Separation anxiety issues are tough to overcome, but they can be with some commitment, patience, and time. Normally a dog is reacting to something they fear, like you leaving and thinking you are not coming back. Here are some things that have worked for some people:
Most dogs, especially Labs and Goldens, need daily exercise. For a younger dog you should try for a good solid hour if you can, older dogs obviously don't need as much. Even a walk around the block helps stimulate the mind as well as the body.
Crate training is very effective, but you have to know how to do this effectively without it being a negative association. There is very good information on the net on how to effectively crate train. Just remember, it is for short periods of time (no more than four hours at at time, max), and it needs to have a positive association (like treats put in it), and the dog should be exercised. Crate training needs to be done with positive methods otherwise it can backfire.
This is a spray or plug in, effective at treating separation anxiety and behavioral issues. If you crate train, you can spray this in their crate about 15 mins before putting them in there. The best pricing we've found is on www.kvvet.com. The info on this is on their home page.
if your dog is destructive immediately after you leave (within ½ hour…usually within minutes) you have separation anxiety. If it is later, you may just have a bored dog that needs some exercise and attention. It is important to know the difference. If it is separation anxiety, there is much on the internet in ways of treating. Another suggestion is to keep pretending like you are leaving (taking your keys, jiggling them) walking out the door then immediately returning through another door. You have to do this quite a bit, daily, until you don’t see them react to your coming and going.
There is a lot of junk out there… like kids, they need a healthy diet. One readily available is Solid Gold.
Dogs benefit from positive training methods/classes. It challenges them and gives you a better dog in the end.
As we mentioned above, exercise is very important. Bored dogs can be destructive and develop behavioral issues. Bottom line, they need daily exercise. There is also a really good dog magazine called The Whole Dog Journal, a great resource for many things,you can also order back issues based on the info you're looking for.
We hope this helps and that you can make the changes necessary to have a happy and balanced dog. In the end they give back so much and really ask little in return. The reward is high but you definitely need to have the time and commitment.