— Breed of the Month —

Golden Retriever

These magnificent looking dogs are renowned for having one of the most stable temperaments of all of the breeds which is one of the reasons they are so popular around the world. Their lovable nature and overall compatibility with humans, other dogs and animals, is what makes a breed of dog that people love. They are also the least likely to be aggressive or anti-social.

The Golden Retriever is a large breed of dog (average 55 – 75 pounds) with a fun-loving nature that suits most people’s lifestyle. Because they learn quickly, they are great family pets and lifelong companions. They are strong dogs and hard workers whether they are hunting, guiding, servicing or performing search and rescue activities.

If there is a downside to this breed, it might be their coat type, the care it requires and the shedding from the dense undercoat. But this is a small price to pay for sharing your life with this magnificent breed of dog that ticks all the boxes when it comes to temperament.

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Breed Traits and Characteristics

According to the American Kennel Club, here are some breed characteristic you can find in Golden Retrievers. 

 

  • Height

    23-24 inches (male), 21.5-22.5 inches (female)

  • Weight

    65-75 pounds (male), 55-65 pounds (female)

  • Life Expectancy

    10-12 years

  • Coat Type/Length

    Double/Medium

  • 100 Affectionate with Family
  • 100 Good with Young Children
  • 100 Good with Other Dogs
  • 100 Trainability Level
  • 60 Energy Level
  • 20 Barking Level
  • 80 Shedding Level
  • 40 Drooling Level

The History of Golden Retrievers

Scotland

Golden Retrievers were originally bred in Scotland in the 19th century to retrieve waterfowl and game birds. They were popular with the Scottish elite who loved hunting and needed an energetic dog capable of bringing the birds back unharmed.

As guns became more effective over long distances, more birds were being felled and the need for the perfect dog with the retrieval ability to help the hunter became important.

The breed had to be capable of navigating their way through rough terrain, over long distances, determined and undeterred, retrieve the birds where they had fallen and bring them back to the hunter intact. The Golden Retriever was excellent at performing these tasks and so their popularity as a great retriever grew.

Although they are still used for hunting, Golden’s excel at many other activities including search and rescue and guide work.

United Kingdom

The Golden Retriever was first bred in Scotland and then spread throughout the UK. The United Kingdom style of Golden Retrievers are slightly different than the North American types with thick coats and larger body weight.

British-type Golden Retrievers can be found in Europe and Australia. They have a larger, broader skull, larger chest and forequarters and are more muscular than those found in the USA and Canada. The coat is generally lighter in color than in the American types, with the blonder color being very popular in Australia. The darker colors of gold, red or mahogany are hardly ever seen.

Golden Retrievers have muscular bodies with great endurance, owing to their origins as hunting and gun dogs.

United States

In the USA in 1938, the Golden Retriever Club of America was founded. Golden Retrievers are ranked number two for American Kennel Club Registrations. According to the pure bred dog guide recognized by the American Kennel Club, Golden Retrievers are judged based on a variety of traits: color, coat, ears, feet, nose, body, etc.

Canada

The Honourable Archie Marjori Banks took a Golden Retriever to Canada in 1881, and registered 'Lady' with the AKC in 1894. These are the first records of the breed in these two countries. The breed was first registered in Canada in 1927, and the Golden Retriever Club of Ontario (GRCO) was formed in 1958. The cofounders of the GRCO were Cliff Drysdale, an Englishman who had brought over an English Golden, and Jutta Baker, daughter-in-law of Louis Baker, who owned Northland Kennels. The GCRO in later years expanded to become the Golden Retriever Club of Canada.

Golden Retriever Grooming

Coat

Brush your Golden regularly and bathe them 4-5 times a year, unless they get extremely dirty. Be sure when you do bathe your dog that you dry them thoroughly followed by a brisk walk until they dry completely. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.

Because of their lush coat, they need to have regular grooming and brushing to keep them looking beautiful.

Nail care

Goldens need their nails clipped at least once a month. Start out using a treat to accustom them to the clipping procedure.

Don’t rush in and grab your puppies foot and start clipping immediately. This alarms most dogs and they will automatically try to pull back, bite your hand and a tussle begins. If you puppy begins to fear nail clipping early on it can lead to a lifetime of headaches.

Start off by just picking your puppies paw up, offer a treat and let it go. Once your puppy accepts that, some pups will begin to lift their paw just to get the treat. Now you can produce the clippers, just take the paw, touch the puppy’s nail briefly with the clippers, offer a treat and let go. Lavish praise! Never grip your puppy’s paw on the pad as most dogs are ticklish there. Always grip them gently at the knuckle just above the paw. This is more comfortable for your dog and they are less likely to resist.

Initially get your puppy used to you holding its paw and the clippers touching their nail. Begin by only increasing this process to clipping one nail. Offer a treat and lots of praise, like they have done something fantastic. Then leave it until the next day, and repeat the same procedure.

Golden Retriever Health

Your Golden Retriever’s health concerns will change over the course of their life. A puppy might be more prone to swallow something they shouldn’t, a 2-year-old Golden may be more likely to rupture their knee ligament, and a senior Golden is far more likely to develop arthritis or cancer as they age. Goldens also have personality and physical traits that may make them more prone to certain conditions— a Golden Retriever who loves to swim may develop an ear infection more often than a breed with a pricked ear.

Common Injuries and Illnesses

At any stage of life, there are some of the most common injuries and illnesses you should be aware of when bringing home a Golden Retriever:

  • Vomiting and Diarrhea
  • Cruciate Ruptures
  • Ear Infections
  • Masses
  • Arthritis
  • Ingestion of foreign material

If you are ever concerned about your dog’s health, your local veterinarian is a great resource—no matter how small the question.

Genetic Health Concerns

Like many popular breeds, the Golden Retriever has its fair share of hereditary based issues, like hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia. Most reputable breeders now have their breeding stock checked and scored for these hereditary ailments by a vet. You can request proof that the puppy you are purchasing comes from parents that have been checked for these issues. 

Because many other health issues are also hereditary, you should do some research on the ancestry of your puppy and any health issues of that particular breed. Other Golden Retriever health issues to watch out for:

  • Allergies to things like food, grasses and pollens
  • Bone and joint problems
  • Cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart disease
  • Liver problems
  • Thyroid disease

Regular Vet Visits

Some of these ailments may not be hereditary but could stem from environmental or dietary issues. Be sure that your dog is fed on a healthy diet and receives regular vet checks to ensure it always stays healthy.

As a pet owner, you should expect to pay for basic veterinary care like vaccines, spay/neuter, and annual checkups. Many pet owners don’t consider the unexpected illnesses and injuries that can occur throughout a pet’s life, and they don’t prepare for them. Medical insurance can help a pet owner prepare.

The concept of medical insurance for pets is fairly straightforward—pay a monthly premium to be covered for eligible veterinary expenses. But every provider is different, offering varied coverage with different plans, pricing options and limitations. As you research, pay close attention to coverage, deductible options, and ease of use.

Golden Retriever Training

A Breed Eager to Please

The Golden is one of the safest breeds and most lovable. They make a great family dog and are loyal and trustworthy. Golden lovers know how lucky they are to have a breed of dog that has the all-round personality that fits into most situations with ease. Their temperament is generally very stable. If you choose a breeder who breeds ethically, you will have an all-around fun-loving dog, with a great temperament and overall grace and beauty.

You can teach a Golden Retriever almost anything because they are highly intelligent and willing to please. They are very keen to learn new things and bond easily to their family members. Although they might initially be over-exuberant, they will soon learn to calm down and listen.

The most common reason Bark Busters dog trainers are called in is to address barking or over-exuberance and food aggression. Rarely are we asked to address aggression towards humans or other animals in Golden Retrievers.

This breed are lovers, not fighters.

Aggression

Although aggression is rare, we do see it in some fearful temperament types. This needs an experienced knowledge base of how to address these issues effectively through the proper dog training techniques. Although Bark Busters has seen relatively few Golden Retrievers with aggression issues, this problem is easily solved once we identify the reason behind it. We do however get quite a lot of ‘food aggression’ cases.

Food aggression

Food aggression is quite common in this breed, especially if they were not properly imprinted as a puppy. Some breeders like to feed their puppies from one large bowl which causes the puppies to push and shove each other to ensure they get enough to eat. This creates urgency in the puppy to rush its food and a feeling its being deprived. The puppy thinks that if he doesn’t learn to fight to protect his meal, he will starve.

This invariably leads to ‘food aggression’ which is jostling for position at the food bowl resulting in bickering and all out fights.

The ideal way to wean puppies of all breeds, is to have them eating from something like a muffin tin, so they all get an adequate opportunity to eat with ease. You can also feed them with individual bowls. This way there is no feeling of urgency, no sense of feeling deprived, no fights and no jostling for position.

Barking

The Golden Retrievers are a very vocal breed and barking issues are often a behavior that Bark Busters is called to address.

Don’t allow your Golden Retriever to demand attention from you, by barking and then getting your attention or a response from you. They may bark to go outside, bark to get fed or bark simply for attention. If you tolerate these mis-behaviors it will only encourage your dog to bark more.

Bark Busters can tailor a dog training behavior modification program for you and your dog that will address any barking issue your dog has using communication and leadership, kindness and understanding.

Recall-come when called

Golden Retrievers are renowned for their ability to bound away without notice, leaving their frustrated owner looking bewildered and unable to get them back quickly. This is a dangerous behavior and something that could spell disaster for your dog.

If you have a recall problem, then start off on a long leash and condition your dog to stay close and to come when requested. Don’t allow your dog off the leash until you first teach them to come back immediately when called or this could spell trouble.

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Notorious Water Lovers

Pool Safety for your Golden Retriever

Goldens love the water and won’t take much coercing to get them swimming. This comes as no surprise considering their origin. As dog owners, it’s our job to make sure they are safe. If you have a pool in your backyard be sure that your dog is trained in poo safety. You might well ask, why would a Golden Retriever that can swim efficiently, need pool safety training? They have to be able to locate the stairs as some dogs stubbornly try to exit the way they went in. There have been incidences where dogs or young puppies have fallen into a backyard pool and the owners have found them near exhaustion or worse dead from trying to get themselves out of the pool. Your dog needs to know where the stairs or exit from the pool is, or they could just swim around for hours, attempting to get out of the pool where they went in. They can easily tire and drown.

Even though Golden Retrievers are adept at swimming and are addicted to water, they still need to be trained how to exit backyard pools safely. A dog can drown in a backyard pool, even an adept swimmer like the Golden Retriever. The reason being is, the side of the pool is slippery and does not allow a dog to gain a foothold, to allow it to easily climb out.

It is hard-wired in the domestic dog as it was in the wild dogs, that when they fall into a creek or a river, they would instinctively attempt to exit the water at the exact spot where they entered or fell in. This is nature’s way of protecting them for those times when they fall through the ice while maneuvering frozen creeks or rivers. A fall into icy water could be fatal and the instinct is to get out quickly, not to swim around and find another option.

Steps to make your Golden Retriever safe around the pool

  • Start water training as soon as your new dog or puppy is venturing outside and near the pool.
  • Fit a firm collar and long leash to your puppy or dog and let them enter the pool and swim around a little while. Now gently guide them, using the long leash, to the stairs or where you know they can exit the pool with ease and allow them to exit the pool on their own. You are conditioning your dog or puppy to locate the right way out of the pool.
  • If you help them, you can slow their ability to be able to get themselves out of trouble if ever they were to fall into the pool or in an emergency when you are not there.
  • If it is impossible for your dog or puppy to exit easily, then your puppy/dog must NEVER be left alone near the pool or he could drown.
  • Once you see that your dog can exit easily, then start having the pup or dog enter at different points, still attached to the leash. Make sure that they are capable of working out how to swim towards the exit or stairs and get out of the pool.

Read more about pool safety for dogs!

Tips for Every Dog Owner

Owner Taking Dog on Walk on Leash

One Step at a Time: A Guide to Successful Dog Walking

Walking our dogs is a great source of exercise for both pets and pet parents. It not only helps keep our canine companions healthy and physically and mentally stimulated, but also strengthens the bond between us. There are several factors for pet parents to consider, however, to keep walks fun and safe for all.

Bark Busters Dog Trainers Training Two Dogs

Tips for Every Dog - Why Training?

All dogs need some form of training and education. Love is vital to the bond you and your dog share, but on its own and without all the other elements of a strong relationship, your dog won’t feel fully fulfilled.

Dogs at Dog Park

Tips for Every Dog - Socialization

Dogs are social animals and like to be part of a structured social group. In the wild, their pack provides this purpose, but in the domesticated world, this consists of the humans they live with and other animals that live in your home.

Large Group of Dogs of Various Breeds

Tips for Every Dog - Four Basic Needs

At Bark Busters, we believe that every dog has four basic needs. When these needs aren’t being met, misbehavior will likely follow.

Hear from Bark Busters Clients Who Have a Golden Retriever

Damon was a pleasure to work with. After our first session, we immediately noticed improvements with our Golden Retriever puppy. We look forward to working with Damon further!
We were having a problem with our golden retriever Wrigley barking uncontrollably. We read the reviews of Bark Busters and decided to give them a try. After the first 3 hour visit there was a noticeable difference in her behavior regarding the barking. We felt more in control because we now had a strategy in place. We are continually working on things from the program with Wrigley to make her a better dog and member of our family. Vicky is very knowledgeable about the program and dogs in general. We feel very comfortable with her. She is easy to reach for any questions you may have. Vicky is always prompt and professional. We are extremely happy and satisfied with Bark Busters.
Navigating the challenges of owning an 8-week-old Golden Retriever would have been incredibly overwhelming without Kevin's help! As first-time puppy owners, my wife and I were unsure how to handle all the different phases. Kevin provided invaluable guidance tailored to our specific situation that books and TV shows couldn't match. We are so grateful for his support!
We contacted Bark Busters for help with our 1 year old Golden Retriever. Maverick is such a sweet boy in so many ways, but has issues with jumping up and being crazy on the leash! We were struggling every time we had to take him out. We definitely needed help! We had our first visit with Bonnie, and after 2 hours, he was a different puppy! It was finally enjoyable to go for a walk! She was so good and patient with him. Her knowledge and guidance trained us and our puppy responded so quickly. It has already been life-changing for us! We will continue to work on everything we learned. Thank you for all your help Bonnie! We look forward to our next session!
We’ve been working with Ryanne for 6 weeks. During that short time she showed us how to communicate with our rescue. He’s a 1 year old Aussie border collie mix. We’re his 4th and forever home. He is a high energy and very intelligent dog. We knew we needed help. Ryanne came to our home and worked with us for 3 sessions over the last 6 weeks. She showed us how to immediately and effectively communicate with our dog. We can now take him to the park and play fetch. He walk's calmly by our side and ignores distractions. He only focuses on us. Before we could barely walk him without being pulled to the ground. If you’re thinking about using a trainer I highly recommend the Bark Buster program. Thank you Ryanne!
Diane and John are truly a power couple! They have an amazing bedside manner, have made us feel comfortable while supplying plenty of love and humor throughout the process. They are 150% dedicated to the work and are willing to work around the clock to help us with any challenges we have with Remy. These trainers are nothing short of amazing! They have helped us realize that although training with your dog can be challenging; however, it is more than possible, fun and worth the time we're putting in for our desired results. Thank you Diane and John! We look forward to our continued work with you all.
Friendly explained everything in great detail.
Our session was very useful & helpful in training our puppy Boji. We are looking forward to continuing the lessons with Karen.
Understanding her binary language barrier with a few simple commands made me feel at ease. Knowing my family can also walk and feel in control of our dog.
Unbelievable progress on the first day of training! Highly recommend Joshua as a highly competant and companionate trainer.
Josh was able to teach me how better to teach her! She may have some bad experiences w/ me that puts her on guard, but Josh helped a lot with recognizing the behavior and the methods how to fix this issue.
Noticed results right away!
Joshua is very professional and to the point, detailed, plus came prepared. Lucy was very receptive to him. We learned so much to make our lives plus lucy's life easier + with more joy! The information was very helpful plus the homework! Looking forward to our 3–4-week follow up. Thank YOU!
We were provided great philosophy plus lessons on how to train and understand our dog. Lucky learned a lot today!
Such nice and incredibly helpful people. Our dog is almost 4, and we thought we’d never be able to get her out of these bad habits that she’s always had. But they really helped us control her negative behaviors in a way that is not demeaning in any way. Our dog is thriving and we couldn’t be happier. Really worth the investment.
The training session was very effective. We see a massive improvement with our dogs already. Can't wait for the future!
Karen was very professional. She explained things where we could understand completely.
Very knowledgeable on training. Amazing to sum it all up!
I've worked with Bark Busters since 2021 when I first adopted my dog, Obi. He had some behavioral and anxiety issues that we needed to get under control. I shopped around for a few different trainers that were a bit cheaper but the training just didn't work well with my dog. I came across Bark Busters and was a little hesitant because of the pricing, but I felt that their methods of communication made so much sense. I first worked with Dalila and was stunned by her passion and commitment to this program. I had such an amazing experience with her and we were able to manage Obi's leash manners and home anxiety. As time went on, we reached back out to Bark Busters since Obi was beginning to act up again around other dogs. Because of that lifetime guarantee, we were able to work with Jared at no additional cost. Jared was very lovely and personable. He gave us great tips and a little refresher course. I would highly recommend working with Bark Busters because you can tell they genuinely care about their clients and want the best for your family!
Pixie went from out of control to passive today in our session with Karen.
Yesterday, Lissette from Bark Busters came to our house and spent 3 hours working with us and all three of our dogs. Her results were amazing! It was probably harder to train the humans than the dogs but she was extremely patient. She gave us the needed equipment, instructions, and videos to be successful. She also promises unlimited support should we have any questions or concerns before our next visit. After following her instructions last night and then today, our dogs have already shown improvement in their behavior! I HIGHLY recommend Bark Busters to anyone who loves their dog(s) and wants to take back control of their environment.
Stephanie is great! As first time dog parents we needed some guidance. So thankful we found Stephanie who provided us with some wonderful information and tools to help us with our new fur baby!
5 stars
These guys are amazing. I got Randy and Jared, and they were both equally as amazing. After the first visit with Randy, 75% of all issues were taken care of. After Jared came a few weeks later the remaining 25% of problems we were dealing with were fixed. Since they left me with all the tools to continue practicing good behavior with my dog, none of the problems have resurfaced. The things they helped fix was: jumping on the people and on or doors, eating our other dog's food, recall, and walks. Getting my dog to go on walks was super important because she was terrified of leaving the driveway and I had no idea what to do about it. On the first visit Randy helped to get her more comfortable with being on the leash and being in front of the house. After the second visit with Jared she venturing out on walks with full confidence. Bark Busters really is incredible and they have amazing being working for them. I do recommend Bark Busters.
Omar was amazing. He taught us how to truly communicate with our dog. And learning better communication with our dog we're getting the behavior changes we desired Omar. Our trainer was well spoken very clear and concise. He was an excellent instructor. I highly recommend Barker Busters to anyone who wants to get rid of chaotic anxious behavior in a dog. The written materials that Barker Busters leaves behind as well as emails electronically are very helpful. we look forward to learning more from Omar at our next appointment. The in-home training also is a huge benefit because it allows the trainer and the owners to concentrate on each other without interruption by others or other dogs.
I feel like I got a new dog today. I did not know my dog could be this calm & behave this well.
After just one week working with Bonnie, my dog Sherman understands that I am the leader of our pack. He walks next to me beautifully. He stops barking when commanded. He follows me vs. being unruly and underfoot. He is far more relaxed overall. The concept is brilliant and very easy to administer for fast results!
After just one session with Mark, we have course-corrected the fear aggression that we have seen building over time within our 4-year-old dog, Finnegan. After two (2) poor encounters, one at a groomer and one with another dog, Finnegan developed a very intense reaction to other dogs (and anyone in scrubs), to the point where we could not walk past another dog across the street. He would bark and pull and just go crazy, all out of immense fear. Other aspects of his temperament also started worsening like guarding socks and/or toilet paper. We felt like we were losing our dog. The worst realization was that our 1-year-old dog, Daisy, was beginning to pick up the same characteristics simply by watching him. We tried other training methods over the years that all helped/made small improvements but nothing was as dramatic as Mark and Bark Busters. He helped us reset with the dogs, establish leadership and own the space so that our dogs feel safe and look to us for direction. We have work to do to reinforce the training and make it our way of life, but we feel very excited and thankful for all of it. Our dogs are much happier as well, even after just a few weeks. We would HIGHLY recommend Mark and Bark Busters to anyone.

Need Dog Training Assistance with Your Golden Retriever? Find Your Local Trainer Now!

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