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Golden Retriever puppy... come at me with all your best advice, warnings and thoughts please!(39 Posts)
After thinking long and hard for many years we have decided the time is right to get a dog. A golden is the best fit for our family because we have one 8 yo DS who is quite shy but very loving. We also have access to several great big parks on our doorstep which we absolutely love. I’ve been in contact with a registered breeder and she’s planning a litter in the autumn, which is perfect because it’s after our summer holiday and also DS will be turning 9 then.
Someone will be home with the dog all day so it won’t be left for long periods of time I guess unless whoever was home needed to go for a doctor visit or somewhere you really can’t bring a pupper!
So... come at me with it. I suffered badly with PND and so I am a bit worried about ‘puppy blues’ that will come with this big life change. I want to use the time I have now to make sure I’m as well read and prepared as I possibly can be. I expect this to be as big a life change as having a baby, so I want all your stories and tips; the good, the bad and the ugly.
Thank you so much
The world is filled with details on the importance of good socialisation experiences for puppies. Whilst this is critical, it is helpful to remember:
- your puppy can be overwhelmed if you do too much, too fast
- socialisation is not the same as letting your puppy play with or get fuss from every single person/dog. Experiences where other people and dogs just walk on by and are boring are also important.
I think it's also helpful to know you won't see proper, grown up behaviour until the dog is about 2 years old, maybe even a bit older. It'll LOOK like an adult long before then but emotional maturity will not be there. That means pesky behaviours can still crop up long after the cute factor has gone and people tend to be much less forgiving of a fully grown dog behaving like a puppy. Be patient, calm and consistent with your training and the dog will come good.
Training is a lifelong endeavour. When you stop training, your dog stops learning and starts forgetting.
Take videos. Lots of them. They are small puppies for such a short amount of time and you will want to look back at puppy videos and pictures.
Enjoy One of the best things you can do is have fun with your dog. It has so many benefits for your relationship, their behaviour and their happiness.
I have a 7 month old golden retriever and he is wonderful, but be aware that they will test you! And he is already about 65lbs. Our kitchen has been eaten, so make sure you have somewhere safe to keep him as they want to chew on everything, ours has finished teething now but still always wants to chew. Thankfully he is now starting to understand what he is allowed to chew, but he will still chew anything if he knows we aren't watching.
He will really test your patience at times and sometimes even completely ignore you to see what he can get away with, a few nights I've ended up kicking the bin or crying out of frustration, but I wouldn't swap him or give him up, I love him to pieces and he is my best friend.
Take loads of photos and videos because he will look like a different dog every week pretty much, they grow so fast. Also make sure you get him puppy food aimed at large breeds, this is important to control bone and joint growth. Too fast growth can lead to major problems with joints. We use eukanuba and he loves it. If he has trouble with loose stool, try him on different brands of foods, some dogs get on better with certain foods. Don't suddenly change his food though, slowly switch it out. Make sure you find out what the breeder is feeding them for this reason as he will need to switch off of it slowly so as not to upset the digestive system, and get a blanket with the mother and siblings scent on it to help him settle in.
Oooh lovely long replies!
Yes I am a bit worried about the mouthing and chewing aspect... we are going to renovate in a few years’ time but that doesn’t mean I want to live in a chewed up trash hole until then! I’ve been advised to get a playpen for the times I can’t physically have eyes on him; like when I’m cooking, answering the door or on the phone.
The breeder has said she uses quite a specific food, one which looks quite hard to get hold of! I really need something I can order in bulk from Amazon; something we already do with our cat (he likes meowing heads, I think there’s a dog one too?) but we’ll definitely be switching out oh so slowly!
We are looking at getting a bitch, I think they come up a little bit smaller and also the breeder has advised I wait before getting her spayed; maybe 1 or 2 seasons. Has anyone had any experience with that? Slightly unsure of how I would exercise her adequately during that time.
I have a springer, so not too dissimilar to a GR. I found the chewing not TOO bad, to be honest. We lost a few pairs of shoes but that would have been easily avoided by tidying them away and by watching him more closely. He definitely needed to chew things but we didn't suffer too much damage to furniture; just a few puppy needle indentations in chair legs A play pen is a good idea.
There's another thread on here from recent days about exercising in season bitches. I think the general consensus was that people tend to walk them still but on leads, at odder times and in locations there are less dogs. Have a look, though, and see what you think.
A lot of breeders send you home with 4 weeks' worth of food (many get a deal from the manufacturer to do so). That should give you plenty to be able to slowly transition over to whatever you want to use.
An interesting, balanced article on spaying... topdogtips.com/pros-and-cons-of-spaying-your-dog/
My boy is 9 months going on ten months now. I’ll be brutally honest with you OP, he has tested us. The puppy stage was so overwhelming I spent most of it crying. Our kids all begged and begged for a dog, but funnily enough when they realised what hard work he was, they got very bored.
Toilet training involving taking him out every hour, watching his every move, chewing everything, tiptoeing around while he slept. I shudder at how horrible it was OP. And soooo boring.
And we were very lucky as our doggy was a good sleeper. Some keep you up all night on top of all this.
But... we’ve turned the corner. He’s amazing and we have fallen utterly in love.
My one tip is to crate train. You can leave him there and know he’ll be safe and won’t wee in it fingers crossed.
The rest you’ll have to work out. But best of British
I have a bitch in season right now. We do on lead walks away from off lead dogs or hirea safe space.
When you say registered breeder what do you mean? Ideally you would go through the breed club. And remember planning a litter doesn’t mean there will be a pup for you.
The FB group dog training advice and support is great. Lots of info re bringing a pup home and toilet training etc.
The early walks will be a potter and then sit and watch the world go by. They can’t walk too far to start with.
Find a good trainer. They’re worth their weight in gold!!
Extreme resource guarding can be a problem in retrievers and spaniels.
Not just general run of the mill guarding but extreme genetic/inherited aggression in pups as young as 8 weeks over space, blades of grass etc.
So do your research in getting a well bred one.
They shed A LOT
Although they are known for being ‘soft mouthed’ and gentle that does not apply to puppies who are particularly bitey and mouthy.
Healthy ones generally are not placid and slow.
They are bouncy, lively working dogs
Re spaying, goldens shouldn’t be neutered/spayed until at least 2 because as a big breed it takes longer for their growth plates to fuse.
There always appear to be a possible link between early neutering and bone cancer in goldens
Prone to hip dysplasia aswell, make sure you see the hip scores for the parents but most important is to keep puppy thin, exercise strictly 5 minutes per month of age and no racing on/off sofas, up/down stairs to prevent joint damage, dysplasia although inherited is largely environment dependant.
We have a golden bitch who is 12 this year. She didn't chew too much as a puppy but I did use a cage for her if she was to be left for long. Wonderful, placid dogs but with plenty of energy when out walking/playing, easy enough to train but I did take her to classes for this and was pretty rigorous with being consistent. Other than vacuuming 2xdaily she's an absolute dream
Sorry, we had her spayed at around 12 weeks before she had a season based on advice from the vet
12 weeks is awful advice. Larger dogs need their hormones to grow and develop properly. Mine is unspayed because she is only two and a half.
Expect the puppy blues to happen because they probably will.
I cried for most of the first week of having my puppy (now 12 weeks old) and still having the odd moment now. I didn't even like him never mind love him for a while, but it's coming now.
Biting and chewing have already been mentioned.
Don't worry about spending lots of money on dog toys, our boy mostly plays with empty plastic bottles!
With regards to the Facebook training group, there's some useful stuff on there but it is VERY militant and exaggerated in my opinion (you may get a bit of that on here too)
E.g. puppy must NEVER be left alone if they cry...sorry but that's just not realistic for the vast majority of people. We have school runs, doctors visits, work etc etc.
Just take the "advice" with a pinch of salt is all I'm saying 😊 and trust your instincts you'll be fine.
This is my 3rd golden and I wouldn't have any other breed, good choice OP
I'm assuming runningtogetskinny meant 12 months, not 12 weeks. Can't imagine any vet would do that!
We’ve recently welcomed a medium size breed puppy into our home.
Things I ignored that were meant to be essential and regretted:
1. Not puppy proofing the house/garden enough. If there is something your puppy shouldn’t have you can be guaranteed s/he will find it. It’s amazing how many small bits of plastic/wood/bone are in the garden, and what delights can be found under the sofa.
2. Not getting a stair gate. I now have 3, including an extra tall one on the kitchen after the puppy belted out the front door and into the road. They can also go upstairs like a rat up a drainpipe despite being so tiny. Puppies, especially if they don’t have a collar on in the house (mine finds his annoying so he only has it on for short periods at the moment) are really difficult to catch when they are running at full pelt, and of course they don’t yet have recall.
3. Be prepared that DS will veer between loving the dog when it is being adorable, and be petrified when it’s in bitey land shark mode. I have to keep reminding my 8 year old that no, the puppy isn’t “attacking” her, when this happens and that if she runs away the puppy WILL think it’s a game and chase her. It’s really difficult for children (and adults) to try to pretend to “be a tree” when those razor sharp puppy teeth are biting your ankles. Ours does this when he is tired and we just have to leave him alone in the kitchen where he then konks out and wakes up a completely different puppy. Dealing with the kids dealing with the puppy is perhaps the hardest part. It is actually easier when I’m looking after him on my own!
Also prepare to spend a fortune on comfy beds to have them all rejected for a old blanket in the corner of the kitchen
my grandparents had a golden retriever but quite a large house. And a large garden. He seemed always placid and calm, and was never in the way in their seemingly immaculate house.
There are threads by Solo2 in 2011-12 which show some more negative aspects.
Keep in mind that by the time pup is 2/2.5 you will (all being well) have a lovely dog! I’m experienced with dogs & tbh the only reason I got a pup is because we already had an older dog & small children & I still found the first 18 months tough. She wasn’t a biter or chewer either —well she was but did all that to big dog who wasn’t afraid to tell her off—, just a thief! She’s been lovely since 2.1 though.
Bitey little land sharks when puppies (I cried regularly and the dc enacted to send him back)
Prone to resource guarding, which can be scary as they are big strong dogs
Clumsy, hairy, needy, muddy, wet
Love ours now but even though I have breed experience if I could turn the clock back we would be dog free
He’s an awesome part of our family but he does restrict whet we can do and costs a fortune
Well first let me congratulate you in choosing the best dogs in the world!
I would recommend joining a FB group called Golden Retrievers advice and discussion. Lots if experienced owners happy to give advice to a new owner.
I have had them for over 30 years and can’t imagine life without one.
Personally I do not use a crate, but that is entirely your decision.
They are very sensitive dogs, very intelligent, love human company and will quickly bond with you.
Out if the 5 I have had only one was a serious chewer, they will of course go through a mouthing stage, but distraction and chew toys will usually work.
Important that he/she gets enough sleep. Just like human babies or toddlers behaviour is worse when tired so be careful not to overstimulate.
I learn more all the time.
They are wonderful dogs, and I wish you many many years of happiness with your new family member. Try not to be too anxious about it... the puppy days fly by. As others have said make sure you take plenty of photos.
I have a toy breed puppy and I underestimated garden proofing (quite a few poisonous plants, eg dicentra, ivy, and plants that puppies want to gobble (crabapples) not dangerous exactly but in large quantities..well..
Also the desire to follow you up the stairs, (stair gates necessary)
We have a crate for sleeping AND a crate in the kitchen for hanging out and it needs to be much much larger than I thought (and I'm talking about a miniature breed) ditto dog bed - so think about where you are going to fit this into your house. Crate for sleeping and crate for kitchen need to be near the back door /garden door for toilet training or you will be carrying him across many rooms, every hour in the day at the beginning.
Where are you going to spend most time with the dog, and where do you spend most of your time, they should be in the same place...otherwise you lose the benefit of being in the house all day.
4 weeks in! Pup 15 weeks old. A bit like first days with newborn but love is growing rapidly. First week you are high on adrenaline and programmed to protect and serve, then it seems like a never ending slog for the next week, then you start to have a rhythm and actually enjoy hanging out with them(except the inevitable biting) watching them change interact etc. But it is a fulltime job for the first few weeks, even if you are the most organised person in the world.