If your Golden Retriever is not affectionate you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of reasons why it might not be being affectionate and how you can get it to be more affectionate.

So, why is my Golden Retriever not affectionate? Possible reasons are that it is ill or injured, previous owners mistreated it, fear, not getting enough exercise or naturally behaving that way.

It is important to consider that it could be the case that your Golden Retriever might be showing affection but you’re not noticing it, more will be discussed on this below.

Why your Golden Retriever is not affectionate

Each of the different reasons why your Golden Retriever doesn’t show affection will likely come with some clues.

Below are a number of possible reasons why it does it and what would make them more likely.

Previous owners

The cause could be that previous owners mistreated it and it now does not like to show affection as much. This would be more likely if it was adopted from a shelter and it has not suddenly stopped being affectionate. If it stopped being affectionate suddenly then it could be the case that someone it lives with currently has been mistreating it. However, there are some other possible causes of a sudden lack of affection that will be mentioned below.

In this case, it would help to give it positive attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it. However, if it does not begin to improve over the course of a few weeks, it would help to seek the advice of a vet or a dog behaviorist in your area.

Illness or injury

The cause could also be that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it has stopped showing affection suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured such as being fatigued. If it does seem like it could be due to illness or injury, the best option would be to take it to a vet.

Fear

The cause could also be that something has been causing it to be fearful.

There are many things that could cause a Golden Retriever to start being fearful but some examples could include:

  • A certain person, that it does not like, being around
  • Another dog, that it does not like, being around
  • Fireworks, sirens or thunderstorms
  • Being in a new location
  • Having been mistreated by someone or something recently

If it has started behaving that way suddenly it would help to consider what else happened at around the same time since it might be the case that something happened that caused it to become fearful.

Nature

It could also be the case that it does not show much affection naturally. This would be more likely if it has always behaved that way. If it has, it could be the case that it has actually been showing affection in ways that you have not been noticing that will be mentioned below.

Age

As dogs get older they will, naturally, become less affectionate since they will have less energy to show affection with.

This would be more likely to be the reason if your Golden Retriever is getting older and it has gradually become less affectionate over time.

Boredom

It could also be the case that it is understimulated and bored. Golden Retrievers are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise daily. When they don’t get enough it can cause them to behave abnormally. Generally, it is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise daily when they are healthy. If yours is not getting that much it would help to make sure that it does start getting more exercise provided it is healthy.

Lack of socialization as a puppy

When Golden Retrievers are puppies they learn many of their characteristics. If a Golden Retriever puppy does not get many opportunities to interact with people it will not have as many chances to learn to be interested in them.

Depression

Dogs can get depression like people can and it could be the reason why yours has been less affectionate. This would be more likely if it started being less affectionate suddenly after an event that might have caused it to become depressed. Such events could include an owner passing away, someone leaving home or another pet dying.

In this case, if it does not begin to improve over the course of a few weeks it would help to take it to a vet for professional assistance.

Things to consider

Below are some things you can consider about why your Golden Retriever has not been showing much affection.

If it has always not been affectionate

It would help to consider whether or not it has always not been affectionate since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to stop being affectionate.

If it started being less affectionate suddenly, it would be more likely to be due to things such as becoming ill or injured, depressed, a sudden change in its environment, getting less attention suddenly or becoming fearful. It would help to consider what else changed when it stopped being affectionate.

If it is more affectionate at certain times

It would also help to consider whether or not there are certain times that it tends to become more affectionate since the timing could also have something to do with it.

For example, if it is less affectionate when there are certain noises outside, it could be the case that it is fearful when the noises are present.

It could be showing affection towards you that you are not realizing

There are many ways that dogs can show affection and it could be the case that your Golden Retriever has actually been being affectionate towards you but you have not been noticing it.

Examples of ways that your Golden Retriever be showing you affection would be if:

  • It keeps the pace with you when out on a walk
  • Comes to you when you call it
  • It follows you around
  • It noses you which is where it sniffs you with its nose a lot
  • It doesn’t like it when you leave
  • It licks you
  • It jumps up at you
  • It leans on you

I have written about more ways it might be showing affection towards you in the post 13 signs a Golden Retriever loves you

How to get it to be more affectionate

Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to be more affectionate.

Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding the behaviors you want to see and avoiding rewarding the behaviors that you do not want to see.

If you want to get it to be more affectionate then you would reward it with a treat when it does things that show signs of being affectionate. For example, you might reward it with a treat for coming and sitting with you.

Avoid positively reinforcing behavior you don’t want

It could be the case that you have encouraged it to be less affectionate by giving it rewards when it is not affectionate. Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of affection and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to come to you so that you can reward it for being affectionate when you want it to be affectionate.

Avoid punishing it

It would also help to avoid punishing it. If you punish it then it might cause it to develop feelings of resentment and it might not know why it is being punished. Instead, it would help to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way you want it to.

Spend more time with it and show it more affection yourself

It would also help to give it lots of positive attention so that it feels more encouraged to show affection towards you. Ways to give it positive attention would be to exercise it, play with it and to train it.

Give it more exercise

As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your Golden Retriever is able to get daily exercise. You could give it exercise yourself or you could get a dog walker to do it for you when you are unable to do it.

Take it to the vet

If it has suddenly become less affectionate and it has been showing signs of illness or injury, it would help to take it to a vet. By doing so you will be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular Golden Retriever and to rule out the possibility of medical issues.

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Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.