Although originally bred as a gun dog used to retrieve shot waterfowl, the Golden Retriever has become one of the most popular breeds in America today. Its high intelligence level and gentle temperament makes it a versatile choice for a search and rescue dog, guide dog, detection dog, hunting dog, or simply a family companion. Of course, one of the reasons this breed is so popular is because it is incredibly easy to train, especially with the right tips.
A Golden Retriever can be trained to fetch anything from a ball to a human trapped beneath rubble. In fact, Bear, an 11-year-old Golden Retriever was the first dog on the scene at the World Trade Center on 9/11 to work 18-hour days. So, teaching your dog to fetch a ball is simple! It is in his nature! Toss the ball a short distance, and use a command for him to bring it back. When he does, get him to drop the ball by providing a treat. Increase the distance every time.
Goldens excel at swimming. Some will naturally take to the water; others will panic and end up in a vertical position, doggy paddling, but not getting anywhere. If this happens, keep one hand under his belly and the other on his back to keep him level. As he gets the hang of it, remove one hand at a time. Never force your dog to go in the water. Some need a few visits before they are comfortable.
This is a common concern with Golden Retriever parents. In most cases, it is resulted from the dog being permitted to jump as a puppy. If you have adopted an adult that jumps, he might have never been taught this behavior is unacceptable. This is your job. By pushing him away, you encourage the behavior because he may think you are playing. If he jumps when you come home and you give him attention, this also encourages the behavior. You need to turn your back and ignore him. When he stops and calms down, then give him your attention, so he knows you do not appreciate that behavior.
This is just a fancy word for poop-eating. Golden Retrievers have a dirty little secret; they are notorious for eating poop, whether it is their own or whatever they find on your morning walk. At home, the simple solution is to clean it up immediately. Also, the “leave it” command will be helpful at home or away. Always be on the lookout for landmines your dog may find appealing while you are walking, so you can try to avoid them.
Does your Golden growl at other dogs if they get near his ball at the dog park? Is he guarding his toys from your kids or other pets in the house? Never directly challenge him. Swap one item for another. Do this frequently so he never places more value on one item. Keep an extra ball handy at the dog park, too! Positive reinforcement should always be provided when he accepts his new toy and allows you to take the old one.
Goldens absolutely love to dig! These archaeological escapades are not conducive to your manicured landscaping, but they are sure to burn a lot of energy! Giving him his own digging pit somewhere is ideal. Bury toys and treats in his designated area, and let him have the time of his life. Make sure his pit is clearly marked with flags or posts, so he can easily identify it. You will need to supervise until you are sure he knows his boundaries. If this is not an option, put his poop or a water balloon in his hole. When he returns he won’t want to dig there. You will need to be consistent with doing this to future holes, but he will eventually get the hint or lose interest.