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Posted: 6/25/2017 8:11:55 PM EDT
I've had black or yellow labs all of my life. They've always been very smart and obedient dogs. 2 years ago we wanted another dog. However we didn't want to go the puppy route and I wanted to adopt. We wanted a change and looked for a golden retriever.
 A statewide golden rescue found me a 3 year old male that met the match after 6 months. We drove 2 hours and met the elder couple. They were very wealthy and paid a groomer every week to groom him. They loved him dearly but he was never welcomed. Their little shithead yip dogs always cornered him etc. they didn't feel it was a good home after 2 years or so of owning him. The history on his youth wasn't very known. They adopted him from a Golden Rescue near them. The story they got was he was abused as a puppy for killing the 1st owners chickens.

So for the question now that you have some history. He is smart and disciplined. I love the dog dearly and he goes everywhere with me. He is no problem to kids or pets. He sleeps in hit bed next to our bed and is a great dog really. But if you drop your sunglasses, spoon, TV remote... he quickly lowers down and walks away. He doesn't run. But he wants no part of that. We just can't break him if it. If you don't startle him, you'd never know he was skittish. He's very happy and always greets friends and strangers to him ( friends of mine he hasn't met). What the hell can a man do to stop this? Or is it always going to be with him? He's such a wonderful dog that we just live with it. But it is annoying at times. Thanks.
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 8:17:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2017 8:17:48 PM EDT by BuckeyeRifleman]
Unless you are a very skilled dog trainer and want a rewarding "project" I don't recommend the adoption route. I've seen more problems than anything else out of most rescues, whether they are behavioral or health related.

You might be able to turn him into a great confident well adjusted dog.

He may always be that way. Likely he will be somewhere in between.

Not saying what you did isn't commendable, but I often see first time dog owners looking for a family pet adopting and often it isn't a good combo.

ETA only time will tell. Good luck!
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 8:17:23 PM EDT
Don't fret it.

He might improve over time, but besides providing a calm, supportive environment, there's not much you can do.

I wouldn't make an issue out of it,
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 8:19:03 PM EDT
Time is really the only thing that might help him break being skiddish.  I know it may sound odd, but compression vests have helped my dog with loud noises or if she is scared of something and barks at it, I put whatever it is on the floor, lay down by it and let her come and check it out.  Seems to help her out.  

You say he is doing well with the family and guests, which is great.  That is the biggest hurdle with getting a dog that has been abused in the past.  All I could say is socialize him as much as possible with other people and animals, always let him be with you/follow you around when possible, and otherwise treat him like he is part of the family (which I have no doubt that you do).
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 8:21:37 PM EDT
The worst thing you can do is try to comfort a dog with that type of behavior - it only reinforces his reaction. Just act like the noise is no big deal. Praise him when he's being good and confident. He may never grow out of it but that's OK. Treat him well and you have a new friend for life.
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 8:22:18 PM EDT
we are on our 7th Golden retriever and I have always taught them that in my hand (collar in my hand) I am their safe refuge. Goldens have different personalities and some are braver than others. I can't imagine what rehoming him from the last couple has done to such intelligent and loving dogs
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 8:28:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2017 8:39:43 PM EDT by Normal_Guy]
Rots and rots of ruv.

He'll be alright, it just takes time. Usually much more time than people expect, but rescue dags will eventually settle in to hit the jackpot lifestyle and drop guard / relax more. SIL vet swears by Thundershirt for these dags, personally we've never used one so I can't say one way or other.

Edit - also helps to play games / activities geared to instincts. Go do some Golden Retriever stuff, obviously retrievers retrieve and they typically love water too. A lot like labs but not as goofy. More new stuff goes into his brain, the more he'll forget / move on.
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 8:40:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/25/2017 8:41:35 PM EDT by Naamah]
Give him time. It may or may not get better. As another said, do not comfort him with word or touch when he's slinking away. That tells him he is doing the right thing and reinforces the behavior.

You could try giving him an alternate, incompatible command like sit or down when he starts to slink off. Praise and reward for proper performance of that command, and he may start offering that when startled instead of slinking away.
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 10:06:41 PM EDT
Thanks all. He's such a great dog besides that.. and that was fully disclosed. No hidden secrets. When he skits, we do just act normal and when he sees the cat not reacting that seems to help. Strange enough he watches the big Maine Coon. They have actually become pretty good buddies. The previous owner and I are still in regular contact. He came from a home of life long dog owners and was loved no doubt. I've seen brother dogs in the same house and one is skittish. I guess they can be born with it. He doesn't play... he doesn't understand when you throw or underhand a toy. So he's obviously been hit with something at some point. It sounds like after 2 years with us, he's accepted as who he is. He's a very normal Golden in all other aspects. So it's quite strange behavior.
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 10:33:32 PM EDT

Oh never mind.  It's a dog thread
Link Posted: 6/25/2017 10:40:36 PM EDT
One of mine is very skittish and has been forever, he's getting up there in age and still does it. He's gotten better with strangers but he still slinks away with fast movements/dropping stuff/some dogs.

Still love him and he has always been great with my kids.
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