If your Golden Retriever has been whining a lot when you leave the house you might be wanting to know why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might whine when you leave and what you can do about it.
So, why does my Golden Retriever whine when I leave? Possible reasons are that is has separation anxiety, you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior or it might be hungry or thirsty.
Your Golden Retriever might be doing it for a number of reasons and it could be due to a combination of them. However, there are also a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Golden Retriever whines when you leave
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why it might be doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
The cause could be that it has separation anxiety. This is where it does not like being left alone and the prospect of being left alone causes it to become anxious. This would be more likely if it starts to become anxious when you are leaving by doing things such as pace or cry.
If it does seem to have separation anxiety it would help to train it to be less anxious without you.
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
It could be the case that it does it because it is hungry and it does not want to have to wait a long time before it is fed. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does not whine as much when you leave on days where you have already fed it.
You have been reinforcing it
It could be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it does it. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it whines then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to give it rewards when it is being well behaved and to avoid rewarding it when it is not unless it is necessary.
A lack of exercise
Golden Retrievers are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise on a daily basis. When they do not get enough exercise it can cause them to behave abnormally. A lack of exercise could be why your Golden Retriever whines when you leave especially if it does it more on days where it has not gotten exercise already.
Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults. If your Golden Retriever is not getting that much exercise it would help to make sure that it does.
Things to consider
When it first cried when you left
If it did not always whine when you leave, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
It might be that it whined one time and you gave it something that it wanted so it continued to do it whenever you leave. Alternatively, it might be that you stopped giving it as much attention when it started doing it.
What is different when it does not whine when you leave
It would also help to consider if there are times when it does not whine and what is different when it does not do it.
For example, if it does not whine when it has already been able to eat and pee it would be more likely that it whines when it has not been fed or been able to pee.
How to get your Golden Retriever to stop whining when you leave
Below are some options you have when getting it to stop whining.
Train it not to using positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves encouraging behaviors that you want to see by rewarding them and avoiding rewarding behaviors that you do not want to see.
To use positive reinforcement training to get your Golden Retriever to whine less when you leave you could do as follows:
- Get some treats that it likes
- Reward your Golden Retriever with a treat then make a small movement towards the door. If it does not whine reward it with a treat. If it does whine then wait for it to stop then make a much smaller movement towards the door and reward it for not whining.
- Carry on making small movements towards the door and rewarding it until you are able to open the door without it whining.
- Start to actually walk out the door and then come back in and reward it for not whining. Each time you do it stay outside for slightly longer.
You can watch the video below to see how it is done as well as a number of other very helpful tips on what you can do:
Give it exercise
If it is healthy, it would also help to make sure that it is able to get daily exercise. It is generally recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.
Avoid negative reinforcement
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have trained your Golden Retriever to whine when you leave by giving it rewards when it does it.
Instead, try to use positive reinforcement training to get it to stop as shown above and to avoid rewarding it when it does whine.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you can’t get it to stop doing it, consider getting help from a dog behaviorist. By doing so, you should be able to see why it has been doing it and how to get it to stop.