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Hi! My Golden, Leo, is now 1 year old and I got him when he was 4 weeks. The people that had him were desperately looking for someone to take him in because they were moving and the place didn't allow dogs :(. I never owned a puppy before in my life, but I fell in love and decided to give it a go. It's been a crazy first year, but I think we're doing great. I live in an apartment, hoping to move next year to a house with a yard, but I take Leo to the park at least 2x a week!

I'm still working on desensitizing him to places and socialization and I think he's doing great! He loves other dogs and humans, my only problem is containing his excitement since he pulls a lot! I use the gentle lead collar when we go out in public (not regular walks) and that helps a lot even though he really wants it off. I'm hoping he won't have to wear it forever.

The previous owners didn't get him neutered and I didn't end up doing it. I read a lot of research that waiting until they are 2 years old and fully grown is the best time to do it. I'm not planning on breeding him or anything. He doesn't show any signs of behavioral issues because he's not neutered. I'm a bit nervous he will develop some when he's 2 because people have been telling me that. I don't believe it but also I really just don't have experience with that. I think the only thing I have to complain about is that he'll try to hump male or female dogs at the dog park but I've heard even neutered dogs will do this. I'm hoping I made the right decision to wait! He is very sweet and not aggressive, he's never peed or marked in the house or anywhere he's not supposed to be peeing, and I hope that continues.

One of my main concerns is that his front leg sometimes shakes. It's either the right or left but never both. I saw a previous thread on here from 2010 regarding the same concern and it wasn't serious. I've also consulted my vet about it and she wasn't concerned about it either. He's not in pain and he does everything normally. He's done this since was small, so I'm hoping it's not anything serious. I'm going to bring it up again at my next vet visit in March just to make sure.

Any who, so happy to be here!

Amanda
 

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Great story. Nice to have you with us! Would love some pictures. As for the humping my guy is neutered and he does try to occasionally hump dogs as well as his blankees. I would be curious as to what your vet feels is the cause of the alternate leg shaking?
 

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Welcome to the forum!
 

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Welcome! If you got your pup at 4 weeks (and someone had already had him - I assume away from his mom - even before that), then you are due HUGE kudos for ending up with what sounds like a perfectly normal and well-adjusted dog (4 weeks is WAY too young to leave his mom - many states won't let you sell a puppy under 8 weeks. There are SO many things his mom and siblings would normally have taught him in the four weeks he "lost," so you are doing GREAT if you have managed to raise a dog with no significant behavioral issues!).

Leash manners is one of the most common challenges we all face. Full disclosure... all my dogs have earned advanced obedience/rally titles and most were/are terrible on leash... mostly because I don't have many places to take them for leashed walks, and so we rarely practice. Susan Garrett has a good blog and some free videos on her website. I'm never sure if we can link things like that here, but if you Google "Susan Garrett how do I stop my dog from pulling" it should come up. I think she's in the midst of one of her free "It's Yer Choice" summits right now that you may also find helpful.

As for the neutering... There are tons of threads here on that topic, but bottom line is MANY of us keep our males intact their entire lives with no behavioral issues at all. As long as you are a responsible owner who will never allow your dog to be in a position where he can create unwanted puppies, and he has no behavioral issues that might be helped by neutering (usually marking, aggression or humping), then there's really not a compelling reason to neuter him at all. If you decide it's easier on you to have him neutered, then yes, I'd aim for doing it after he turns two and all his growth plates have closed. Keep in mind that neutering is always an option, even if you choose to do it 10 years down the road for some reason... but you can never UNneuter him...
 

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Welcome! If you got your pup at 4 weeks (and someone had already had him - I assume away from his mom - even before that), then you are due HUGE kudos for ending up with what sounds like a perfectly normal and well-adjusted dog (4 weeks is WAY too young to leave his mom - many states won't let you sell a puppy under 8 weeks. There are SO many things his mom and siblings would normally have taught him in the four weeks he "lost," so you are doing GREAT if you have managed to raise a dog with no significant behavioral issues!).

Leash manners is one of the most common challenges we all face. Full disclosure... all my dogs have earned advanced obedience/rally titles and most were/are terrible on leash... mostly because I don't have many places to take them for leashed walks, and so we rarely practice. Susan Garrett has a good blog and some free videos on her website. I'm never sure if we can link things like that here, but if you Google "Susan Garrett how do I stop my dog from pulling" it should come up. I think she's in the midst of one of her free "It's Yer Choice" summits right now that you may also find helpful.

As for the neutering... There are tons of threads here on that topic, but bottom line is MANY of us keep our males intact their entire lives with no behavioral issues at all. As long as you are a responsible owner who will never allow your dog to be in a position where he can create unwanted puppies, and he has no behavioral issues that might be helped by neutering (usually marking, aggression or humping), then there's really not a compelling reason to neuter him at all. If you decide it's easier on you to have him neutered, then yes, I'd aim for doing it after he turns two and all his growth plates have closed. Keep in mind that neutering is always an option, even if you choose to do it 10 years down the road for some reason... but you can never UNneuter him...
Thank you for the feedback, I really appreciate it! I agree he was very young to be separated from his mom and litter. I knew the people who had him before from mutual friends, and my friend was actually going to take him but couldn't I asked them what breeder they used or if he was a rescue, and they told me that their friend's 2 goldens "accidentally" had puppies. I'm not sure if that's the truth or not, but I decided to take him since they were going to take him to a shelter. He is very sweet, a bit nervous in the beginning, but not really anymore. He's very healthy too, so I'm grateful for that.

And thank you for the neutering comment! I always felt when I told people I wasn't planning on neutering him, that they would look at me like I'm doing something bad! I just believe it's not necessary. I trust myself as an owner to be responsible.
 
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