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Winston, Golden Retriever (9mo) and Tally, Golden x Lab cross (6yrs)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! Excuse my wordiness lol.. and if you make it to the end I sincerely thank you!!!

A little background:

I have a 6 year old female golden x lab cross named Tally who I raised/trained to be a service dog all throughout college (2014 - ~2016). She ended up being released from the program because “her drive to play was higher than her drive to work”. I ended up adopting her and she’s lived with me ever since! She’s the best house dog ever and truly just loves to play.. she’d play fetch with a statue if she could. All of this to say that I have a good bit of experience working with and training dogs.

Winston came to live with us in October of 2020 (yep right in the middle of the pandemic). I worked from home and my fiancé was doing online school as well. We had just moved from Athens, GA to New Orleans and never went anywhere except to visit family. Winston and Tally got along (and continue to get along) wonderfully! Winston loved the kennel and never had an issue going in or crying, but he also has been able to stay out of the kennel on his own since he was 5 months old. He never chews on anything, rarely had accidents in the house, etc. The biggest difference between him and Tally is that he LOVES being around me (don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Tally loves me... but with Winston it’s different). Winston will follow me anywhere.. with or without a leash.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. This sounds like common separation anxiety. We’ve been home this entire pandemic.. and now we’re leaving him alone, etc. But that’s not it. We have a Furbo and he’s perfectly fine by himself. He shows no signs of anxiety while we’re out of the house. The issue is that he’s scared of EVERYTHING ELSE. Did I not expose him to enough? I felt like we went on enough walks, went out to dinner where he could sit on the porch and see people, went to visit other people’s homes, went to dog parks after he was fully vaccinated, etc.... but it’s to the point where if there’s even a slight change to the position of the furniture on our back patio, he won’t go through the back door to use the restroom, if my fiancé picks up a box too quickly, he cowers, the mail room at our apartment complex scares him so much he shakes, the blender when I’m making smoothies is like the end of the world.

Keep in mind, all of these things are consistent activities in our lives. He’s been exposed to them since he came to live with us. And no matter what he can’t get used to them. I try exposing him to as much as possible and use treats and positive reinforcement to teach him that these things are okay, but it’s so sad to watch him feel so upset and anxious.

Does anyone have experience with this? It’s a different form of anxiety in a dog then I’ve ever dealt with!

Any and all advice is welcome And I’m willing to try anything!! Thank you!!

Premium Member
1,759 Posts
Welcome to the Forum! Is this a recent change in behavior or something you've seen since puppyhood? Can you identify an age or an event when you first noticed the anxiety?
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10,349 Posts
He came home at 8 weeks? Have you reached out to the breeder? Have you asked if this is something his siblings have experienced? Is Winston a Golden? Is this just recent? Sometimes they go through a developmental fear period and he could be going through a second one. Understanding Fear Periods in Dogs - The Anxious Pet
If this has been going on the whole time, I would guess that it is mostly genetic and while it may have helped to have had extra obedience class time and more socialization before he came home to you (did you ask about this?) it's probably the way he's wired.

Have you discussed this with the vet? It's really odd that he has no problem leaving the house and doing things out in the world but is so terrified in the house. I'd consider a full work up and ask about anti anxiety meds if nothing turns up. A certified veterinary behaviorist might have good insight as well: Find a DACVB
It can't be easy to live like this for either you or for him, please consider medication if you can't solve this with training.
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