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Thread: Help with Strange Behaviour Please

  1. #1

    Question Help with Strange Behaviour Please

    We have a 3 year old golden retriever cross who is a fantastic family dog who has been very easy to train.

    She has recently started behaving in a way I can’t understand when we return after leaving her in the garden. She is happy to see us but at the same time slinks down on the ground as dogs do when they think they’ve done something wrong and are being very submissive. At the same time she also urinates a bit.

    Most days she isn’t alone at all and when she is it’s usually only for a few hours. I think the garden is an interesting one for a dog and she has a view down the street.

    I make sure we praise her when she goes out and go straight to her when we return. I’ve tried giving her a treat as she goes out and a bone but she won’t take them. When she was a puppy I used to give her a bone to help with the separation anxiety but she quickly associated it with being left alone and won’t take one from me at all.

    I am baffled as to why she’s doing this, especially the weeing, and don’t know how to correct it. Can anyone help please?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Hawkesbury, NSW


    I'm sure you'll get some suggestions here but my first thought is that maybe someone has been teasing her when you are out - if she has a view down the street then presumably she can be seen too?

    Don't make a fuss of her when you go out, or when you return, just put her out quietly, and on return just open the door and walk away, ignore her - act like everything is normal.

    If this is recent behaviour then I'd say something has happened at some point, maybe being teased, maybe bad weather, a loud noise that has spooked her.

    Looking forward to reading other people's theories.

    In My Home Dog Minding

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Dogs don't have guilt.

    If at any point in time she's done something wrong when you've been out and then when you've gotten home, you have, for example pointed at a hole she's dug and said bad dog and she's "looked guilty" what she is really showing is fear of your body language. This in turn can actually make a dog become anxious of it's owners return.

    So they therefore start to look "guilty" (really anxious) the minute they see you.

    If this has not been the case then I would say something has happened or possibly the only time she is left alone is when you go out?

    My dogs come and go from the house all the time. But every day they spend a period of time outside while I am home and also outside when I go out.

    Right now the back door is open and three are out enjoying the sun and 3 are inside. I've only just re-opened the door after them being shut out for about an hour even though I was home.

    Or perhaps the urinating is excitement? It's really hard to say without seeing the dog. I'm just throwing a few ideas out there different to what has already been stated.

    Also dont praise or take any notice of this submissive behaviour. Otherwise she will take this as a reward and thus you are reinforcing this submissive behaviour.

    I would be coming home and waiting 30 minutes before letting her in or greeting her but making her aware that you are home (look out thru window, tap on glass or something). I would be interested to know what her behaviour is like then after the 15-30min wait.
    Last edited by mouseandchicken; 05-21-2010 at 10:55 AM.

  4. #4


    Thanks for the replies. I think that having spent very little time on her own and always being in the house may be part of it. I'll try putting her out sometimes when were at home and waiting a while when we get home, as you suggest.

    She's never been punished because she's so well behaved and good mannered with no other bad habits. The occasion loud "NO" is all she's ever had but I think she's may have somehow come to think of being put in the garden as a punishment and I don't know how to fix this. And I'm just guessing anyway.

    I think it's very unlikely she's been traumatised somehow when we've been out.

    Any more ideas welcome.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I make sure we praise her when she goes out and go straight to her when we return
    What the others said, make no fuss on putting her out or return.

    Do put her out when you're at home, sneak out the front and walk around the block without her so you can hear if she barks a lot. If she barks a lot it is quite possible someone has given her a hard time.

    When you say she has a view down the street - is that from a fence that is well separated from the street? Or can people walking down the street see and reach her through the fence?

    Have you talked to any neighbours? It's a good idea to introduce your dog to all your neighbours, including the ones over the back fence and over your neighbour's back fences. Check with them about any problems they might have when you're out.

    Otherwise, maybe someone has come home and scolded her for digging a hole or pooping where she shouldn't? Or someone has seen her doing the big grovel and given her lots of pats and tried to "cheer her up".

    My dog sometimes does the grovel when I get home and I've never scolded her for those things (or anything else much either). I ignore her for at least five to ten minutes before I pat or play with her. I think my dog's grovel is an attempt to get attention, it works a lot for her, especially when we're out on walks.

    My dog wees if a big dog greets her in a hurry, or she's really excited - ie meeting lots of new people. I'm hoping she grows out of it. Again - important not to reward/encourage with lots of attention and pats.

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