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We have two Goldens, Abby 11 and Tess 7. Abby is one of the most clever dogs I have ever seen. She is always amazing us. However, in the last few months she has been exhibiting very odd behaviour. When our son comes over, Abby who has known and loved him since she was a puppy now gets extremely anxious. She jumps up on my wife and me; she pants heavily, she wants to go outside then barks to get in and so on. It is really upsetting to all of us because Abby is such a sweet and gentle dog. She exhibits the same behaviour when our other son visits from the UK which is infrequent. she is not that way with other men visitors. Someone suggested that it might be because she is sensing physical weakness in me who she adores and is worried that my sons might try to take over.

i would be grateful for any thoughts people may have on this.
thanks
 

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Whatever the reason, she honestly won't be thinking your sons might 'take over'. But possibly something is causing her to be a little anxious.

Is there anything else that seems different - I was wondering if it could be the start of canine cognitive dysfunction (doggy dementia). There are medications that can slow it, it might be worth having a word with your vet.

Also, before your sons visit, perhaps consider using a pheromone product. I'm in the UK so you will have different brands, but here we have a product called Adaptil. It comes in a spray (for blankets etc., not for directly on to the dog), a collar and a diffuser. It replicates the hormone a bitch has after having puppies and has a calming effect on dogs.
 

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Thanks Joanne for your suggestions. I looked up the symptoms for doggie dementia and they don't seem to fit with Abby's situation. We got Abby as a pup after I returned home from a very serious surgery. That dear, sweet puppy seemed to know that I was not well and took on the role of looking after me. One day many years ago when i was walking her, I slipped on some ice (we live in southern Ontario). A few days later when we were walking on the sidewalk she stopped and refused to go forward. I finally realized it was because there was a patch of ice on the sidewalk. We went around it and she was fine, but she stopped and refused to go forward at every ice patch. Now, many years later, if there is ice on the driveway she will not go for a walk. In the winter i wear gloves on our walk, and when she has walked far enough she comes and pulls off a glove and proceeds to lead the way home no matter where we are In the town. Whenever I get ready to go out of the house she looks at me quizzically and wants an explanation. When I explain that I am going in the car and will be back soon she is fine and puts her head back down - she just wants to know. What is so puzzling to us is that none of her behavioural patterns have really changed except that she freaks out when our sons visit. One son lives nearby and comes often. It is distressing to him because he has known Abby all her life and she always adored him. She doesn’t show any signs of being afraid of him and will let him pet her, but she has some type of anxiety attack. Often she will go to the door and desperately want out. Of late, I have taken to walking around the house and she follows my every step - difficult to have a conversation.
 
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