Dog recently gets depressed when I go to work

I have a 7 year old and 5 year old Golden Retriever. I take them everywhere; the store, the bank…all my errands. The only time they’re left alone is when I got out with friends, family events or to work. I have my normal morning routine and for 7 years, my older dog has been completely fine.

Last week, he started acting sad. I’ll let him out in the morning and play fetch with him (and his younger brother). He’s perfectly happy and energetic. However, when play time is over, I make my coffee. Once that’s done, I leave after giving them treats. The 7 year old within the last 5-6 days has been jumping up on me and putting his paws on my shoulder as I try to leave for work. He then tries to wedge his nose in the door so I can’t shut it.

Today, before I gave them their treats, the older brother went into the bathroom and laid down. I had to call him to get his treats. After I gave him his treats, he turned around and walked down the hallway into the bathroom again.

Normally, as I back out of the driveway, I see both of them watching out of the front window. Not today; only the younger one. I definitely notice a change in his demeanor when I’m about to leave.

When I get home, he’s perfectly happy and excited. It just kills me to have to push him inside when I try to leave for work. Does anyone else’s dog do this? Is there something I can try to make him not depressed in the mornings?

Yes - Leet the Wonder Dog[sup]TM[/sup] looks at me reproachfully whenever I put on my coat to leave for work. Then he attempts to foil my plans to leave by lying in front of the door.

Fortunately there are other people to harass during the day, so he can amuse himself until I get home and it’s WALK TIME!!! and SUPPER TIME!!! and BRUSHING TIME!!! and LET"S GO OUTSIDE AND CHASE AROUND THE BACKYARD WHILE SHODAN HAS A CIGAR TIME!!! which kind of makes up for it.


We have 3 dogs and an African Grey parrot. They all go to work with me every day. But if I run to the store, or go to the bar, I always tell them, “Be good, I’ll be right back”. When we go away for a week vacation we have a house-sitter, but as we leave we say, “Be good, we’ll be right back”.

For your situation; how much exercise do they get? We walk/run/swim the dogs on weekends. My gf takes them when she rides her horse and utterly exhausts them. When we go out to a restaurant Saturday evening they look like they are happy to get rid of us for a few hours.

ETA: When you leave and give him his treat, try offering the treat in a forage toy that makes him work or figure out a puzzle to get his reward!

This. Plus you could try giving the treat in another room where you’re not seen leaving the house (leave quietly). You might also try leaving a radio or TV on.

Forage toy, like this.

I also have three dogs. They know my routine and seem to understand when I’m heading off to work - I also tell them “stay and watch” as I leave.

Somehow they also pick up on when I’m getting ready to take them WALKIES and once I grab the leashes, they’re frothing around the door ready to go.

Also, seven isn’t really old, but well into middle-age for a Golden. Perhaps a wellness check at the vet is in order? One more thought: is he neutered? Because if he’s intact and there’s a bitch in heat within smelling distance, he could be getting agitated about that.

Another vote for the radio or television. If radio, make it a talk station for the constant conversation.

Are you trying to make the dog stupid?


If my chihuahua seees my girlfriend and I getting dressed up he knows he will not be going he crawls under the bed while we are getting dressed and will not come out. We have to listen to his occassional whine comming from under the bed. It is aggravating.

Blackjack has terrible separation anxiety. I’ve noticed this can worsen in dogs as they get older, a lot like many humans. Perhaps the younger dog is making him feel old, seven has been a turning point for dogs in my experience, it’s their middle age, they seem to become more pragmatic. I don’t have any great advice, I get to work at home so it’s rarely a problem with Blackjack, and he’s still willing to cheer up for a little while on my way out if I give him a fistful of dog biscuits. If you have to call your boy to get his treats then it sounds like a serious problem. As chiroptera says, he should see his doctor for a check up, maybe there’s a physical problem too.

Another note, as he ages it’s not as easy to hold it in as long as he used to while younger. If he can’t get out in the day he may be getting uncomfortable. Good dogs take a great deal of pride in doing their business in the appropriate place, so he may be predicting a long day of uncomfortable retention. Maybe you need to cut down on his morning food, or make sure he takes care of things before you go. Possibly he just needs some additional fiber in his diet, or some physical condition is making him drink too much.

I’ll get shit for this, I’m sure, but you can change a dog’s behavior or you can change YOUR behavior; guess which one is easier?

HoneyBadgerDC, you might try letting chihuahua outside before you start getting dressed (if you have a yard) or get him distracted in another room. Let GF get ready first and wait for you in the car (don’t let doggie see/hear her do any of this). Then your turn. Apply TV/radio and/or Forage Toy procedure as described above. Sneak out. Our dogs were so happy to get treats, they couldn’t WAIT for us to leave; it’s like they were shoving us out the door. But monitor calorie intake.

Some will see this as appeasement, but dog gets what HE wants and you get what YOU want–Win/Win! When Doggie starts to figure out the manipulation, change up the procedure again.

Good luck!

Thanks for all the input. He acts 100% normal all of the time except when I leave in the morning and it was pretty sudden. It’s not the whole morning either; it’s only when I’m giving treats right as I’m leaving.

Funny that it was mentioned to turn on the TV or the radio. I just did this today.

I’ll try a few other suggestions and hope it’s just a temporary thing.

He gets 3 fetch sessions and 1 walk. At noon, my dogs are let out by a family member daily. So they get plenty of exercise and attention.

Anything else change recently? A move or new family member? New schedule? The time change? I would also recommend getting him checked by the vet, otherwise keep doing what you’re doing. Routine is good.

My Swissie recently announced his return to separation anxiety after years of relative stability by destroying everything that wasn’t nailed down. The only thing that changed was my MIL left. :rolleyes: Not that she was a dog caregiver, but he noticed. Silly thing. Several hundred dollars in damage later we’re back to emptying the waste paper basket every day. Which I’ll happily take over his earlier shennigans.

OP - I hope he settles down. (Although that may be all it is - he’s settling down a bit.)

Good luck.

Gunner the Great Dane has seperation anxiety too. I’m retired and my wife works from home, so he’s with us constantly. During times we have to leave the house he isn’t too happy. We found this out when he ate a $2500 dining room table when we were gone once. So unfortunately we now have to crate him when we leave. Breaks my heart to do so, but we take him whenever we can. However, most businesses aren’t Great Dane friendly.

There are crates big enough for a Great Dane?

Just wanted to note that my dog HATES television and radio. She’ll tolerate it when I’m there, but it disturbs her rest when I’m not. She also can’t sleep at night when I’m in the room with her, so she may just be weird. Even so, you should pay attention to whether he actually likes the tv noise, because some dogs don’t.

Pricey, but yes. Craigslist is a good place to save money on dog crates. I our basement/game room/man cave/dog hang-out we have three extra large crates and a dog run (got a couldn’t say no offer on the run).


There’s a demand - people who show/work extra-large dogs need crates for show and travel.

Kayaker and Chiroptera, thanks for this info. And that must be one huge game room you’ve got, Kayaker.