anxiety in flat-coated retriever

Understanding Anxiety in Flat-Coated Retrievers

Anxiety in flat-coated retrievers is a rising concern amongst pet owners and breeders of this seemingly carefree canine. While some might think that dogs only experience happiness and delight, pets can also feel anxious, worried, and stressed. As pet owners, it’s our responsibility to recognize and manage anxiety in flat-coated retriever to ensure their well-being.

From excessive panting to destructive behavior, several behaviors may indicate your dog is struggling with anxiety. By understanding the root causes of anxiety in flat-coated retrievers, you can work to soothe your pup’s nerves and ensure they live their best possible life. So this blog post will discuss the most common causes of anxiety in flat-coated retrievers, as well as ways to help manage and prevent anxiety

Overview of Common Anxiety in Flat-Coated Retrievers

anxiety in flat-coated retriever

Several types of anxiety can affect flat-coated retrievers. As pet parents, it’s important to understand what is causing your pup’s stress so you can learn how to manage it best.

1: Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety is one of the most common forms of anxiety in dogs, and Flat-Coated Retrievers are no exception. It happens when the dog gets stressed when left alone, often resulting in destructive or disruptive behaviors. Your dog may bark incessantly, chew on furniture or other items, pace back and forth, and even have accidents in the house. It can be challenging to deal with separation anxiety, but paying attention to your pup’s needs and creating a routine can help alleviate their stress.

2: Social Anxiety

Social anxiety occurs when your dog feels uncomfortable in social situations, whether with other dog breeds or humans. It can manifest in various ways, including hiding behind their owner, cowering, trembling, or barking excessively. A lack of socialization or past traumatic experiences can cause social anxiety. One way to manage this anxiety is gradually introducing your dog to new people and dogs over time.

3: Noise Anxiety

Noise anxiety is a common type of anxiety among dogs and can be quite distressing. Flat-Coated Retrievers are known for being sensitive to loud sounds like thunder, fireworks, and construction noise. When exposed to such stimuli, they may become restless, anxious, and even hide or try to escape. Managing noise anxiety can involve mostly preventive measures, such as desensitization, by gradually exposing your dog to noises that trigger their anxiety.

4: Travel Anxiety

Flat-Coated Retrievers love to be active and explore the world around them. However, some dogs may display anxiety when traveling, whether in a car or on a plane. They may display signs such as panting, drooling, restlessness, or vomiting. Understanding that travel anxiety can be managed by gradually building your dog’s confidence through positive associations with travel, such as treats and toys, is essential.

5: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a chronic and excessive worry which can lead to destructive and harmful behavior. Flat-Coated Retrievers with GAD may display excessive barking, chewing, or grooming and develop physical symptoms such as digestive issues. It is crucial to consult with a veterinarian if you suspect your dog has GAD, as they may need medication or behavioral therapy to manage their anxiety effectively.

Recognizing the signs of anxiety in Flat-Coated Retriever is essential, which will be discussed in more detail below.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety in Flat-Coated Retrievers

Flat-Coated Retrievers are known for being active and social, so any changes in their behavior could indicate anxiety. Some signs to look out for include:


Aggression is one of the signs of anxiety in Flat-Coated Retrievers. Your dog may become more aggressive towards other dogs, humans, or even other pets around them. They may snap, growl, or display other aggressive behaviors. It’s important to understand that this behavior is not meant to be harmful but results from their anxiety.

👉Urinating or Defecating in the House

Urinating or defecating in the house is another symptom of anxiety in dogs. Often, they may lose control and defecate indoors, even if they usually relieve themselves outdoors. This behavior is often more common in younger dogs that haven’t been fully trained yet. However, it can also occur in older dogs and may indicate a more significant underlying issue.


Drooling and panting may occur during stressful situations, such as thunderstorms or fireworks displays. If your dog starts drooling or panting excessively, it may indicate anxiety. These symptoms are usually followed by destructive behavior. Your dog may chew on furniture pieces, doors, or other household objects to relieve their anxiety.


An anxious dog may pant heavily, even in cool temperatures. The release of adrenaline can cause panting and often indicate that your dog is stressed or anxious. If your dog’s panting is accompanied by other signs of anxiety, such as pacing or whining, it’s important to seek help.

👉Destructive Behavior

Destructive behavior is another common symptom of anxiety in flat-coated retrievers. If your dog is chewing or scratching furniture, walls, or floors, it’s often a sign of anxiety. Providing them with plenty of toys and other outlets for their stress can help alleviate this issue.


Flat-coated retrievers who are anxious may exhibit symptoms of depression. They may become moody, disinterested in activities, and isolate themselves. Dogs who are typically sociable may want to avoid people and prefer being alone. Anxious retrievers may lose their appetite or sleep more than their usual routine. Depression can also be a result of a new environment, the loss of a family member, or experiencing a traumatic event. It is best to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying medical concerns.

👉Excessive Barking

Dogs who feel threatened, scared, or nervous may bark more than usual. They may bark at everything and anyone, even at things that do not bother them. Excessive barking can also signify separation anxiety, where dogs become nervous when left alone. It can be a problem for neighbors, so it is best to address this behavior immediately.


Flat-coated retrievers may walk back and forth, sometimes in a circular motion, during stressful situations. Pacing can be a way for dogs to release their nervous energy and soothe themselves. However, when this behavior becomes repetitive, it may cause harm, such as sore paws or other physical injuries.


Your flat coat retriever may find relaxing hard, even in a calm environment. Anxious dogs may have difficulty sleeping or staying in one place for long periods. They may also become agitated and pace around when forced to stay in one spot.

👉Repetitive or Compulsive Behaviors

Repetitive or compulsive behaviors are also common in anxious flat-coated retrievers. Nervous dogs may start exhibiting obsessive behaviors, like licking their paws excessively or chewing on their skin. They may also become highly focused on particular objects or engage in repetitive behaviors, like digging or scratching the floor. These actions may seem harmless but could indicate an underlying psychological problem.

These are just some of the common signs of anxiety in flat-coated retrievers. If you think your pet is displaying any of these behaviors, it’s essential to consult with a veterinarian or certified animal behaviorist.

Practical Strategies for Dealing With Anxiety

So, how do you help your anxious flat-coated retriever? Here are some practical strategies to help reduce anxiety in dogs, no matter what the underlying cause:

✔️Provide Plenty of Physical Exercises

One effective method is to provide them with plenty of physical exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, the feel-good hormones that can help alleviate stress and anxiety. Regular exercise can also distract your dog’s mind from the source of their anxiety and channel their energy into something positive.

Whether it’s a walk around the block, a game of fetch, or a romp in the dog park, incorporating physical activity into your furry friend’s routine can do wonders for their overall well-being. So grab that leash, tie up your running shoes, and hit the pavement with your flat-coated retriever to help them overcome their anxiety.

✔️Physical Contact

Simply spending time with your flat coat retriever and providing comforting touch can go a long way in easing their anxiety. Imagine cuddling up on the couch with your faithful companion, feeling their warmth and heartbeat as they nestle into your arms. This kind of physical bonding can instill a sense of security and comfort, helping to reduce stress and anxiety in your flat-coated retriever. Plus, it’s a win-win situation! You can enjoy quality time with your beloved pet while helping them feel more at ease.

✔️Desensitization and Counterconditioning

Desensitization and counterconditioning are effective strategies that can help reduce your dog’s anxiety. This technique involves gradually exposing your dog to stimuli that usually trigger anxiety while pairing it with positive experiences such as treats or praise. Over time, your dog’s response to the stimuli will become more positive, and the anxiety will decrease. This strategy requires patience, consistency, and a lot of encouragement, but the results are worth the effort.


By partnering with your veterinarian, you can work together to find the right medication for your furry companion and help them live a more fulfilling life. While medication may not be the perfect solution for all dogs dealing with anxiety, it can be a game-changer for those needing it most. So, if you’re dealing with an anxious flat-coated retriever, don’t hesitate to explore the many medication options available to you and your flat-coat friend.


Just like humans, dogs can benefit from massage’s soothing and relaxing effects, which can help them feel more comfortable in their own skin. Through gentle and deliberate touch, massage stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, and feel-good hormones. This can help your furry friend feel more relaxed, which can then decrease their feelings of anxiety. Not only is massage a beneficial strategy for dealing with anxiety, but it’s also a great bonding experience for owners and their dogs.

✔️Calming T-Shirts/Coats

These garments apply gentle, constant pressure, making dogs feel safer and more secure. This technique can significantly reduce anxiety in flat-coated retrievers and help them feel more relaxed and calm. So, if you’re looking for an effective way to deal with your pup’s anxiety, a calming T-shirt or coat might be the solution you’ve been searching for.


When your pup is feeling anxious, find a quiet and calming space for them to relax. With gentle and reassuring tones, instruct your dog to sit or lie down and allow them to take deep breaths. This brief time-out period can help your flat coat puppies regain composure and restore peace of mind.

✔️Alternative Therapies

Embracing alternative therapies can be a lifesaver in calming down anxious hounds. You can try plenty of unconventional therapies, such as herbal remedies and acupuncture. It might sound too far-fetched, but pet parents who have tried these methods swear by their effectiveness.

✔️Use a Crate 

Using a crate is one of the most practical strategies for dealing with anxiety in flat-coated retrievers. A crate provides a safe and secure place for your furry friend to retreat when feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Introducing the crate positively and gradually is essential, using treats and praise to encourage your dog to enter. With patience and consistency, your furry friend will soon come to see their crate as a comfortable and reassuring haven.

These are the most effective strategies for helping your flat-coated retriever manage their anxiety. Remember that finding the right solution for your furry friend may take some time, so don’t be discouraged if the first method doesn’t work. Instead, continue to be patient and open-minded in exploring different options until you find the one that works best for your pup.

Natural Remedies for Relieving Anxiety in Flat-Coated Retriever

Aside from the strategies mentioned above, some natural remedies also help reduce anxiety in your flat-coated retriever. Here are a few of them:

1: Essential Oils

Essential oils are concentrated natural plant extracts that can promote relaxation and calmness in dogs. Some essential oils safe for dogs include lavender, chamomile, frankincense, and cedarwood. You can use them in several ways, such as diffusing them in the air, applying them topically, or adding them to your dog’s bathwater. However, it’s important to note that not all essential oils are safe for dogs, and some can be toxic. Always consult with your veterinarian before using any essential oils on your dog.

2: CBD Oil

CBD oil is a natural extract from the hemp plant that has been found to have therapeutic effects on dogs. It contains a compound called cannabidiol that interacts with the endocannabinoid system in dogs’ bodies, helping to regulate mood, sleep, and anxiety. CBD oil is available in various forms, such as tinctures, capsules, and treats. However, not all CBD oil products are equal in quality and potency. Always choose a reputable brand that uses organic hemp and third-party lab tests its products.

3: Herbs

Certain herbs have calming and soothing effects on dogs, making them an effective natural remedy for anxiety. Some safe dog herbs include valerian, passionflower, skullcap, and chamomile. You can brew them into tea and add them to your dog’s food or water or use them in tincture or capsule forms. Herbs can be a great alternative to pharmaceutical medication for anxiety. Still, it’s important to consult your veterinarian before using them to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your dog.

4: Bach Flower Essences

Bach Flower essences are a form of homeopathic remedies that use plant and flower extracts to balance emotions and restore inner peace. Many Bach Flower essences can benefit dogs with anxiety, such as Rescue Remedy, Mimulus, Aspen, and Rock Rose. You can add Bach Flower essences to your dog’s water or food or applied topically onto their skin. They are safe, gentle, and non-toxic, making them an excellent natural remedy for anxious dogs.

5: Homeopathic Remedies

Homeopathy is a system of medicine that uses highly diluted natural substances to stimulate the body’s innate healing ability. You can use several homeopathic remedies to treat anxiety in dogs, such as Aconite, Argentum Nitricum, and Ignatia. Homeopathic remedies are safe, gentle, and effective, but working with a qualified homeopathic veterinarian is essential to prescribe the right remedy and dosage.

You can help your flat-coated retriever feel more relaxed with the right natural remedies and loving care.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Flat-Coated Retrievers be aggressive?

Flat-Coated Retrievers are typically not aggressive dogs. They’re known for their friendly and affectionate nature, which often extends to strangers. However, like any dog breed, a Flat-Coated Retriever can become aggressive if they’re not socialized properly or feel threatened. Thus, you must socialize with them at a young age and continue exposing them to new experiences and people throughout their life.

Can Flat-Coated Retrievers be left alone?

Flat-Coated Retrievers are social animals and thrive on human interaction. They can become anxious and destructive if left alone for long periods. If you’re adopting a Flat Coats Retriever, it’s recommended that they are not left alone for more than six to eight hours a day. They benefit from interacting with people and other dogs and can become depressed if left alone for long periods.

Does Flat Coat Retriever bark a lot when scared?

Unlike other breeds, Flat Coat Retriever is not known for excessive barking when scared. They are not naturally aggressive or fearful dogs, and with proper training, they can learn to be quiet and confident in new situations. However, if a situation feels threatening, they may bark to alert their owners or warn off intruders.

How much exercise do Flat-Coated Retrievers need?

Flat-Coated Retrievers are high-energy and require regular daily exercise to keep them healthy and happy. They benefit from long walks, runs, and playtime in the backyard. Flat Coat Retrievers also enjoy swimming and are known to be excellent swimmers. A lack of exercise can lead to obesity and behavioral issues in this breed.

Final Words

Anxiety in flat-coated retrievers is a topic that is not only important but also intriguing. It is clear that these loving and energetic dogs are prone to anxiety, just like humans. Follow the tips and advice in this article to understand better and help your flat-coated retriever with their anxiety. Using a combination of natural remedies and behavior modification techniques and providing plenty of daily exercise and enrichment activities, you can ensure your flat-coated retriever is happy and healthy for years to come.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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