What to Expect

For most people, they fall in love with the Golden Retriever breed when they meet an adult Golden. FAIR WARNING – Golden puppies are STILL puppies. They do not come out as calm as they can be once they mature. When trolling through the Golden Retriever forums, I see multiple posts asking if their puppy is “broken” because the pup is a rambunctious, mouthy mess. As a result, I believe it is important to “warn” prospective puppy owners concerning what to expect with golden puppies.

Now, do not get me wrong, not all puppies are this way. There are some puppies that are pretty much angels that cause little stress and are easy to handle. On the other side of the spectrum are puppies that will test your every minute and leave you praying for the puppy-stage to be over.

Nonetheless, most Golden Retriever puppies are somewhere in the middle. Here are some common expectations you should have when bringing home a new puppy (whether it is a Golden or a different breed).

Expectations and Preparations

Obedience Training – What to Expect

Come up with a training timeline that works for you. A good guide to follow can be found on the AKC website. Training of some sort should start almost immediately after bringing your baby home. All golden puppies will need some sort of obedience training. A good dog is a dog with manners. You can train at home if you have experience in doing so. However, if you find yourself struggling, overwhelmed, or frustrated, get professional training help. You can also train from home with professional help, check out our BAXTER & Bella Online Puppy School page.

Potty Accidents – What to Expect

No matter where you get your puppy from, there will be at least some necessary potty training. Even those pups that are said to be “already potty trained” will have some accidents in a new house unless they are at least 14 weeks of age. Our dogs are trained to use a doggie door and touch to ask to go outside. However, some new owners do not have doggie doors so they need to teach their pups to ask at the door. Other new owners have a doggie door and the pup usually uses it. Then, there are some pups that are shown the doggie door in their new home and never have an accident. It depends a lot on the puppy.

You can find potty training guides online. The short of it is that you need to take your new puppy out 20-30 minutes after eating or drinking and every 1.5 to 2 hours.

Being Mouthy/Biting – What to Expect

Golden puppies are mouthy. Most puppies are mouthy, but some Golden pups make take it to another level. As a Golden parent, this is something you need to understand. Nonetheless, it is also something you need to train away. There is a perfectly logical reason for Goldens to be a little more mouthy than other breeds. THEY ARE BRED TO BE THIS WAY. Think about it, a Golden is a retriever. They were originally bred as hunting dogs. Their job was to bring back the fowl.

ALL puppies are like 3-4 month human infants. EVERYTHING goes in their mouth. This is how they explore their world. However, those talon-like puppy teeth can be quite destructive on skin. This is an issue that you need to be aware of and be ready to challenge. There are multiple non-aggressive ways to stop this problem. If you have one of my pups and are at a loss, please contact me for help!

Water, Rain, and Mud – Golden Puppies Love – What to Expect

Almost every Golden I have ever met LOVES water. I mean, ALL WATER. It does not matter if it is falling from the sky, coming out of a sprinkler, in the water bowl, a puddle of mud, or a pool. Water is a favorite of theirs. This is adorable, but it can also be somewhat frustrating at times. New Golden owners just need to be aware of this love. You may need to curb their want to “dig” in the water bowl. Keep in mind that they LOVE to run and play in the rain. If there is mud available, they will more than likely find it. Do not be surprised if your pup needs more than one bath in a day.

Hating the Crate – What to Expect

If you plan on crate training your puppy, you need to understand that most puppies will hate the a crate at first, and that should be totally expected. However, it makes the first couple nights extremely difficult. You are trying to sleep and your puppy is whining or screaming. In most cases, this is a phase and you need to just wait it out. Crate training can work, you just have to give it time.

Waking up at Night – What to Expect

Most puppies will wake up one to three, and sometimes four, times per night. Their little bladders can only hold it for a few hours, so this is expected. If you are a light sleeper and your puppy is near, you will have to get up with them. For those who are hard sleepers, you may want to set an alarm and take the puppy out a couple of times during the night. If you choose not to, you will probably have some blankets to wash, some accidents to clean up, or both.

Puppy Chewing – What to Expect

Golden Puppies, just like most breeds will try to chew any and everything. If is on the floor or within reach, it is fair game. Keep this in mind when puppy-proofing your house. There are also steps you can take to help with chewing.

Puppy Diarrhea – What to Expect

Some things puppies may lick or eat might make them sick, plus they have developing immune systems, so they may get a few tummy aches and subsequent diarrhea. There is a good chance that you will become familiar with the route to the vet’s office. However, I am always available to my puppy parents. I will be more than happy to discuss possible causes, treatments, and precautions if this is a common issue with your pup, just reach out to me.

Some Helpful Tips

A tired puppy is a good puppy

Puppies need to be stimulated with physical activity and mental activity. For puppies, these sessions only need to take 20 minutes, three to four times a day. Regular play sessions and walks are great for the physical outlet. However, you should also make sure that you stimulate them mentally with obedience training and toys such as a Kong or a treat ball where they have to work to get the reward.

Keep your puppy close

You have to watch puppies like a hawk. It only takes them a couple of seconds to get into something they should not be in or to potty on your floor. Do not let a young puppy wander the house freely. Use baby gates, closed doors, and possibly a long training leash to keep the puppy near you. The closeness will allow a stronger bond and will also limit the repercussions of puppy curiosity or a small bladder. If you cannot keep an eye on your puppy, put them in their crate or create a “puppy room” in your house that has toys, food, water, etc. This way, your pup can have some downtime and so can you.

Early cuddles create an adult cuddler

If you want a dog that cuddles, you need to reinforce this when they are puppies. Spend some time holding your puppy as it grows. This does not mean picking them up and carrying them around. It means cuddling up, hugging, belly rub with their head on your lap, etc.  I can still flip my adult dogs over on their back and put them in my lap if I want to. However, I do not usually have to do this as they all go belly up as soon as I ask if they want a belly rub. In addition, none of them move away when my kids want to hug or lay on them. This is all because it was enforced when they were pups.

Chew Toys are a Must

Puppies are going to chew, this is how they experience the world. In addition, it is necessary. Chewing allows pups to lose their puppy teeth, it strengthens their jaw, and it is a canine behavior. This is an essential part of puppyhood. To help you get through it and to keep your puppy interested, it is important to give them multiple chewing options. If you do not provide them with appropriate items to chew, they will chew inappropriate items such as your couch, walls, or doors. Make sure you stock up on non-rawhide chew bones, soft toys, hard rubber toys, and appropriate-sized balls.

Mess with your puppy

When I say “mess with” I mean mess with. Play with your pup's ears, their tail, their feet, their coat, etc. Put your hands in the pup’s bowl when being fed. Give them a chewy and periodically take it away. You can give it back immediately as long as the puppy does not show any aggression when taking it away. If puppy shows any negative reaction, do not give it back until later. Make noise around the puppy. Bang pots and pans, shoot cap guns in their vicinity, and make weird noises with your mouth. All of these will be super beneficial once your puppy is an adult.

Socialize your puppy

Socialization is imperative! This is true with most breeds, but to get a well-rounded Golden puppy, it is a must. A well-balanced adult dog is a well-socialized puppy. As your puppy is still completing their series of vaccines, allow people to come over and meet your puppy. Allow your children and their friends to play with the puppy. Once your puppy has had all of their vaccinations, get your puppy out of the house! You should make sure that your pup is not only socialized with other puppies, but also with adult dogs and all of those scary sounds. Take your puppy anywhere they are allowed to go. Even if that means a quick trip around the block to get them used to traveling. Other options include trips to the pet food store, picking up the kids from school, walks around the block, camping, etc.

Be Patient

Sometimes working with puppies can be discouraging, but you cannot lose your patience. If you get too angry at your puppy, you could ruin your bond or cause fear in your pup. If you feel you are losing your patience, put the puppy up and give yourself some alone time. Once you have calmed down, bring the puppy back out and start again.

Get help when you need it

If you are having any sort of trouble with your puppy, get some help. First and foremost, your breeder should be able to help. Any reputable breeder is extremely knowledgeable about their breed. In addition, they have experience with puppies. Lastly, most reputable breeders are fairly knowledgeable about dogs in general.

Additionally, it is a good idea to try to build a relationship with your veterinarian and their staff. When you are looking for a vet, make sure they are welcome to phone calls where you can ask questions. If they do not have time for you if you have a question, then you need to find another vet.

Trainers. Some people have the knowledge to train their own dogs at home. However, if you do not feel like you are making headway or if your pup has issues that you are not confident handling, ask a professional. They are there to help and they have the knowledge to do so.

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