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We brought home our gorgeous Riley almost two weeks ago, he was 10 weeks old yesterday. I've been pretty overwhelmed with how hard its been and am just after some reassurance that it does get easier! We have both grown up with dogs but this is our first pup together and we've been on this breeder's list for almost a year so it was definitely not a snap decision - I have read every book on Goldens going and so thought I was prepared.

He is almost there with crate training (I think!) and normally sleeps from 10pm-2/3am before he cries for a potty break and then just about goes back down ok, before up again at 6. However leaving him alone is proving almost impossible - my partner is a firefighter so on shifts and I work from home full time but have had to leave him in his xpen while I go upstairs to my office and have a couple meetings and he screams blue murder, despite being taken out just before and normally doing his business. Am I just leaving him too long, and too early? It was an hour max yesterday. Wondering if I am just expecting too much from him at so young! I am also struggling with how much he bites (and hard!) and am so scared that we have got a 'wrongun' as he just seems so aggressive all the time and it generally feels like he really dislikes us (I know this sounds ridiculous!) Generally am feeling very naive and embarrassed about how badly I am coping and totally appreciate he is still just a baby, but if anyone has any stories of how they coped I would love to hear them. There are obviously good days and he is doing well with his clicker training and potty training isn't a million miles away from getting there. Really trying with the positive reinforcement when he barks and chews us but that doesnt seem to do a lot just yet. I think a large part of how I am feeling is anxiety and sleep deprivation - even though he is sleeping good chunks I just can't seem to catch more than a few hours a night at the moment.

He is having his second set of vaccinations next week so we will be able to walk him and start socialising him in a couple weeks, and I am really hoping that will help? Any kind words/advice would be so appreciated!

*It is probably worth mentioning that we had a horrible experience 6 months ago where we had a pup come from a different breeder with leptospirosis, and he died on day 4 of us getting him. So I think that has probably added to the anxiety because if Riley so much as blinks funny I panic!
 

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Welcome to the forum! Take a deep breath.... Your puppy sounds absolutely normal and it sounds like you are doing a good job with him. Puppies are a LOT of work! If you stick with it, it will absolutely get MUCH better, although there may be new challenges to replace the old ones. ;) I don't have time at the moment to type a long response, but hopefully some of our other members can chime in. In the meantime, I encourage you to make good use of the search function of the forum, especially any threads discussing "land shark" or "aggressive puppy" (spoiler alert, no, I don't think you have an aggressive puppy!). I think you will find most of them reassuring.

Also - if you haven't already, I'd get him signed up for a well-run puppy class. Unless disease is rampant in your area, you should not need to wait until your puppy has finished his shots before getting him into a class. Right now is a critical time for learning and socialization. Not only will a class give you the advice of an experience trainer, but it will allow you to compare notes with other puppy parents who are likely going through the exact same challenges.

You may also find that these two articles give you a new perspective to see things from your puppy's point of view...
 

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I second Lisa's recommendation about the well-run puppy class. Golden's are intelligent pups and need stimulation. Your pup will be much happier with something to do and new/exciting things to see. This time will pass quickly so it's important to be out there with him. Good luck :)
 

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Thank you for letting us know you've gone through a very, very traumatic experience. I'm so sorry. My background: I've been raising puppies for a long time and continue to learn with each new puppy. The more I learn, the more I know that the advice you get here is sound. Very sound. Don't be embarrassed, look at it as a life lesson in humility. Puppies and children will do that to you. When something is a big thing, treat it as life changing and recognize that if it were easy, everyone would have a well behaved Golden Retriever or a well behaved child, or have a gorgeous garden, etc. Yes, this is a big thing to do the right way, but you can do this. It will just take focus and planning.

Take a look at your daily schedule, you gave some good detail, but you might try to talk a little more about what you're doing with him during that time. You're very lucky to have a partner, that helps tremendously. When he's home, try to let him do as much as possible. Double team, someone stays up later and takes the puppy out one last time more like 11 p.m. and then the other person goes to bed at 9:00. Switch the morning. The 9 p.m. person gets up at 6 am and the late night person sleeps in a bit. Be sure the last meal is 5 p.m. and take up the water bowl by 8:00 and that will help you be sure that his system can go a bit longer over night. When puppy fusses at 2 a.m., don't respond immediately, see if he will settle back down if you ignore him. He is pretty much old enough to be going 6 or even 7 hours overnight while he sleeps if you set him up for success. Try not to let him sleep all evening between evening meal and bedtime. Keep him moving. Do a search on this forum for "frozen Kong" and have a whole stash of special toys that he only gets when he's in his crate and you need quiet. It will take time.

Keep a log of how much down time he's getting during the day, babies sleep a lot, try to keep him up and moving for a while before a phone call, even a half hour outdoors in the cold or playing with toys in the kitchen for 20 minutes will make sure he is ready to sleep when you need some quiet. The more activity and interest you can add into his day, the more tired he will be when it's nap time. If you can put a crate in the car and take him with you when you run errands, do that. Go places in the evenings to keep him awake and seeing things, be creative if you can and take him different places - athletic fields, to walk in front of the public library or in front of a daycare playground or a place where children take dance lessons or martial arts etc. anywhere where there are people coming and going. Ask people to pet him and give a treat. (be sure you take everything you need to clean up an accident and treats for people to give him) carry him places while he's small or bring a beach towel and have him ride in a shopping cart.

If your budget allows it, find a trainer who will give you a few private lessons with him. A little one one one help from an experienced person is huge. Get a referral from your breeder or the local Golden Club or Lab Club. Get signed up right away for obedience classes and plan on staying enrolled in classes for the next year or two. This will help you stay honest about daily practice with the puppy. Consistent work, just 5 or 10 minutes a couple of times a day will be what it takes to end up with a dog you can live happily with. Build practice into your regular routine to help you remember - a few minutes before each meal for example.

Try to find a place with some space and low traffic that you could do off leash hikes with him while he's very small, the more fresh air and exercise he gets, the happier you will all be. Sporting dogs need to have both mental and physical work to be happy. You will find that if you're doing this the right way, you will have almost no free time over the next year or so in the evenings especially because he will need played with. Goldens don't go sleep under the table while you drink a glass of wine and read a book till they are much older.

If you are on facebook, there is a wonderful group called "Life With Rune" that is by a terrific trainer named Susan and goes through, with video, all the things she did with her Golden puppy to socialize him and make him a great dog to live with. She just restarted, the videos are organized by age. I can't say enough good things about it and she is very active, responsive to questions and comments. Life With Rune Don't get frustrated, puppies thrive on a consistent routine, just keep working on things. IT takes months of practice to build a good dog, be patient with him and with yourself.
 

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Keep your head up! Frustration is normal especially because dogs dont speak our language right away. Just remember this being you chose will love you and depend on you and if you are just doing your best, Thats enough. I have to remind myself every day that My puppy is just that, a puppy and i cant expect her to be perfect, especially, when i am not. Its all a giant learning process and every pup is different ❤
 

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…and then…they enter the teenage phase 😩 and you’ll look back on the puppy phase and feel warm and fuzzy. It’s like raising a child. There is no perfect stage. Each one has smiles and frowns and when the stage is over and you move onto another, you actually will miss it! So if you can, take a deep breath and just let yourself be in the moment. I know you feel like you’re cleaning your carpet 1-spot at a time and you’re riddled with tiny puncture wounds and you’re exhausted, but if you can find the smiles in what your puppy is doing the frowns won’t be so overwhelming.

You’ve received some great advice! I agree 100% that you would benefit from a trainer and a Puppy Pre-K class. I learned about enforced naps from my trainer and it was the best tip ever. I was also fortunate that Archie’s breeder made sure all the pups were comfortable in the crate. Just keep putting one foot/paw in front of the other and you’ll get through!
 

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Welcome to the forum! Take a deep breath.... Your puppy sounds absolutely normal and it sounds like you are doing a good job with him. Puppies are a LOT of work! If you stick with it, it will absolutely get MUCH better, although there may be new challenges to replace the old ones. ;) I don't have time at the moment to type a long response, but hopefully some of our other members can chime in. In the meantime, I encourage you to make good use of the search function of the forum, especially any threads discussing "land shark" or "aggressive puppy" (spoiler alert, no, I don't think you have an aggressive puppy!). I think you will find most of them reassuring.

Also - if you haven't already, I'd get him signed up for a well-run puppy class. Unless disease is rampant in your area, you should not need to wait until your puppy has finished his shots before getting him into a class. Right now is a critical time for learning and socialization. Not only will a class give you the advice of an experience trainer, but it will allow you to compare notes with other puppy parents who are likely going through the exact same challenges.

You may also find that these two articles give you a new perspective to see things from your puppy's point of view...
Thanks so much for your response Lisa - I already feel very reassured having done some searching as you suggest. He is booked onto a class starting 8 Feb - all the classes here won't allow pups to join unless they are two weeks from their second set of vaccinations so it's been a bit tricky! I am paranoid about walking before he's had them too because of our previous experience with lepto but will try and find lots of other fun activities to occupy him with in the meantime...! x
 

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Thank you for letting us know you've gone through a very, very traumatic experience. I'm so sorry. My background: I've been raising puppies for a long time and continue to learn with each new puppy. The more I learn, the more I know that the advice you get here is sound. Very sound. Don't be embarrassed, look at it as a life lesson in humility. Puppies and children will do that to you. When something is a big thing, treat it as life changing and recognize that if it were easy, everyone would have a well behaved Golden Retriever or a well behaved child, or have a gorgeous garden, etc. Yes, this is a big thing to do the right way, but you can do this. It will just take focus and planning.

Take a look at your daily schedule, you gave some good detail, but you might try to talk a little more about what you're doing with him during that time. You're very lucky to have a partner, that helps tremendously. When he's home, try to let him do as much as possible. Double team, someone stays up later and takes the puppy out one last time more like 11 p.m. and then the other person goes to bed at 9:00. Switch the morning. The 9 p.m. person gets up at 6 am and the late night person sleeps in a bit. Be sure the last meal is 5 p.m. and take up the water bowl by 8:00 and that will help you be sure that his system can go a bit longer over night. When puppy fusses at 2 a.m., don't respond immediately, see if he will settle back down if you ignore him. He is pretty much old enough to be going 6 or even 7 hours overnight while he sleeps if you set him up for success. Try not to let him sleep all evening between evening meal and bedtime. Keep him moving. Do a search on this forum for "frozen Kong" and have a whole stash of special toys that he only gets when he's in his crate and you need quiet. It will take time.

Keep a log of how much down time he's getting during the day, babies sleep a lot, try to keep him up and moving for a while before a phone call, even a half hour outdoors in the cold or playing with toys in the kitchen for 20 minutes will make sure he is ready to sleep when you need some quiet. The more activity and interest you can add into his day, the more tired he will be when it's nap time. If you can put a crate in the car and take him with you when you run errands, do that. Go places in the evenings to keep him awake and seeing things, be creative if you can and take him different places - athletic fields, to walk in front of the public library or in front of a daycare playground or a place where children take dance lessons or martial arts etc. anywhere where there are people coming and going. Ask people to pet him and give a treat. (be sure you take everything you need to clean up an accident and treats for people to give him) carry him places while he's small or bring a beach towel and have him ride in a shopping cart.

If your budget allows it, find a trainer who will give you a few private lessons with him. A little one one one help from an experienced person is huge. Get a referral from your breeder or the local Golden Club or Lab Club. Get signed up right away for obedience classes and plan on staying enrolled in classes for the next year or two. This will help you stay honest about daily practice with the puppy. Consistent work, just 5 or 10 minutes a couple of times a day will be what it takes to end up with a dog you can live happily with. Build practice into your regular routine to help you remember - a few minutes before each meal for example.

Try to find a place with some space and low traffic that you could do off leash hikes with him while he's very small, the more fresh air and exercise he gets, the happier you will all be. Sporting dogs need to have both mental and physical work to be happy. You will find that if you're doing this the right way, you will have almost no free time over the next year or so in the evenings especially because he will need played with. Goldens don't go sleep under the table while you drink a glass of wine and read a book till they are much older.

If you are on facebook, there is a wonderful group called "Life With Rune" that is by a terrific trainer named Susan and goes through, with video, all the things she did with her Golden puppy to socialize him and make him a great dog to live with. She just restarted, the videos are organized by age. I can't say enough good things about it and she is very active, responsive to questions and comments. Life With Rune Don't get frustrated, puppies thrive on a consistent routine, just keep working on things. IT takes months of practice to build a good dog, be patient with him and with yourself.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond and for your advice, it has really helped. I will definitely take on board everything everyone suggests. We have been taking him for little carried walks both up into the woods and by busy roads etc and he has been knackered after just that so will carry these on until we can walk him properly (which I cannot wait for!) as I mentioned I am paranoid about putting him down on the ground outside garden until he's had his vaccinations because of our previous experience, but there's not long at all to go now so will just keep him busy and occupied until he can have that new experience. As you say I am v lucky to have my other half who is entertaining him as we speak while I try and work (and in reality I'm spending hours reading threads on here lol!)
 

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We brought home our gorgeous Riley almost two weeks ago, he was 10 weeks old yesterday. I've been pretty overwhelmed with how hard its been and am just after some reassurance that it does get easier! We have both grown up with dogs but this is our first pup together and we've been on this breeder's list for almost a year so it was definitely not a snap decision - I have read every book on Goldens going and so thought I was prepared.

He is almost there with crate training (I think!) and normally sleeps from 10pm-2/3am before he cries for a potty break and then just about goes back down ok, before up again at 6. However leaving him alone is proving almost impossible - my partner is a firefighter so on shifts and I work from home full time but have had to leave him in his xpen while I go upstairs to my office and have a couple meetings and he screams blue murder, despite being taken out just before and normally doing his business. Am I just leaving him too long, and too early? It was an hour max yesterday. Wondering if I am just expecting too much from him at so young! I am also struggling with how much he bites (and hard!) and am so scared that we have got a 'wrongun' as he just seems so aggressive all the time and it generally feels like he really dislikes us (I know this sounds ridiculous!) Generally am feeling very naive and embarrassed about how badly I am coping and totally appreciate he is still just a baby, but if anyone has any stories of how they coped I would love to hear them. There are obviously good days and he is doing well with his clicker training and potty training isn't a million miles away from getting there. Really trying with the positive reinforcement when he barks and chews us but that doesnt seem to do a lot just yet. I think a large part of how I am feeling is anxiety and sleep deprivation - even though he is sleeping good chunks I just can't seem to catch more than a few hours a night at the moment.

He is having his second set of vaccinations next week so we will be able to walk him and start socialising him in a couple weeks, and I am really hoping that will help? Any kind words/advice would be so appreciated!

*It is probably worth mentioning that we had a horrible experience 6 months ago where we had a pup come from a different breeder with leptospirosis, and he died on day 4 of us getting him. So I think that has probably added to the anxiety because if Riley so much as blinks funny I panic!
Hi. I can relate to you! We adopted, from a breeder, a retriever/Bernese at 10 weeks. She is now almost 16 weeks. It has been nothing but hell. I have basically had a melt down because I am so sick of the biting. All she does is bite, bites hard. We've been working with a personal trainer and doing all that we can to take it down a notch. I've never seen a pup like this. I'm exhausted. If I knew retrievers bite like this I would never ever have thought of adopting one. The pup has also had a UTI since her first week home and is on her 3rd round of antibiotic.
I'm beside myself. I don't know what to do. I have a very chill 9 year old who is now terrified of this pup.
She's at 16 weeks now, so does this mean she will always bite like this? It isn't regular biting, she has shredded my clothes, winter coat, she will come and lunge out of nowhere even if I'm standing still and have her on short leash.
If someone has advice I would gladly take it but holy crap, when is it enough? Is she going to take hold of my daughter like this?
Basically all we can do is work with her and crate her. What's the point of having a dog if you can't enjoy it?
Ugh, 100% regret this pup. I've had dogs all my life and have never felt so much like this was such a huge mistake.
 

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We brought home our gorgeous Riley almost two weeks ago, he was 10 weeks old yesterday. I've been pretty overwhelmed with how hard its been and am just after some reassurance that it does get easier! We have both grown up with dogs but this is our first pup together and we've been on this breeder's list for almost a year so it was definitely not a snap decision - I have read every book on Goldens going and so thought I was prepared.

He is almost there with crate training (I think!) and normally sleeps from 10pm-2/3am before he cries for a potty break and then just about goes back down ok, before up again at 6. However leaving him alone is proving almost impossible - my partner is a firefighter so on shifts and I work from home full time but have had to leave him in his xpen while I go upstairs to my office and have a couple meetings and he screams blue murder, despite being taken out just before and normally doing his business. Am I just leaving him too long, and too early? It was an hour max yesterday. Wondering if I am just expecting too much from him at so young! I am also struggling with how much he bites (and hard!) and am so scared that we have got a 'wrongun' as he just seems so aggressive all the time and it generally feels like he really dislikes us (I know this sounds ridiculous!) Generally am feeling very naive and embarrassed about how badly I am coping and totally appreciate he is still just a baby, but if anyone has any stories of how they coped I would love to hear them. There are obviously good days and he is doing well with his clicker training and potty training isn't a million miles away from getting there. Really trying with the positive reinforcement when he barks and chews us but that doesnt seem to do a lot just yet. I think a large part of how I am feeling is anxiety and sleep deprivation - even though he is sleeping good chunks I just can't seem to catch more than a few hours a night at the moment.

He is having his second set of vaccinations next week so we will be able to walk him and start socialising him in a couple weeks, and I am really hoping that will help? Any kind words/advice would be so appreciated!

*It is probably worth mentioning that we had a horrible experience 6 months ago where we had a pup come from a different breeder with leptospirosis, and he died on day 4 of us getting him. So I think that has probably added to the anxiety because if Riley so much as blinks funny I panic!
you are doing just fine. Everything you’re experiencing is normal for a golden puppy. Mulligan, my puppy, is 21 weeks old today. He’s my 3rd golden puppy. He sounds extremely similar to yours. When he came home at 8 weeks he was VERY mouthy and somewhat aloof towards us at times. it gets better. For the 1st week or two he was good overnight until about 3am and we’d run out and come back and go back to sleep. Because My husband and I both work from home we were able to stagger our schedules a bit. I get up early so I take them in the morning (I have a 3 year old golden as well), and he keeps the puppy up until about midnight. At this point he’s fine overnight anyway but when we started doing this when Mulligan was about 10 weeks old, it did help us both get more sleep. I started going to bed earlier most nights and my husband comes up a bit later with a more settled puppy and we all sleep through the night.

We do use a crate for him when we’re not home but I do find he’s less acclimated to it because we’re both working from home so it’s more rare. But Goldens are stubborn. And willful. So if you’re exercising him and making sure he eliminates before he’s in, and he’s still barking? He’s testing you to be let out. Try to stick with it a bit longer and see if he adjusts. I’m happy to report that now that Mulligan has adjusted to life in our home, he’s just as happy to see us as our other golden. He just took a bit longer to develop that connection to us. Once we got him on a feeding and sleeping routine, he clicked right in.

walking and socializing will definitely help. In the interim you can still exercise him at home and start working on basic commands. Mental exercise will tire your puppy out a bit. Hang in there.
 

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Hello! I’m a first time Golden owner as well, my field/working type girl just turned 8 months a few days ago. It does get better!

I also felt I was super prepared for her, I’ve trained/competed with dogs in rally, agility, and obedience since I was 14 (now 31), I worked for my mentor and helped with her classes and raising her litters of German Shepherds and Border Collies in addition to having my own border collie and two Shelties. My golden girl has been by far the most challenging puppy. I went in really cocky, thinking I could handle anything since I had successfully raised a BC puppy. Ava has massively humbled me.

That said, I wouldn’t trade her for anything. She is the best natured dog I’ve ever had and loves people and life and is so clever and biddable, she’s amazing and has me converted to Goldies. Hard to believe a few months ago I was saying almost daily to my husband “did we make a big mistake, this is too much dog for me, am I doing it all wrong”

But yes, whilst Goldens are the cutest puppies ever, those teeth hurt. We got through by having millions of different chews in the house and if she was getting too wound up playing, she went into the crate for a time out (and usually ended up napping). The best chews we found were coffee/olive wood, stuffed kongs, paddywhack, and the occasional pig ears.

I think it also gets slightly easier once they’ve had their shots and you can go outside. Strolls through the forest on a long line with treats to practice recall. Puppy class also great, especially if it’s your first pup. Ava was top of her class, I had most of the other people telling me how calm she was and I laughed. She’s got a fab work ethic and loves to work so she’s perfect if we are doing something, it was managing her around the house that we found challenging. We’ve now started doing agility with her and that also has massively helped in giving her more jobs and more games to play etc.

But yeah, just keep doing what you are doing, it will go by in a flash. I think because Goldens are marketed as “easy” dogs and because they are so insanely lovable, first time owners don’t realise that they can be challenging puppies. I certainly didn’t but it’s 100% worth it and I hope with future pups, now knowing what to expect, I’ll enjoy it more and not be angsting over everything. Your little guy is a baby, you will see more and more snippets of what he will be like as an adult and they are so sweet. Once Ava had all her adult teeth in (5/6 months) the mouthing really calmed down. She really only does it affectionately now, I can buy my children new clothes without fear of them becoming holey from her, haha.

Also, so sorry about your previous puppy, that must have been horrific. I worry about everything without having had an experience like that so I can only imagine how it is for you.
 

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...We adopted, from a breeder, a retriever/Bernese at 10 weeks. She is now almost 16 weeks. It has been nothing but hell....Ugh, 100% regret this pup. I've had dogs all my life and have never felt so much like this was such a huge mistake.
You have a Retriever/Bernese Mountain Dog mix from a breeder? Was this an "oops" litter? I will be honest, there have been times with every puppy I've had that I've had a moment of "ugh, what was I thinking??" when I was tired or frustrated but the good far outweighed the tough parts. If you are truly giving your puppy all the training and exercise and attention she needs and still feel like you've made a huge mistake, I strongly encourage you to return the puppy to her breeder ASAP while she is still young enough to be worked with by the breeder and placed with a home that will be a better fit for her energy level and temperament/personality. It is not too late.
 

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