If your Golden Retriever is very needy you might want to know why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you why your Golden Retriever might be doing it and what you can do to get it to be less needy.
So, why is my Golden Retriever so needy? Possible reasons are that it wants attention, it has separation anxiety, it’s bored or that you have inadvertently rewarded the behavior.
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 is so needy
Below, I will show you a number of reasons why your Golden Retriever might be being needy and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It wants attention
The reason why it does it could be that it is looking for extra attention. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you have not been giving it much attention and if you tend to give it extra attention when it does it.
Instead, it would help to give it attention throughout the day by doing things such as exercise it, train it and play with it. But, it would also help to avoid rewarding it when it behaves in a way that you do not want unless necessary.
It was mistreated as a puppy
The reason why your Golden Retriever is clingy could be that it was mistreated when it was a puppy 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 needy 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
It could be the case that it has some separation anxiety which would be more likely if it starts being clingy at around the same time that you would normally leave.
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
The reason why it has been doing it could be that it is bored. Golden Retrievers are a breed that is meant to get exercise on a daily basis and they can behave abnormally when they do not get enough. A lack of exercise would be more likely to be the reason if it does it more when it has not gotten much exercise.
Generally, it is recommended for Golden Retrievers to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.
You have reinforced 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. If you tend to give it things such as toys, treats or extra attention when it does it then it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it is being well behaved and to try to avoid rewarding it when it misbehaves unless necessary.
It could be the case that your Golden Retriever does it naturally. Golden Retrievers were bred to work with their owners for hours on a daily basis so it will naturally look to you for direction. This is why it is important to give it lots of training so that it learns how it is meant to behave.
Things to consider
When it started being needy
If it was not always needy, it would help to consider what else happened when it started being needy since it could be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it.
If it started being needy suddenly it would make it more likely to be due to things such as a change in its schedule, something causing it to be anxious or you might have inadvertently rewarded the behavior. It would help to consider what else changed at around the same time that it started doing it.
When it becomes needy
It would also help to consider the timing of when it becomes needy since the timing could also have something to do with it.
For example, if it does it more when you are about to leave home, it would be more likely to be due to separation anxiety.
How to get your Golden Retriever to stop being needy
Below are some options you have when getting it to be less needy.
Positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you encourage good behaviors by rewarding your Golden Retriever when it shows signs of displaying them and discourage bad ones by not rewarding them.
To use it to get your Golden Retriever to be less needy 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 needy.
Avoid negative reinforcement training
As mentioned above, it could be the case that you have inadvertently trained your Golden Retriever to be that way by giving it things it wants when it does it. Instead of rewarding the neediness, try to reward it when it behaves the way you want and to redirect its focus when it is likely to start being needy.
It is also important to give it exercise daily if it is a healthy adult. It is generally recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day. If it is already getting daily exercise, you could try wearing it out more by getting it to play fetch.
Give it attention throughout the day
It would also help to give your Golden Retriever attention throughout the day by exercising it, training it and by playing with it.
Take it to the vet
If you can’t figure out why it has been doing it or it has been showing signs of illness, the best option would be 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 find out if it is due to medical causes.