One thing can be said for certain. The golden retriever puppies are one of the cutest you will see. Because of this, they are in high demand amongst dog guardians. With Christmas rolling close, most dog guardians looking to add a new furry member will consider golden retriever puppies. Golden retrievers make for fantastic family dogs. Their adorable faces and quirky personality wins their guardians over in no time. However, getting a puppy is much more than just fun and games. When you get a new puppy, you commit to a few years of training and a lifetime of love and loyalty. Whether you are thinking to get a golden retriever puppy or already have one, this post is for you.
Just like parents behave with human kids, dog guardians also tend to assume that if they had a fairly easy time training one golden retriever puppy, training the next one would also be a similar experience. However, this is not even remotely close to the truth. Training a golden retriever takes time, patience, and lots of love. Golden retriever puppies are not born mature, quirky, trained, and with amazing personalities. Unfortunately, most dog guardians have this unrealistic vision when they get golden retriever puppies. Eventually, they regret their decision of opting for this breed. In this article, I will be discussing the road map of bringing up your golden retriever puppy through all the different stages of growth so that you have the perfect puppy.
Golden retriever puppies
Golden retrievers take around two years to reach complete maturity. However, the training must start the day your golden retriever gets home. Usually, puppies are weaned from the mother at six weeks of age. Therefore, the timeline for when the golden will enter your home would be around two months. The day your puppy enters your home is the day the training must start.
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Training golden retriever puppies
Puppies can be hard to train. This is especially true in the case of golden retrievers. The golden retriever puppies get adopted around two months of age. If this is your first golden retriever, you might be blown away by their amazing cute looks and quirky personality. However, do not let it get to you. The golden retriever puppies can be a devil in disguise (I mean this in a cute manner) if they are allowed. They will chew up everything in your house from shoes to your wardrobes if it is within their reach. Therefore, training should not be put off to a later stage. The moment your dog gets home is the moment the training starts.
Angel phrase (two to six months of age)
The phase from two months to six months of age is referred to as the angel phase. This is the time to get your puppy vaccinated and place them in puppy kindergarten so that they can learn basic obedience rules and cues. Since golden retriever is a breed that loves to please their humans, this makes them easily trainable, and opting for a puppy obedience class will also allow your dog to socialize with other dogs and humans. The faster you start the socialization process for your puppy, the better acclimatized your pup will be.
Vaccinate before taking out
Before you take your puppy to the puppy kindergarten there is something you must bear in mind. Your puppy must be vaccinated before you take him out. If the primary vaccinations are pending, it is not wise to take your puppy out. At this stage, puppies are very susceptible to several life-threatening infectious diseases that they can acquire during the socialization process or in puppy school. Furthermore, your puppy will not get admitted to puppy school if he does not have the primary vaccinations. This is in place for the protection of all the pups. Therefore, get the vaccinations done before you enroll your puppy in a puppy obedience class.
At this stage, you must focus on establishing solid obedience skills. This is not the stage to be blown away by your puppy’s cuteness. This is the stage to bond with your dog, develop your dog’s trust in you, and understand your dog at a deeper level. Just like humans, every dog is different. Some dogs are introverts, some are extroverts. Some dogs prefer interacting with humans, some don’t. As a general rule of thumb, golden retriever puppies are very social. They love to interact with all humans and play with every dog that they see in the park. However, this does not mean that the general rule applies to all golden retriever puppies. Therefore, work to understand your dog.
Start with the grooming process of golden retriever puppies
It may seem that grooming is different from training. However, both grooming and training require your puppy to trust you. At this stage, puppies are very malleable. Therefore, you should get your puppy used to his paws, tail, or other body parts being touched.
Around two months of age, dogs have super sharp teeth. No wonder, at this stage puppies are referred to as land sharks. Golden retriever puppies at this point have fairly short attention. Therefore, every activity that you decide to conduct must be centered around their attention span. During this point, your puppy is also teething. Therefore, the puppy-nipping behavior will be at its peak. The items that can be chewed up by your pup should be kept behind locked doors and cupboards. Golden retrievers were originally bred to carry prey in their mouth, namely waterfowl. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise to you if you see your golden retriever puppy run off with your socks.
Goldens love to share their opinion. Some dog guardians say that Goldens have motor mouths. You will witness a lot of growling, whining, and barking at this point. If your puppy does not want to follow your instruction or is not liking what you are telling him, he will make sure you know that. Your responsibility at this point is to focus on the manner of communication. You must understand whether your puppy is being friendly or aggressive while communicating. Your pup is not only learning your body language, but you are also learning the body language of your puppy.
This can also be referred to as the fear stage. Everything around the puppy is very new to them. Being scared is extremely understandable. When you take your puppy for obedience classes or group-based training sessions, you can identify the fear factors that your puppy has and work through them early on. Get your puppy vaccinated as soon as possible and take them out. Expose them to different stimulations like thunderstorms, baby crying, vacuum noises, fireworks, lawnmowers, sudden movement, elderly movement, movement of people with disabilities, etc. The more your puppy is made aware of such factors, the faster he will be able to cope with them. Every time your puppy seems to react to such situations, you can ask your puppy to ignore them. You can either distract your puppy by using the command ‘leave it’ or ‘stop’ or ‘no’.
Start indicating which behavior you prefer and which you don’t
Golden retrievers are extremely smart dogs. They can pick up on human behavior fairly well. The sooner you start to show your puppy which behavior is allowed and which is not, the better it will be in the long run. When you see your puppy run around with socks, say ‘no’. It should never be ‘no, no, no, no, no’. It should be a single ‘no’. You can also use dog toys to distract your puppy into giving you the sock. Every time you use the word ‘no’, your dog will understand that this is not a behavior he is supposed to engage in. Since Goldens love to please their guardians, they start to display behavior that is more favorable than unfavorable.
House training of golden retriever puppies
Next, you should focus on house training. You start with the pee and potty training. Eventually, you bring in creative training as well. There may be a few accidents around the house. However, during accidents do not scold your puppy. Quickly clean it up. If you scold your puppy for minor accidents that occur around the house, your puppy may start to drink the urine or eat the poop to hide evidence. Thus, look at things from your puppy’s perspective and act accordingly.
Rules boundaries and expectations
This is the time when you will be establishing the routine of your puppy, rules, and boundaries. You also have to understand what your puppy likes and dislikes. If the dislike does not cause harm to anyone, you can probably let it be. Alternatively, you can try to train the dislike out of your puppy. However, if you are finding it hard to deal with the training and behavioral sessions on your own, you can either employ the help of a dog trainer or a dog behaviorist to identify where you are going wrong.
Care and grooming of golden retriever puppies
Two months is the perfect age to start caring for your dog. You must desensitize your dog towards the touch. You may have to take your dog to the groomer and your dog may not react favorably when touched. Therefore, focus on touching all parts of your dog’s body, especially the feet, tail, ears, and mouth. This will help establish the comfort zone early. Start to trim your dog’s nails in a weekly fashion. Brush your dog’s teeth every day, and brush the coat a few times every week. Bath and grooming should not be taken lightly.
You can start bathing your puppy as well. However, since bathing is not a regular requirement for grooming, you may decide to hand off this job to professionals. The grooming maintenance of your dog involves trimming the regions around the ear, tail, and paws, Since golden retriever puppies do not have a long and thick coat at this point of life, it is a good way to practice handling your dog and conducting grooming sessions if you decide to do it by yourself. This will also help establish a comfort zone for both you and your puppy.
Teenage rebellion phase (6 to 18 months)
All the things that you have established during the angel stage will come into use during the teenage rebellion phase. Yes, dogs also have a teenage phase. Just like human kids, dogs also drive their guardians mad during this phase. This is why training during the angel phase is so important.
During this time, you may find yourself struggling with the hormonal issues of your puppy. Golden retrievers generally take around one year to reach complete maturity. Therefore, you may find your puppy in different moods like reclusive, feisty, or cranky. You may not understand every time why your puppy is acting out but it’s just going to be the way it is. This is also the time when you find out which dog friend your dog gets along with the most. Do not force your dog to like every dog he meets. Dogs have their preference and their preferences must be respected. Those canine friends with whom your puppy enjoys wrestling, zoom, and playing tug of war, should be invited more often. This way the friendship can develop and your puppy can be actively socializing as well.
By this phase, the teething is over. Therefore, there is very less chance that your golden retriever puppies would be biting everything in sight. Goldens generally need to keep their mouths busy all the time. Therefore, it’s preferable if you provide your golden retriever puppies with something to hang on to. If your golden does not get any designated item to chew, your socks might be the target. This is also the perfect one to train your puppy to leave the items he is carrying in his mouth. For this, use the command ‘leave it’ or ‘drop it’.
Around this., you can introduce different tricks and exercise forms that will keep your puppy engaged and fulfill his exercise needs. If the exercise needs are not met properly, you may have an aggressive puppy on your hands. Therefore, do not ignore exercising. There are many forms of exercise and agility training that you can do with your dog. You can go with relay, tricks, agility training, dock diving, fieldwork, obedience, barn hunting, etc. Whatever your dog seems to show a preference for, build on that. If your puppy encounters items or factors that cause fear in him, you must act actively work with him to identify them and reduce the fear quotient.
As I mentioned before, by this time, golden has reached around 80% of its growth phase. By the time dogs reach two years of age, their rebellious behavior will also go away. If your dog is a female, you may have experienced one or two heat phases by the time the puppy turns two years of age. Between the age of 12 to 24 months, your dog’s diet will also require certain adjustments. This accommodates their newly introduced exercise patterns and continued growth. Golden retriever puppies are athletic. They must exercise throughout their life to keep them active and healthy. Adult female dogs should weigh around 55 to 65 pounds. In males, the weight comes up to65 to 75 pounds.
Grooming patterns have already been established by this point. All you have to do is continue the pattern. Keep brushing your dog’s fur coat a few times a week to keep that coat shiny, neat, and tidy. The fur around the feet, ear, and tail should undergo regular trimming. This reduces the chance of tangles and burrs. Trimming the excess hair also prevents the collection of mud and dirt. When you keep the nails short, it reduces the chances of malformities and injuries. Another benefit of grooming is that it familiarizes you with the body of your dog. If there are any sores, injuries, or bumps, you can identify them early and get the required vet care.
Maturity of golden retriever puppies (18 to 24 months)
By the time golden retriever puppies reached two years of age, they have already reached their full size and are sexually mature. By now, the training phase is over. Your dog should be well-versed in the different training protocols. If for any reason, some training tricks have been overlooked before, now is the time to focus on them. Keep working with your dog and practicing the tricks because this helps deepen the bond between the two of you.
Golden retriever puppies reached their full growth by two years of age. Males may take another year to reach complete physical maturity. However, females are completely mature by two years of age. If you are not going to breed your pup, this would be the right time to get your dog either neutered or spayed depending on the gender. Now all you have to focus on is maintaining the weight of your dog. Maintaining weight can be tricky because adolescents need a high-caloric diet. However, you may have to keep an eye out for how much your dog is eating. If you are taking your dog for sterilization, their diet can change after the procedure. Therefore, weight management should be a top priority.
If your dog is on the athletic side, you will have to continue training him. If he is not on the athletic side, now is the time to slowly but surely increase the training phase so that your dog stays athletic. By this time, the traits and personality of your dog have come into full bloom. You should have the ideal golden retriever if you have put in the work from your side. As per dog experts, if you have put in the hard work in the first two years, you will have the dog of your dreams for your lifetime.
Grooming of the golden retriever puppies at this stage
Since golden retrievers have long fur, they will continue to require regular grooming, bathing, and brushing. However, if you have worked with your dog for the past two years, by now, your dog should be acclimatized to teeth cleaning, regular brushing, nail trimming, shampooing, coat trimming, bathing, etc. Remember to trim your dog’s nails every week so that there are no deformities.
With Christmas right around the corner, many dog guardians are thinking to add golden retriever puppies to their households. One thing that you must understand is that golden retrievers take two years to completely mature. Therefore, you will be going through several stages where your dog may not seem to be the ideal one for you. However, all you must keep with your dog.
Just like kids, dogs demand your energy and time. If you cannot give your time and energy to your dog, you should probably not get one. Alternatively, if you want your dog to succeed but don’t have the time because of your high-pressure job environment etc, you can always enlist the help of a dog trainer. However, a dog trainer can only help you with the training process. The bond between you and your dog will not develop if you are not actively involved in the training and caring process. Therefore, make sure that you spare some time for your dog every day.
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Do you have golden retriever puppies? How long did it take for you to completely bond with your dog? How did you train your puppy? What were the hurdles that you faced? Please share your experiences in the comments section below so that others looking to get a golden retriever puppy can also understand what caring for a dog belonging to this breed entails.
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Frequently asked questions
Golden Retriever puppies training begins when your dog is four months old. This is the time when your puppy needs to start learning how to behave around other dogs and people. It is also the time when your puppy starts to learn basic commands like sit, stay, come, down, and shake.
There are primarily 3 phases in the golden retriever training timeline:
-Angel phase (2 to 6 months)
-Teenage rebellion phase (6 to 18 months)
-Maturity phase (18-24 months)
Start with house training, teach your puppy his name and focus on sit, stay and come.