If your Golden Retriever is very attached to you, this post will show you a number of possible reasons why and what can be done about it.
So, why is my Golden Retriever so attached to me? Common reasons are that it wants attention, it has separation anxiety or that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior.
There are a number of reasons why your Golden Retriever might be highly attached to you and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are also a number of things you can consider when trying to figure out the exact reason and there are a number of things you can do about it.
Why your Golden Retriever is so attached to you
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 cause.
It wants attention
The reason why it does it might be that it is looking for extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it becomes more attached when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it more attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day in the form of exercise, training and by playing with it but to try and avoid rewarding it with attention when it becomes obsessive.
Golden Retrievers are a breed that is known for being very affectionate and it could be the case that it does it naturally. This would be more likely if it has always done it. In this case, you could try using positive reinforcement training to get it to learn to behave in a way that you want it to.
The cause could be that it has some separation anxiety. This would be more likely if it starts being anxious when you are about to leave home.
In this case, it would help to train your dog to be less anxious when you are leaving home 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
Reinforcing the behavior
It might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged it to behave that way by giving it things that it wants when it does it.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to use positive reinforcement training to get it to behave the way you want as mentioned below.
Mistreatment when it was younger
The cause could be that someone mistreated it when it was younger and it now doesn’t like being left alone. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter.
In this case, it might start being less attached as it gets older and you can still do the training tips below. If the over-attachment is bothering you then you could also consider getting help from a dog behaviorist.
Things to consider
When it started to do it
If your Golden Retriever has not always behaved that way, it would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it started doing it since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
Things that may have happened could include:
- Moving home
- Someone left home
- Another pet died
- Someone was aggressive towards it
When and where it does it
It would also help to consider the timing of when it starts being overly attached since it could be the case that the timing has something to do with it.
For example, if it does it more when you are about to leave home it might be because it has separation anxiety.
How to stop your Golden Retriever from being so attached to you
Below are some things you can do about your Golden Retriever being overly attached to you.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training involves training your Golden Retriever to behave in a certain way by rewarding it when it shows signs of behaving that way.
To use it to get your Golden Retriever to be less attached you would stop giving it attention when it is too attached and then reward it when it shows signs of being less attached.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
It would also help to avoid encouraging the behavior by making sure not to reward it when it does it. Instead, it would help to redirect its focus when it is about to start doing it and to make use of positive reinforcement training.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give it attention throughout the day so that it does not feel the need to get it from you as much. Ways to give it attention would be to walk it, play with it and to train it.
Avoid leaving it for extended periods
In order to limit its separation anxiety, it would help to avoid leaving it alone for a long time. This means that it would help to come back and see it quickly on your lunch break if possible.
Give it lots of exercise
If it is a healthy adult, it would also help to make sure that it is able to get daily exercise. Generally, it is recommended for Golden Retrievers to get an hour of exercise per day.