dominance or behavior of the breed type?

Posted by zipoutasite
Jul 19, 2009
Hi there. I have a 7 month old male golden retriever who is doing well with basic commands and after some work is doing much better accepting us as the alpha instead of him thinking he is the one in charge, but since day one he continually follows me and my husband from room to room in the house. Everywhere we go he is right behind us and if he is napping he will wake just to check that we are still there with him and if not he will look from room to room for us. If we are in 2 different rooms he will choose a place in the center of the 2 areas so he can see both of us. I know this breed loves to be with people, but it seems excessive. Is it really normal for the breed or is this a form of dominance behavior(like he is keeping a protective eye on his pack) that needs to be addressed?

Thanks for any info anyone might have on this. I just don't want to ignore it and have it be a bigger problem later.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jul 20, 2009
Hi Linda,

You GR loves to be with people (You and your husband) more than anything else. It doesn't sound like he is dominent at all. Some dogs, regardless of breeds, are so affectionate and love to be with his/her people. Dogs are alert even when they seem to be sound asleep. All my dogs would get up as soon as I move to another room, just to be sure they don't want to miss anything fun happening

I would rather think that he might have a separation anxiety. How does he react when you go into a room and close the door behind you? Does he wait nicely outside of the door, or does he whine?

If you haven't done this training yet, you might want to start doing the above whenever you have a chance. Another thing you can do is to have him "Wait" (more ideally "On your bed") in a room while you go to another room and come back to him after a few minutes. What you want to see is a obedient and confident dog. As long as he can wait for you outside the room, I don't see any problems.
Posted by kjd
Jul 21, 2009
Hey, Linda!

Have you heard the phrase "dogging your footsteps"? Now you know how it came to be!

I had a GSD puppy who did that. In fact, she tried to walk with my left foot -- made it rather difficult to walk. Then, one day, I felt a sharp pain in my shoe; when I took it off, I found a canine baby tooth!

As long as he doesn't have separation anxiety, enjoy it while it lasts. This might be a good time to practice "come," as he wants to be with you. You might also teach him to "heel" on your left side. It is so much easier to learn these commands when they are allowing the dog actually to do what he wants to do.

Good luck with your Golden; they are lovely dogs.
Posted by zipoutasite
Jul 21, 2009
Thanks MaxHollyNoah and kjd for your replies. My golden actually is a dominant male and we have been working diligently to make him understand that he is not the alpha. I am happy to say that he is doing well! The fact that he is dominant was the reason I questioned the behavior. We learned very quickly that this breed is known to often have separation anxiety, and have been working on that since day one. Several times a day we leave our golden in the house for an hour or so and work outside in areas he cannot see us. When we leave for a short period of time we do not greet him or make a fuss and often we close doors to keep him out of the room we are in.(he ends up scratching at the door). Also, we work with the stay command and have him stay in another room and wait for us to return. He sometimes stays and other times he waits and then comes to find us, but it is a work in progress.

I was just concerned that his behavior was maybe a part of the dominant trait, but we will continue to work with him in all areas to be sure separation anxiety does not become a problem.

Thanks again for your help!