Golden Retriever Training
When thinking about Golden Retriever dog training, Los Angeles parents like most people, conjure up images of the quintessential household pet. A family-loving, beautiful, glowing, happy-go-lucky pet that gets along with all dogs, cats, and people.
Golden Retrievers can make wonderful pets, therapy dogs, emotional support animals, service dogs, or working dogs. However, all dogs are individuals and there are many health, maintenance, and typical Golden Retriever training and dog behavior tips and considerations before adopting or buying this dog breed.
Understanding Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve with a soft mouth and not to puncture rip or destroy what they are retrieving. This explains why they make excellent helpers around the house collecting your socks and shoes. Golden Retrievers were originally used by hunters who kill other sentient beings but hopefully are not now for the sake of our planet and for compassion to all sentient beings.
Golden Retrievers love the water and are known to find that one puddle on a dog walk to lie in or to splash around. Most likely directly after you bathed them. You will have a hard time getting your Golden Retriever out of the pool, lake, or ocean. However, that is not such a bad thing. They may even want to join you in the shower or bathtub. Their proclivity for water can be fun or annoying depending on your perspective.
Like most dogs, they are social and gregarious by nature. A properly bred and healthy Golden Retriever will be affable, easy, and eager to train with the right fear-free dog trainer. Never use compulsion or force to train a Golden Retriever or any dog as that destroys the bond you have with your pet, will make the dog confused, unpredictable, and make a problem behavior much worse. The emotional fallout of punishment-based training is severe and extremely damaging to a dog.
Many Golden Retrievers are very motivated, trainable, and eager to work, making them wonderful service dogs that suit their breeding to retrieve keys, medicine, items, open and close doors, turn on lights, and many other service dog tasks. Because Golden Retrievers love affection so much they can make wonderful Therapy dog teams and Emotional Support Animals (ESAs).
Golden retrievers are eager to learn, motivated, and intelligent puppies. They should be trained by a breeder as soon as they are born with proper husbandry, gentling and basic cues. All dogs during their sensitive period (roughly 3~13 weeks) should be socialized with special attention paid to different developmental periods, fear, play, socialization enrichment, and overall temperament.
Contrary to some outdated veterinarian advice, no dog should be quarantined as a puppy and kept away from other dogs or people until they receive their last vaccination shots. A behavioral vaccination is far more important and vital to set up a dog for lifelong success than the minute risk of distemper or parvovirus.
Use common sense and keep your new unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated puppy away from urine and feces on the ground, from dog parks, and highly trafficked dog areas. Even more so if you are in an environment where it doesn’t rain much. Also, only allow your puppy to interact with and play with other healthy and friendly dogs.
Common Golden Retriever Dog Training Problems
All dogs’ complete health should be cared for via their neonatal, transitional, socialization, sensitive, and integration periods, 1-21 weeks, and puppies in their juvenile period and older, ~21 weeks +. However, that is in an ideal world and most breeders do not provide this level of care or understanding. Hence your mileage will vary and your dog’s phenotype and genotype (nature-nurture) combination will dictate your dog’s temperament, personality, fear, confidence, and behavioral composition.
Most Golden Retrievers are fun-loving love bugs who want to be petted consistently and to be with the family at all times. However, a Golden Retriever puppy who is not trained well or who was neglected during these important cognitive, emotional and biological predetermined growth phases or genetically predisposed through show dog or poor breeding, may easily exhibit any of the following natural behaviors that cause problems for families.
- Pushiness (Nosing, nudging, or pawing at you for attention)
- Leash pulling
- Puppy nipping and biting
- Dog barking
- Dog anxiety
- Jumping up
- Resource Guarding
- Fear Aggression
- Resource Aggression
- Dog Aggression
- Potty Training issues
- Separation Anxiety
If your Golden Retriever needs more training and behavior modification work than you have the time or expertise, consider sending your Gold Retriever for Boarding and Training Boot Bamp in Los Angles. Even though we are in Los Angeles, California, parents of Goldens with problem behaviors come to us from all around the country.
What Products and Dog Training Equipment Should I Buy For A Golden Retriever Dog?
Golden Retrievers are a medium-large dog breed that needs to be trained well with gentle, positive reinforcement dog training to achieve the best (and most humane) dog training results. Regardless of the age of your Golden Retriever, whether they are a puppy, adolescent or senior Golden Retriever, all of the following will help a parent throughout the life of your Retriever.
Essential Golden Retriever Dog and Puppy Training and Wellness Products
- Xpen/Puppy Pen – An Xpen has so many uses both indoors and outdoors. Because it is modular you can use it instead of baby gates or make a temporary blockade for irregular shaped rooms and open spaces or rooms with no traditional doors
- Baby gate – Dog baby gates have so many uses. I use it because I don’t allow dogs in the kitchen, but you can use it to block off the baby’s room or for any reason at all.
- Dog Crates – I use this one for medium-large breed dogs such as the Golden Retriever but try and get one specifically for your size dog.
- Dog Beds – I always have many beds for dogs so they can choose the texture, height, plushness, and fabric that they prefer.
- Car Hammock – is a must for large dogs that do not fit in crates or more specifically when the crate does not fit in the car or SUV.
- Kong Black – (Black is for the toughest of dog chewers, red Kong is for lighter chewers, and purple Kong toys for senior dogs) I recommend getting at least a dozen of these as they have so many uses, and your dog will love them.
- Bowls – Maze dog bowls are wonderful for dogs to receive cognitive enrichment and to improve digestion by slowing down a dog’s eating. There are so many wonderful dog bowls to choose from. Also, make sure you get retractable dog bowls for when you are out and about with your dog.
- Dog Toys – Go wild here and get many different shapes, sizes, textures, sounds, firmness, smells, etc., but remember, just buying 100 toys won’t mean your dog will like toys. Make sure to read, how to get your dog to like their toys, before you buy dozens of dog toys.
- Dog Harness – My favorite dog harness is this one because it is tough, affordable, made very well, has front and rear attachments, easily adjustable, long-lasting, light, and has built-in reflective trim.
- Dog Collar – There are tons of dog collars to choose from. Remember, dog collars are not for attaching a leash to. Think of them as a necklace just to hold your dog’s tags and your information in case your pet gets lost.
- Dog Backpack – Expensive but worth it and likely the last and only pack you will ever buy. Also the most ergonomic to fit your dog. I use a dog back backpack to hold mine and the dog’s brush, leashes, harness, water, keys, wallet, phone, balls, ropes and other toys, poop bags, extra dog supplies, clothes, etc.
- Dog Leash 6’ – That is the leash I use for a quick pee or poop if I am in a rush or want to keep my dog close by my side for the entire walk.
- Dog Leash 15’ – what I use for most dog training walks. It is the most adjustable and the best balance between length and ease of managing. However, it still takes practice to get used to and not recommended for a reactive or untrained dog.
- Dog Leash 30’ – what I use for simulated off-leash experiences (at the beach, park, large open spaces, practicing recalls, and other “off-leash” training skills) A parent needs much more skill to use a 30’ leash safely and effectively. Start with a much smaller leash and work your way up as you build your confidence and proficiency.
- Clicker Training – Have many of these all around the house as they tend to break often and get lost (at least in my home). Each person in the family who interacts with your dog should have one or more clickers.
- Dog Training Pouch – Each person should have their own dog training pouch who is interacting with your pet.
- Dog Treats – Dog training treats are a very large category. So do your homework and try to use as healthy a treat as your dog finds attractive. These are the dog training treats that I use regularly for training.
- Dog Food Storage – Dog food goes bad and has an expiration date. Also, the larger the bag the more oxidation occurs and the quicker vitamins, nutrients, and minerals diminish over time. Try and keep your dog’s food as fresh and sealed as possible.
- Dog Video Camera – A dog camera, two-way audio and treat dispensing device have innumerable uses. For separation distress or Separation Anxiety Disorder, for training while not at home or while out of sight, and for soothing your anxious dog by speaking to them through the device as if you were in the room. However, the most fun and obvious uses are to simply spy on your dog while you are not home, to see and hear what they are up to!
- XL Poop Bags – Trust me on this one, don’t skimp out on small or even large bags, you will regret it! Large dogs make large deposits, get biodegradable bags and bags that don’t get shipped with or use plastic at all (looking at you, the core inner roller, or dog poop bags). Also, pro-tip, dog poop bags make a great emergency waterproof bag for your keys, phone, or electronics, and also an emergency dog water bowl. Always have double the amount of poop bags you think you will need, to offer a parent in a pinch or if your dog decides to take three poops that walk.
- Dog Brush – Being this beautiful ain’t easy! Say hello to your new best friend. Golden Retrievers need lots of brushing and grooming and this brush will be in your back pocket, or dog backpack often.
- Ear Cleaner – Dog ear cleaner is pretty self-explanatory. Dog’s get ear wax build-up just like we do so you will be cleaning their ears regularly to prevent infection and to massage their ears, which most dogs love.
- Dog Nail Clippers – Some dogs have a fear of nail clippers. If your dog has a fear of any of the items on this list or anyone or anything in life don’t forget to hire a competent Certified Fear-Free Dog Behaviorist and Trainer who teaches you how to desensitize and countercondition your dog to their fear and anxiety.
- Dog Probiotics – Just as with people, probiotics are very healthy for a dog’s gut, mental, and emotional state.
- Dog Supplements – Dog supplements work wonders for dogs with fear anxiety and stress and to help take the edge off hyper-vigilant, reactive dogs that haven’t been taught yet to relax and settle.
- Dog Towels – I don’t have to tell you why towels are great. But I will. any towels are wonderful for drying your dog off after they go to the beach, in the pool, splash in rain puddles, or after bath time. I also use towels sometimes when an adolescent or puppy dog destroys beds or is not house trained yet. You can make a bed out of several towels and they are much cheaper than buying a new bed every other day.
- Bathing licks – Make bath time fun not scary! Your veterinarian should also be a Certified Fear-Free practice and use these in some way in the exam rooms.
- Berkey Water Filter – I use this for myself and all of my pets. The filters last for years, not needing to destroy the planet with replacing plastic filters often and the water tastes incredible.
Golden Retriever Puppy Specific (in addition to the above)
- Enzymatic Cleaner – Let’s face it, puppies pee on the floor, carpet, or rug and are going to make mistakes. You are going to need to clean your dog’s urine and feces with an enzymatic formula that not only eliminates smells for us but destroys the proteins and smells from your puppy’s strong olfactory glands.
- Garbage – This is the one that I have, but any self-closing, tight-sealing garbage will do to keep odors at bay
- Puppy Wee Pads – For potty training your puppy pee pads are mandatory as well as some artificial turf mentioned below
- Dog Artificial Turf – Perfect for city folks, or do not have access to grass while potty training.
- Puppy Kong Toys – Puppy-specific Kong Toys come in pink or blue I recommend getting at least a dozen of these as they have so many uses and your dog will love them.
- Dyson Pet Vacuum – Expensive but not when you use it every single day for years. This is an awesome pet vacuum.
Should I Get A Golden Retriever As My First Dog?
Yes. Because Golden Retrievers are so trainable and motivated, you will have a wonderful time building your connection and bond with your dog while training and working together.
Golden Retrievers require a lot of time and attention. They are not suited well to be left alone for most of the day. On the spectrum of independence, golden retrievers are much more dependent than other breeds and can develop Separation Anxiety Disorder.
Are Golden Retrievers Good Family Dogs?
Yes, Golden Retrievers make wonderful family dogs because when bred healthily they have very few behavior problems, love all people, are very tolerant of children, and unfamiliar people. They are also very docile and friendly towards other dogs and cats.
Golden Retrievers make great city dogs or country dogs as long as their needs are met. Most dogs are time intensive and not space-intensive. If your schedule permits or you have resources to hire a dog walker, pet sitter, or dog boarding facility, please do. Golden Retrievers love to be out and about and walk and exercise.
Do not get a golden retriever if you are looking for a guard dog or a dog that has a presence to intimidate or keep people away from your home or while out on the street. Your dog will likely look to lick a burglar’s face and get pets from them than scare them away.
How Your Golden Retriever Sees Training
Golden Retrievers are kind, gentle, and loving and look to connect with people. Golden Retrievers love to engage, work, exercise, and do things with parents. If you are giving your Golden Retriever attention they are happy.
Training is a way to build a strong ineffable bond with your best friend and also to have a well-behaved dog. The more time you spend dog training, the more fulfilling your relationship will become. Take advantage of Golden Retrievers’ patience, intelligence, and desire for attention, to please, and to work. Your Retriever will love positive reinforcement dog training.
How Much Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
A lot. So be prepared to get your long-coated Golden Retriever groomed regularly and make sure to use desensitization and counterconditioning with any natural fears or anxiety a dog will most likely have to a novel and potentially scary and unfamiliar environments such as a groomer, bathtub, or new person.
On the bright side, a Golden is likely to love people, the bathtub, and getting wet, making that part of the grooming process easier.
What Should I Feed My Golden Retriever Puppy Dog?
All dogs need attention to their nutritional profile, however large breed puppy dogs need special attention to their calcium, energy, vitamin, mineral, and nutrient intake during their growth phase. As with all dogs health checkups, vaccinations and veterinarian care will be mandatory as well.
Nothing is a hotter topic than what to feed a dog. That’s OK because we are simply providing you with the facts, not conventional wisdom, belief, tradition, or hearsay, or even my personal experiences. Just non-biased, evidence-based published research and review papers. I show you the most current and up-to-date canine nutritional evidence and you make your own decision regarding your dog’s health and what or who to feed them.
Should you feed a dog a raw diet, (also read here, here, and here) extruded dry kibble, organic, semi-raw, freeze-dried, or a homemade vegan diet? While dogs are classified in the Order Carnivora, dogs are not obligate carnivores like our other feline household pets. In fact, dogs are not carnivores and can thrive on plant-based diets.
All diets require being properly formulated, balanced, and complete regardless of what (or who) we are feeding our pets. Luckily for us (and dogs) dogs have adapted to scavenge and forage over tens of thousands of years and can digest carbohydrates.
However, since plant-based diets have by far the least impact on the environment and is sustainable, and is the most a person can do to lower the planet’s greenhouse gases we recommend plant-based diets. Plant-based diets are the best diet for the planet, all sentient beings, and are the most compassionate way to feed a dog. The only truly sustainable way to feed a dog is via an organic plant-based diet that is complete and balanced.
What to feed a Golden Retriever Puppy has different implications and is very different than what to feed an adult or senior dog. Current research shows that large breed puppies need a certain formulation of dietary protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and calories (energy) to prevent the onset of skeletal diseases from rapid bone, cartilage, tissue, and joint growth. Rapid growth causes skeletal diseases such as elbow and hip dysplasia.
Feed your Golden Retriever Puppy reduced calories (energy) and reduced calcium. Focus on a large breed growth puppy food that meets these requirements and parameters (300-340 kcals/cup and between 0.8-1.0% dietary calcium.) Not all do! Keep your Golden Retriever Puppy and Dog lean not plump and always look for an AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement that indicates the food is complete and balanced for a dog’s particular life stage.
We are Golden Retriever dog training and behavior experts. Our Golden Retriever Certified Dog Behaviorists and trainers have been successfully helping parents with Golden Retriever training for decades! Let an expert Certified Dog Behaviorist, Trainer, and Nutritionist to help you with your Golden Retriever training and behavior problems today.
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