Golden Retrievers are very social dogs.
It is a characteristic that has made them a popular choice of breed for families in the last few decades.
They are amiable, loyal, and energetic which makes them excellent companions.
But how do they act when they are alone? As humans who need to socialize outside the house and work (that high-quality dog food does not pay for itself), we can’t be at home 24/7.
I wondered how Golden Retrievers deal with being alone and if they can suffer from separation anxiety.
The article below consists of the information I learned about the subject.
Do Golden Retrievers Have Separation Anxiety?
Golden Retrievers are more susceptible to separation anxiety than other breeds because they are such a social breed. Some common symptoms are barking or crying for hours, destroying household items, and potty accidents while alone.
This is a psychological disorder in which a being has an extreme fear of being separated from a person or a place they consider home.
For humans, the issue is common in toddlers around two years of age but is grown out by the time they are three.
Adult separation anxiety usually occurs after a stressful life experience.
Similarly, in dogs, separation anxiety can develop in puppies but can not be outgrown.
The problem will escalate if it is left unattended.
Golden Retrievers will grow into medium-sized dogs, so their separation anxiety can progress from annoying to dangerous very quickly.
It is of the utmost importance to recognize the symptoms of the disorder and deal with it early on.
Symptoms of Separation Anxiety In Golden Retrievers
Here is a list of common and not-so-common indications that your Goldie might suffer from being alone:
- Over-vocalization. If your neighbors complain about your dog barking or crying incessantly for hours while you are at work, this is a sign that it is anxious about being without you. All dogs will bark from time to time. It is a normal reaction if they hear someone near the door or noise outside, but constant over-vocalization is not healthy. This means your Golden Retriever is distressed about being left alone.
- Excessive drooling and licking. If your Golden Retriever is covered in drool when you come home from being away for a few hours, this is another clue that it has separation anxiety. This breed is not prone to drooling (except when patiently waiting for their meals, of course), so it could mean that your pup has been licking itself excessively. Overly licking you when you return home may be another indication.
- Hyper-attachment. Now, this is a tricky one. It may be hard to discern what is a normal attachment for your Golden Retriever because they are such social dogs and what is not. Dogs will be at your side most of the time if you are home. However, if your pup suffers from separation anxiety, it may become distressed that you are not in the same space when it knows you are home.
- Potty accidents. Patches of urine or defecation around the house are another tell-tale indication that your pup is anxious when you are not home, especially if you know it is pee-pad and or potty trained.
- Redecorating. Sometimes, in the midst of your Golden Retriever’s panic, it will move furniture, tip over objects, and throw pillows on the floor. This is similar to what some humans do to quell their anxieties. It helps the dog to feel in control of its surroundings.
- Destruction. Ripping and chewing household items is another common sign of a dog’s separation anxiety. This is dangerous because your Goldie can ingest something it should not, or hurt itself in another way, which can result in an expensive trip to the emergency vet.
- Escaping. If anxious enough, your Golden Retriever might try to escape your house or apartment. Tracking is in its nature, so it will try to find you!
Some of these examples might resemble aggression, so make sure you are paying close attention to what your Golden Retriever is doing and when.
Remember that dogs have limited ways to communicate their frustrations and fears.
It is our responsibility as their owners to be aware and observant of what might be causing their distress.
What causes a Golden Retriever to suffer from separation anxiety?
There are several reasons why your Golden Retriever might develop this disorder.
Early-life stressors include being separated from its mother before the age of eight weeks or breeders/ past owners who were negligent or abusive.
Additionally, having spent time in a shelter or rescue center and improper socialization can cause or worsen the likelihood of your dog developing anxiety.
Dogs can develop separation anxiety later in life as well.
Cognitive dysfunction syndrome, also known as doggy Alzheimer’s, can mimic or lead to this affliction.
The loss or impairment of an older dog’s senses can cause it, too.
Curing Separation Anxiety In Golden Retrievers
Your Golden Retriever is smart.
So, it will notice certain noises and actions, such as jingling house keys and putting on shoes or coats, that lead to your departure. These can activate its anxiety.
Luckily, there are treatments for a dog’s separation anxiety at all ages.
If you get your Golden Retriever from a breeder, make sure they have weaned it from its mother at least eight weeks and have socialized it well.
Golden Retrievers are high-energy dogs, and they need lots of exercise.
Try to tire them out with a long walk before you leave for an extended period of time.
A walk after you come back is also good because they’ve been building up all that energy while you were gone.
While you’re getting ready to leave, distract your Goldie with a puzzle so they won’t see you.
Pack the night before and try not to draw its attention to you with jingling keys or other noises.
And don’t make your exit a spectacle, either.
Set up your dog to be safe and entertained with a toy or two, give it a treat (this promotes positive associations with your departures) then leave.
Keep your goodbye short and sweet.
Don’t give your Golden Retriever an extravagant hello when you return, as difficult as it may be.
Crate training your pet is an excellent thing to do, especially if its symptoms are destruction and escape.
It will ease its anxiety to know it has a place of its own and ease yours knowing that it is in an enclosed place, safe from anything that can harm it.
Ease your dog into longer time spans without you.
Do the suggestions above and leave for twenty minutes one day, and the next for forty.
An abrupt and unexpected departure is a useful thing to do too.
The variety gets your Golden Retriever used to spending time alone.
Now, sometimes these suggestions don’t relieve your dog’s separation anxiety.
Getting another pet might help.
Your Golden Retriever will not be alone, and you get more love from another fur baby.
Doing this might be good for dogs with a disability like the ones mentioned above.
Having another pet can help your dog understand what is happening in its surroundings and thus feel less anxious.
CBD oils and products have been a trending option for dogs. These are advertised as being able to help calm your dog in addition to the other health benefits of CBD. However, when all else doesn’t work, consult your vet.
There are medicinal options for dogs with severe anxiety.
What are the best toys to soothe a Golden Retriever’s separation anxiety?
Strong chew toys that don’t break easily are great for your Goldie to gnaw on while you are away.
It will keep them entertained and you won’t have to worry about your dog swallowing broken pieces.
Interactive treat toys are excellent to keep your pup occupied for a long time and will help it burn some energy in case you come home tired from work.
Having a Golden Retriever with any sort of ailment can be frustrating.
Dogs with separation anxiety will need a lot of patience (more than that is needed for potty training even) and positive encouragement.
As with all training, keep your cool. Seeing you flustered will only heighten your pup’s anxiety because it thinks it has done something bad.
But the disorder can be alleviated or maintained.
Try these methods and as always, consult and trust your vet.