If your Golden Retriever keeps going between your legs, you might be wondering why and what can be done about it. In this post, I will show you some common causes of Golden Retrievers doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my Golden Retriever go between my legs? Possible reasons are that it is anxious, is being submissive, is looking for attention, has separation anxiety or that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.
There are many possible causes and it might be doing it due to a combination of them. However, there are a number of things you can consider when figuring out the main reason and there are some things you can do about it if you want it to stop.
Why your Golden Retriever goes between your legs
Below are some common causes of Golden Retrievers going between their owner’s legs and what would make them more likely to be the reason why yours has been doing it.
The cause could be that something is causing it to be anxious. This would be more likely if it does it more at times where it is likely to be anxious such as when a person or animal is around that it doesn’t like. In this case, going between your legs would be comforting for it.
It could be the case that it does it because it is being submissive. This would be more likely if it does it in situations such as when there are other dogs around that are bigger than it is. It would also be more likely if it shows other signs of being submissive such as by hiding its tail and if it is still a puppy.
The reason might be that it is seeking extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not given it attention in a while and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
You have been encouraging the behavior
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as extra attention, toys or treats, when it goes between your legs, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead of giving it things such as toys, treats or attention when it goes between your legs, try to redirect its focus when it is about to do it onto sitting somewhere else and to reward it when it is well behaved.
It could be the case that it does it due to having separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone gives it anxiety. This would be more likely if it does it more when you are about to leave and if it shows signs of anxiety when you are leaving.
In this case, it would help to avoid leaving it alone for long periods and to periodically check up on it if you can.
Also, it would help to train it to be less anxious when you are leaving and when you are away.
To do this you could do as follows:
- Make it seem like you are about to leave by doing something such as picking up your keys
- Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat these two steps a few times
- Make more moves towards actually leaving such as by picking up the keys and putting your hand on the door handle
- Reward your Golden Retriever for not being anxious and repeat the process a few times
- Actually open the door and go outside for a few moments then come back and reward your Golden Retriever
- Repeat the above, each time staying outside for slightly longer
Consider when it first started doing it
If your Golden Retriever did not always go between your legs, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since an event might have caused it to start.
Things that might have happened could include:
- You started leaving it for longer periods
- You rewarded it for doing it one time
- You stopped giving it as much attention
- It moved homes
- Something in its daily schedule changed
Consider when and where it does it
It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that it tends to do it since the timing could have something to do with it.
If it does it when there are other dogs around then it would be much more likely that it is being submissive. Whereas, if it does it when you are about to leave then it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
How to stop your Golden Retriever from going between your legs
Below are some things you can do about your Golden Retriever going between your legs.
Train it to stop using positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves getting your Golden Retriever to behave the way you want by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use it to stop it from going between your legs you would do something such as:
- Reward it before it goes between your legs
- Stop rewarding it when it goes between your legs
- Get it out from under your legs and avoid giving it attention until it doesn’t try to get between your legs
- Reward it for behaving the way that you want it to
Avoid encouraging the behavior
As mentioned above, it might be the case that you have been inadvertently encouraging it to do it. Instead of giving it things that it wants when it does it, try to reward it when it behaves the way that you want and to redirect its focus when it is about to go between your legs.
Get help from a dog trainer or behaviorist
If you cannot figure out why it does it then consider getting the help of a dog trainer or behaviorist in your area who will have the experience to know what is likely to be causing it and what to do about it.
When you’re trying to get your Golden Retriever to stop going between your legs it’s important to be patient. Getting your Golden Retriever to stop going between your legs is not something that you will be able to stop overnight so it’s important for you to be consistent and to stick training it.
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