If your Golden Retriever has been acting aloof or distant you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you some possible causes and what you can do to get it to be more interested in you.
So, why is my Golden Retriever so aloof? Possible reasons are that it is bored, was mistreated by previous owners, you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior, an issue with its diet, a medical condition or it could be due to a lack of training.
There are actually multiple reasons why it might be acting aloof and it could be the result of the combination of a number of different causes. However, there are some things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason. There are also a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Golden Retriever is aloof and distant
Each of the different reasons why it does it will likely come with some clues. Below are a number of possible causes and what would make them more likely.
You have inadvertently trained it to be that way
It could be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to be aloof by giving it things it wants when it does it. If you tend to give your Golden Retriever things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it is aloof then it might be doing it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it whenever it shows signs of being interested in you and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to listen to you more.
A lack of training
If you have not given your Golden Retriever much training it will not know how it is meant to behave and it will likely behave the way that it feels like behaving. This is unlikely to be the way you want it to. This is why it is important to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that it learns how to behave. It would help to start training it the basics such as to sit or stay and then to build up from there.
Golden Retrievers are meant to get a lot of exercise on daily basis. When they don’t get enough exercise it can cause them to start behaving abnormally and it could be why yours has bee acting aloof.
Generally, it is recommended for Golden Retrievers to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your Golden Retriever is not getting that much and it is healthy it would help to make sure that it does.
Mistreatment by previous owners
The reason why it is aloof could be that previous owners mistreated it so it does not show its interest as much now. This would be more likely if you recently adopted it from a shelter.
In this case, it would be likely that it will improve over the course of weeks and months. However, you could help by giving it lots of exercise, training and by playing with it. If it doesn’t improve, it would help to talk to your vet about it and to consider getting the help of a dog behaviorist in your area.
The weather is too hot
If it has started being lazy or fatigued since the weather has become hotter it could be the case that the hot weather has been causing it to not want to be as active. In this case, it would help to give it lots of access to water, shade and a cool room. It would also help to exercise it in the mornings or afternoons so that it can avoid being out in direct sunlight for too long and to reduce the chance of heatstroke.
Illness or injury
The cause could also be that it has gotten an illness or injury. This would be more likely if it has started being aloof suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill or injured. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Not getting the right diet
The cause could be an issue with its diet. This would be more likely if it has started being distant since a sudden change in its diet. The issue could be that it is getting fed too much, too little or that it is eating things it shouldn’t be. It would help to consult with your local vet on its diet when you see them next. You can also look here for some advice on what to feed it and what not to.
It might be the case that your Golden Retriever is naturally calm. This would be more likely if it has always acted that way and it has not suddenly started doing it.
If your Golden Retriever has become more distant as it has become older it could be because it takes up more of its energy when it is moving about. If your Golden Retriever has gradually become calmer as it has gotten older it would be more likely to be due to age.
Dogs can become depressed like humans can and it could be why yours has been being aloof. This would be more likely if it started doing it when an event occurred that might have caused it to start being depressed such as someone moving away or another pet dying.
In this case, it might begin to improve over the course of weeks but if it does not it would help to consult with a vet or dog behaviorist.
Things to consider
When it first started acting that way
It would help to consider when it first started being distant since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it did start doing it suddenly it would be more likely to be due to things such as becoming ill, the weather suddenly becoming hotter, a change in its diet or something causing it to become depressed. It would help to consider what else changed when it first started doing it.
When it becomes more aloof
It would also help to consider the timing of when it seems to do it more since the timing could also have something to do with it.
If it becomes more aloof after being fed then it could be that the food has something to do with it. Whereas, if it does it more when it has not gotten much exercise it could be the case that it needs more.
What to do about your Golden Retriever being aloof and distant
Below are some things you can do to get it to be less aloof.
Give it more exercise
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that it is able to get exercise on a daily basis. If it has not been getting much exercise and it is healthy, it would help to make sure that it is able to start getting more.
Avoid negative reinforcement
It would also help to avoid rewarding it when it ignores you. Instead, it would help to reward it when it shows signs of listening to you and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to be more responsive.
Use positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding your Golden Retriever for showing signs of doing what you want it to do and avoiding rewarding it when it does not.
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.
I have written more about how you can use positive reinforcement training to get it to do things such as to come to you on command in this post.
Give it positive attention
It would also help to give it positive attention throughout the day in the form of training, exercise and by playing with it.
Ensure that its diet is right
It could be the case that there is an issue with its diet. It would help to talk to your local vet about its diet when you see them next. You can also look here to see what you should and shouldn’t feed it.
Take it to a vet
If your Golden Retriever has started doing it suddenly and you’re unsure of why or it has been showing signs of illness or injury then it would help to get help from 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 it being due to illness or injury.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
Another option would be to get help from a dog behaviorist who should be able to identify the issue more accurately and to show you what you should do about it.
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