Golden Retriever and Shyness: How can we help our anxious dog?

Dog owner question

"Hi! My Golden Retriever often shows anxiety and fear, even in situations that don't seem scary. How can I help him?"

Answer from a dog psychologist

"Dear Questioner!

Golden Retrievers are known for their calm and friendly nature in general, but as with any other breed of dog, anxiety and shyness can unfortunately occur.

Golden Retrievers, like all dogs, need a safe and stable environment to feel comfortable.

If your dog often shows signs of anxiety and fear, this may indicate that something is bothering or frightening him.

The key is to try to understand what is causing your dog's anxiety!

There may be something in the environment that is causing him stress, or he may have had a negative experience in the past that is affecting his current behaviour.

Dogs can often 'read' anxiety from their owner's behaviour, so if you are anxious or stressed, your dog may be feeling it too and may be anxious because of it!

So it's worth checking how your own emotional state is affecting your dog's behaviour.

Regularity and structure are very important for anxious dogs. Try to introduce a consistent schedule that includes walking, play and rest time. Regularity can help your dog know what to expect in advance, which will reduce his anxiety.

golden retriever

It can also help to slowly and gradually introduce your dog to things he is afraid of…

It's important to do this very carefully and patiently so as not to cause your dog further stress.

If the anxiety is severe and the above methods don't help, seek professional help!

A dog behaviourist or dog psychologist will be able to provide further advice and guidance tailored to your dog's individual needs to alleviate anxiety and fear.

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In particular, if the anxiety is at a level that interferes with your dog's daily life or if they are exhibiting aggressive behaviour, it is definitely worth seeking professional help!"