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I plan to get a dog(a Golden Retriever specifically) soon. As I have never got a dog(or really any pet before, except for a fish), what are some of the biggest pieces of advice you wished you would know before you got a Golden?
 

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Pretend you are going to have a baby, that is how much work is involved at the start,
precook some meals and put them in the freezer, you will still need to eat, but may not have time for more then defrost or order in.
Find a good vet, available to answer your questions, find a good training facility and sign up for puppy play dates and puppy kindergarten.
Get ahead on sleep, you will not be getting much for a week or four ;)
 

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Excessive biting (that even draws blood) by a puppy is not aggression and they just need to be trained.
It can take 2 to 3 years of training to have a mature and reliable dog.
Having a Golden Retriever is way more rewarding than you can possibly imagine!
 

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A bit of advice I can offer.
It has been my experience that people that have never successfully trained a dog to do anything at all are often more than willing to advise others.
 

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If you won’t like it (a habit or behaviour) later, don’t let it happen now.

Plan ahead, manage the environment and supervise... supervise... supervise. If you don’t like what’s happening, calmly interrupt or divert the puppy. Then change the environment or routine so the behaviour is less likely to happen.

But remember, the puppy is not wrong or bad. It’s just a puppy.
 

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Line up your puppy training classes (identify and register) as soon as you know when your puppy is coming home. Ask to visit a current class to make sure you are comfortable with the trainer and their training techniques. The window for training and socializing young puppies is very short. If you wait until your puppy comes home, classes may be full and you'll miss a lot of that ideal window for learning/training. And if you don't get the puppy into classes when they're young, you may have a lot of bad behaviors you now need to "fix" instead of just avoiding them in the first place. Remember... the classes are more about teaching YOU to teach your dog!

Goldens don't come pre-trained. There is nothing about being a Golden Retriever that makes them a well-behaved dog. That lovely dog you ran into at the park had a dedicated owner who trained and socialized him. How nice your dog is as an adult has more to do with YOU and the time you put into his training than it does with the fact that he's a Golden.

Well behaved Goldens get adequate exercise and quality time with you. For some dogs, that might mean a couple of nice walks, a little training time, and some snuggling. With many others that means an hour's hard running and a "job" (agility, competitive obedience, dock diving, nose work, hunting, etc.). That's 365 days a year, regardless of the weather or how tired you are or what you'd like to do after work. If you work full time and don't have someone else at home to share the responsibilities, assume you'll be giving up any night life you used to have.

It's worth it to invest in a well-bred Golden from a responsible breeder. 90% of the breeders you'll find from a web search or on Craigslist are NOT responsible breeders. Educate yourself on what a responsible breeder is and does. Know the GRCA Code of Ethics and only give your business to breeders who adhere to them (they exist for a reason, and the key word there is ethics!). Spend a LOT of time looking around this forum, and especially reading the pinned posts in the choosing a breeder and puppy sub-forum. Don't let your desire to get a puppy NOW turn into heart break and huge bills a few years from now.

Crates, baby gates, ex-pens and tethers are your friends. Use them to minimize the number of bad choices your puppy can make.

Remember your puppy is a BABY. Until you brought him home, he only understood the rules of how to be a puppy and was never far from a momma who cared for him and siblings he could snuggle and wrestle with. When you bring him home he will be leaving everything he's ever known to be in new a place all alone (or at least without his mom and siblings) with people he doesn't know and rules he doesn't understand. Be patient. Be kind. Be clear. Be consistent.

Puppies grow up REALLY fast. ENJOY them while you can!
 

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Have a couple of bottles of enzyme carpet cleaner in the house and plenty of paper towels. You will have pee accidents even if you're super vigilant during potty training. Don't punish the puppy for potty accidents! You will create a bigger problem.

Don't expect much sleep for a while. Use a crate, and be prepared to get up several times a night to take the puppy out.

Biting will happen. It will take months to grow out of. You may at one point wonder if you've got a land shark instead of a puppy. Don't hit the puppy for biting. Scream a high pitched yippy scream and stop all play or attention when the puppy bites. This teaches bite inhibition.

Use a harness instead of a collar for taking the puppy out.

Consider pet insurance RIGHT AWAY.

Get a bottle of no chew spray (Fooey or similar) and put all cords and valuables out of puppy reach. They will find it and they will eat it in the 5 seconds you looked away.

Feed a quality food, never cheap garbage, goldens are prone to health issues so feeding a good food and never allowing your dog to be overweight are your best bet in keeping him/her healthy.
 

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I plan to get a dog(a Golden Retriever specifically) soon. As I have never got a dog(or really any pet before, except for a fish), what are some of the biggest pieces of advice you wished you would know before you got a Golden?
Do not expect a Golden puppy to be sweet and snuggly. My 12 week old rips and tears my skin and clothing. I thought she was aggressive until I reached out to people experienced with Golden puppies and learned her behavior is normal. I have raised three puppies and never had one like Annie. Shame on me for not researching Golden puppy behavior prior to getting her. I am trying everything experienced people and trainers have advised but fear I don’t have the patience needed to raise my beautiful pup. Good luck to you.
 

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Do not expect a Golden puppy to be sweet and snuggly. My 12 week old rips and tears my skin and clothing. I thought she was aggressive until I reached out to people experienced with Golden puppies and learned her behavior is normal. I have raised three puppies and never had one like Annie. Shame on me for not researching Golden puppy behavior prior to getting her. I am trying everything experienced people and trainers have advised but fear I don’t have the patience needed to raise my beautiful pup. Good luck to you.
It will be worth it if you stick to it. I think this is where GRs end up suffering the most, people think they are a big golden cloud of love and gentleness, but they are hunting dogs with hunting instincts. As puppies they are "land sharks" biting and chewing on everything and everyone, with boundless energy for getting into trouble. When they get older and past that and you get some training done with them, THEN you see the love and gentleness and wonderful dogs that they are.
 

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It will be worth it if you stick to it. I think this is where GRs end up suffering the most, people think they are a big golden cloud of love and gentleness, but they are hunting dogs with with hunting instincts. As puppies they are "land sharks" biting and chewing on everything and everyone, with boundless energy for getting into trouble. When they get older and past that and you get some training done with them, THEN you see the love and gentleness and wonderful dogs that they are.
Oh, I will stick to it in spite of the blood I shed. I did expect a sweet puppy but that’s on me for not researching Golden puppy behavior. Had I known 12 weeks ago what I know now, I would have searched for an adult Golden or stayed with herding dogs. Live and learn. It is comforting to know things will improve and I am training with plans to join a puppy class after she has all her vaccinations. She will also be going to puppy daycare every Wednesday at 16 weeks of age so she can play with other puppies. Meanwhile, I am trying to be patient and not compare her behavior to other pups I have raised. Thanks for your reassurance!
 

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Oh, I will stick to it in spite of the blood I shed. I did expect a sweet puppy but that’s on me for not researching Golden puppy behavior. Had I known 12 weeks ago what I know now, I would have searched for an adult Golden or stayed with herding dogs. Live and learn. It is comforting to know things will improve and I am training with plans to join a puppy class after she has all her vaccinations. She will also be going to puppy daycare every Wednesday at 16 weeks of age so she can play with other puppies. Meanwhile, I am trying to be patient and not compare her behavior to other pups I have raised. Thanks for your reassurance!
Hi Dustbunny, we had a very similar experience. I have had herding breeds my whole life and was not expecting the tornado of a puppy I got with a Golden. What we expected: sweet, laid back family dog. What we got: evil spawn with needle sharp teeth

After enduring it and trying numerous things that had worked with other breeds (albeit they bit much less often and not nearly as hard), we started working on prevention and correction to deal with these issues. The biting itself does get better, but requires a lot of work. I tried a lot of techniques (bop him on the nose, curl his lip in, etc) but he literally could not have cared less and at some point thought it was more playing and got rowdier. My biggest recommendation would be to keep a leash on so you can pull puppy away when it gets too painful and also teach puppy the word "no" or "leave it". Finally, find a way to keep puppy's mind busy and active so he doesn't think biting you is the best thing in the world.
 

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Consistency is key in all training, be it housebreaking, obedience, tricks. A puppy will soon understand and adapt to its environment. Everything is baby steps; we always crate train. We don't over stimulate and slowly unpack our living environment to them. Training happens in small doses with EVERYONE onboard. We NEVER yell and ever use corporal punishment...EVER! You needs to establish a nurturing and trusting relationship early and we have always found training was much easier than expected. We raised three GREAT Goldens and have just contracted for our 4th and it just can't come soon enough!! Haang in there it'll be so worthwhile putting the time in now for a great dog!
 

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Training. I cannot stress enough how much training should be involved. These dogs are incredible smart and thrive on learning and discovering the world. With COVID, classes might be a little harder to find, but you can improvise with socialization. Take the pup everywhere that allows dogs, carry them until them can be safely on the ground (meaning their last parvo booster has been administered), but take them everywhere. I chased down trains so my Golden would be exposed to those sounds and not be scared. I also took him to a 4th of July party and to every dog friendly place in town. I suggest getting a treat pouch and handing them out to strangers so they can give your pup treats. This shows that dog that people are not scary and if they appear scary, the situation can be changed into a positive one.
 

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I suggest getting a treat pouch and handing them out to strangers so they can give your pup treats. This shows that dog that people are not scary
Don't do this. It will teach your dog to ignore you and jump on everyone. Even those on the other side of a busy street the second you take your eyes off him or open the door of your car.
 

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Crate train your puppy even when he “doesn’t like it”. There will be times in your dogs life when he will need to be crated. Feed him in his crate, throw treats in there so he sees it as a good place to be. Don’t give up. You may need 2 crates— one in your bedroom and one in another area in the house. You may also want a play yard. Confine your puppy any time you can’t give him your full attention.

Take your puppy out for potty immediately after he wakes up, eats, or plays for 15-20 minutes at first. And this means carry him outside. Also, put a leash on him when you potty him so he learns to potty on leash, and that this is not play time, it’s potty time. For me this was invaluable to get the puppy on track with housebreaking as quickly as possible.

one thing I did to help with crate training is to play “dog music” at nap time or at night. Search for it on Amazon or even Pandora has Dog Music Radio. Very soothing and relaxing basically classical type music. Put my puppies and dogs right to sleep. I play it any time I wanted them to settle and relax.

Most of all, have fun with your new puppy. Enjoy the puppy moments— they go by so fast. Take LOTS of pictures.
 

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I plan to get a dog(a Golden Retriever specifically) soon. As I have never got a dog(or really any pet before, except for a fish), what are some of the biggest pieces of advice you wished you would know before you got a Golden?
Hello,

I was in the same boat as you when we got our boy almost 6 years ago. I had always wanted to get a golden, but I new I needed to wait until I had enough time in my life to give to a dog. I had never had a dog, but was a big dog lover. As a puppy, be prepared to get bitten, jumped upon, to need to give your pup the attention he needs, woken up on occasion, things chewed upon, etc. They’re babies and you need to set rules for them and be patient. Start early with basic training.

A few months in, they become counter surfers. Be proactive. Move everything away from the front of the counter before they are large enough to get their head up to it.

As others have said, they don’t come trained. You need to do it. If you put in the time, they will respond well to training. I had no prior experience, but I sought help from a good local trainer. He helped me train my boy and he became a Therapy dog with Therapy Dogs International and a CGC. He has had over 350 visitations to nursing homes in the last few years and brings joy to everyone there. I’m not trying to brag, just to let you know that they can do so much with the right training.

it’s all on you. The good thing is that you will be starting with a breed that is the most loving, friendly breed out there. Ok, I’m biased. Even better, they get better with age!

Good luck
 

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Oh, I will stick to it in spite of the blood I shed. I did expect a sweet puppy but that’s on me for not researching Golden puppy behavior. Had I known 12 weeks ago what I know now, I would have searched for an adult Golden or stayed with herding dogs. Live and learn. It is comforting to know things will improve and I am training with plans to join a puppy class after she has all her vaccinations. She will also be going to puppy daycare every Wednesday at 16 weeks of age so she can play with other puppies. Meanwhile, I am trying to be patient and not compare her behavior to other pups I have raised. Thanks for your reassurance!
We are raising our 6th Golden Girl. We don't even remember the nipping of the first 3 but the last 3 for sure !!!
We are In the midst of Piper's biting, at 12 weeks old right now. HOWEVER once you get past that you will have a highly trainable, wonderful dog. Goldens do remain happy "puppies" for at least 2 years and then even happier adult dogs. And you are happier all the time.
As for the biting, I have found that when Piper starts biting and will not stop I just ignore her and move myself, and do not look at her. She stops immediately (for a while). If she gets too over excited (like little children do) I have given her a time out in her kennel.
Be sure to get the enzymatic spray for accident clean ups !! They just happen even if you are vigilant.

Hope you come to love her more than you expect !
 
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