I need some advice about my Hyper 7-8 month old golden retriever

My 7 month old golden is growing and is getting hard to control at times. She doesn’t bite as much anymore but when she really wants your attention she jumps and begins to bite as to get attention not really to chew. Sometimes when were in the living room she begins to misbehave and go crazy and when we try to calm her down she either runs away then come back, bark, or simply not listen whatsoever. I know that this is one if the hardest times with puppies especially at this adolescent age but does anyone have any good advice for dealing with it or beginning to calm her down?

My response

I have a very active dog too, so I can certainly understand being up to something … always!

What is she motivated by, more than being an active dog? Does she want food, a toy, or both? A few things I would suggest to get started with –

  1. Make sure that what you don’t want her to do is never rewarded within a couple minutes of her doing it. Sometimes you’ll need to sort out what “being rewarded” actually is – perhaps just dashing into the room and having excitement ensue could be rewarding. This is often true for an active dog. Figure that out, and really carefully watch what you and the other humans in the household do. Make sure she doesn’t get rewarded for the behaviors you’re trying to avoid. Wait a couple minutes before doing something rewarding – I call this the “reset” period, so she doesn’t associate the reward with the unwanted behavior.
  2. Sort out what she really wants – food, toys, play, etc. Try to funnel this activity into those things, so she has a chance to do something that you can reward. Try to move her from jumping up on you, for example, to running after a toy and returning it to you (keeping all four paws on the ground of course). Or, as I did with my dog, I focused his natural “standing” movement to walking, hopping, and moving in a circle so I could control his jumping up behavior with other words.
  3. Wear her out – *really* wear her out – in the morning. This may take a combined effort, but try to extend the morning activity with longer walks, or even runs/bikes/training exercises to really wear her out. Then expect calm time during the day – don’t encourage activity, put this calm time into the routine. It will be much more natural after a very busy morning routine with the walk/run (I know this is more difficult with puppies/adolescents, but it’s a good routine to develop and is natural for dogs to migrate/activity in early morning and evening).

Related question

How can I constructively occupy my 8 mo old large Airedale when I must go out for several hours? He gets bored and becomes innocently destructive. I do not want to leave him in a crate after having been there all night. We have a second older dog that he loves, but she gets tired of his efforts to lure her into puppy play. Otherwise, he is a great and obedient boy.

I would start out with my #3 above. Then when you leave, you don’t need to use a crate. You can puppy proof a room, or use an ex-pen (exercise pen) to keep your dog in a puppy-proofed section of a larger room. In that area, have some toys and food puzzles or whatnot. But if you really figure out how much exercise (which can be both physical and mental) will cause your dog to rest while you are away, this should come naturally.

And do remember that puppies will naturally chew things. When they get older this should happen less (although doesn’t necessarily go away completely depending on the dog!)

Good luck!

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About Author

Jen deHaan is graphic designer, small business owner, and dog person living in Bay Area, California. Jen enjoys learning about dog training and behavior, and has taken several courses and seminars since 2010. She also contributes articles to leading websites, such as Victoria Stilwell's Positively . It all started with a great dog called Mikey (aka "dude"), loved and lost but remembered forever. Jen also runs a freelance business focusing on graphic, web, and UI design at FoundPixel, and a small business creating hand crafted dog products at Stylish Canine.

  • Great tips!! #3 is what has saved my house from destructive chewing with Dante, it also helped with his anxiety behaviors, crate training, then no longer needing to crate because he was calm and happy to sleep when we left. Exercise is the key at our house!

  • #3 can eliminate quite a few problem behaviors (which are natural behaviors to the dogs)-after all, tired dog can’t get into too much trouble! lol

  • My boyfriend is guilty of #1, thought I think we’re finally starting to make some progress on that count. He’s such a sucker for Laika but I’m trying to teach HIM that he’s making her behave poorly by giving in to her. #3 is the big one; we have to plan out each day and how we’ll get in enough mental & physical exercise. She’s so well behaved after she’s engaged in meaningful play and activities. Great advice.

  • Mark S

    Great tips. Our foster dog Steeler is one of those high energy puppies. We use strategy #3 a lot.

  • Lindsay Stordahl

    I just met a 15-week old Lab puppy that bites and nips like crazy for attention! It’s so hard to ignore the unwanted behavior sometimes (because they are so darn cute), but it’s sooo important. Scolding her would do absolutely nothing, because she is so clueless she thinks any attention is great. But completely ignoring her, which sometimes means leaving the room, works well.

    And I can’t stress the exercise point enough! So many dogs would be so much better behaved if they just got out for more exercise. If the dog is already getting long walks, I would suggest a backpack or adding just 10 minutes of running.