How Does Your Dog Greet You When You Come Home?

Honey the Golden Retriever is sad and wet.

If you go away for a month again, I’ll put wet paws all over you. That’ll show ya.

While getting ready to return home after a month in Panama, Mike and I debated: How would Honey greet us when we got home?

Here’s some background:

If a friend, neighbor, contractor, or pizza delivery person comes to the door, Honey responds like one of those dogs greeting their long-lost person after months away in the military. You know the ones I mean. Or, if you don’t, here’s a video to remind you.

That’s gotta make you feel loved, huh? Of course, some of those dogs probably respond the same way when their person comes back from picking up ice cream. Or maybe especiallyif their person has just returned from getting ice cream.

How does Honey greet us when we come home from work?

Let’s just say her response is subdued. She’s calm and mild. She picks up a toy in her mouth, greets us at the door, and then leads us to the back door so we can let her out for a break.

But would she be as calm if we were returning after a month away?

Mike said no. He thought her greeting when we got home would be more like her enthusiastic greeting for a stranger. After all, she’s been missing us for a month.

I said she’d probably be as calm as ever and would greet us the same way after a month away as she does when we’re only gone a few hours.

Who do you think won the debate? Was Honey insanely happy to see us and as excited as she normally gets with any stranger? Or did she act like we gone for no more than a few hours?

Leave your guess in the comments; I’ll give the answer tomorrow. And tell us how your dog responds when you return from being away. Is there any difference if you’re away for many days instead of just a few hours?


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  1. You guys were gone for a long time. I say Honey wagged her tail, excited for a while but stayed calmly. Lots of Golden Woofs, Sugar

  2. WELCOME BACK!!! My guess is that all your bloggy friends will greet you more enthusiastically than Honey did. :-)

    Also, sincerest apologies for that FB thread. I can only guess that you have literally thousands of unread messages on that thing. lol

  3. Welcome back – we sure missed you. I bet Honey was over the moon happy to see you! Our guys have the same routine – Jack stands solidly at the door not taking his eyes off us and then follows me around. Maggie circles the entry way and then runs outside and rolls in the grass – so I”m not so sure she missed us, she missed rolling in the grass.

  4. Julie Blackwelder says:

    I believe all of the dogs in the video believed the owner had died and were so excited because them coming home, to the dogs, was a miracle! I believe Honey would be the same way – ecstatic, excited, effervescent and probably even vocal too.

  5. When I return home after a long absence (a few days or so), they are excited but less excited than when I come home at the end of a regular day. Once their excitement subdues, they ignore me for awhile. I think it’s their passive-aggressive way of saying, “Hmmph. This is what we REALLY thought of you leaving us.” Then Lightning poops upstairs.

    Can’t wait to hear how Honey greeted you. I hope it was like the soldier was greeted. How was Panama?

    • Bwa ha ha. Sounds like Lightning has a passive aggressive streak. At least he’s not as bad as a cat. I hear they sometimes poop in the beds of their people who go away. :)

      Panama was great. We only spent 2 days on the mainland in Panama City. They rest was at anchor among the Kuna Yala islands. I have a couple of pictures from the trip on today’s post.

  6. Welcome Back!! We have missed you! And I am pretty sure Honey was super happy and excited to see you. She IS a Golden Retriever after all. You may have taught her how to behave when you come home after a few hours; but you left for a month…long enough for her to start wondering if you were ever coming home. She was probably beginning to think that her your friend is her new family.

    Callie and Shadow ALWAYS make us feel loved when we come home, regardless of how long we’ve been gone — providing of course they aren’t asleep in the back bedroom. Callie does her little happy dance and weaves thru and around our legs. Shadow tries to slobber all over our faces, but she does her own happy dance. Ducky sits right behind the crate door until I open it. Then she does her happy wiggle-worm dance on her back…and “sings” too! When Sam comes home from work, she runs to the door and barks until he comes inside. Then she follows him around the house until he finally sits in his recliner…She jumps up in his lap and “attacks” him with sweet little puppy kisses til he says “uncle” & pushes her away gently. It’s really cute. Ducky loves us equally, for different reasons, but watching her with Sam just makes me glow. I am SOOOOOOO glad that we kept her, every day I thank God for not allowing us to re-home her!

    • Loved reading about Callie weaving in your legs. Honey did the exact same thing. :)

      BTW, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a video on your site of Ducky greeting Sam. If you haven’t filmed it, you definitely should. She sounds so adorable.

      And BTW, I’m also very happy that you stuck it out with Ducky. I know how hard you found it when she first came home with you. It sounds like the magic of doggie daycare and some patience have done a great job for you.

  7. Sorry that reply was so long! I know it’s probably the last thing you want to see — a LONG reply from anyone — when you’re trying to get reorganized! Believe me, I would not be offended if you wait a while to read it! :-)

  8. I think Honey was VERY excited. My dogs greet me very exuberantly everyday but that’s because they know I’m there to feed them! I have to say though that the greeting I get after a long weekend (that’s the longest length I have been away from them) they are more excited than just a day away at work. But then my pups know the difference between M-F vs S-S, but they are extra smart that way :) After a long weekend lots more jumping, vocalizing and head bumping of me.

    Happy you are back, I know Honey was happy too. Can’t wait to hear about your trip.

  9. Since dogs don’t count the days like you humans, I would guess that she will be about the same, maybe a bit more tail wagging.

    • You’re so right, Emma, that dogs don’t count days the way we do. But Anne made an interesting point in a later comment. She said that over time, our scent probably faded in the house making our long absence really different from being gone for a few hours.

      I wish you pups could teach me what it’s like to understand the world through my nose. :)

  10. I’ll bet she danced and wagged (her tail and tongue) a bit more than usual, but WAY more ladylike than that Hanna Montana actor at the VMAs. 😀

    Welcome back!

  11. Interestingly, they say that after two weeks away, a dog essentially thinks you are gone for good, leaving your ever diminishing scent, something like a loved one who dies and leaves their effects in the house. When you reappear suddenly, for the dog it’s like seeing a ghost. It’s a bit discombobulating, to say the least. I know I’ve been gone for two weeks and the Wieners reaction was one of shock, then joy. The shock part will last as long as the individual dog ‘s ability to cope and adjust. Franny is always slowest to come to me, the shock to her system real and prolonged, but I think she misses me the most because I am her little slave lol. Those videos that show the dog jumping for joy when their person comes home may not show the initial shock the dog feels. Needless to say, I think it’s a bit hard on any pet that loses their person for a long time…time is relative to their time-sense versus ours- and I always feel bad that they feel that separation pain. After all, they don’t know what we know…that we’ll be back.

    • Very interesting reminder that as our scent fades it affects how our dogs perceive our absence. I’ll be thinking about this for a while.

      It’s true that Honey had a moment of discombobulation and we did too. When I walked in the door, I hardly recognized her and thought she looked much tinier than I remembered.

  12. I’m guessing you got a “home is the warrior” type of greeting. I’ve never had a
    Golden, but my Poodles give me the complete happy dance when I come out of the shower. It’s one of their jobs and they have perfected it, but I’m not sure it is completely sincere.

    • I’m going to have to tell Honey to step up her game. I’ve never gotten a happy dance just for getting out of the shower. :)

  13. Since our dogs greeting is the same “we were apart for SO long and I thought we’d never be together again” whether I go away overnight or to get the mail on the porch, I’m going to guess Honey gave you the same old home from work greeting. Hope you had fun!

  14. We have had this same debate in our house! We were only gone for four days though. We were met with the normal enthusiasm plus an out of he ordinary jump from my senior hound. My guess for you is normal greeting plus a helicopter tail :)

  15. Welcome back! Can’t wait to hear about your adventures at sea!! I bet Honey was more excited than usual but maybe not to the level of the video. My guys are all different: Lucas stands back, swishing his tail, waiting for us to come greet him whether we’ve been gone for 5 minutes or 5 days. After short spurts, Emmett wags, but after longer separations, he hops (it’s THE cutest thing). Cooper… well, Cooper always has to be special. :) He barks and barks and barks as if he’s SHOUTING at us, “How could you leave me? I was by myself! There were NO HUMANS HERE. How COULD you?” If we’re gone for a couple hours, the barking lasts under a minute. If we’re gone for days, he can yell at us for five or more minutes. I’m sure there’s a non-anthropomorphic explanation, but it sure feels like he’s scolding us.

    • Your comment demonstrates the best part of having multiple dogs–seeing their different personalities side by side. I can almost hear Cooper “scolding” you. :)

  16. WELCOME HOME! I want to hear all about Panama! yes, yes!! and Honey? She’s all excited, jumping and she even grabbed the trailer for a bike ride, she is so happy to see you. Was I right, was I? (OK, I’m still pumped by that awesome video).

  17. First off – WELCOME HOME. It really doesn’t seem like a month has passed already. Hope you had a fun time and learned lots about sailing!

    As for the bet, I’m going with Mike on this one. I bet she practically threw you a party when you walked in the house. :-)

    • Actually, I think she had as hard a time recognizing us after such a long time away as we did recognizing her.

      I kept thinking she looked awfully small. This couldn’t be my dog. :)

  18. I bet she was off the charts. I get an enthusiastic greeting when I come home every day, but if I’ve been away overnight or even longer, I get a dog plastered up against me when I sleep. It’s the best.

    Welcome home!! And if Honey didn’t give you the welcome I think she did. I’m wagging over here. :-)

  19. Welcome home!! Can’t wait to hear about the trip. For some unknown reason Youtube gives me no sound since yesterday so I’ll have to save the video til I get that sorted.

    I would have thought Honey’s reaction to your homecoming would have been somewhere in the middle of your suggestions but as that isn’t an option I’ll go with she acted like you were gone for more than a few hours :)

    I deliberately keep my comings and goings low key as some days I can be gone for 14 hours and I don’t want the dogs thinking I’m never coming back. I do get a lovely welcome home but it doesn’t vary much and isn’t OTT. I don’t know what F&B would be like if I went away for any length of time. I imagine Frankie would be extremely pleased to see me and Beryl would be in a hurry to get back on my/our bed and give me the stink eye until that happened!

    • I’m a big fan of the low key leaving. I worked very hard to look like I was leaving for work when we left the house before our trip. Luckily Honey didn’t see me running for the bus after my husband forgot to tell me it stopped at a different stop than I was expecting. :)

  20. I think Honey will go absolutely crazy. After all, she expected you home every day for a month and you didn’t come. Maya & Pierson are like Honey as well. If I just go out for a day, they could care less about when I come home. But if I’m gone for several days, then all heck breaks loose. I have to bend down to pet them or they will knock me over. I get enough slobber on my hands and face to last a lifetime. I event get a few nail scratches on my arms from them trying to climb on me. I LOVE IT!

    • I’d consider sending Honey for greeting lessons from Maya and Pierson but I don’t need the nail scratches. :)

      It’s lucky I love Honey for her calm serenity because if I had low self esteem, I’d be very sad for her usual greeting after a month away. :)

  21. I bet she was insanely happy to see you. Our dogs are pretty enthusiastic to see us come home just from work, but I think they’re more happy to be let outside than seeing us (they are jumping at the door when they see us). They act about the same way if we go away for a few days, we are probably the ones that act insanely happy to see them!
    I hope you had a good trip, but it’s always nice to be home, isn’t it?

  22. Hopefully she doesn’t greet you with the raised eyebrow and cold shoulder like some pets I’ve known — sweet Honey doesn’t seem the type, though. I’m going for toy-in-mouth sideways c-shaped wiggle then a lean and slide down the leg while rolling for belly rubs.

    • Yep, you almost nailed it. Substitute a walk through my legs for a long but scratch instead of the belly rubs and you’d be perfect.

      And, of course, she’d never cold shoulder anyone. :)

  23. Grunt greets me enthusiastically every time I walk in, if I’ve left his sight. He howls in happiness and wants to bring you a toy. Socks count as toys for greeting purposes. He wags his tail so hard it makes his whole body shimmy as he’s doing the circle dance to get more pets, to see what I smell like, did I see the toy yet, pet his front end, wait pet his back end, did I notice the toy he brought me?

    I always thought it was because I also greet him happily when I see him- I pet him and take his toy and play for a minute, I howl back at him.

    My roommate can walk in and while Grunt may run up to say hi, it seems to me as if he sees who it is and deliberately doesn’t seem excited. Oh it you, treatment. My husband gets a much more brief version of my greeting. So I feel special.

    Extended time away definitely increases his go-nuts-o-meter upon our return. Really, it’s just the greeting I normally get, but louder and longer and more frantic to do everything all at once.

    • So do you know what the toy thing is all about? I think if it like a sort of pacifier. But it might be a doggy version of a gift. Or, like you mentioned with Grunt, an invitation to play.

      I wish Honey could talk so I could ask her. :)

  24. Welcome home!
    My guess is it was complete and total insanity when Honey saw you. And then she was asking what you brought back for her.
    My guys get excited when I come home especially if I made a trip to the pet store, but they amp it up when I’ve been gone a few days.

  25. Welcome back! I have no idea, but I hope there is a video to show us :) I know she was excited!!!

    • Wow, I REALLY have been away for a long time. What in our friendship has ever led you to believe I’d be organized enough to know where my camera was to take happy pictures of my pup after a month traveling? :)

      But I really wish I had gotten the camera ready for our entrance.

  26. Hi Pamela! Hope you had a great trip.

    I think she will be very excited to see you and Mike. Tail wagging and barking, jumping up and down. Yay, I’m with Mike, I think she will go crazy!!

  27. I would guess she was SUPER excited, a month is a long time. These guys are always excited, even after 10 minutes away.

    • Perhaps a month is long enough for Honey to forget us. She reacted more calmly than our foster dogs who just came back to us. :)

  28. I think Honey will be SUPER excited and will be very animated! Can’t wait to see how she reacts :) Welcome home!

  29. welcome back! I bet Honey went CRAZY when she saw you

  30. I think Honey was really excited to see you and made sure you knew. I imagine she then calmed down fairly quickly and kept a careful watch on you for a few hours. That’s how I behave when they’ve been gone for a few weeks.

  31. Vlad & Barkly's Dee says:

    Welcome Home!!! Vlad & Barkly have only been without me once–this past July when I had pneumonia. Normally they’re excited as all get out when I come home from being gone even only 30 minutes. That time they were pouty for a whole day after I came back home, and hubs said they acted depressed the whole time after he came home alone the first night. I wouldn’t have expected that of them, so I have NO idea how Honey reacted. Now, when are the photo posts going to begin???? 😀

    • You must be very loved to inspire depression when you got sick. Honey gets sad when a foster dog she likes goes home. But our pet sitter said she was fine when we were gone.

      I guess I’m glad she did okay but it would be nice to know she missed me a little bit. :)

      BTW, I put a few pix up on today’s blog post. I’ll scatter a few here and there over the next week.

  32. I bet she will be super excited to see you. My partners dog has started to react differently when I get home, after rolling on his side for belly rubs, he will stick to my legs and give them a good sniff to find out what I have been up to. Whereas previously I would get a wagging tail and that would be about it. (Which was unusually as I was used to the greeting I got from my cairn, who was so enthusiastic when I got home). As I am about to move out of the house I share with my partner, or now ex, I am looking forward to seeing how BD greets me when I return for the weekly walk I am going to be taking him on – I am going to miss him SO much!!

  33. When I’ve left Our Best Friend at the sitter (twice), he couldn’t get out of there fast enough once I came back. But when I come home to our house after an absence, it’s just a slightly-ramped up version of his usual enthusiasm.

    I cheated– I read tomorrow’s post first, so I know what Honey did. :)

  34. This tells you how far behind on my blog reading, but I’m glad you’re home!