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Hi, guys! This may get a little long, so please bear with me :)

I'm currently a college student and at this point, I am sure I am not ready for a dog. So, keep in mind this is a hypothetical several years into the future.

I have always wanted a dog. And I mean ALWAYS. My dad is not a dog person, to put it kindly, so unfortunately no dog for little me. Now, I'm thinking in the future I'd really like to have one. I actually briefly fostered (with a chance to adopt if it worked out very well) a young Borzoi. I adored the dog, but I couldn't handle all the work on top of school, and I don't know that a sighthound, as much as I love them, is the right dog for me because I'd like to (and now do) have cats as well. So he went home after a little more than a month. Now I'm pretty certain that I don't want a dog until I'm done school, and perhaps not until I am in a place with a yard.

A little background about me: I'm a psych student with a huge interest in dog behavior and training. I'm also an artist, and hoping to work from home in the future. I'm very very introverted and suffer from severe social anxiety and (medicated) depression. My animals are pretty much my life. I'm telling you this because while I am not in need of a service dog, I know that Goldens are a top pick and may be more tolerant than other breeds of taking a restful day now and again. I know for a fact my exercise habits are not up to par right now, but since it will be quite a while before I'm really looking to get one, I can change it. I also need a realistic idea of how much exercise will be required, and what kind.

In terms of exercise I live in a GREAT place when it comes to dogs. Especially water lovers. I'm in a fairly rural part of Wisconsin, and nearly right on the bank of the WI river. During the summer, we can go to my favorite spot on the river which is a very small sandy "beach". Not regulated, dog friendly. (and in case anyone doesn't know the nature of the river it's a big wide gentle thing-- barely a current, amazing for swimming. I spend all summer there) I also live very close to a smaller dog park, and about 20 minutes away from an enormous one which is usually very empty, not a classic 'field' park but rather trails through tall grass and woods. Both parks are very close knit and never crowded. There are also places to go locally like walks through the neighborhoods or "downtown" with multiple dog friendly shops including one pet focused place which has an indoor dog play area for winter or indoor exercise. So it's a pretty nice place to live! It will honestly be a challenge to get myself moving, especially going out, rather than running out of places to go. One of the reasons I want a place with a yard is so that I have somewhere to train and play with a dog without the need to "go out" three or four times a day.

Now, what I want in a dog. I want a dog who will be attached to me. Who will sleep with me (at least once ok overnight), and who will be able to lounge around with me when I'm not feeling up to doing much. I also want a dog who will be more easily trainable. I want to try obedience training for fun, and also have a dog who can learn to be polite with me when I go places, whether it be pet friendly stores, or outdoor events which there are a lot of where I am; very tight community, but I often feel uncomfortable and anxious going on my own. I pretty much want a dog to be with me as much as it possibly can.

I do plan to crate train, though I'd love to someday be able to trust an adult dog for periods of time out of the crate unsupervised.

Another thing I'd love your advice on is how in the world to find reputable breeders? I know Goldens are a VERY popular breed and I'd really like to be able to buy from a healthy line to try and avoid or minimize as many health problems down the line as I can. I know they're also prone to obesity and while I'm not too worried about it, (I've managed all my animals health/weight very well, none have been overweight) I'd love any tips on making sure I stay on top of it.

Some of this stuff I'm just worrying about much too early, but I like to plan ahead, and I want a few honest opinions on the breed. Maybe some people to talk to to make sure I plan properly and won't be too overwhelmed when the time comes. I am really afraid of failing!

Thank you so much for any help or advice :)
 

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It sounds to me like you'd be a great match for a golden :) theyre incredibly eager to please, loving and usually very cuddly. They like to be next to people, always. Some dogs require a lot of commitment from their owners for exercise, some don't. The biggest thing is finding a dog that meets your needs. Finding a really reputable breeder ensure that. Luckily, you have lots of good breeders nearby. I actually flew all the way to Wisconsin from Oregon to pick up our newest pup. She's an angel and is actually sleeping on my lap as I write this. Spend some time around the forum; learn what to look for in a breeder, common training and puppy issues, how much puppies cost, the wait time for a litter, everything you can do to get yourself ready. When the time comes you'll decide if a Goldens right for you and get help checking clearances.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
@ArchersMom Would you be willing to PM me a couple names to look into? :) I'm not very experienced at picking out breeders and I'm really worried about finding a responsible person since they can be such a mess if badly bred :'(

I kind of glossed over them when first looking at dogs...but now going back and remembering all the goldens I've known, they're seeming more and more like the ideal dog. I'm excited to have found this forum :) I'll definitely spend time here and ask questions before the time comes.
 

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From what you have described, a golden seems like a good choice.

1) They are the ultimate velcro dogs in my opinion. To the extent that you may not be able to use the bathroom without them wanting to be a part of it
2) My wife and I allow Maya on the bed, where she finds a spot between us and sleeps through the night. She is crate trained, loves her crate, but she fell sick once when we were away, and upon returning I could not bear to crate her at night. Now it is permanent and we need a larger bed
3) I don't know much about Wisconsin, but if there is space for a golden to run, explore, and swim, then you're all set. We live in the city, but are fortunate to have all those amenities within walking distance of our home. Not to mention Maya loves snow, so when you do get a golden and it is snowing in Wisconsin, your golden will have a blast
4) Exercise wise, I think goldens need a decent amount of physical AND mental stimulation. I have seen Maya get equally exhausted by a walk through a new neighborhood compared to a romp in the park. A good combo of off leash exercise and leashed walking, plus some games at home, is ideal. I will say that while my wife and I have always been on the healthy side, having a golden has improved that. Walking a few miles with a happy golden by your side makes the distance seem a lot shorter. There are times when Maya and I will go on hour long walks and just get lost in the cul-de-sacs of Cambridge, and it is kinda fun for the both of us.

There are some things to consider - are you a very neat and clean person who values his/her possessions? Well, we are, but it is hard to maintain that lifestyle when you get a puppy. A lot of our decent furniture have bite marks when Maya was teething, and I can tell you, it was not from a lack of vigilance! There is a steady layer of fur all the time, so cleaning has increased twenty-fold. And there will be times when you don't feel up to playing/walking/exercising, but need to suck it up because without a healthy outlet for that pent up energy, you could end up with a destructive pup.

I hope this helps. You should put a lot of thought into whether a dog, and specifically a golden, is right for you. Good luck!
 

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It sounds to me that you would be a great owner. The most important thing to successful dog ownership is a realistic expectation of your ability to provide for the dog and a good plan to implement it. I see great owners who live in apartments and rotten owners who have a house with a yard. All about the owner!

As for good breeders in Wisconsin, you are in luck because there are a lot of good breeders here. Here is my list:

My husband and I own MapleHills Kennel in Clayton, WI and we are primarily involved in field work but of course that does require a good deal of obedience also. Below are breeders in WI, MN, and IL that I like. Most are field but some are involved in formal obedience and a few are show or have show line influence.



Choctaw in Clintonville, WI
Dichi in Portage, WI
Docmar in Duluth MN
Four Lakes Golden Retrievers in Madison WI
Gold Eagle in Marshfield, WI
Maxhaven in Wyoming MN
Miners in Sheridan IL
MVP in Eau Claire, WI
Prairie Fire Golden Retrievers outside of Wilmar, MN
Sunshine Golden Retrievers in Madison, WI
Tanbark Golden Retrievers, Madison WI
Thistle Rock Golden Retrievers in Elk River, MN
Topbrass – some litters are born in northern IL
Topflight in St Croix Falls, WI
Webshire in Larsen, WI
Wildwings in Hayward, WI

Good Luck in your search and remember that you should start your research about a year before you are ready to bring home a puppy.

 

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Lisa
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Hello from another Wisconsin person!

Your area sounds like a lovely place to live, especially for a golden. I wish I had an indoor winter play place where I could take my dog. That sounds terrific.

I agree with everyone that a golden sounds perfect for you, but I wanted to add one other note (and apologies if you know this already): given that you know you'll want a lazy day here and there with your dog, may I suggest a dog from conformation lines rather than a field golden? My dog is nearly two, and he needs a good bit of off-leash running a day, but the exercise requirements of the field goldens seem to be higher. If I have a busy day and my dog only gets walks, rather than a trip to the lake for a swim or a hike off-leash, he can still be well-behaved in the house. A field golden (or at least those I've met) seem more like elite athletes that need more exercise than my dog.

I will also add that many goldens, including my own, will not go into the backyard alone. My dog will not potty until I give in and put on my coat and head out into the snow in my pajamas. That's the down side of having a velcro dog who always has to be with you. My dog says my training is coming along nicely in this respect. :)

I'd also add my breeder, Harvestime, to the list of Wisconsin breeders. There are at least four Harvestime dogs in my neighborhood, and probably 10-15 I've met overall, and they are calm, friendly dogs. Their reservation list was closed for a while, but it's now open again.

Here are some things to keep in mind when looking for a reputable breeder:
1. Someone who's been doing it a while.
2. Someone whose dogs have clearances for hips, eyes, heart, and ...help me out, someone, what's the last one?
3. My personal preference was for a puppy raised in a whelping area within the home, rather than raised in a kennel.
4. A breeder with a wait list.
5. A breeder who will back his/her dogs by taking them back if it doesn't work out with you.

There are probably a lot more things to think about when selecting a breeder, but those are the few I remember.

One last note: we have anxiety issues at our house, too, and have seen an incredible improvement in my son since the dog arrived. There's just something about being with the dog, even when the dog is jumping and mouthing, that relaxes my son. That started after the first year we had him, though.

Good luck to you in your search!
 

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Your thread reads like a page out of my book. My first Golden though found me in a parking lot in February and I spent a month try to find the owner. Months later we went for a cross country ride for 2 months together.

Did I have a clue what I was doing, no. Turned out perfect though and still Golden almost 30 years later.

Wonderful breed. They can do just about anything and acclimate to any environment or lifestyle of their humans.

Good luck to you!
 

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A golden sounds like a perfect fit for you!

My golden, Jasmine, loves cuddling and loves attention. I can tell when she doesn't get enough because she starts stealing shoes and running around with them!

If you're looking to meet more people, goldens will definitely help with that! I've never met a dog who loves people nearly as much as Jasmine does. Everyone is her best friend.

As far as exercise, goldens need quite a bit. We usually try to get in at least a half hour daily walk, a 10-15 minute play session, and my two dogs both play with each other a lot in between. Mental stimulation is also very important; it just exhausts them and keeps them out of trouble. Teaching new tricks and reviewing old tricks is a great way to go.

Do be aware though, that all puppies (regardless of breed) need to be properly socialized within the first 16 weeks. They need to go new places, meet new people, meet other friendly dogs, be introduced to the vacuum cleaner, etc. It's also important that these are all positive experiences for the dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you everyone for all the responses! :) I'm very much thinking that this could be a great breed for me as a beginner and as someone who would like to someday get into obedience.

What wonderful dogs you all have! (And...let's be honest...Golden puppies are the cutest puppies in the whole wide world ;)

I'll definitely be around here asking questions and educating myself since puppy won't be for a few years most likely. This is a lovely place!
 

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All advice given sums up a golden. I know you mentioned some social anxiety be warned that with a golden you will be stopped often for people to admire your dog especially puppies. Guilty as charged. Thankfully most people that stop you want to talk dogs.
 

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I missed this when you first posted, but if you still want another response:

"Now, what I want in a dog. I want a dog who will be attached to me. Who will sleep with me (at least once ok overnight), and who will be able to lounge around with me when I'm not feeling up to doing much. I also want a dog who will be more easily trainable. I want to try obedience training for fun, and also have a dog who can learn to be polite with me when I go places, whether it be pet friendly stores, or outdoor events which there are a lot of where I am; very tight community, but I often feel uncomfortable and anxious going on my own. I pretty much want a dog to be with me as much as it possibly can. "

To me you just described a golden in that part :)

I lost my golden this July, I still live at home with my parents (who don't want another dog) and I am currently trying to get into medical school, so I don't see how I could possibly get another dog anytime soon. But when I am settled the first thing I will do is get another golden. Because what my dear golden taught me is that they are great companions, great friends and they make everything better. They make your home happier and you can always count on them to be with you, whether you want to go swimming or just cuddle on the couch.

I hope you get a golden when the time is right, you won't regret it.
 

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Sure sounds like a golden would be a good fit for you. In your situation you may want to look at adopting an older golden. Golden puppies can be a real handful at times to the point of almost being demanding. I have three from pups and loved them dearly but lots of work and attention. Currently I have three older goldens - adopted them all when they were 8 - now 12 and two sisters at 10. They are pretty amazing dogs and I am sure glad to have had this expereince - of adopting older goldens. Something to consider when you are done school and have more time to focus on things other than school!
 

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I think you would give a fantastic life to a dog! Your location sounds amazing.

Here is just something to keep in mind-- not all Goldens will be cuddly. Mine is not. He is very attached to us (especially me) and follows us around, is always ready to head out the door with us when he knows we are leaving (we take him whenever we can), and is often literally right in the middle of things. If I'm vacuuming, he's keeping me company, inspecting my work. Cooking? Lying right in the middle of the kitchen, and everyone steps over him. I get a package in the mail? He sits expectantly in front of me while I open it, certain that whatever is in the box is for him (which it often is); visitors come over, and of course they are there to visit him, not us! The list goes on and on.

But, he is not cuddly! He is allowed on the furniture, but he often won't get up. Only recently did he hop on the bed with us (daytime-- he chooses his crate at night) when we hang out, but most of the time he'll then get down and sleep ron the floor next to us.

One of the only times he will cuddle is sometimes if he has a chew. He will walk around with it, circling around, waiting for one of us to lie down on the FLOOR so that he can lie on us and chew. (And yes, we often accommodate him!) He used to hate being petted, even! But, now he tolerates and has even grown to like it. So-- he is absolutely not aloof, but he's absolutely not cuddly! He's a year, so it may change with time, may not.

The other thing that may be a worth noting on your list is being able to be out and about. Our dog is exceptionally over-the-top, we have been told, for a Golden. We are working on this with him, but he's a year and still gets very crazy with new people. So, this has really limited how often/where we can take him places. (Heck, if it were legal and he was behaved right, he would be coming absolutely everywhere with us!) He is improving a lot, but still has a lot of work to do. It's a combination of temperament and training, so keep that in mind when picking a puppy or adult. I think, though, because you have access to so many dog friendly places, this will be less of an issue for you, no matter what.

One thing to consider would be being a puppy raiser at first. Our local group (different groups in the US) requires you to pay for all usual vet care, food, toys, etc. but not the training or initial cost. Some pay for more. You will likely be able to take the puppy just about anywhere. They are not granted the same legal status as a service dog, but if you call first and ask, you will probably be given permission to bring the dog most places. Then you will get all of the training, will get a dog from good stock, and will have someone to help you through the whole process. Yes, you will have to say goodbye (if everything goes well), but would be such a great gift to society, to raise a service dog. If you live close to a place with this program, sometimes you can be a breeder dog host. Our local one (but sadly, not with the head office in our state, so we can't do it) has you host the dog in your home-- this would be an exceptional dog because it's been chosen to breed-- and you do all the usual-- but then at the end of the breeding, you get to keep the dog!
 
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