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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
We are getting our first Golden this spring and we are SO EXCITED!!!! OK....we are also nervous and a little overwhelmed as my husband and I are first time dog owners. We have both always wanted a Golden Retriever, and my kids have been begging for years, and are over the moon that we have finally decided we are ready for the responsibility.
I am finding this site SO helpful to begin to inform myself with all the info. I want to learn before we bring our new family member home:)
We live in Oakville, Ontario, and I would be VERY apreciative of any and all advice in terms of breeders, kennels, vets, puppy and dog training, etc. that people can pass on!!
Thanks!
 

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Kristy
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Welcome! You're in the right place to gather info to help you make an informed decision about the right dog for your family. Have you had a chance to look at the forum devoted to selecting the right breeder? It has a great checklist on how to find an ethical breeder. Are you convinced you want a puppy? Adopting an older dog can be a really great way to ease into your first dog... Raising a puppy is almost as demanding as a human infant... something to think about.

Mybest advice would be to take your time and really, really dig around a LOT.... Tell your kids up front that it's going to take a couple months for you to decide which type of golden is best for your family and then you might have to wait a while until a good breeder has a puppy or older dog available. Taking your time will be the best investment you could possibly make in your family's long term happiness with the dog you ultimately bring home. This site is a fabulous resource, lots of really kind and knowledgeable folks here.

Have fun with your search!!!!
 

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Kristy
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Have you been to the library and checked out books on Goldens? Did you know there are different bloodlines in the breed that produce more athletic, high energy dogs with a strong drive to retrieve? These 'field' bred dogs are gorgeous but tend to be very intense and need a lot of physical and mental excersise to keep them happy. There are other blood lines that have been bred with the intention to excel in the confirmation show ring... There are breeders who blend these field and show bloodlines in an attempt to produce an 'all around' dog that will be happy as a family dog but easily trainable.... Any golden will need obedience training to make him a happy family member. I don't know how new your search is, but the library is a great place to start... I meant to mention that, in case you haven't had a chance to read up on the breed yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for all your info Nolefan! We have a 10 and 7 year old who very much want to start with the puppy phase because they want to know the dog right from the beginning, and grow with him/her. Yes it will be a lot of work! And we have spent months prepping them for both the good AND the BAD (my husband and I have been totally prepared all along to abandon the idea if one of them decided this is NOT what they want)!! We are not rushing into anything, and have enjoyed taking our time and letting the kids take it all in slowly and process all that will be involved.

Interesting about the bloodlines! How do you find out what bloodlines a breeder is breeding with? We have met a breeder and some of her dogs and have been very impressed with her so far!! You are right, this is a HUGE decision and the more research we do before hand, the happier we will be in the end I beleive. With the research on breeders in my area I have done so far.... I keep coming back to this one. It is hard when you have never done this before because I really don't have anything to compare it with. What impressed me was the amount of care and love she is putting into her dogs and pups, that she wants to know a LOT about YOU in order to decide whether she feels her dog will go to a good home and be well taken care of, that she encourages her puppy owners to stay in touch and send continuous updates on her puppies so she can stay connected to how they are doing, that she only breeds about 2 litters a year and is not a "puppy mill", and that she shows her dogs so I would imagine is breeding dogs who have good temperments and are quite trainable. I have met a couple of her grown dogs and they were both really lovely in looks AND temperment.
I have one puppy book so far, but we are planning on getting a couple more. Someone suggested a book by dr. Ian Dunbar (Before and After Getting your Puppy or something like that). Any thoughts or suggestions?
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Keep your mind open to doing lots and lots of research....Ontario has some great breeders <some are members of this forum> and some breeders that are, well, not so great <they pop in here, but rarely stay when they are asked to respond to the most basic questions>. The members here are really really knowledgeable and more then willing to teach you what to look for and how to wade through all the 'lingo'.

Find a breeder, post their name and ask for opinions.
People will tell you what they like, what makes them hesitate, what questions they would like to see answered and if they would walk away from that particular breeder.
Puppy mills and under-educated backyard breeders are using more and more clever ways to disguise themselves....

Read the puppy buyers checklist on the forum ....so you can be ready to ask the tough questions....

One word of advice.....It is sooooo easy to fall in love with Golden puppies......dont go see a litter of 8 week old puppies unless you have done the research and gotten to know and respect the breeder FIRST. It is **** hard to walk away from a litter of sweet puppies...Especially when you see your children with them....
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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As to what lines the breeder is using....ask him or her!
This is the time to ask, ask, ask!
Gather full registered names of their dogs...with the names, research is possible.
Heck there may be members here with half siblings/Aunts/Uncles of your future puppy that can offer first hand experiences.

You are a consumer....you will be buying a puppy. This is a major purchase.
Try as hard as you can to take the emotion out of the process. Use you head first....your heart later! Much easier said then done! ;-)
 

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Not only do research on which puppy, but get your kids to help puppy proof the house! It'll take a long time, buy baby gates (garage sales are wonderful!) and figure out where you'll let the little one stay & play while being potty trained. That was one sad moment for my daughter realizing we couldn't let the puppy sleep on her bed from the first day! They "mouth" everything they can....read the puppy section on ways to prevent them from chewing furniture, etc. We used vicks vapor rub ...they hate the smell!

Good luck & have fun!!!!!
 

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Coongratulations on wanting to buy a GR, and it's always nice to hear how much thought and time people take before buying a pup because they are hard work. But you will eventually recieve from them what you have worked to so hard to put in them - Love, Trust and and your Best Friend in the World :)

Regarding puppy-proofing your house/garden, what I did was got down on the floor and looked at everything from her height, removed electrical cables, put away anything breakable especially glass, plants/flowers etc, you name it they will explore it and chew it!

As for her bed area, we first had Daisy sleep in her bed in the kitchen which was totally puppy proof, warm and absolutely nothing could harm her, then when she was more trained and became more trust worthy, by the age of just 4 months she was allowed to sleep in the lounge on the chair, and she has been as good as gold ever since (she is allowed to sleep with me, but my bedroom is too hot for her lol) we come down in the mornings and shes always wrapped up in a little ball on the chair and has never ever touched anything. I think we were lucky though, because she has never been a destructive pup, but loves to dig holes in the garden (unless I can catch her in the act lol).

No doubt we will be hearing from you in the coming months after you have bought your pup, and would love to see the photo's as she/he grows :)
 

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Tess and Liza
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If you can, try to find a breeder that isn't too far from where you live. That gives you and the children the opportunity to visit the puppies a lot. We visited almost every week, and it was amazing to see how much they changed in 7 days! Furthermore: I would get a crate for your pup. My pup is 10 weeks old and regards her crate as her safe spot. My son is 15, so he doesn't bother her when she's taking a nap ( during daytime the crate is always open, she goes in and out), but with younger children a safe spot where it's nice and quiet is very important for a young pup. They sleep a lot! And if my little Tess doesn't get the sleep she needs, she gets annoying, biting and nipping. A popular saying on this Forum is : A tired pup is a good pup, but a well rested pup is also a good pup! Congratulations on your decision!
 

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IMO a good breeder is one that asks questions of you and will not hesitate to answer any question that you have, in fact, they should expect you to ask questions. Most will require you to sign a contract and may even do a home visit prior to deciding if you are a good canidate for one of their pups.
A far as experience, well...... puppies chew, chew, chew anything and everything they can get. Mine was quite fond of my wooden coffee table and plantation shutters. They also love little kids hands, and big kids hands, and adult hands, and, well you see where I am going.
But...... a puppy is sooooo sweet. I would not give one day of Murphy's early days. He is now 6 months, and has just settled down on his chewing and can walk freely, most of the day, around the hearth room. So, if you do go with a puppy, just be ready to spend several months of closely monitoring him/her, a few weeks of intense potty duty, and puppy training. But just know that he/she will turn into the most loving pet. Good luck.
 

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I just want to second the idea of getting a crate. IMO it is the most important thing you can get for a dog. I can't imagine raising a puppy without one.

Good luck with your seach. Keep us up to date on how it's going!
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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Check out the thread here http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com/showthread.php?t=22440

A great book in my opinion on helping with preparinng and raising a puppy is How To Raise a Puppy You Can Live With by Rutherford and Neil.

While some blood lines might have certain traits over others all Goldens will need certain things regardless. All will need lots of patience while they grow and learn. All will need lots of your time to help teach them how to be the perfect family member. All will needs lots of paper toweling to clean up their accidents. All will need a GREAT deal of exercise!! All will demand lots of attention. And this is true of ALL blood lines. Don't be fooled by the belief that if it is a "field" bred Golden it will be very high energy or if it a "Conformation" bred Golden it will be very mellow. It does NOT work that way at all.

As others have said take your time and try to resist looking at pups till you have decided on a breeder. It is truly impossible to walk away from pups without putting down a pup because they are just so **** cute! Good luck in your search and please come back and ask lots of questions!
 

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Kristy
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One of my favorite books is "The Golden Retriever: All That Glitters" by Julie Cairns and also 'Golden Retrievers for Dummies". If your library doesn't have extensive info, don't forget about searching amazon for used copies, it's a great way to get reference books cheap.

Previous posters advice to ask the breeder about her bloodlines is right on... she should be knowledgeable and have a lot to say about the parents/grandparents etc. I really believe most good breeders pursue some sort of hobby with their dogs and that's a good indicator of the dogs not just being a 'pretty face.'

I love how involved you are getting your kids... they must be so excited! My kids are 3, 7 & 12 and they are all very excited about our new puppy.... he comes home in a little over a week. And, I have to tell you I wholeheartedly agree with the posters who suggested you not go anywhere near a litter of 8 week old pups until you are sure you know what you want. 10 years ago, I was one of those fools who 'just went to look and check out the breeder' and ended up bringing home a puppy. I took one look at those golden fluff balls and went down like a ton of bricks. It ended up being terrific, but mostly due to luck, not my great planning. My breeder was a highly recommended lady from golden club in Atlanta who'd been raising and training bird dogs for 30 years. So luckily I had that much going for me and he was a wonderful healthy dog.

When I mentioned yesterday that you might want to read up on 'lines' or families, I didn't meant to imply that there are some lines of goldens who are low energy or don't require much excersise. Please don't misunderstand me, I am not trying to say you should believe any breeder who tells you that her dogs are all mellow couch potatos from day one. Goldens are definitely all bright, active dogs. But I stick to my original statement, I believe 100% that there is a difference in INTENSITY level, as a general rule, between a litter of primarily working, field line dogs and blood lines that have been bred for show ring conformation for generations. Any golden will make a great hiking companion and should be bright and trainable, but take a golden with a pedigree full of master hunters thrown in with some AFC titles and 9 times out of 10 you will end up with a very birdy dog with an unbelievable drive to retrieve. That kind of dog can be a great family pet too, but he needs a job in life to be happy. There is a difference.

Also, please count me as a vote in the column who believes wholeheartedly in crate training. If you use it properly, as a 'safety' pen for when you can't keep your full attention on him and as his sleeping quarters, it is the best thing in the world. Our new puppy will have one in my bedroom and one in our kitchen.

Keep us posted on how you're doing, it's so much fun to share what you find with people who are interested. ;)
 

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I a hve heard good things about Ashmar Golden Retrievers. I think this breeder is in Toronto, so not too far from you, if you are in Oakville. I have not read about them on this site before though, so I don't know if they are a very well known breeder?
D
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thanks everyone for all the advice and for the nice welcome! I KNOW I will be leaning on all the dog owners on this site a fair bit as I go thru this process!!!!!
I have the book "Before and After Getting your Puppy" by Dr. Ian Dunbar, and so far am loving it and learning lots. I'm sure I'll have read several others before we actually bring home a puppy:)
One of my biggest concerns (besides hair hair and more hair) is puppy travel, as we drive 17 hrs to our beach house every summer. Once there, the puppy will have a beach and an ocean to frollic in with us for 2 months, but getting there....esp. this year with a very young puppy, will be quite an interesting journey....with LOTS of stops!!!!!!
What are people's experience on hotels w dogs? I've read a lot of advice on giving dogs dramamine...can you give small doses of this to puppies too? We are hoping to get a puppy training course in there before the drive which may help a little too!!!
 

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Where The Bitches Rule
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I would not give a puppy dramamine. Most dogs do not have a problem with car sickness. Some pups will but most outgrow it. I understand ginger is a good thing to counter act the problem if it arises. But I would wait and see if you have an issue before doing anything.

Dr. Ian Dunbar is a FABULOUS trainer and you will get much from his books, GREAT CHOICE! If you are not familiar with this web site you may want to check it out, Sirius Dog Training
 

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I second the recommendation of holding off on drugs before the trip....and once you get the puppy, take him/her everywhere you can without leaving him in the car of course. Get him used to short trips & then increase the time....our lab from 8 weeks on went with us to my parents in FL (10 hours from TX) and has always been great! Just returned from christmas with her at the ripe old age of almost 12. Most dogs just settle in & sleep with the movement of the car. We feed as usual, let her do her business & she's never gotten sick! Some advise to hold off food, you'll just have to experiment & see what works!

Good luck & can't wait to see pics!
 

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I drove my pup from Michigan to Maine when she was 4 months old. She just slept the whole drive. She has also gone on 5 trips between Massachusetts and Michigan and she is only 9 months old. My husband moved to Mass. for a job in August and we didn't move until the end of October, so we had several visits. She has done very well in the car every time. I bring treats for her to chew and toys to play with, but I am always amazed by how she sleeps for almost the whole drive. If I were you, I would see if your pup has any carsickness at first. If so, you can usually condition the pup to get used to the car w/o getting sick by slowly increasing time in the car. For example, you first just have the pup in the car w/o the car running and give a treat and play, then you turn the car on and don't go anywhere, give a treat and play, then just back out of the driveway, then go around the block, etc. If you deal with any carsickness before your big trip, you should be fine. Congratulations on your choice to get a golden pup. They are a lot of work, but they are worth every minute of it.


thanks everyone for all the advice and for the nice welcome! I KNOW I will be leaning on all the dog owners on this site a fair bit as I go thru this process!!!!!
I have the book "Before and After Getting your Puppy" by Dr. Ian Dunbar, and so far am loving it and learning lots. I'm sure I'll have read several others before we actually bring home a puppy:)
One of my biggest concerns (besides hair hair and more hair) is puppy travel, as we drive 17 hrs to our beach house every summer. Once there, the puppy will have a beach and an ocean to frollic in with us for 2 months, but getting there....esp. this year with a very young puppy, will be quite an interesting journey....with LOTS of stops!!!!!!
What are people's experience on hotels w dogs? I've read a lot of advice on giving dogs dramamine...can you give small doses of this to puppies too? We are hoping to get a puppy training course in there before the drive which may help a little too!!!
 

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Mom to Bailey & Burgundy
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Welcome, from Burlington, ON! I'm actually from Oakville - my mom still lives there, near Hopedale Mall in Bronte - Small world!!! You'll find tons of info on this site - can't wait to see pictures of your new addition :)
 

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The first couple of weeks I had Flip he was a horrible noise maker in the car. But after that he learned to just go to sleep as soon as I turn the car on. None of my other dogs ever had any problems in the car. Put a crate in the car as soon as you get your pup and let him experience trips around town in the car often.

I always stay in La Quinta's when I travel, because they are pet friendly. Make sure you request a first floor room when you reserve it.
 
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