Becoming a Pet Owner: Raising Golden Retriever Puppies


Golden retriever puppies are certainly difficult to resist. Their big eyes, beautiful coats and sweet disposition make it impossible not to agree to take home one of these pups to call your own. However, too many people allow themselves to be fooled by the sweet appearance and the lovely nature of these animals, and they agree to adopt or purchase a puppy without any prior experience with the breed – or even with a pet. This can cause some significant issues at home. Your dog might not seem well-behaved, your family might not like the dog and you might find yourself overwhelmed with all that a puppy can do and the mess it can create if you’re not careful.

Golden retriever puppies are beautiful, and they are smart. However, if they are not owned by a responsible family who takes training and obedience seriously, they can be difficult animals with which to live. If you’re looking into dog ownership and going the puppy route, it’s imperative that you understand what to expect and how to handle yourself and your new puppy. Otherwise, you might find yourself at the local animal shelter dropping off the dog with an apologetic glance and a heavy heart.

Before Puppy Comes Home

The first step in deciding whether or not a golden retriever puppy is for you is to educate yourself as to what all you will need before your puppy even comes home. This is just a small list of items you will need to bring home to prepare for your new puppy:

  • Food dish and water bowl
  • Bed
  • Crate
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • ID tags
  • Training leash or harness
  • Treats
  • Brush
  • Toys
  • Baby wipes for the inside of your dog’s ears (yes, you have to be prepared to clean them)
  • Doggie wash
  • Toenail clippers
  • Puppy pads

Additionally, you’re going to need to remove things from your house before you bring your new dog home. You have to puppy proof just as you would baby proof. This means removing all breakable items from tables and low shelves, hiding all things you don’t want your dog to potentially decide to snack on, and keeping all items up high and out of the dog’s reach for protection purposes. It’s an expensive endeavor and a lot to consider, and you haven’t even taken possession of a puppy yet.

What to Expect in Terms of Training

Puppies are very fun and very sweet, but they’re also not very knowledgeable when it comes to what’s appropriate and what isn’t. This is where you come in. Just as you would a child, your job is to take your new golden retriever puppies and turn them into well-behaved pets. This starts with house training the dog and then it carries on into obedience. You will need plenty of treats for these tasks, and you will need plenty of patience.

House training, fortunately, is not difficult for the owners of golden retriever puppies. Many state that because these dogs are so intelligent, it takes less than a month to train them to use the facilities outdoors and/or on a puppy pad. It takes persistence and dedication to do this, however, so you have to be prepared to spend the time it requires to train your dog to do this. You must also be prepared to put your dog in his or her crate and leave it there while learning to house train. Dogs must be confined in small spaces while learning to use the bathroom outdoors because this is what teaches them to hold their urine. They will not urinate where they sleep, which means they’ll hold it. Take them out and let them run around the house, however, and they’ll likely just find a spot to go so that they can relieve themselves – and that’s not what you want.

Basic obedience skills are also very easy for puppies to learn, especially golden retrievers. Very intelligent dogs they are, which makes basic commands and education simple for these pups.

What to Expect as Far as Health

Dogs are just as needy as kids when it comes to taking them to their “doctor.” Your kids have to go at least once a year, more often in the first year, and so does your dog. This is to assess how healthy your dog is. Your dog must see the vet right away, and you must be willing to spend the money and the time to ensure your dog stays healthy by making trips to the vet when necessary.

You must also be willing to care for your dog at home to eliminate the need to go to the vet. One of the most important things you can do is properly groom your dog. This is a dog with a long coat, which means it must be brushed several times a week to prevent matting and other issues. It must see the groomer for a trim every four to six weeks. Its ears must be properly cleaned with baby wipes every week, and it must be bathed, but not too often or the dog might become sick with skin issues.

Your dog will experience health issues and skin problems if you allow him or her to mat. When matted hair covers the skin, the dog’s skin is not protected from germs, bacteria and other dangerous infections. It might not be fun to fight your dog into the groomer’s care once a month, but it’s less fun to see your dog suffer and require several trips to the vet (not to mention those expensive vet bills) when you allow this to go undone and your dog gets sick.

Part of being a pet owner and welcoming golden retriever puppies into your home is learning to expect the unexpected, educating yourself and being highly aware of what’s expected of you. Without this knowledge and information at hand, you run the risk of finding out that dog ownership is more than just cuddles, walks and games of fetch the hard way; which isn’t fair to you or the dog.

Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for the American Kennel Club

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