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Lisa, Certified Vet Tech
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 16474
Experience:  AAS Vet Tech. Bully breed rehab & Behavior modification
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My 8 year old golden retriever has suddenly decided he

Customer Question

My 8 year old golden retriever has suddenly decided he doesn't want to come in the house. He has always been very much an indoor dog, so this is completely out of character. He also seems a bit nervous in the house, pacing and panting and hanging by the door until someone finally let's him out. Once he's outside he just stands there. He will also hang out in the garage and refuse to come in unless I drag him and/or bribe him with a treat. I can't recall anything happening that would have been "traumatic" or caused him to be afraid. It seems to have started out of the blue and has been going on for almost a week.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. My name is ***** ***** I'm happy to help you with your question today. Just like an in person consult, I have a few questions of my own to help ensure I give you the best advice possible...

Will he come in if you go out with him and then go in?

Any other new behaviors?

Anything new in the house?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is easier to get him inside if we go outside with him and bring him back in, but he is still reluctant. He also has started acting a little off at night. He rarely, almost never barks, and last week he was pacing around by my husband's side of the bed in the middle of the night and when my husband told him to go lay down (thinking he was just being a pest) Jack came over to my side and barked at me. We got up with him thinking something was wrong, but he wouldn't leave our bedroom. When we went to get back in bed he jumped in bed with us and that was that. This was actually the first odd behavior we noticed from him, but just wrote it off. Since then he's been more restless across the board... day and night. Which is highly unusual as he's so laid back normally. There is nothing new in the house.
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Do his new behaviors seem worse at night?

When was the last time he had a physical?

Does he have any health issues you're aware of?

Does he seem confused or dazed during these periods?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They are worse during the day. And no, he seems completely coherent, just unusually stubborn. He had a physical last December and everything looked fine. We actually adopted him from the shelter right before Christmas so we've had him less than a year. He's shown any signs of any unusual behavior aside from some anxiety when we first got him.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I meant he's *never* shown signs of any unusual behavior
Expert:  Lisa replied 1 year ago.

Great. Thanks for the additional information. I really appreciate it.

So if this were me, I'd actually have your vet give him another physical. I'd ask them to do some thyroid testing. The reason I say that is because thyroid problems can often present initially with changes in mentation...meaning, changes in behavior.

If that comes back clear, then you may want to ask your vet if he thinks this could be something like canine cognitive dysfunction...this is pretty common in older dogs. You can find more information here:

Something you could consider would be talking to your vet about a light sedative for your pup. One that we use is called Clomicalm and really seems to work well. Of course, you'll have to talk to your vet to make sure that this is a good option to use with your boy.

Another option would be something to help with the anxiety that doesn't have to be ingested....I love using the DAP collar:

These are collars that are impregnated with a man-made version of the dog appeasing pheromone, which is a pheromone that nursing bitches give off to their pups to help them feel calm and secure. It's something that humans can't smell, but it has an amazing effect on dogs with anxiety and other issues. Although you can find them at your vet's can also find them online at places like and Ebay for much cheaper. Just make sure they're DAP brand, as they seem to work better than some other versions.

I've used the DAP collar in my own dogs and with some of the dogs I've rehabilitated and I really, really like the results. Just keep in mind that the collar only lasts for 30 days, so you'll have to replace it monthly if it works for you.

I hope this helps.