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7 Sure-Fire Ways to Calm Your Golden Retriever’s Anxiety

Written by: Tarit
I have a pretty, loving, adorable cat named Pilu, always trying to play with me. He makes me laugh with his funny activities. I enjoyed with him a lot of his affection jumping around and licking their loved ones.Read more
| Published on July 17, 2023

How To Conquer Your Golden Retriever’s Separation Anxiety, Sound Anxiety or Travel Anxiety

If your golden retriever is experiencing anxiety, life can be miserable both for you and your pup. I myself spent 2 years battling extreme separation anxiety with my dog, and we successfully came out on the other side. In this article I’ll share some of the resources and strategies that worked for us.

There are many forms of anxiety that your golden retriever may be suffering from. Typical causes of anxiety in golden retriever’s might be:

  • Separation anxiety – Fear of being separated from their owner. This often manifests itself by your golden retriever pacing, drooling, biting, or being destructive while you’re away.
  • Sound anxiety – Fear of loud noises like thunder, fireworks, or a vacuum cleaner
  • Travel anxiety – Fear of traveling in a moving vehicle, or fear of intimidating places like your vet’s office or a boarding kennel


1. Experiment with Hemp Oil for Your Golden Retriever’s Anxiety

One of the tools I successfully used in treating my dog’s anxiety was Hemp. While your results may vary, approximately 67% of the dog owners polled here claimed that Hemp was ‘extremely effective’ or ‘somewhat effective’ in helping their dog’s anxiety.

In my experience, Hemp helped my dog calm down enough to respond positively to the other training methods I was using to treat her anxiety. When choosing a Hemp oil, always look for a certificate of analysis showing a pure and safe product. I’d also recommend a product with 0% THC.

If you’d rather not give an hemp oil tincture to your dog, there are also great full spectrum hemp treat options available for dogs on Amazon. 


2. Desensitize Your Golden Retriever to The Cause of Their Anxiety

A key strategy for treating your golden retriever’s anxiety is desensitizing them to the trigger of their fear. For example, my dog’s anxiety was triggered anytime I walked out the door to leave the house. For other dogs, the trigger might be you grabbing your keys or putting on your coat.

Begin by doing the trigger activity, but then immediately reversing it. For example, I would grab my keys and walk out the door. Then I’d come back 5 seconds later. I did this literally hundreds of times over a period of a week. Eventually, my dog was desensitized and bored by the behavior.

Related: Best Calming Treat for Dogs

3. For Sound Anxiety, Trying Isolating Your Golden Retriever and Playing Loud Music

Many golden retriever’s that suffer from thunderstorm or fireworks anxiety experience relief in a smaller, more isolated room of the house where music can be played at a loud volume.

A word of caution though, if your dog is also experiences separation anxiety leaving them alone in a room during may be counterproductive.


4. Try Using a Compression Wrap (Available in Many Sizes and Will Fit Your Golden Retriever)

Many dogs are comforted by the feeling of compression across their body. One popular product many have found success with is the Thundershirt (available on Amazon). The product applies gentle, calming pressure that is very reassuring to many pups. The company claims the product to be helpful for about 80% of the dogs who tried it. It can be used to help calm your australian shepherd during fireworks, thunder, separation, travel, or vet visits, with no training and no medication required.


4. Try an Herbal Supplement for Your Golden Retriever with Calming Herbs Like Chamomile, Passion Flower, Ginger Root or Valerian Root

Many calming supplements exist for dogs that are palatable for dogs, easy-to-feed, and can help quickly relieve your australian shepherd’s stress and give a sense of safety and calm. Some supplements contain calming herbs like chamomile, passion flower, ginger root, and valerian root are a great option. Some products, such as this bacon flavored soft chew for dogs, contain all of the calming herbs in one. This calming chew is also available on Amazon.  


5. Experiment with a Pheromone Diffuser for Your Golden Retriever

Canine pheromone diffusers mimic the calming pheromone that a mother dog emits while nursing her puppies. The diffuser can help many dogs feel calmer and more comfortable in stressful situations.

The same company that makes the Thundershirt above also makes a product called ThunderEase diffuser, which is also available on Amazon.


6. Try an Anti-Anxiety Supplement Containing L-Tryptophan, L-Theanine or Melatonin

Other popular ingredients in anti-anxiety supplements include the amino acids L-Tryptophan and L-Theanine, both of which offer calming properties and increase the release of “feel good” serotonin in your dog’s body. In addition, some calming products for dogs contain a small amount of melatonin, which can help regulate and improve their sleep. All these of these ingredients are available in some chews such as this. This calming chew is also available on Amazon.  



7. Experiment with Using Your Own Scent & Sound to Calm Your Golden Retriever

In my experience, using your own scent and sound to help calm your dog is a powerful strategy in beating anxiety. I stumbled upon this one day with my own dog by accident.

Typically, if I left the home my dog would instantly enter a panic. But one day I needed to take a long phone call, and left my dog outside my bedroom door where I took the call. During the call, she calmly lied next to the door, where she could obviously smell and hear me. It occurred to me that I could possibly mimic this tactic while I wasn’t at home.

I recorded my voice on a CD player and then put it on loop. Then I placed a used t-shirt on the inside of the door where she could easily smell it underneath. To my surprise, I was able to leave the house for a short time. (I monitored her on a video camera). I slowly increased the length of time I left, and always found her calm and sincerely believing that I was just behind the door!

If you’d like to read the full story of how I cured my dog’s extreme separation anxiety, go here.

Another great product to help calm your dog is the Comfort Cuddler Buddy. You can stuff the cozy fleece man with your clothing or pillow case with your scent, and leave with your dog.

Lastly, another popular calming product is the heartbeat puppy toy. Traditionally, these have been used to help calm puppies who recently left their litter. The plush toys come with a warming features as well as a simulated heartbeat. While originally intended for puppies, many dog owners have found they can effectively calm dogs of all ages. This popular model is available on Amazon. 



Defeating your golden retriever’s anxiety is possible, but every dog’s journey will look different. I hope the tools and strategies above will be helpful to your journey.

If you’d like to learn more about the hemp oil and calming chews we use here at iHeartDogs, learn more below.

For best results, you can pair the above hemp oil with the calming chews below. Between the 2 supplements, they offer 10 active and natural ingredients to help calm your dog without the use of medication.


Frequently Asked Questions:

People love Golden Retrievers as they are known for their friendly, loyal, and playful nature. However, like all dogs, Golden Retrievers can experience anxiety, which can manifest in various ways, including destructive behavior, excessive barking, pacing, panting, and hiding. Determine if your dog has anxiety and what you can do to help to have a better life for you and your furry best friend. 

How Do I Stop My Golden Retriever From Having Separation Anxiety?

Gold Retrievers are not fans of spending their days without their people. As part of their pack, they worry about you and want you nearby so they can protect and guard you from harm. Here are the common steps necessary to help teach your dog to spend time away from you without as much drama:

Gradual desensitization

Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation:

Use positive reinforcement training

Create a safe and comfortable environment

Consider medication or supplements

Seek professional help

Are Golden Retrievers Prone To Separation Anxiety?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are prone to separation anxiety. As affectionate and loyal, they form strong bonds with their owners. This close attachment makes them more susceptible to separation anxiety when left alone or separated from their owners for an extended period of time. Not every dog of this breed will react this way, though, but it’s good to know the signs. 

Can Golden Retriever Be Left Alone?

Absolutely! Golden Retrievers are generally fine alone for short periods, but they can become anxious or destructive if left alone for extended periods of time. If you need to leave them for longer than a workday, consider getting them a dog walker, sitter, or putting them in a doggy daycare. Overall, it’s important to ensure that your Golden Retriever gets plenty of social interaction and attention to keep them happy and healthy.

Are Golden Retrievers Anxious Dogs?

Golden Retrievers are not usually anxious dogs. However, like any breed, individual dogs can have different temperaments and personalities, and some Golden Retrievers may be more prone to anxiety than others. Most people choose this breed because they are friendly, outgoing, and affectionate by nature. Also, they are good with kids and other pets. If your dog has other animals at home during the day, they will usually not become anxious. 

Do Golden Retrievers Eventually Get Over Separation Anxiety?

Golden Retrievers with enough company in their life will usually overcome their separation anxiety. If you are the only company your dog gets, then they will spend all day waiting for you. However, if you can provide someone else to keep them company, they will usually get over separation anxiety. 

For example, you could get a kitten or a puppy, and your dog will be quite happy to nurture the little fuzzball. Another option is if you have a neighbor whose home in the day, see if they can walk your dog or keep your dog at their house for company. Golden Retrievers just need to be able to love or watch over someone to overcome their anxiety. 

What Triggers Separation Anxiety In Golden Retrievers?

While this breed does not usually experience separation anxiety, some events can trigger the problem, including: 

Early-life trauma experiences

Lack of socialization

Changes in routine or environment

Genetic predisposition

Lack of exercise or mental stimulation

Should I Crate My Golden Retrievers When I Leave The House?

Only you can decide if you should crate your Golden Retriever when you leave the house based on your needs and lifestyle and their temperament. If you do, make sure the crate is secure, comfortable, and they have access to food and water. Crating can also help prevent destructive behavior and keep your dog safe from hazards in the home while you are away.

However, other Golden Retrievers may not do well in a crate and may experience anxiety or distress when confined. For these dogs, other options, such as a playpen or a dog-proofed room, maybe a better choice. Also, others do better outside, especially if they need to go to the bathroom often. 

How Do I Get My Golden Retriever To Relax?

Often if your Golden Retriever needs to relax, they are simply bored or stressed. Just like humans, animals feel tension and need ways to calm down to relax. Remember, dogs’ emotions breed off their human’s emotions, so keep yourself relaxed, and they will be relaxed too. Here are some other options: 


Mental stimulation


Calming music

Comfort items

Are Golden Retrievers Very Clingy?

As Golden Retrievers are known to be affectionate and social dogs, they do sometimes become clingy. Not all retrievers are clingy, but the less amount of socialization they have with humans or other animals, the more time they may want to spend with the person in their life. 

Also, make sure you are not inadvertently reinforcing clingy behavior by giving your dog attention or treats on demand. Instead, reward your Golden Retriever for calm and independent behavior, and gradually increase the amount of time they spend alone to help them become more comfortable with being on their own.

Is It Okay If I Leave My Golden Retriever Home Alone For 8 Hours, 5 Days A Week?

Many dog owners have no other option but to leave their dogs alone for their entire workday every week. Dogs were on their own for hours and hours before humans, but they do need a few things to keep them comfortable and safe. First, your dog needs to be able to go to the bathroom, so make sure they have the option. 

Second, they need to exercise and play. Golden Retrievers are an active breed that requires regular exercise and playtime. If you are leaving your dog alone for 8 hours a day, remember to play with them when you get home or hire someone who can. Also, they are a smart breed who love to work out puzzles, or they will get bored. 

Ultimately, whether or not it is okay to leave your Golden Retriever home alone for 8 hours, 5 days a week, depends on your individual dog’s needs and personality. If you are concerned about your dog’s well-being while you are at work, consider finding a care option that allows them to be around other people or dogs while you are gone.

Why Does My Golden Retriever Never Leave My Side?

Your Golden Retriever wants to spend time with you and live life with you. That’s their job as your companion, and they take it seriously! What’s more, they become attached and fall in love with the attention. Originally, they were hunting dogs and trained to work closely with their owners, and their internal nature does not break easily. 

Are Golden Retrievers Emotionally Sensitive?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are emotionally sensitive dogs. They are highly social animals that form strong bonds with their owners and are very in tune with their owners’ emotions. They are often described as empathetic dogs that can sense when their owners are upset or stressed. They can even pick up on subtle changes in their environment or routine.

What Are The Fear Stages In Golden Retrievers?

Like all puppies, Golden Retrievers go through a series of developmental stages as they grow and mature. During these stages, puppies may be more susceptible to certain types of fears or phobias. However, the most important stages are before you get your puppy and then again between the ages of eight to ten weeks. By 18 months, they should be completely past puppy fear, or it may be part of their personality. 

How Emotional Are Golden Retrievers?

Golden Retrievers are known to be very emotional and sensitive dogs. They are highly social animals who form strong bonds with their owners and are very in tune with their owner’s emotions. Also, they have a strong desire to please their people, too, and will go to great lengths to make you happy. However, their emotional sensitivity can also make them more susceptible to stress and anxiety if their environment or routine is disrupted.

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