Golden retriever puppies are truly ‘golden’ in every sense of the word. Their furry glow and lovable personalities are simply addicting. Some say goldens are the perfect family dog. They get along with people, strangers, children, and other dogs and pets. Energetic and growing fast, golden puppies do require socialization and training when they are young. So, what are the keys to golden retriever puppy training?
The first keys to golden puppy training are socializing your puppy when he/she is young, establishing leadership, and positive reinforcement. Golden puppies are excitable dogs. Daily exercise is part of the golden’s healthy diet. These dogs are famous for loving human companionship. Goldens love to swim, play games, and like to be given tasks. They can even get separation anxiety when left alone for too long. Therefore, socializing your golden when they are puppies is a must. Active dogs, it is important to establish who is in charge, or your home may be in for some chaos. Also famous for being intelligent dogs, goldens respond well to positive training. They do not require a heavy hand. For best results, use reward based training methods. Goldens are eager to please and do not respond well to the whip. Use repetition and consistency with your training.
Golden puppies love to chew, so have some chew toys available to spare your furniture. They also tend to nip when young. This is best handled with a verbal ‘no’ and a chew toy. Make sure you make your house puppy safe by removing any low level toxins and sharp objects. Also establish some ground rules for your house ahead of time. What rooms are off limits? Is your puppy allowed on laps, and do you allow jumping up when greeting people? Which, if any, furniture is he/she allowed on? Start establishing consistent rules at 8-16 weeks of age, because these habits will stay with your dog. Many trainers recommend using a large box or crate, when you have to leave your young puppy unattended.
It is important to get your golden puppy used to being groomed and handled. Along with their wonderful gold coats, these dogs require regular grooming. Eventually, they should be brushed twice per week. Goldens like to swim, but may not like taking a bath! Introduce your dog to the bath little by little. First introduce your puppy to the bath with no water. Then just get the feet wet, and so forth. Goldens tend to be quiet dogs. On the other hand, don’t encourage barking or it could become a bad habit. However, goldens are naturally excited when greeting people, so don’t confuse this behavior with snarling.
Naturally energetic and fast growing, make sure your golden puppy gets enough food. Later in life, goldens can be prone to obesity, so use a regular feeding schedule and avoid leaving the food bowl out all day. Some people don’t have a high opinion of commercial dog food. If this is you, don’t be afraid to feed your golden regular or raw meats. This is a natural diet for a golden. It is also OK to add small amounts of healthy grains, vegetables, and even vitamins; if your golden will eat them! Try grinding up vitamins and pills and put them in foods like peanut butter.
Enrolling your puppy in obedience class is, generally, a good idea. Puppies learn faster than older dogs, and good obedience habits tend to last a lifetime. Besides, you will learn a lot from your puppy’s classes too. By learning proper training methods, you will improve your relationship with your dog. Use common sense when choosing a trainer. Ask them questions, ask for references, and talk to other dog owners. How big are the classes, and what methods are used? Beware of new fads and unusual methods.