Golden Retrievers Are So Needy! ( 8 Reasons Why)

Golden Retrievers are hungry for attention. They love to play, cuddle, and hang out with beloved family members. However, while their attention-seeking behavior is entirely normal, it can go overboard (and prove problematic) when they become extremely needy. So, why are Golden Retrievers so needy?

Golden Retrievers are generally needy because they want attention or are bored. However, Goldens could also come off as needy if they have separation anxiety, are in pain, or if the owner has inadvertently encouraged the needy behavior. They might also remember past traumatic experiences.

If you’re concerned about your Golden’s overly clingy behavior, read on to learn more about why Golden Retrievers are needy and how you can address the problem. 

Why are Golden Retrievers so needy?

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Golden Retrievers Are Attention Seekers

Golden Retrievers are suckers for attention. If they could have it their way, they’d spend the entire day playing and goofing around with their owners.

Maybe your Golden Retriever is a velcro dog (attached to you like velcro) and won’t leave your side. As a Golden Retriever owner, this behavior can get annoying but could be a sign that your dog’s needs aren’t being met.

Your Golden is probably seeking attention and letting you know that you aren’t spending enough time with them. It could be that your schedule got tighter, or you’re just unavailable and can’t engage in play or other day-to-day activities like training or walks. 

If your Golden is needy because of lack of attention, then they’ll stop being extra needy once you fulfill their needs. 

The trick to controlling needy behavior associated with attention-seeking is to ensure your Golden Retriever receives regular attention from you or other people in your household. If your schedule is tight, then try allocating duties like play and training to other family members, which will ensure your cute four-legged family member doesn’t feel neglected. 

Golden Retrievers Can Get Bored

Keeping up with a puppy or fully grown Golden Retriever can prove daunting, especially if you’re not up to the task of keeping them entertained. By nature, the Golden Retriever breed is a hunting dog, meaning your pooch needs a lot of daily physical activity to thrive. 

Suppose you’re not engaging your Golden Retriever in regular play or exercise. In that case, chances are he might start exhibiting needy behavior, which is his way of letting you know that he’s bored and needs activity. They’ll become extra needy when he sees you heading out without taking him for a walk or inviting them to a game of fetch. 

Ideally, it is advisable to give Golden Retrievers at least one hour of exercise daily due to their physical needs. Doing so will ensure your cute canine companion isn’t bored and, well, extra-needy. It can also give you the motivation you need to embark on your own exercise routine.

A Needy Golden Retriever Might Have Separation Anxiety

Like many other companion dogs, Golden Retrievers might come off as super needy if they suffer from separation anxiety. Moreover, due to their love for affection, Goldens are more predisposed to separation anxiety than most breeds, highlighting the importance of training your dog to anticipate separation and handle it well. 

Golden Retriever puppies tend to exhibit symptoms of separation anxiety more than their fully-grown counterparts. The behavior is mainly attributed to separation from their mothers and may take them some time to adjust. 

If you notice that your Golden Retriever gets excessively needy when you are preparing to leave, then it’s best to train them to remain calm. 

The best way to train your Golden Retriever to be less anxious when you’re about to leave is through rewards. Start small by giving them signs that you’re about to leave and rewarding them for not reacting anxiously to your potential exit. 

For instance, you can pick up your keys and reward your pup if they don’t act uneasy or anxious. Do this again as you hold your door handle and only reward them if they remain calm. 

Ensure that you progress gradually, rewarding your Golden whenever they remain calm. They’ll soon understand that you have to leave and realize that you’re not leaving them forever.  

A Needy Golden Retriever Could Be in Pain

A needy golden retriever puppy.

Golden Retrievers love to communicate through their bodies as they’ll often use their cute paws to gently harass you into submission. Therefore, if your dog has never been overly needy, then becomes extra needy and unhappy all at once, chances are they could be in pain. 

Your Golden Retriever might be acting needy to grab your attention and have you focus on their underlying problem. As a result, you’ll need to pay close attention to your Retriever whenever their needy episodes start. 

Pay close attention to how your Golden Retriever responds after physical activity like swimming or play. After enjoying a nice time out, their level of neediness should go down significantly. But if they become persistently needy even after you give in to most of their demands, then taking them to the vet for consultation might be a good idea. 

A Needy Golden Retriever Might Have Had Traumatic Past Experiences

Although not common, some adult Golden Retrievers, especially those adopted from shelters, might exhibit excessively needy behavior, which is usually a way of showing affection while relaying fear to the new caring owner. 

If you notice your newly adopted Golden Retriever is extra needy, handle them with care and teach them to gradually let go through positive reinforcement. Consulting a dog behaviorist might also come in handy if you find your Golden’s needy behavior to be too much. 

Inadvertently Reinforcing Your Golden Retrievers Needy Behavior

As natural hunters and retrievers, Golden’s are easily among the most intelligent dog breeds around. Due to this, your super-smart four-legged friend might feel entitled and thus act needy to intelligently coerce you into giving in. 

If you allow your Golden Retriever to always get what they want whenever they act needy, then chances are your dog will develop an appetite for acting needy. Therefore, you’ll need to be extra careful when handling your Golden, especially when they’re misbehaving. 

Be firm and avoid giving in to their demands whenever they act needy. While saying no to these cute furry companions might be hard, the tough love will eventually pay off when your Golden becomes fully independent. 

Neediness Due To A Golden Retrievers Personality

As mentioned earlier, Golden Retrievers love attention. It’s part of their personality. Historically, these dogs were bred to bond with their owners during outdoor activities like hunting, so they’ll naturally look to you for guidance and direction. A Golden Retriever will tend to be fixated on their favorite person or people. This explains the importance of giving your Golden Retriever lots of training during puppyhood so that they understand the importance of independence. 

Watch what happens when a needy Golden Retriever stops getting pet.

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An Abrupt Change in Environment Can Make a Golden More Needy

Since Golden Retrievers are naturally social dogs, they might struggle when separated from other family members or household pets. For instance, if the senior family cat dies, your Golden might become extra needy, especially if there aren’t other household pets. 

The same applies when a close family member travels or goes away for a while. These dogs tend to develop strong emotional attachments to family members and other household pets and might respond to abrupt changes by becoming too needy before fully adjusting. 

Stopping Your Golden Retrievers Clingy Behavior

The best way to stop your Golden Retriever’s clingy and needy behavior is to exercise it out of them. Most Golden Retrievers’s behavioral problems stem from them not getting enough exercise. A tired Golden will be relaxed and not require so much attention.

In addition, if you or someone in your household is giving your Golden Retriever a vigorous amount of exercise each day, in a Golden’s mind, he is also getting plenty of attention, which further reduces any needy behavior. Exercising your Golden is literally accomplishing two things at once and both of these things will reduce the level of neediness in your dog.

Final Takeaway

Golden Retrievers love attention, especially from their beloved family members, which explains why they’re always trying to impress by playing games, fetching, and wanting to participate in almost every activity you involve them in. But the need for attention can become too much, especially if you allow the dog to have their way every time. 

While not all Golden Retrievers are needy, some might become needy when they feel neglected due to a lack of attention. Traumatic past experiences or underlying health issues might also lead to neediness in Golden Retrievers. 


PetMD & Clingy Dog Behavior

Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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