly turn into a frustrating ordeal. The good news is that understanding the underlying causes of leash pulling and teaching your Golden Retriever proper leash etiquette can make walks enjoyable again.

Understanding the underlying causes of leash pulling

Leash pulling can stem from various reasons, such as excitement, curiosity, or a desire to explore. Some dogs may pull because they haven't been properly leash trained or because they have a high energy level and need an outlet for their enthusiasm. It's essential to identify the root cause of your Golden Retriever's pulling behavior to address it effectively.

Techniques to teach your Golden Retriever proper leash etiquette

Teaching your Golden Retriever proper leash etiquette requires consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. Start by reinforcing loose leash walking, rewarding your dog for walking calmly beside you without pulling. Use treats, praise, and a confident and relaxed demeanor to encourage your furry friend to stay by your side. Additionally, consider using a front-clip harness or a head halter to provide more control during walks. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don't give up if progress is slow initially.

Bad Habit #4: Counter Surfing and Food Theft

Ah, counter surfing – a notorious behavior among Golden Retrievers (and many other breeds). Are you tired of finding your beloved pup sneaking snacks off the kitchen counter or even raiding the dinner table? Don't worry; you're not alone. Let's delve into the reasons behind counter surfing behavior and explore some strategies to prevent and discourage this not-so-polite habit.

Exploring the reasons behind counter surfing behavior

Counter surfing is often driven by a dog's natural instinct to scavenge for food. It can also be a result of boredom or simply a learned behavior if previous food theft went unnoticed or even rewarded. Golden Retrievers, known for their food-loving nature, can be quite crafty when it comes to locating delicious treats within their reach.

Strategies to prevent and discourage counter surfing

Preventing counter surfing requires a combination of management and training. Start by ensuring that counters and tables are clear of tempting food items when your Golden Retriever is unsupervised. Consider using baby gates or closing doors to restrict access to the kitchen or dining area. Provide your pup with plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom-induced mischief. Additionally, teach your dog the "leave it" command and reward them for ignoring food on the counter. Consistency is key, so be prepared for some trial and error.


While Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly and affectionate nature, they can develop a few bad habits along the way. Pulling on the leash and counter surfing are common issues that can be addressed with patience, training, and a dollop of humor. Remember, dogs are not perfect, and neither are we. By understanding the underlying causes of these behaviors and implementing consistent training techniques, you can help your furry friend become the well-mannered companion you know they can be. Enjoy the journey, embrace the quirks, and never forget to laugh along the way!


Can all bad habits in Golden Retrievers be permanently corrected?

While it is possible to address and correct most bad habits in Golden Retrievers, it is important to understand that each dog is unique and may respond differently to training methods. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are crucial in modifying behavior. However, some habits may require ongoing management rather than complete elimination.

How long does it take to correct these bad habits in Golden Retrievers?

The time required to correct bad habits in Golden Retrievers can vary depending on several factors, including the dog's age, temperament, and the consistency of training efforts. Some habits may require only a few weeks of focused training, while others may take several months to overcome. It's important to remember that training is an ongoing process and requires dedication and consistency.

Should I seek professional help to address these bad habits?

If you find that your efforts to address and correct the bad habits in your Golden Retriever are not yielding the desired results, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. A professional dog trainer or behaviorist can assess the specific issues and provide tailored guidance and techniques to address them effectively. They can also provide valuable insights and support throughout the training process.

Are bad habits in Golden Retrievers a sign of a poorly trained or disobedient dog?

No, bad habits in Golden Retrievers are not necessarily indicative of a poorly trained or disobedient dog. Dogs, including Golden Retrievers, can develop bad habits due to various reasons such as boredom, anxiety, or lack of proper training. It is important to approach the situation with patience and understanding, focusing on positive reinforcement and consistent training to modify these behaviors.


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