If your Golden Retriever is clingy you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
In this post, I will show you a number of reasons why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and what can be done about it.
So, why is my Golden Retriever so clingy? Possible reasons are that it has separation anxiety, it wants attention, it was mistreated when it was younger, you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior or that it does it naturally.
There are a number of possible causes of your Golden Retriever being clingy and there are a number of things that you can consider to help figure out why it does it. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become a lot easier to get it to stop.
Why your Golden Retriever is so clingy
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Golden Retriever might be being clingy and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It was mistreated when it was younger
The reason why your Golden Retriever is clingy could be that it was mistreated when it was younger and it does not like being left alone now. This would be more likely if you adopted it from a shelter.
In this case, it might start to become less clingy as it gets older and you can still do the training tips below. If it is bothering you then you could also consider getting help from a dog behaviorist.
It has separation anxiety
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 to be the reason if your Golden Retriever becomes clingy near the time that you normally leave home and if it starts being anxious when you are leaving.
If it does seem to have separation anxiety, it would help to avoid leaving it for extended periods and to periodically check up on it if possible.
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
Golden Retrievers are a breed that was bred to work alongside their owners for hours on a daily basis. With that being the case, it is to be expected that it will look to you a lot for direction. This is why it is important to give Golden Retrievers training so that they know what is expected of them.
The cause could be that it is looking for extra attention from you. This would be more likely if it does it more when you have not been giving it a lot of 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 by training it, playing with it and exercising it. But, it would help to avoid giving it extra attention when it is clingy.
You have been reinforcing the behavior
It could also be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving it things that it wants when it does it.
Instead of giving it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it is clingy, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved.
Things to consider
When your Golden Retriever started being clingy
If your Golden Retriever did not always act clingy, it would help to consider what else happened when it started being clingy since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
Things that may have happened could include:
- You moved home
- Someone left home
- Another pet died
- Someone was aggressive towards it
- Your schedule changed
If it has always been very clingy then it would be more likely to be due to its nature or wanting attention.
When it becomes clingy
It would also help to consider the timing of when it becomes clingy since it could be the case that the timing also has something to do with it.
For example, if it tends to become clingy when you would normally leave for work, it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
What to do about your Golden Retriever being clingy
Below are some options you have when getting your Golden Retriever to be less clingy.
Positive reinforcement training
One option would be to make use of positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage behaviors that you want to see by rewarding them and avoid encouraging bad behaviors by not rewarding them.
To use it to get your Golden Retriever to be less clingy you would stop giving it attention when it is too clingy and then reward it when it shows signs of being less clingy.
You could also train it to sit or stay and then tell it to sit somewhere else when it starts being clingy.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have inadvertently trained your Golden Retriever to be clingy. Instead of giving it things it wants when it is clingy, try to use positive reinforcement training and to redirect its focus when it starts being clingy.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give your Golden Retriever attention throughout the day so that it does not feel the need to get it from you itself. You can give it attention by training it, exercising it and by playing with it.
Give it lots of exercise
It is also important to make sure that it is able to get daily exercise. Generally, it is recommended for Golden Retrievers to get at least an hour of exercise per day when they are healthy adults.