The Golden Retriever, which originated in Great Britain, has been one of the most popular dog breeds for many years and is kept in numerous countries as a retriever, but also as a companion and family dog. The British Kennel Club recognized the breed as a separate breed in 1913. The breed standard of the Golden Retriever is listed under No. 111 by the FCI in Group 8: Retriever dogs, search dogs, water dogs, Section 1: Retriever dogs, with a working test.
Golden Retriever Dog Breed Information
FCI Group: 8: Retrievers – Search dogs – Waterdogs
Section: 1: Retrievers
Country of origin: Great Britain
Colors: gold, dark gold, light gold, cream
Life expectancy: 10-13 years
Suitable as: hunting, guide, police, rescue, family, and companion dog
Sports: agility, flyball, dummy training, obedience, fetch
Character: Intelligent, Kind, Friendly, Confident, Reliable, Trustworthy
Leaving requirements: high
Drooling potential: rather high
The thickness of hair: high
Maintenance effort: rather high
Coat structure: smooth, wavy and dense, water-repellent undercoat
Child friendly: yes
Family dog: yes
Origin and breed history
The ancestors of most retriever species are the St. John’s dogs from Canada, which were bred by the local fishermen in Newfoundland in particular as hard-working and extremely resilient working dogs. The dogs were used to pull the boat lines out of the water. In the 19th century there was a brisk fish trade between Newfoundland and England, so that the breed came to England with British merchant ships in the 19th century.
There they crossed different breeds like St. John’s dogs with Irish Setters. This is how the Wavy-Coated Retriever came about. In 1864, Lord Tweedmouth bought a yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever. His dog was mated in 1868 to a Tweed Water Spaniel bitch who was very fond of water and retrieval. Various breeders from the British upper class developed dog breeds from them, which are mainly used for hunting waterfowl and small game, such as the Golden Retriever, the Labrador Retriever or the Flat Coated Retriever.
It can be assumed that the origin of all retriever breeds lies in Newfoundland. At the beginning of the 19th century there was a brisk fish trade between England and Newfoundland. The working dogs living there retrieved boat lines from the water and brought them to shore or retrieved fish that had fallen out of the nets. Enthusiastic about the work of the water-loving and weatherproof retrievers, the British sailors brought representatives of this breed back to England. From crossings of the now extinct “Small Newfoundland” or “St. John’s dogs” with English hunting dogs, such as. B. the red Irish setter, “Wavy-Coated Retriever” emerged in many different colors.
In the late 1800s, Lord Tweedmouth of Scotland crossed a yellow retriever with a Tweed Water Spaniel, an ancient breed of dog from Ireland that is now extinct. Other breeds such as the Irish Setter and the Bloodhound were then crossed in until the Golden Retriever was finally officially recognized as a separate breed in 1913 by the British Kennel Club, the umbrella organization of British dog breeders.
In Germany, the Golden Retriever enjoyed increasing popularity from the 1980s and established itself as a television and film dog in the 1990s.
Today it is used as a guide dog as well as a drug dog or explosives sniffer dog.
The Golden Retriever is assigned to FCI Group 8, Section 1.
Nature & Temperament of the Golden Retriever
A Golden Retriever is very willing to learn and adaptable. This friendly breed is particularly people-oriented and very attached to families. “Goldies”, as they are affectionately known, are usually extremely good-natured and child-friendly, which is why they have increasingly evolved from being a hunting companion to being a pure companion and family dog over the past few decades.
Its playfulness, intelligence, and “will to please” attitude have also led to the Golden Retriever appearing in movies, either as a lead or a supporting actor, leading to the spread of this breed contributed. This breed is also frequently encountered when used as a guide dog or therapy dog, rescue dog and companion dog for the disabled and even as a sniffer dog for the police and customs, which means that the Goldie can be described as an all-round dog in the truest sense of the word. He is hardly suitable as a watchdog or protection dog, because his friendliness does not only extend to his caregivers. He is simply friendly and trusting towards everyone. All his life he is a very playful and temperamental dog.
The golden retriever’s love of water has been preserved, so these dogs love to swim and should be given at least the opportunity to do so every now and then. The breed is generally very active and willing to exercise, but tends to become overweight if there is too little exercise and activity. Even if the Goldie is kept purely as a family dog, it should be offered sufficient exercise and activity. Its barely pronounced game sharpness does not allow it to poach or stray. Once they get used to them, they can usually be kept together with other animals in the household without any problems.
The Golden Retriever is lively, cheerful and adapts calmly and fearlessly to all everyday situations. He has a balanced temperament, neither hectic nor nervous but at the same time not too calm or lethargic. He is enthusiastic about activities and can be characterized as active and playful. The Golden Retriever is characterized by a pronounced will to obedience and its easy handling. He is very affectionate and happily takes part in all the activities of his “human pack”. The four-legged friend arranges himself without any problems.
He is always open and warm towards people. This dog breed is therefore very suitable for families with children. Compared to other breeds, its protective instinct is only rudimentarily developed. Thus, Golden Retrievers are not ideal guard and protection dogs.
The breed is characterized by high intelligence and willingness to learn. Golden Retrievers are easily charmed, but should still be trained consistently and strictly. The dog needs a lot of activity and as much exercise as possible. A private garden and a large apartment are advantageous for care and keeping.
The Golden Retriever is considered a dog that even wet, cold and extreme weather conditions do not harm. However, it has a pronounced sensitivity to high temperatures.
The Golden Retriever is a medium-sized dog breed with strong bones. The well-formed skull with a pronounced stop (transition from the bridge of the nose to the skullcap, approximately at eye level) and the dark eyes give it its typical, lovable, gentle expression. Eyelids and nose are well pigmented.
Its fur is of medium length, with a smooth or wavy top coat and a dense, water-repellent undercoat. Color ranges from cream to dark gold, with Golden Retriever puppies starting out more white. The golden or cream-colored fur becomes apparent from about the 2nd year of life.
Adult bitches weigh between 30 and 36 kg with a shoulder height of 51 to 56 cm. Adult males weigh between 34 and 40 kg with a shoulder height of 56 to 61 cm.
When breeding Golden Retrievers, a distinction is made between two breeding lines, each of which places value on different external and internal characteristics: the working line and the show line.
The working lineage of the Golden Retriever has a more athletic build, being leaner and more muscular. The coat color is reddish golden to light golden. The character is much more original than that of the working line. They are spirited, have a high willingness to learn and a strong hunting instinct. Representatives of the working line are ideal as hunting companion dogs, rescue dogs and also as family dogs. Demanding dog sport and appropriate workload are essential for Golden Retrievers of the working line.
The breeding of the show line focuses on the appearance of the dogs. These Golden Retrievers have a compact build with a massive head and rather short legs. The color varies from almost white to cream to light gold. The coat is in most cases a little more luxuriant or longer than that of the working line. Representatives of the show line are calmer and more relaxed. They are particularly good with families, although they also enjoy playing fetch, water activities, and moderate dog sports.
The appearance of the Golden Retriever
Along with its lovable nature, of course, its attractive appearance has also made the Golden Retriever so popular. The medium-sized dog with its sporty, muscular body looks very harmonious. Males reach a shoulder height of 56 to 61 centimetres, bitches remain somewhat smaller at 51-56 cm and weigh between 25 and 40 kilograms. The rounded head with the dark, friendly-looking eyes, the black nose and the softly hairy floppy ears always gives an amiable impression, and especially when they are puppies, a Goldie seems to smile all the time.
While the double-layered fur with the dense, water-repellent undercoat lies flat or slightly wavy on the back, it forms long feathering on the chest, belly, legs and tail. According to the standard, the coat color should be a gold or cream tone of different shades, red or mahogany are undesirable. While the image of the breed has been dominated in Europe in recent years by very light cream-colored, almost white Goldies, the dark golden variants are more likely to be found in the USA and Canada. A few white hairs on the chest are permissible.
In some breed descriptions, a distinction is often made between the working and the show line of the Golden Retriever. The work line is described as darker, performance-oriented, sporty and agile, while the show line is presented as light, comfortable and powerful. The generally applicable breed standard does not provide for such a distinction and makes it clear that every Goldie has the ability to perform the breed-typical work and anything else is to be considered a fault.
How Big Does a Golden Retriever Get?
Bitches reach a shoulder height of about 51-56 centimeters, males are larger with 56-61 centimeters. The weight should be between 25 and 40 kilograms depending on size.
Education and keeping of the Golden Retriever – This is important to consider
Even if the Golden Retriever is described as a very easy-going and intelligent breed, these dogs, like all other four-legged friends, need loving, consistent training in order to feel safe and secure in their human pack. Patience and empathy are needed to turn the boisterous, cute puppy into a well-behaved dog. Early socialization should be practiced through a variety of human and dog contacts and a wide variety of environmental stimuli in order to allow the dog to appear calm and confident in every situation. His “Will to Please” makes a Golden Retriever a suitable dog for beginners.
Since a Goldie is extremely attached to its people and prefers to be with them all the time, training based on positive reinforcement and rewards can be wonderfully integrated into everyday life. The very intelligent and eager to learn dog is also happy about special challenges that can be set for him, for example, in different dog sports disciplines. Above all, tracking or dummy work comes very close to his original use as a hunting assistant and is therefore particularly important to him.
It is important for the keeping of this breed that the dog has family contact and does not have to stay at home alone for hours every day. A house with a garden is ideal, but with appropriate exercise and workload, the Goldie also feels comfortable in an apartment. An isolated kennel is not appropriate to the species and, in the worst case, leads to severe behavioral disorders in the dog.
Training of Golden Retriever puppies
Golden Retriever puppies have a very strong will to obey and can be trained accordingly. However, it should not be forgotten that these dogs were bred for retrieving, including game, and the innate hunting instinct must be channeled. Puppies’ education also includes fetch games and commands such as “off” and “here”. Golden Retrievers learn very quickly, including undesirable actions. So absolute consistency is required when training puppies.
No matter how cute they are, no exceptions should be made when it comes to training puppies.
Do not allow the puppy anything that will later be forbidden.
Since Golden Retrievers are very gluttonous, training them with rewards and treats is particularly easy.
Like all dog breeds, they should never be trained with punishment. Pushing puppies into their legacies with their snouts is an absolute no-go and upsets the little ones.
Golden Retrievers can also be trained to be companion dogs and therapy dogs.
Activities with the Golden Retriever
Due to its diverse characteristics, the Golden Retriever is suitable for many activities.
When hunting, it is used for tracking down and retrieving game. He is also a reliable and loyal guide dog. He serves as a sniffer dog for the police and customs. The Golden Retriever is also used in mountain rescue as an avalanche search dog and to rescue earthquake and disaster victims.
The four-legged friend feels particularly comfortable with activities in the water. But it also searches for its prey patiently, with concentration and perseverance in the woods, fields and meadows and retrieves it with pinpoint accuracy.
He is generally suitable for all tasks as a companion dog, especially for people with disabilities. He supervises and leads attentively and quickly learns to take on complex tasks reliably. If he doesn’t have a fixed task, he can be kept very fit through retrieval games, dummy training and dog sports.
Suitable sports for the Golden Retriever
Flyball is a course exercise and competitive sport. It comes from California and was developed there in the 70s as a pure ball catching game, to which jumps were later added. Nowadays, flyball is played with two teams of four dogs each, from which the dogs compete one after the other on a multi-lane course. The course includes four obstacles. Once the dog has overcome this, it triggers a ball throwing machine and has to catch the ball thrown up out of the air. The dog handlers guide their dogs from outside, but cannot actively intervene in the competition.
Flyball trains condition, endurance, disciplined work and the dog’s retrieval ability. The joint sport also promotes the social behavior of the animal, strengthens its self-confidence and gives it joy in movement. The four-legged friend is not only challenged physically, but also mentally.
Agility was developed in England in the 1970s based on horse shows. The term “agility” in English means maneuverability, nimbleness or flexibility and thus expresses the demands on the dog in the sport. In the meantime, regular competitions at club level as well as regional and national championships are also held in Germany.
In agility, the four-legged friends have to complete a fixed course as error-free as possible and in a given time. They are guided by their human partners using body language and voice commands.
The challenge lies in making quick turns precisely and at high speed. The prescribed sequence and direction must also be observed when walking the course.
The obstacles mostly consist of 12-20 easy jumps, contact zone devices, a tunnel and a slalom section. The obstacles are set up differently in each competition, so that both the dog and the handler have to act quickly and with foresight.
Obedience comes from England and means “obedience”, which plays an important role in this quieter canine sport. The four-legged friend must carry out the dog handler’s commands as quickly, elegantly and flawlessly as possible and at the same time demonstrate his social compatibility with other dogs and people. Among other things, the following exercises are carried out, both on a leash and in free heeling:
Remaining exercises (even without visual contact with the dog handler)
Change of position at a great distance from the holder (seat, place, etc.)
Walking at heel
strength of character
Obedience is also suitable for older dogs, since they are hardly physically stressed. What counts is good communication between dog and owner.
In the dummy work, the dog has to retrieve a hunting dummy, the dummy, in a wide variety of terrain. The sport is divided into the following stages:
Marking: The dog sees the trajectory of the hunted prey, must correctly estimate the distance to the point of fall, track down the dummy and bring it back.
Search: The place of the fall is unknown and the dog has to search for the dummy on its own.
Instruct: The handler sends the four-legged friend into the dummy’s fall area and uses commands and signals to guide him as close as possible to the object. The dog then searches on its own.
The dummy work demands a lot of attention, thinking, independence, good eyes and a fine nose from the dog. This activity is particularly varied and stresses the dog both physically and mentally.
Swimmable dummies make the Golden Retriever particularly happy because this breed is very fond of water.
Rules for the sporting team Golden Retriever and human:
To ensure that your four-legged friend can really let off steam, there are a few rules to follow:
Motivation: Let your voice show enthusiasm when you ask the dog to exercise. Have treats on hand to increase the excitement for what’s to come. However, make sure you eat low-calorie snacks.
Timing: The Golden Retriever should not train with a full stomach and even better not after a long walk. The best time is after naps, before feeding times, or just between meals.
No compulsion: If you or the dog don’t feel like doing sports, it’s better to postpone the training. If your four-legged friend generally does not enjoy the new task, you should look for another job.
Never unsupervised: Never leave the dog alone when working with new objects. He could accidentally destroy them and injure himself. Only proven items are given to the Golden Retriever even without supervision.
Something new from time to time: Offer variety and try out new activities. Find out what your four-legged friend likes.
Gradually increase the level of difficulty: If you overwhelm your dog, you will rob him of his enthusiasm for the game. Complex tasks should therefore be broken down into small individual steps. Small partial successes keep the motivation and the Golden Retriever understands what you want from him.
Golden retrievers: grooming
The coat of the Golden Retriever does not require extensive care. Brush the dog once a week and daily during shedding. Regular brushing ensures good blood circulation in the skin and the removal of dead skin particles. If he got dirty outside, drying is the first thing to do. Then you can detangle the fur with a comb and brush. If the dirt is very stubborn, only a bath with warm water and dog shampoo will help.
Check your four-legged friend’s eyes and ears regularly for cleanliness and a healthy appearance. If necessary, you can clean the eye area with a lint-free cloth dampened with warm water. Coarse dirt on the ears can also be gently cleaned with a cloth. Do not use a cotton swab for this purpose! A veterinarian should always be consulted if there are changes or sensitivity to pain in the eyes, ears or teeth.
Dog claws and paws should also be checked regularly and the fur between the balls of the feet should be trimmed a little so that too much dirt does not collect there. In snow and ice, it is advisable to grease your paws a little to protect them from the cold and road salt.
Golden retrievers: nutrition
A healthy and balanced diet is essential for the Golden Retriever, as this breed tends to be overweight. The food portions must always be kept in check and dog owners should also be as economical as possible with treats.
Obesity almost always leads to joint damage and puts excessive strain on the organism. The consequence of this is a reduced life expectancy. Most dog owners feed twice a day, in the morning and late afternoon. A treat is also allowed in between.
If you notice that the body weight of your four-legged friend exceeds the normal level, this may be due to insufficient exercise. In this case, reduced-calorie food can help.
The Golden Retriever is considered to be quite robust. With the right diet and care, life expectancy is over 14 years. However, hereditary diseases cannot be completely ruled out, especially if breeders do not adhere to certain standards.
In such rare cases, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia or hereditary cataracts can occur. Furthermore, the dog can suffer from progressive retinal atrophy.
How Much Does a Golden Retriever Cost?
A healthy puppy from reputable breeding costs between $1000 and $2000.
Diet of the Golden Retriever
Depending on the activity level, age and general state of health, the Goldie needs high-quality food with an appropriate energy content. Whether a ready-made, well-balanced dry or wet food is chosen from a specialist retailer or the daily ration is freshly prepared yourself depends primarily on how much time and effort the dog owner can invest. When it comes to fresh food, the exact mixture of ingredients is particularly important in order to avoid long-term deficiency symptoms.
In any case, the nutritional status of this breed must always be kept in mind and the size of the ration must be adjusted if necessary, since Goldies in particular tend to be overweight with little exercise. A dog of this size should also have its daily ration divided into two smaller portions to prevent the risk of life-threatening stomach torsion. Fresh, clean water must always be available to the dog, regardless of feeding times.
Health – life expectancy & common diseases
After the Golden Retriever became extremely well known and popular, especially in the 1980s and 90s, the number of puppies offered for sale also increased by leaps and bounds. Numerous dogs were soon “produced” outside of the breed associations, as quick money could be made with the cute puppies. Unscrupulous dog breeders didn’t attach any importance to health and temperament, since the focus was only on profit. The formerly very robust and healthy breed has suffered as a result, and to this day there are still numerous hereditary diseases in the Golden Retriever. However, through the very consistent breeding selection and the regulations within the official breeding clubs, an attempt is made to minimize the risk of disease inheritance.
Breed-typical diseases are for example:
Elbow Dysplasia (ED)
Hip dysplasia (HD)
Eye diseases (retinal atrophy and cataracts)
Joint problems such as ED and HD can be reduced by targeted breeding selection. It is all the more important that you always buy your Golden Retriever puppy from a selected breeder who is subject to strict breeding approval requirements. Experienced breeders want the parents to be healthy and the puppies to grow up in a good environment.
Of course, it is also important to regularly check the ears, eyes and paws of the animal. If you notice anything unusual, see a veterinarian as soon as possible. A Golden Retriever from such a breed has a relatively high life expectancy of around 12-15 years.
How Old Do Golden Retrievers Get?
Assuming healthy breeding and species-appropriate husbandry, the Goldie has a life expectancy of 12-15 years.
Grooming the Golden Retriever
Grooming a Golden Retriever is actually not a big deal. However, you should brush your dog more often, especially in summer, to brush out the dead hair from the undercoat. Then he is not so warm. You should always dry your dog thoroughly after swimming in a lake or pond or walking in the rain. This is how you avoid illness. Even in the cold season, you should make sure that you free him of ice and snow before his fur can clump together. This breed of dog does not require frequent bathing and should only be done in an emergency.
The external auditory canals of floppy-eared dogs must be checked regularly for dirt and possible inflammation. An ear infection in dogs is characterized by frequent scratching, violent shaking of the head and, in the worst case, an unpleasant smell from one or both ears and should be treated by the vet as soon as possible.
Annual vaccinations against the most important infectious diseases, as well as regular deworming and occasional health checks at the vet are also part of caring dog care.
Golden Retriever Activities and Training
Originally a hunting and retriever dog, the Golden Retriever is very agile and likes to move around, and he really wants to be kept busy. Long daily walks should be scheduled as a minimum activity, whereby the paths can be varied and made interesting with fetch and search games. The Goldie is also a wonderful companion on hikes or next to the horse.
This breed feels at home in dog sports – especially track work such as mantrailing or dummy training, but obedience is also ideal. For dog owners who want more and want a particularly close bond with their retriever, we recommend working with a rescue or search dog squadron. A Golden Retriever can also be trained very well as a therapy companion dog.
The Golden Retriever learns at a rapid pace and was bred to work closely with people, so they tend to pay close attention to their behavior.
As a result, representatives of this breed are relatively easy and quick to train.
On the other hand, they also react just as quickly to inconsistencies.
For this reason, consistency is the most important rule in Golden Retriever training. And from the beginning. The puppy should therefore not be allowed to assert anything that is later undesirable for the adult dog.
Last but not least, while the Golden Retriever is usually a quick learner, it also requires regular exercise and repetition.
Even more tips for training
The Golden Retriever has the will-to-please. He wants to please his people and likes to work with them. Of course, you can and should also use praise to support them. A kind and encouraging word often works wonders during training. Many four-legged friends also appreciate a game or toy as a reward. But let’s not kid ourselves. For most dogs, treats are the number one motivating factor. You can use “regular” treats or super-duper treats that don’t exist anywhere else. You can use these specifically for training particularly tricky or important commands, such as recall.
Use positive reinforcement alone and avoid punishment when training. These have no place in dog training and you should be skeptical when dog schools work with outdated methods that use violence.
Beatings, punishments, rough treatment, etc. permanently destroy trust in you and the bond with your dog can be damaged forever.
You will see that consistency, perseverance, kindness and praise will get you much further than a firm tug on the leash ever could. Have respect for your animal.
Use reprimands sparingly, in the form of commands like “off,” “ugh,” “no.” You can also use body language to help. Hands on hips, a loud clapping, or a fierce look will do.
Timing is important
Pinpoint rewards are incredibly important when training your dog. Because the treat is always associated with the current situation. Four-legged friends cannot link a praise or a reprimand to an action in the past.
For example, if your Golden Retriever puppy has walked into the house and you discover the mishap when you come home, a “ugh” is no longer of any use. A treat given too early can also cause confusion. If the retriever is supposed to “move down” and you are already handing the reward while his belly is hovering over the ground and has no contact with the ground yet, he will probably never lie down completely in the future either if this command is given.
Understand dog language
Dogs communicate a lot through body language and gestures. Anyone who learns to read these will be able to better understand and assess their hairy friend. You will learn to interpret your retriever’s signals and be better able to adapt to them. There are great books on dog body language. In the dog school, too, the trainer will teach you to pay attention to signals that say a lot about the state of mind and the willingness to react of your four-legged friend.
Why education is so important
Many see the Golden Retriever as another family member, a recreational or sporting partner, a friend for the kids, or a hunting companion. No matter why you want or have bought a Golden Retriever, owning a dog should first and foremost be a pleasure. This is only possible if your dog is well trained.
Otherwise, frustration quickly spreads. For example, when the walks degenerate into a daily tug of war, the four-legged friend indulges in his destructiveness at home, he abuses other conspecifics or does not let visitors into the house, etc.
Fixed rules create trust and a clear hierarchy avoids power struggles and insecurity. So that living together with the Golden Retriever becomes an enjoyable part of your life and you can grow together as a good team, you should attach great importance to the training of your dog.
The benefits of good training for the Golden Retriever
Going to school together and then celebrating the training successes is fun.
You strengthen your position as pack leader.
Your retriever will learn to trust you if you are always reliable.
It promotes a good bond when you engage and spend time with your four-legged friend.
Trained dogs have more privileges. For example, freewheeling is only possible if the four-legged friend is available.
The retriever can also behave in other places and can therefore be taken anywhere without any problems.
Visitors to your home are no problem for the dog.
Communication between humans and dogs works better.
Living together at home becomes easier.
Your dog reliably listens to basic commands and other commands.
Walks and encounters with other dogs do not become a major effort.
If the retriever has to be left alone for a few hours, he stays calm.
A dog that reliably masters commands can certainly be protected from harm and danger, e.g. in traffic, when encountering dogs, etc.
What should be considered immediately after buying a puppy?
It can be difficult to start training immediately after buying a puppy.
The cute look, the clumsy paws and the constantly wagging tail invite you to play and cuddle rather than to consistent training.
However, the first exercises are important for a good basis, later learning and living together and can also be fun.
Therefore, training the Golden Retriever begins as a puppy!
First of all, it is important:
- learn the name
- set limits
How does the Golden Retriever learn its name?
The fact that every dog knows its name and reacts to it is important for the entire subsequent upbringing and handling in everyday life. If the dog hears his name, he should always look at the speaker.
In addition, the Golden Retriever puppy is addressed by its name when it is relaxed and in a quiet environment. If he makes eye contact, there is an immediate reward.
However, this should always be alternated. Sometimes a treat, sometimes a round of games, or cuddles. This exercise should be done several times a day, with increasing difficulty.
How do I set boundaries for the Golden Retriever puppy?
Rummaging through the trash, biting too hard while playing, or chewing shoes should be off-limits for the puppy. Just like everything else that can end dangerously for him or is not wanted by the owner.
If something like this occurs, an abort command is given loud and clear – for example ‘Off’ or ‘No’.
Immediately afterwards, the puppy itself or the prohibited item is removed. If this is done consistently, the Golden Retriever learns the set limits very quickly.
How is the Golden Retriever housebroken?
With patience and good timing. Puppies often have to let themselves go at first and don’t always have full control over this. They have to learn this too.
The Golden Retriever puppy should be taken outside in any of the following situations:
– After sleeping
– After playing
– After eating
– When he gets restless
– If he sniffs the ground conspicuously
– When he runs in circles
– When he scratches or whines at the door
In addition, the bladder and bowel also have to be emptied at night. At least in the first few days, you should go outside every two to four hours.
It is best to carry the puppy to a permanent place outdoors. If he runs himself, a mishap could happen earlier. As soon as the little four-legged friend begins to loosen up, he is gently praised with words.
Accidents will happen during puppy housebreaking. There will be puddles or droppings from time to time. This is not done out of bad faith or even on purpose.
Owners should remove such mishaps without a word and clean the area well. Under no circumstances should the puppy be scolded, punished or sniffed.
A full diaper is not pressed in the face of a baby or toddler because they could no longer control their bladder or intestines. It’s no different with a puppy.
You can have a significant impact on the amount of time your puppy is housebroken by regularly taking the puppy outside. The more often he gets the opportunity to solve the problem, the quicker he will feel a sense of achievement that you can celebrate and support with praise. In this way, the dog child quickly learns that it is great to do one’s business outside.
It doesn’t always have to be a walk, by the way. A few minutes in front of the door or at the preferred “toilet” spot is enough. If you have a garden and want to allow the dog to relieve itself there, you can of course also open the patio door. This is a convenient perk, especially during puppy nights.
Speaking of nights: If you don’t want to find a brook in the apartment regularly in the morning, you can place the puppy in a high box next to your bed in the beginning. Since puppies are reluctant to soil their bedding, the puppy will probably make itself felt when it needs to get away.
How do I teach the Golden Retriever the basics?
Golden Retriever Training: Here or Come
Before the golden retriever learns anything else, it should master the command here or come. If he starts moving in the direction of the biped of his own accord, he will be called with the desired word and rewarded immediately upon his arrival. In addition, he can be lured by the command, treats or toys.
Golden retriever training: seated
The Golden Retriever is summoned in a distraction-free environment.
The owner holds a treat in his hand.
As soon as the dog stands in front of him, the two-legged friend guides the delicious snack slightly backwards over the dog’s head.
If the dog sits down, he gets the treat while saying the word sit.
Many puppies sit automatically, while others need to be helped with light pressure on the buttocks.
Golden Retriever Education: Stand
The stand command is very easy to teach. Whether the dog is sitting or lying down, a treat is simply moved forwards and upwards over the dog’s head. As soon as the four-legged friend stands up, the command “stand” sounds and the treat is released.
Golden Retriever Training: Place
The Golden Retriever can best be taught to sit down if he already listens to the command to sit. Initially the Golden Retriever should be seated, then a treat is held in hand and guided in a downward arc first towards the dog’s head and then down away from it.
Ideally, the dog follows the snack with head and body and automatically lies down. If this is not the case even after several repetitions, the four-legged friend should sit up, for example on a low table, a stable footstool or a cardboard box.
Only if this does not lead to the desired result should slight pressure be applied to the shoulders. Alternatively, the down command can be given as soon as the dog lies down on its own. There is of course a treat immediately.
Golden Retriever Education: Stay
The stay command can be given after sit, down or stand. First up close. After that with some distance.
Praise and give a treat after a few seconds. Later, the time intervals are varied. To end the stay, a so-called cancellation order should be given, such as Come or Okay.
Golden Retriever Training: Off or No
If the dog behaves in an undesirable manner, the command can be Off or No. Immediately afterwards, either the dog itself or the prohibited object is removed.
The Golden Retriever settles down more quickly when the off command is combined with sit or down.
How do I get the dog used to the leash?
Above all, slowly and patiently. When the Golden Retriever is leashed for the first time, he should be given a treat immediately.
So the leash is a good thing right from the start. Then it’s off to the outside – at dog’s pace.
The line should always swing loosely. So that the four-legged friend neither pulls nor stops permanently, voice and treats are used again. Under no circumstances is the leash pulled.
The golden retriever goes no further
If the dog stays seated, lies down or just stands there stiffly, the two-legged friend will also stop. The dog is lured forward with a voice and treats. However, this should not be overdone. Puppies tire easily.
The lessons should therefore be kept short and adapted to the current condition of the Golden Retriever.
The dog pulls and tugs on the leash or runs ahead
So that this behavior on the leash does not become permanent, the behavior must be corrected at the first attempt. It may be cute at first, but in a fully grown Golden Retriever it is a serious problem.
If the dog pulls, you have to stop and get his attention. This can in turn be done with calls and treats. But the latter only occurs when all four legs stop and the leash relaxes.
Then there is a U-turn and the walk continues in the other direction. The purpose of this exercise is to teach the Golden Retriever the futility of pulling. By tugging he does not reach his goal. He can only do this if he stays calm and walks on a loose leash.
It may take numerous repetitions before the desired result occurs. However, the effort is worth it.
What is leash aggression?
Does your Golden Retriever freak out when you take him for a walk? Does he stare at other four-legged friends, lie in wait or jump at strange dogs without warning? Then you have a dog with leash aggression.
Barking and tugging on the leash is not only unsightly and embarrassing, but often also dangerous. You could fall, the dog could run into the street, or the situation could escalate into a biting.
The reasons for this rude behavior are manifold. The trigger is not the same for all dogs. While some males and females are not well-disposed towards other four-legged friends only when they are in heat, others bark at everything that comes their way.
Insecurity and fear from bad experiences in the past
Frustration because your dog is not allowed to sniff or play with the other person.
The leash restricts dogs in their normal communication. So your Golden Retriever can’t behave like it could when roaming freely. In addition, it is also more difficult for him to “read” his counterpart, since the other four-legged friend is also on a leash and behaves contrary to his natural behavior.
An undetected illness or even pain can reinforce the rowdy behavior on the leash. A visit to the vet is therefore always an important part of finding a solution if there is leash aggression.
No foreign four-legged friends are tolerated in their own territory. This type of leash aggression often only shows up around one’s own home.
Your retriever has a nemesis.
What can I do if my Golden Retriever is leash aggressive?
First, consider the way you walk. Do you always do the same rounds and close to home? This probably caused a kind of territorial-motivated leash aggressiveness. Or do you always keep your Golden Retriever close to you on a short leash? There is little freewheel? A leash severely limits the dog’s ability to communicate with other dogs. This leads to frustration. A dog that wears a collar but is not actually on a leash has constant pressure on its windpipe when it pulls. This feeling of pain can increase the undesirable behavior towards other dogs, as these are associated with the choking sensation.
So what you can try as a first measure:
Buy your golden retriever a well-fitting harness.
Use an 8-10 foot adjustable leash to create a greater range of motion.
Go for walks in different places than usual. Drive somewhere if possible.
When encountering other conspecifics, you can do even more to limit leash aggression:
Don’t even let it come to confrontations. This means you should get your dog out of sight of the other four-legged friend. For example, hide behind cars or bushes.
If there is enough space, you can also walk in a large arc. Dogs would also do this when running free. Usually conspecifics do not run head-on at each other. For sidewalks, one option would be to switch sides of the street.
Always with Tranquillity!
Dogs can perceive mood swings and changes in our hormonal balance. So when we’re tense or nervous, our dog gets it. Of course, he goes on the alert because he thinks something is wrong.
So you could unconsciously increase the leash aggression yourself. Remain calm and control the situation. Stand in front of your Golden Retriever and avoid eye contact with other dogs. Or place yourself in the middle (as a buffer) when passing other dogs. When in doubt, just turn around and walk away. Regardless of whether there is turmoil behind you or not. Don’t turn around, just hold the leash and walk away with your dog.
Targeted training against leash aggressiveness
Practice walking on the leash until you drop. Without much distraction for the time being, of course. The dog should follow you. Wherever you go, he has to follow.
You can introduce a signal, like “touch”. Here the dog should touch your palm and only let go when you give a release command. Alternatively, you can also work with a target stick. When encountering dogs, you also give the command “Touch” and only release it when you have mastered the situation. Keeping eye contact is an equally good method and you can train it well with “Look”.
Link dog encounters positively
“Open Bar” or “All You Can Eat” means you slip your retriever little mini treats when you have a canine encounter. Your four-legged friend should notice the other person, but not yet throw himself on the leash barking loudly in the Rambo manner. You keep feeding him until the situation is over. Use small bites, which are very rare but also very popular.
What else can I do?
Get help at a dog school and let the professionals do it. Especially if this problem has existed for a very long time or it just won’t get better. And certainly, of course, when it’s getting progressively worse. Walks should be highlights for you and your Golden Retriever and should not degenerate into pulling, tugging, shouting, stress and power struggles. A dog trainer can recreate encounters with fellow dogs in a secure environment on the training ground. He can also help to work on the socialization of your four-legged friend and together you will find a solution.
Socialization – For a balanced dog
A reputable breeder will start socializing the puppy and introducing him to everyday life. So that he becomes a well-balanced fellow who is not easily disturbed by anything and who remains calm and open-minded when meeting other dogs.
You should conscientiously continue this solid start into dog life in your own four walls and of course outside. Because of course the breeder does not know what the dog child will experience in the new home and what the little Golden Retriever will have to deal with on a regular basis.
Is the owner single or does the retriever come into a family with children? Do the owners live in the country or in the city? Can the four-legged friend go to the office with you or does it have to use public transport regularly? Are there other animals in the house?
A puppy course can help to get the puppy used to other conspecifics and to learn dog language in a playful way. Nevertheless, be careful when dog encounters on walks and let them take place in a controlled manner. Your dog child should have positive experiences, but of course does not have to like every dog. Just like us humans, dislikes can arise and he doesn’t want to make friends with everyone.
Important: Respect other owners and their dogs. Your puppy may be overkill for an old dog. The other dog is leashed? You don’t know why that is. Is he unfriendly or even leash-aggressive? Maybe sick or still in training? It’s actually completely irrelevant. Please also put your retriever on a leash and don’t just let him run to the dog and owner.
What is clicker training?
Clicker training is exactly what the name suggests: training with a clicker. Done correctly, this form of training is fast, effective, and most importantly, gentle—making it ideal for Golden Retrievers. It is also suitable for basic commands as well as for complicated tricks.
First, the clicking sound is combined with a positive stimulus, such as a favorite treat. In this way, the dog learns that the click itself is a reward. Afterwards, the click always occurs when the dog shows a desired behavior. Each click brings a treat.
Isn’t that also possible with words, a whistle or a clapping? The clicker has something ahead of all these alternatives.
The click is significantly faster than reaching for a treat, a word or a whistle. As a result, the Golden Retriever associates its behavior with the reward faster and in a more targeted manner. The noise is also always the same and sets itself apart from others. This makes it clearer for the four-legged friend.
Local dog school and what it can do
Golden Retriever owners often refrain from attending a dog school because representatives of this breed are so easy to train and always want to please their two-legged friends. Nevertheless, attending a course can have some advantages.
- Controlled contact with other dogs
- Training under distraction
- Help with difficult commands
- Contact and exchange with other dog owners
- Early detection of potential problems
- Quick access to various employment opportunities
However, it is important to ensure that the dog school and the trainers meet certain requirements. This is how education and instruction should be non-violent. Owners should always be informed in advance how commands and desired behavior will be conveyed.
A dog school is of course always particularly recommended for beginners. Mistakes that are made when training puppies are often difficult to correct afterwards. So it would be better if it didn’t even come to that. The trainer can help to convey commands correctly and correct incorrect methods. Of course, he also notices quickly when something doesn’t work and why. So you get a lot of valuable tips.
You should be comfortable with the school’s training methods. Good dog training reading can help you make the right parenting choices.
But not only dog newcomers should go to school with their four-legged friend. Every dog and every breed is unique. Methods that worked for the old four-legged friend may not work for the new dog. Training on the exercise ground helps to improve communication between humans and animals. You will receive immediate feedback and constructive criticism. So that you become a well-rehearsed team.
What courses are there?
Most puppy owners start with a puppy class. Here the dog children should belong to different breeds, be of different sizes and their age should be within a given range. Sometimes friendly older four-legged friends can also be found in such a course, who teach the dog children manners and show boundaries.
Make sure the puppies aren’t haphazardly fighting each other and just being let loose on each other. Otherwise, your retriever will learn to assert himself and that he cannot rely on you if you just stand and watch on the sidelines.
The puppies are introduced to each other, allowed to play and are taught their first commands. Work is also being done on the leash or the recall.
Often it continues seamlessly with a young dog course. Learned is deepened, more (and more difficult) commands are added and the trainer helps you through the boorish phase of the retriever. Because young and pubescent dogs are often no picnic and it is quite exhausting in the upbringing. Limits are tested and learned commands seem to be “forgotten”. Here you have to be consistent and have more staying power. It is worth it ..
Taking the adult Golden Retriever to dog school?
There can be many reasons why an adult retriever attends dog school. This includes:
- The dog has developed undesirable behaviors and/or bad habits that should be corrected.
- Your four-legged friend does not accept you as the pack leader because you cannot assert yourself.
- you are insecure
- You would like to take part in dog sport tournaments with your four-legged friend and need the companion dog test.
- There are interesting workshops that you would like to attend with four-legged friends.
- Intensive courses/trial courses.
- You adopted a dog from abroad that was living on the streets and wasn’t allowed to get to know much. Education usually starts from scratch here. You end up raising the adult dog from scratch like you would a puppy.
- A visit can also be worthwhile for dogs from animal welfare organizations, about whose level of training and skills little is known.
- Your retriever will receive special training (rescue dog, therapy dog, etc.).
practice of dog sports.
- Guided social walks with other four-legged friends and owners.
Even if, according to the previous owner, the Golden Retriever is already well trained, as a novice dog you should consider attending a dog school with this magnificent specimen. So that you are guided and do not make any mistakes. You can also forgive a four-legged friend if too much is allowed or forgiven.
Does individual training make sense?
Depending on the situation, it can be helpful to practice alone with the trainer. Success is often achieved faster here and the training is particularly intensive. Consider one-on-one training if:
- Your dog is not very socially acceptable and training in the group is therefore difficult or impossible.
- The retriever has developed dangerous behaviors that could endanger others. For example, he snaps at other people or dogs, shows leash aggression or is generally difficult to assess.
- Certain situations should be simulated or observed, such as dog encounters or the ringing of the doorbell combined with barking and yelping, separation anxiety when left alone, etc. The training should therefore be specially tailored to you and your needs.
- You yourself are not very sociable and prefer one-on-one training.
- It should get better as soon as possible.
Leaving Golden Retrievers Alone – How Does It Work?
The Golden Retriever prefers to be surrounded by his family. Of course, this is not always possible in everyday life.
The walk to the mailbox, shopping, work or a visit to the doctor – hardly anyone can be with their four-legged friend 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
It is therefore best for the Golden Retriever to get used to being alone as a puppy. This parenting process is basically simple, but it can take a lot of time and patience.
It is therefore important:
- Take small steps and increase slowly
- avoid excitement
- Prepare to be alone
Golden Retriever Home alone: Prepare for your own absence.
No one wants to be alone when the bladder is tight, the stomach is growling, there is no occupation – and these needs can only be met by others. If you leave your Golden Retriever alone in such a condition, you have to reckon with destroyed furniture and constant barking or howling. Not to mention accidents on the ground.
Better: The dog should be completely satisfied. With a walk, relieved and let off steam, full and with a safe chew or toy, the loneliness can be endured much better.
Golden Retriever Home alone: Small steps lead to success.
Leaving your golden retriever alone for hours on the first try is not a good idea. A few minutes are enough. In the case of particularly sensitive dogs, this can simply be walking out of the room and closing the door.
If everything stays calm, the door will be opened again and it will be pretended that nothing happened. If there is scratching, howling or barking, this must be awaited. Only when it falls silent, and that is the potentially difficult part of this educational measure, is the ‘return’ allowed to take place.
If you don’t stick to this, the golden retriever will be told that all he has to do is complain loudly and long enough and the two-legged friend will come back.
This brief absence should be repeated several times a day and for a few days before gradually increasing in duration.
It is important to remain varied. Sometimes a bag is taken, but the apartment is re-entered two minutes later. Sometimes all other signs of departure, such as putting on a jacket, packing your bag or changing, are ignored – but the return only takes place after an hour.
As a result, the Golden Retriever learns that its human will return sooner or later, no matter what preparations were made for the absence.
How much time does a golden retriever need?
This breed is very active and wants to be challenged. You should spare at least 1-2 hours a day in which you can devote yourself fully to your dog.
Good to know: Peculiarities of the Golden Retriever
Its attractive appearance and ease of training have earned the Golden Retriever numerous appearances in films and commercials. American feature films such as “Bailey – A Friend for Life” or “Air Bud – Champion on Four Paws” each have a Goldie as the main actor. Shadow the golden retriever shares public favor with Bulldog Chance and cat Sassy in Disney’s Homecoming and the sequel Animal Trio.
Disadvantages of the Golden Retriever
The only disadvantage of this breed is that it became so incredibly popular and thus became the focus of dubious, sometimes criminal dog dealers. The wild reproduction of pedigree dogs under unspeakably cruel conditions, without regard for losses and without the slightest feeling for the ability of these highly social creatures to suffer has led, among other things, to the fact that the breed is affected by various hereditary diseases. Every responsible dog owner will not only focus on the price when looking for a puppy, but will under no circumstances support this animal misery financially by buying such a dog.
Is the Golden Retriever right for me?
The Golden Retriever makes a wonderful family pet that is very active, playful, and kid-friendly. If you have informed yourself in advance about the basics of dog ownership, the breed is also very suitable as a beginner’s dog. And even sprightly seniors can stay active and on the move with a Goldie – maybe even an older dog that has lost its home through no fault of its own can get a second chance. Both the breeding clubs and animal welfare organizations are happy to give such dogs to new loving owners.
First of all, it doesn’t matter whether the Golden Retriever is kept in an apartment or a house. The most important thing is the physical balance. Since this dog breed is a working dog breed in origin, the Golden Retriever also wants to be kept busy. The puppy grows into a medium-sized dog and is very playful throughout his life. A garden to run around in would of course be ideal. Retrieval games are fun for him, easy to implement and keep him fit. Of course, you should always remember that the Golden is a dog that is incredibly keen to be a part of family life. That’s why you should involve him in all your activities as much as possible.
Who is a Golden Retriever suitable for?
Although this breed is originally a hunting and retriever dog, it is also ideal as a family dog, companion for sprightly seniors, or therapy dog.
As long as the Golden Retriever gets enough exercise and is exercised appropriately, it can feel comfortable in both a house and an apartment. Due to his adaptability and love for people, he gets along well in the city, but of course he is enthusiastic about regular trips into nature and especially swimming.
If you decide to get a Golden Retriever, you should attach great importance to good training. If there are children in the household, they should adhere to certain rules that are conducive to their upbringing.
In addition, the four-legged friend must be sufficiently utilized so that he can get rid of his enthusiasm and energy. Shoes and furniture are also spared. Owners should therefore have enough time for activities in nature and like to be active in sports, even in the colder seasons.
Dirt, burrs and other plant matter can easily get caught in the golden retriever’s long hair. For this reason, regular brushing and trimming is important. The ears should also be checked and cleaned regularly, as many Golden Retrievers tend to have dirty and inflamed ears. Accordingly, maintenance also takes time.
Is the Golden Retriever a family pet?
The Golden Retriever is clearly one of the family dogs, as it is characterized by a very friendly, patient and adaptable nature. Small children don’t bother him, he shows neither shyness, nervousness nor aggression. He is therefore not suitable as a guard dog, even if he would defend masters and mistresses in an emergency. However, he usually treats strangers with kindness.
The active breed likes to be on the go with its human pack and likes to be everywhere. For this, the Golden Retriever should be brought up well. Due to his great will to please his people and to work together with them (“will to please”), the upbringing is quite easy.
Interesting and worth knowing facts about the Golden Retriever
- Golden Retriever puppies can cost anywhere from $200 to well over $1000 depending on breed and paperwork.
- Golden Retrievers love water.
- Representatives of the breed are very suitable as therapy dogs for people with epilepsy or diabetes.
- They are often featured in films and series because they are relatively easy to train.
- Golden Retrievers are among the four smartest dog breeds.
“Golden Retriever in Need” is an association that takes care of dogs of this breed that have been poorly kept.
Golden retrievers: FAQs
How Old Do Golden Retrievers Get?
The Golden Retriever has an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Some four-legged friends of this species live more than 15 years. Measured against the average lifespan of a dog, the Golden Retriever is in the middle of the pack. Healthy feed, the right amount of exercise and little stress promote a long lifespan.
How Much Does a Golden Retriever Cost?
A Golden Retriever puppy costs between $250 and $2,000. In addition, there are initial equipment costs of between $130 and $250. Veterinarian, vaccination and worming costs around $100 to $200 in the first year. A dog owner’s liability insurance costs $60 to $100 per year. For dog food, you can expect around $35 to $100 per month.
When is a Golden Retriever fully grown?
Golden Retrievers are considered fully grown from the age of 15 months. Adult males reach a height of 56 to 61 cm at the withers and weigh 34 to 40 kg. Adult bitches reach a height of 51 to 56 centimeters at the withers and weigh between 30 and 36 kg. Golden retrievers are among the medium-sized dog breeds.
What breeds of retrievers are there?
There are six retriever breeds:
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Curly-coated retrievers
- Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
- Flat-Coated Retrievers
- Golden retriever
- Labrador Retrievers
All statements are without guarantee.