Your Goldendoodle is a mixture of a poodle and a Golden Retriever -- two breeds known for their companionship and affectionate nature. Goldendoodles quickly become members of the family, but because of their attachment to their human owners, many of them struggle with separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is common in Golden Retrievers as well as poodles, so if your pup is being destructive while you're away, this could very likely be the problem. Separation anxiety is something your pet struggles with only when he's left alone. He gets extremely lonely, nervous and depressed, which often results in destruction of your things, scratching doors and walls, relieving himself in the house, howling for hours or even dangerous attempts at escape to find you. Because the Goldendoodle is a "designer dog" it was bred mostly for companionship, and is not meant for families that are not often home. Your Goldendoodle views your family as his pack, so when the entire pack leaves him for the day, he panics.
How did he get it?
Separation Anxiety can be a result of many different changes in the dog's life. Designer dogs like Goldendoodles are most often bought as puppies from breeders, and they get separation anxiety due to the attachment they have to their owners. Small lifestyle changes can cause your pup anxiety. If you switch from the day shift to the night shift at work, your Goldendoodle may get confused and worry that you're not coming back. Goldendoodles, like most dogs, struggle with the loss of a member of their pack, which includes your family and other family pets. Make sure you are able to spend a lot of time with your Goldendoodle before you choose this breed as your pet and work with your dog on conditioning treatment as soon as you see signs of separation anxiety.
Goldendoodles require contact with their owner every day, but its undeniable that you will have to leave your Goldendoodle home alone at times. This breed responds very quickly to training, so with some work on the owner's part, their separation anxiety can be treated. Goldendoodles have an average to high energy level, which means it requires a moderate amount of work on your end to wear your pet out before you leave the house. Throw a ball for him or take him for a walk, swim or run before you go. Leaving him exhausted will help him sleep some of the time you're away. Give him a blanket or article of clothing that smells like you to comfort him while you're gone and leave him with his favorite treat or toy to help him associate your leaving with something he loves. A toy that will occupy him for a long time, such as a bone or Kong toy with a treat inside is ideal. Practice leaving the house for short amounts of time multiple times a day to help your pup realize that you always come home.
Don't Punish Him
Goldendoodles respond to positive training methods with rewards and gentle coaching. Loud corrections and harsh punishments when you return home to destruction will only make your Goldendoodle fear you leaving even more because he anticipates punishment upon your return. He only destroys things in the house when he can't control his anxiety, and it is never aimed at you. If the anxiety doesn't ease after a few weeks of conditioning treatments, contact your veterinarian about herbal or pharmaceutical anxiety treatments to use along with the conditioning treatments until your pet becomes comfortable with you being away for several hours at a time.
Courtney McCaffrey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with a B.A. in media studies. She has served as an editor for Blooming Twig Books and the MADA Writing Services publishing company. She is now a writer on various outdoor sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing and bodysurfing.