I have a 4 year old lab. He's the happiest dog I've ever had, you just look at him and he starts wagging.

My daughter (she's an adult) comes to visit me and my wife every 6 months or so, my lab is in total love with her. As soon as she gets out of her truck he goes insane to get to her to love her up. I don't understand it. He's been like this since he was a puppy with her, she's the only one he'll lick, he licks her face, he sits on or beside her and follows her everywhere and waits by her door in the morning and goes crazy when she gets up. He loves us and is always happy but when she comes it puts him into a whole other world it's like he's euphoric. When she goes back home he mopes around for a day or so.

What could be the reason for that behavior?

1 Answer 1


This actually is a very common problem for us with our dog and other people as well as other dogs. Whenever my sister comes to stay with her dog for a few days at our place and then leaves, our Rat Terrier/Sheltie mix always mopes for about a day and looks around for them. I believe it is simply habit/comfort. They are used to a person or animal being around and they feel uneasy when that person leaves, especially if they have a strong attachment to them.
In the case of my sister's dog, my sister often forgets one her dog's toys and then our dog, who doesn't really play with toys all that often, becomes obsessed with it.

What I would suggest is getting your daughter to leave something behind that has her scent such as a shirt or sweater she has worn but not washed yet. We actually used to do this when we kennel trained our dog as a puppy. I had a long sleeved t-shirt that pretty much stayed in his kennel 24/7 for the first year we had him. The scent reminds them of the person and can help calm them if they are uneasy about the change.

This isn't actually specific to dogs either. Humans also strongly associate scents with our memories, dogs just have it that much stronger.

See: How dogs remember, How Does a Dog's Brain Respond to the Smell of a Familiar Human?

  • Leaving an unwashed piece of clothing is a great idea. Thank you. He did mope about for days. It's a pitiful sight. He's all good now. He'll see her again in June.
    – John
    Dec 9, 2016 at 16:20

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