Does your Goldendoodle hide when a car goes by? Do they seem timid around loud noises? Is your Goldendoodle displaying signs of anxiety?
We are here to explain the nature of the Goldendoodle breed, possible causes of their fear, what you can do to try and reassure your Goldendoodle in these situations and how you can work with your dog to overcome their issues.
Table of Contents
The Goldendoodle is a highly intelligent dog who is affectionate and loyal. They greet everybody with a happy welcome and thrive on learning new games and tricks.
The Goldendoodle breed is an ideal breed for first-time dog owners due to their adaptability and trainability.
Potential Triggers for Fear or Anxiety in the Goldendoodle
Socialization from birth – This is extremely important and should be expected from every breeder. Puppies will need to be socialized and allowed to play with their littermates. This teaches them how to interact with other creatures and what happens when they annoy another sibling!
Mum should be around to keep the pups in line and discipline when needed. A puppy who has been taken away from their litter and mother too soon will miss out on these valuable life lessons.
Early and ongoing, regular socialization – This is the key to most issues with anxiety and fear in your Goldendoodle. Without exposure to noises, sights and experiences, the Goldendoodle will come to believe the world is a quiet place with nothing much happening, and when something does, this will trigger an enormous fear reaction in your dog.
Inconsistent training – Not being consistent is very destructive to the Goldendoodle’s confidence. They live to please. If they have a routine of reward that suddenly stops, they will become very confused and unsure of what they have done wrong. Goldendoodles are hugely receptive to reward-based training and gentle coaching. Being loudly told off or punished will lead your Goldendoodle to fear doing the very thing you have taught them to do!
Health – The health of your Goldendoodle is paramount as they can be prone to various issues. This includes, but is not limited to, eye disorders, hip/elbow dysplasia, allergies, and Addison’s disease. If a Goldendoodle displays any unexplained fear reaction, this may be down to a health issue.
Put yourself in your dog’s place. Imagine a bicycle zooming past your nose but you didn’t hear it coming, or a loud truck very close to you, and your ears are sore from infection. If your hips hurt, but you are expected to go for a walk every morning. Your natural reaction will be that of fear and the need to try to escape.
Previous trauma – This will always play a huge part in any fear-based reaction in your Goldendoodle. This breed is highly sensitive and extremely intelligent. This is as a result of both parent breeds being highly trainable and amazingly clever. If something bad happens to them, it will only need to happen once in order for your dog to remember it. Yes, they really are that smart!
Working on Overcoming your Goldendoodle’s Issues
Patience and sensitivity will be needed in abundance to help your Goldendoodle overcome their fears. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice from an expert in their field. This could be a dog trainer or behaviorist, your vet, your breeder, or even an experienced friend.
Socializing Your Goldendoodle
Socialization is the key to a confident and happy dog. If you get your Goldendoodle puppy from a breeder, ensure the pup has been socialized well with its littermates. It should be raised around its mother and be exposed to household noises, like the washing machine, vacuum, or television. Puppies are not born scared of things. Your puppy should be bouncy, bright, and inquisitive.
Once you bring your Goldendoodle puppy home, you will need to carry on with the socialization and continue to expose them to noises, sights, and smells to reduce the risk that they will become frightened of anything new. New people, other animals, children, traffic, noises, even weather will need to be patiently introduced into your dog’s journey of experience in the world.
If your Goldendoodle already has a fear or anxiety issue based on something they have encountered, then you will need to consistently address this by a regular introduction to the problem and lots of praise and treats.
Training Your Goldendoodle
Training needs to be consistent. If you have taught your Goldendoodle to “Sit” before eating, then everybody who feeds your dog will need to do the same. Goldendoodles like routine and knowing where they stand. Ensure that everybody in the house uses the same keywords.
Goldendoodles are so willing to learn and please their owners. When they feel they have done something wrong, they will display fear and lower their heads in submission.
Health plays an imperative function in the overall happiness of the Goldendoodle. Goldendoodles can be prone to allergies, joint problems, and ear/eye issues. Ensure your dog is regularly vaccinated and checked by a professional in order to catch any early problems before they develop into bigger issues.
Ensure you groom your Goldendoodle every 3-7 days. This will not only keep on top of the condition of their coat but will also give you an opportunity to feel your Goldendoodle all over.
Gently rub their ears and in between their paws to see if there is any sensitivity there. Softly scratch their joints to see if they flinch away from you. Regular sessions like this will give your Goldendoodle confidence that not everybody that touches them will hurt. It will also strengthen your bond.
How to Deal with Previous Trauma
Previous trauma is a very hard one to get over with the Goldendoodle. This breed is incredibly smart and they have fantastic memories. If you are lucky enough to actually know what the trauma was that turned your dog into a quivering wreck, then work on positive experiences around this issue.
Keep a pocketful of treats and every time they get fearful; reassurance and treats go a long way to affirming a positive experience in their brains.
Goldendoodles are a gentle and loving breed. This breed is a perfect family dog and will tolerate young children very well. It is rare that Goldendoodles will actually act on any fear-based aggression, it is more of a warning to you that they are not happy with the situation and they are trying to defend themselves and their pack.
Getting to the bottom of the cause of your Goldendoodle’s fear is massively important as this breed is a large dog and has the physical capability to cause a lot of harm. Always keep a watchful eye on young and vulnerable people around your dog if their fear is directed towards people.
Aggression borne out of fear is very common. Fear raises the dog’s heartbeat and allows their senses to go into overdrive. A dog who is afraid will be watching your body language and will be more aggressive if they sense that you are afraid too. Your fear/anxiety will feed your dog’s fear and make it worse.
You must show them not to be scared. Give a nice stroke, treat, or kind words to show your Goldendoodle that there is nothing to fear. Desensitize your dog by small sessions of exposure and rewards.
Never punish or get cross. Your Goldendoodle does not understand why you are angry. Try to stay calm as your anxiety will be sensed by your dog. Your feelings directly impact your dog’s feelings.
Other Household Pets
When you have other dogs or animals living alongside your Goldendoodle, it can be incredibly rewarding as Goldendoodles are very accepting and social dogs.
If your Goldendoodle displays aggression caused by a fear, it will be hard for the other animals to cope with. When your Goldendoodle barks at something or cowers away from something, the other pets will pick up on this, especially other dogs, and they may become worried or concerned, to the point that they too believe there is something for them to be scared of.
If your Goldendoodle has a safe space, like a particular room or a crate, then ensure they can access this to retreat to easily. If they have a favorite blanket or toy, encourage them to carry it. This will calm them down and distract them away from the other pets.
If All Else Fails, Ask a Professional
Goldendoodles are strong clever dogs. If you feel overwhelmed with a problem, or you have exhausted every other option to coax your dog out of the cycle of fear, then it is time to get external help.
Your veterinarian will happily perform a physical examination to identify or eliminate any obvious issues that could be contributing to your dog’s fear. You can also ask your practice for advice on handling your particular problem, or if they can recommend any specialized trainers in your local area.
Puppy classes are invaluable to early socialization and will strengthen your bond. Enroll in one as soon as you know you are getting a puppy as waiting lists can be long.
If your Goldendoodle is slightly older, you can join an agility class or obedience class. The trainers that run these classes often have years of experience behind them and there’s not much they haven’t seen before! Also, stimulation and sports activities will give your Goldendoodle a welcome distraction from their fears.
One-to-one classes would be recommended if your Goldendoodle’s behavior has worsened, or has been there for a long time. One-to-one would also be advisable if your dog has a fear of other dogs or people.
We hope that you have found this article helpful. Fear and anxiety are very common and can be resolved with time, patience, and understanding.