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The best thing - When they say "Man's Best Friend" -- they're not kidding.

The worst thing - They don't live as long as we do.

As for the other things... the puppy stages, the shedding, etc... they're all just minor annoyances that we learn to deal with.

Puppies can tend to be a handful. The training period can be frustrating at times, and requires a lot of patience. But it's very rewarding.
 

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I think the worst thing about Goldens is their reputation for being such wonderful family dogs - which they CAN be - so new owners are totally unprepared for the "land sharks" and the jumping, and the knocking the kids down - if there are kids involved - and then it becomes the fault of the puppy for just being a Golden puppy.
 

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Have you ever sat and watched people train? Like not focusing on your dog or paying attention to anything else - literally watching and learning what works and doesn't work. And not just watching "experts", but those people who are locked onto a concept and attempting to apply to their dogs?
Lots and lots and lots. It's what I do whenever it's not our turn, and it's what I do when we arrive early or stay late. I look at what people do and what the instructors say to them. And I've seen people who are locked into a concept and thus are ineffective with their dogs. I also look especially for people who are working on what I'm working on so I can see what I might do better.

What I reject is the idea that it's a two dimensional continuum. The difference between an effective reward-based trainer and an ineffective one isn't the willingness to apply mild corrections. It's the skill of the trainer. I see one trainer at my agility class who's somewhat willing to "correct" her dog but is ineffective in rewarding. She lures really badly when she shouldn't, and she leaves the food in front of her dog's face when he does do something right, so he doesn't actually get rewarded with it in a timely fashion. She's constantly missing opportunities to reward him. And she is willing to speak sternly to her dog, which he doesn't like, but he's smart enough to know that if he's off leash, she can't do anything to him. She's ineffective because she's not consistent and she doesn't apply the techniques well.

I also see a fairly experienced agility person who's on her 4th or 5th dog who accidentally punishes her dog all the time. She's very willing to correct, and she's pretty effective with it, but she's constantly being stern with her dog and pushing her into position, so the dog has learned to flinch a little, which I hate seeing.

I see another trainer who NEVER corrects her dog in my presence (few of us do at my agility class), but her timing and communication are amazing. Her dog comes along faster than all the other dogs (including Comet) because she's so consistent and effective. Her dog's not terribly soft (all American mix), but it's irrelevant.

I don't see the three of them on a spectrum. If anything, the ineffective people are closer to center. Your way of putting it makes "balanced" training a logical conclusion, where you mix intimidation and discomfort. But training's not just an either/or spectrum like that. Where does consistency fit? Clarity? Timing?

And these problems put her in a corner with her hands tied, because treats and positive energy does not work when the bad behavior is self-rewarding. She has been embarrassed completely by her youngest dog who is THE WORST.
If a bad behavior is self-rewarding, you're right that treats and positive energy don't work. You have to find a way to make it non-rewarding if you want to get rid of the behavior. You don't, however, have to make it unpleasant. Failure to remove the reward will make punishment-based methods fail too, btw.

it can cause more problems than just suggesting purely positive methods - that sometimes are ineffective or painfully slow to work.
There are a few things where I'll still correct my dogs, but I disagree with the assumption that correction avoidance necessarily slows down a process. Typically, it's easier to be clear and the dog actually comes along faster.

Most goldens are not going to turn into jelly if they receive a correction. And there are some harder headed breeds out there who really could make a fool out of their owners if their behaviors are allowed to go uncorrected.
I agree that most Goldens can handle a significant amount of moderate correction. That's why I was careful to use words like "intimidation," "fear," and "harsh." However, I totally disagree that being a more hard-headed breed means you can't be trained with a low or no correction model. The key is non-rewarding what you don't want and rewarding what you do, either way. A hard-headed breed can take a stronger correction without developing fear, but that doesn't mean you need the correction in the first place.
 

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A lot of good best things and worst things about goldens here. All true. The best wort thing about goldens is that they do require a lot of training to be that wonderful balanced dog we love. Those that invest that personal time in all that training end up with a dog they know inside and out, and a dog that knows them the same way. I love that I can just look at Tucker and pretty mug know what he is going to do- good or bad! Those who don't take the time to really know their dog never have any idea of what they are missing.
 

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I think Tippy - if you reread my comments earlier or look at that chart, you may find that I agree to a certain extent with you. And that is something I hope you really keep in mind is that people who use corrections in their training are not always just using the same corrections used 40 years ago or whatever. Dog training has vastly changed over the years - the last 10 especially.

I don't see the three of them on a spectrum. If anything, the ineffective people are closer to center. Your way of putting it makes "balanced" training a logical conclusion, where you mix intimidation and discomfort. But training's not just an either/or spectrum like that. Where does consistency fit? Clarity? Timing?
If you don't see them, you aren't looking clearly enough. Darnit. :) If somebody is using corrections in their training that are harmful to the dog, that falls to the left of the dividing line.

Where I put myself on the graph is between that middle and the extreme right. And plenty of trainers that I train under fall in the same spot. They use corrections. They just do not use them as a rule to get things done. And yes, they definitely have their ineffective days too. I DO. And it's my fault, not the methods. :)

I train with people who fall under the balanced middle - and these are people who tend to use corrections a bit more actively to stop behaviors (like ear pinches, for example). Their dogs are very well trained and not fearful or damaged by the handling, because the corrections are balanced by praise and rewards and otherwise positive handling.

Ineffective - generally is based on application. Where I see 100% positive training being ineffective for most pet owners is it takes them months to stop a nuisance bad behavior that using an adequate or timely correction stops in a day or two. And some of these nuisance bad behaviors become worse when the dogs go through the hormonal teen years or as the dogs self-reward while performing these bad behaviors.

Probably a good example that I can think of that especially applies in this thread is my Bertie is teething right now. Meaning he will bite everything he can wrap his puppy jowls around. And when he bites, it does hurt a tiny bit, despite him not actually having a lot of teeth in there. :)

I follow a mixture of positive or R+ training methods as well as common sense correction when it comes to things like this. As a result, if I say "no bite", Bertie immediately withdraws his mouth from my arm or from Jacks' ears.

Same thing with jumping. I will apply a correction and say "off" when he jumps up on me and praise/reward when his feet touch the ground. As of today, he will get off on command alone, no need for a correction.

Again, the problem with sharing these training methods on an online forum is the danger of one of those muddlers using the method to hurt their dog and then instead of taking responsibility for their own poor application of a method, they blame the method for the damage. >.<
 

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Waiting For Our Baby
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Discussion Starter #27
Thank you so much for all the wonderful responces everyone! This is like a whole new world to me! I am so excited to add our new golden baby to our family and reading this has helped me feel better prepared for some of the things we will encounter! We do have 3 young children aged 3.5, 6, and 8.5. How can I best deal with the biting faze with them?
 

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The good far outways the bad they are the most loveing beings on the planet.Bad they can destroy a yard,shoes & anything left within reach when their young.Secret don't leave anything within reach.Sweetie climbed in bed this morning with a sock dropped it when I told her to and laid down next to me with her head on the pillow.How can you be mad after that!
My best tip from me is socialize when your pup it's young Jack can still be an ahole to other dogs if I don't watch him Sweetie wouldn't hurt a fly if it bit her.
I gree they are alot of hard work if you want great dog but it's worth it for me & we're still (all three of us a work) in progress.Been on here awhile now & I still learn something everyday
 

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I think Tippy - if you reread my comments earlier or look at that chart, you may find that I agree to a certain extent with you. And that is something I hope you really keep in mind is that people who use corrections in their training are not always just using the same corrections used 40 years ago or whatever. Dog training has vastly changed over the years - the last 10 especially.
I think where we disagree is the importance of active punishment of something that's undesired. If your dog jumps up, do you think "let me make jumping up slightly unpleasant so he really gets it before I reward him for putting all four on the floor?" Or do you think, "the important part is making sure he doesn't find the jump rewarding and that I reward him for putting all four on the floor."

I think that's the key difference. I no longer think that disobedience needs to be unpleasant, and I don't think removing the unpleasant part slows me down.

Ineffective - generally is based on application. Where I see 100% positive training being ineffective for most pet owners is it takes them months to stop a nuisance bad behavior that using an adequate or timely correction stops in a day or two. And some of these nuisance bad behaviors become worse when the dogs go through the hormonal teen years or as the dogs self-reward while performing these bad behaviors.
If you can't prevent the self-reward, the technique can't work. So by definition, if the dog is being self-rewarded, the training is ineffective, whether you use punishment or not. Letting a dog self-reward and then punishing him is just confusing.

Probably a good example that I can think of that especially applies in this thread is my Bertie is teething right now. Meaning he will bite everything he can wrap his puppy jowls around. And when he bites, it does hurt a tiny bit, despite him not actually having a lot of teeth in there. :)


I follow a mixture of positive or R+ training methods as well as common sense correction when it comes to things like this. As a result, if I say "no bite", Bertie immediately withdraws his mouth from my arm or from Jacks' ears.
And, like I said, I've had my own puppies and client puppies not biting within minutes, with a day or two needed to help redirect the urge consistently. With dogs that already bite habitually, it takes longer, but I doubt it takes any longer than punishing the bite. So if you don't need the punishment, and it doesn't speed things up, why use it?

Same thing with jumping. I will apply a correction and say "off" when he jumps up on me and praise/reward when his feet touch the ground. As of today, he will get off on command alone, no need for a correction.
And I've done this one lots and lots of times, even with habitual jumpers. Train the sit, non-reward the jump. Boom, done. Again, the dog doesn't need to know that jumping is unpleasant in any way. It just can't be rewarding.

I consider myself a balanced trainer - but I think I'm more to the right of the middle. I favor rewarding and positive reinforcement in all things first.
I consider myself balanced too, but I only use aversive methods when I can't figure out any other way to remove the reward. We differ on the degree to which we value aversives, not the degree with which we value rewards. I just don't see the 2-D spectrum as a useful way of visualizing that.

Where I was motivated to put that graph in there is when I see people implying that training is a black/white issue. That all corrections were painful and harmful, and create fear aggression and other problems.
Nobody did that, and I certainly didn't.

Even people who will not use traditional corrections (leash pops or face grabbing) in their training still use certain types of corrections in their training and freely recognize that they ARE still corrections.
There's a semantic argument here that I don't care to get into. I use the word "correction" to describe something you do to decrease an undesired behavior (P+). It can be super mild, and the more mild, the less likely it is to carry side effects.

I just don't think correcting a dog for what you don't want is necessary for shaping behavior. I think training is more fun when you avoid it wherever practical. And I don't think it slows down the desired change in behavior.
 

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Okay Tippy - we may need to take this to a different thread before the mod-ladies warn us. I know this is very unfair to the OP. Shut up and let me have the last word!! *teasing about the shut up - serious about taking it elsewhere* :D

I agree that some dogs are mouthy as a rule. It's what they do when they get hyped up. The methods (gently correct the bad mouthing and immediately give the puppy an OK alternative to chew on) that stopped Bertie's biting practically the same day have never worked on Jacks. A different method (me training "settle" works best with Jacks - and that involves me taking him by the collar and scruff).

Letting a dog self-reward and then punishing him is just confusing.
No - it means your timing is poor. Or you made a mistake and it's a "shame on me" moment instead of shame on the dog.

Probably a good example would be this past class when I went to reward Berts for holding his 20 second stay, I wound up flinging the treat. It went flying - and so did my puppy and he self-rewarded the break because a 4 month old puppy running after a treat is a speed of light affair. :p: That was a "shame on me" moment. I put Bertie back in his stay and rewarded him DOUBLY when he stayed correctly (and I didn't fling any treats).

Nobody did that, and I certainly didn't.
I captured your two lines earlier in the thread. They seemed to indicate a black/white viewpoint.
 

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Thank you so much for all the wonderful responces everyone! This is like a whole new world to me! I am so excited to add our new golden baby to our family and reading this has helped me feel better prepared for some of the things we will encounter! We do have 3 young children aged 3.5, 6, and 8.5. How can I best deal with the biting faze with them?
Never leave the kids alone with the puppy. Never. Don't let them pick the puppy up and carry it around. Teach them to stand perfectly still when the puppy gets crazy, not to squeal and scream and run around - that will only make things worse.
 

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Okay Tippy - we may need to take this to a different thread before the mod-ladies warn us. I know this is very unfair to the OP. Shut up and let me have the last word!! *teasing about the shut up - serious about taking it elsewhere* :D
I think we've both expressed our points of view thoroughly and civilly, and I'm happy to let the thread return to its regularly scheduled programming. ;)
 

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What is a land shark?
I don't know if anyone specifically answered your question but you probably figured it out by now.

Land shark is the affectionate name we call our little bitey puppies. Those puppy teeth are so sharp they can easily draw blood when they bite. I joined this forum after I got my first and current Golden. I have no regrets but that for me was the worst thing. I don't mind the shedding so much because my husband does all the vacuuming. :)


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From my experience with Jasper:
Bad things- Jumping (but with time and patience that is so much better now)
Biting (puppy phase, soon gets better)
Good things- he is a big goofball
super friendly
lovely temperament
my boy :)
 

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Good things:
1) extremely loving, want to be with you, insist that you give them attention
2) easy to train as long as you are consistent
Bad things:
1) Require regular exercise (though this is not bad for me)
2) Cancer, health issues
 

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I love my golden boy. He is 5 now and my best friend. He cuddles and he is sweet and he listens.

He's done all of the cutesy bad dog things like eating shoes and underwear and jumping.

My biggest thing to warn you of is that there is a HUGE range of personality types. Mine for instance would never be a fear biter. He has so much confidence, we have the opposite problem. He can be rude to people and dogs. He is amazing with children, puppies, kittens, or juveniles of any species. He knows the difference.

My guy at 5 has more energy than my 2yr old border collie and reacts more to high energy situations. He is oversized and doesn't have a lot of coat, so his shedding doesn't bother me much compared to my other dogs.

I've run a rescue for American Eskimo Dogs with behaviour issues, seeing dozens of dogs. My golden is by far the hardest to train. He is not sensitive at all to gentle corrections.... Which by the way, is what makes him an excellent therapy dog.

Keep in mind that goldens can be many things. Some are sensitive and need to be treated softly; some require extreme consistency. I eventually resorted to training mine with a static shock collar.

I think the most important thing is to put time and money into training.if you have any problems, immediately pay for private training in your home to see where the problem lies. Puppy classes are great, but they aren't the solution for problems at home. Act early and you will nip things in the bud.

I love my boy. He is not a dog for beginners. My brother has a golden as his first dog and he is the sweetest, easiest dog you will ever meet.


Have fun with your dog, but be proactive. All the goldens I've met have the potential to be awesome family dogs.

:)


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from tippykayak:
"And, like I said, I've had my own puppies and client puppies not biting within minutes, with a day or two needed to help redirect the urge consistently."

can u share how?
 

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What is a land shark?
I have a 5 month old, Rocky, and my hands are covered with knicks. Just break the skin, lil teeth knicks. I sometimes think people are looking at them, thinking I'm doing it to myself! haha. They also burn from the nawing. Maybe not burn, but are sore.

It happens when I brush him. He loves to be brushed and softly naws on my hands -- which is probably my fault. I let him but will tell him no if he bites. Once I wave that finger and say NO, don't bite! He stops.
 
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