We have an 19 week old golden retriever, that we've had since 8 weeks. The whole time we've had him that we've been taking him out in public (after vaccinations) he is a bit snappy with strangers. With me and my husband and my parents who he sees quite a bit he is fine. But with people he doesn't know, if they go to pat him on his head he goes to snap at them. If people put their hand in front of him to sniff first, he'll sniff and usually lick them and then he's mostly fine with them patting him. He's also worse and kinda freaks a bit if it is a group of people all going in at him, and in that case I walk him away if I can. We asked our trainer about him and she said that we need to educate people about our dog, that he would prefer to sniff people first/doesn't like to be patted on his head. But this is sometimes hard if people go straight in and pat him, so many people want to pat him because he is cute. (I grew up with boxers and most people steered clear of them) But before we asked our trainer a retired vet told us we should 'work on it' and that it was something to worry about. I'd prefer if he didn't snap at everyone, but can understand he probably doesn't want to be patted by every passer by. He seems to like children even less than adults. Last thing I want is for him to nip someone, but often its hard/I feel rude to kinda say 'can you leave my dog alone please'. There are also people that go in and sort of wind him up to play bite, putting their hands in/around his mouth, which I'm sure may encourage him or make him worse, and again I feel awkward telling those people to stop it when they are people I know, like people we are used to seeing in our local pub who aren't really friends but not complete strangers. Is this normal? Is it something he'd grow out of? Is it something we can correct? Or do we need to be careful and not allow people to pat him if we know he isn't keen?