Notes for Golden Puppy People

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Topics :


Chewing & Other Misdemeanors 


Choosing a Veterinarian












House Training






Obedience Training


Spay / Neuter




Food & Water : -

All of our puppies eat Nutro's Natural Recipe Lamb & Rice Puppy formula. We have found it to be a good all-round premium dog food, with no artificial preservatives, that is eaten enthusiastically by our dogs and that keeps their coats, teeth and skin in good condition. We will be sending about a week's supply home with your puppy. If you decide to change to another brand, you will need to introduce this gradually over several days. Don't wait until you run out of the Nutro's or you will risk upsetting the puppy's digestive system.

If you decide not to feed Nutro's, substitute with a premium dry kibble please. Supermarket brands contain a lot of filler ingredients of low grade protein and who knows what. For a longer shelf life, these brands are preserved with chemicals that may cause cancer. Dry food is better for teeth and gums and is more consistent in its quality.

To start with, feed your puppy about 1/2 cup of food soaked in a little water at three mealtimes. Space the mealtimes as evenly as you can. As the puppy's weight increases, increase the amount of food evenly over the three meals. At about 6 months you can begin to reduce the "lunch" meal (remembering to add the amount to the other two meals) until Lunch becomes just a snack.

If your puppy picks at his food but doesn't finish it quickly (5 minutes), throw away the uneaten portion and wait until the next mealtime.  If you leave food out you will end up with a picky eater.

To add variety, substitute some of the dry food for :

2-3 tablespoons of cottage cheese or raw hamburger or an occasional boiled egg.

• Don't be tempted to fatten the puppy up ! It is very important that his or her growing bones are not stressed by carrying around unneeded fat. (There have been suggestions that this may also contribute to dysplasia.) Also, a fat, sluggish puppy will prefer to sleep and will be difficult to train.

bulletDon't ever be tempted to feed the puppy from or at your table, this leads to horrible begging and or stealing problems and makes monitoring the amount of food intake very difficult.
bulletChocolate is poisonous to dogs, even in relatively small quantities.
bulletWe teach "Leave it" and "Take it" to our dogs from 7 weeks on. This gives you time to put down the food and back away before the fun begins. This is also useful later to stop your dog eating anything that may be bad for them.
bulletNever let your puppy growl at you when it is eating. A well mannered dog will allow you to take anything away from it. (Don't look at the sad eyes)
bulletProvide as much fresh, clean water as your puppy wants. During house-training, this can be withheld during crate time but must always be available when the puppy is out of the crate. (except : after the last run of the evening, withhold water before bed to help him or her get further through the night.) Keep water containers clean.

Veterinary Care

Choose a vet before your puppy comes home. Pick one that has a good reputation and that you can get to without too much trouble. The office should have after hours emergency coverage. The exam rooms should look and smell scrupulously clean.

You will receive a record of medications that have been given to your puppy when he goes home with you. This will include the start of the inoculations. A visit to your vet should be scheduled in the first couple of days after your puppy comes home to continue the course of treatments and to be examined.

Your vet will be weighing your puppy regularly for heartworm preventative medicine. You can use this as a guide for adjusting the amount of food to give. ( It is almost impossible to get an accurate weight for a squirming Golden puppy on the bathroom scales !)

If your vet doesn't suggest it, ask for a Bordatella vaccine against "Kennel Cough" before starting Kindergarten or any other classes.


There are many reasons why we have insisted on a spay/neuter contract for your puppy. We do not wish to be responsible for puppies from unwanted or casual breedings. We have made special efforts to bring you this Golden Retriever and this would be for nothing if the puppy was misbred. On medical grounds, this procedure will eliminate any risk of cancers of the womb or of the testicles that your puppy may have had to live with. You and your female puppy will not suffer any complications of whelping or the confinements that would have been necessary during her heat cycles. Your male puppy will be less likely to get "wanderlust" and probably will not mark his territory.

The surgery involved with spaying and with neutering is routine for most vets. Speak to your veterinarian as soon as possible about this procedure and the best time for it.

We will call to check that this procedure has been performed, if you have any questions beforehand, we have literature that can supplement what your veterinarian has discussed with you.

House Training

By whichever method you choose, your puppy should be reliably house-trained before it is 5 months old. Crate training is the method we recommend. The fewer problems you have with your puppy, the more time and inclination you will have to play with him.

Call for advice if you have ANY questions about this. House training is probably the hardest part of raising your first puppy but is also the most important one. The efforts must come from you - your puppy does not understand inside from out. However, his instinct is to keep his sleeping area clean.

There WILL be mistakes :

bulletKeep a good carpet cleaner handy and clean up immediately – there must be absolutely no smell remaining when you’re done.
bulletDon't over react before the puppy has a chance to understand what you are teaching.
bulletREALLY "ham-it-up" when he goes outside (LOTS of praise, treats, hugs)
bulletEliminate the possibilities for error - take him outside very frequently and stay with him until you are sure he did something.
bulletFor example –
bulletPuppy wakes from a nap and comes out of the crate and goes immediately outside
bulletPlays with you for 15 minutes and goes outside,
bullettakes a 10 minute nap on your lap and goes outside AGAIN !!
bulletSmall puppies have a very short memory - don't chastise him for an accident that happened 5 minutes ago.
bulletIf you see him start to squat - scoop him up quickly and carry him outside.


Chewing and Other Misdemeanors

Golden puppies (and most older dogs too) HAVE to chew. It is necessary to keep their teeth and gums in good shape. If you don't give them chew toys, they will destroy furniture, clothing etc. etc. The trick is to find toys that are appealing enough to keep the puppy's interest. Try a variety of knotted ropes, gumabones and fleece toys that can be chewed on. We have yet to lose a shoe or any furniture. Pig ears are the ultimate treat, but puppies can choke on the small piece at the end. Don't leave your puppy alone to chew anything that may break into small pieces.

If the puppy begins to chew on something it shouldn't : Don't yell, unless it is life threatening (e.g. electrical cord). Entice him away with a toy and praise him when he leaves your stuff alone.

Excessive chewing after teething has passed may be a sign of a bored or under-exercised dog.

Barking is also natural for a dog. Goldens are not the worst breed for barking but they do like to let you know when someone comes into your (their) area. We have found that the best way to control barking is to teach "Speak". Let them bark a couple of times, lower your voice and say "Enough". Then praise when they stop. ("Enough" is a great command for all sorts of situations : Enough playing, Enough licking, Enough digging.)

Nuisance barking for extended periods of time is generally for attention and also comes from boredom. Your dog wants and needs to be with his people. Try increasing his exercise and providing more toys and attention.


Puppies need regular exercise without over-exerting themselves. Let them sleep when they want to. (remembering to take them out as soon as they wake up ! ) Up to about 4 months, don't let your puppy climb a flight of stairs (up or down). Hip dysplasia is thought to be aggravated or brought on at least in part by environmental stress. Carry him until his legs are developed enough to walk on the stairs instead of "bunny-hopping". (Just about the time when you just can't carry him any more !)

If your puppy becomes easily excited or is getting into mischief all the time, you may need to increase the amount of exercise he gets. Retrieving games are great if you can't go for a long walk. We start with paint rollers.

If you use a tennis ball for retrieving games, don't let the puppy chew the cover - it was designed to stand up to asphalt surfaces and it will wear down the enamel on his teeth. Throw split balls away - they are a choking hazard.

Kindergarten for socialization.

As soon as your puppy has received the full course of inoculations (at about 12 weeks) , a puppy kindergarten class is highly recommended. (Don't take your puppy out in public or allow him to be in contact with dogs from outside of your home until this time). Early socialization with both dogs and people outside it's normal routine will make your puppy more confident and less likely to react badly when you are out and about. Exposure to new situations of all kinds is a very important part of puppyhood.

You need to provide at least the following exposure before 6 months old :

bulletPeople (as many sizes and types as possible) touching and passing by.
bulletNoises (sneezing, coughing, dropping cans, vacuuming, planes)
bullet3 new areas a week (paved, woods, water, gravel, other houses)

Formal Obedience Training

Classes vary considerably in methods and in quality. Talk to the trainer and sit in on a class (without your puppy) before you commit to a course. Ask someone with a well mannered dog who they would recommend (or who to avoid).


Golden Retrievers shed !! There is no getting away from it. The amount of dog hair in the air, on the rugs, furniture, anything that the dog so much as looks at, varies with the weather and condition of your dog. (People with Goldens tend to avoid wearing dark colored clothing)

The equipment needed to keep your Golden looking good is minimal. A weekly all over brushing with a slicker brush, to remove dried dirt and grass burrs, is usually all that is needed.

Pay special attention to the soft fur behind the ears and on the inside of the legs where matting most frequently occurs. Try to tease it out mats with your fingers to avoid having to cut the coat. If you do have to cut the mat, start by cutting along the grain of the fur, then tease out.

Don't bath your Golden too often, this dries out the coat and causes itching ! Bathe them when they smell ! An Oatmeal shampoo (for dogs !) seems to stop dry skin.

THE FIRST BATH : Introduce your puppy to the bathroom before he or she needs to be bathed because the acoustics are very different from the rest of the house. Let the puppy investigate the running water before you start getting him wet. Avoid getting water inside the ears. Use tepid water. Dry his ear leathers and his face with a towel before lifting him out and you may be able to get most of the water off before he shakes!

WARNING : After the first bath, he may want to share yours!


Start a regular routine of trimming nails as soon as possible. If you can hear clicking as he walks on linoleum or hardwood flooring, it's time to trim nails. Get the puppy used to having his feet touched and his nails cut when he is small. There is a nerve in the nail which will be painful and bleed if it is cut. (use styptic powder to stop the bleeding if you do make a mistake.) We start the trimming routine with the puppy lying on its back (getting a tummy rub). It is better to cut the nails on one foot at a time to start with, than to make this part of grooming into a battle.


Check the teeth for plaque and brush with either your finger and a piece of cloth, or an old toothbrush. Dog toothpaste is available ! (and apparently tastes pretty good!) Hard chew toys will help to minimize the buildup, and expensive vet bills for de-scaling.

Also check for teeth that are breaking through the gums up until 8 months. Sometimes the puppy teeth stay in the gums in front of or behind the adult teeth. These need to be helped out to stop gum problems.

Fleas & Ticks

It is very important to stay on top of this problem. Both for you and for your puppy. Most problems with hot spots, flaky skin, and the scratching that goes with them, come from flea infestations. Regular grooming will show up the appearance of these pests.

There seem to be a million products on the market sold to prevent or treat infestations. We have tried many of them ! Be careful to read the instructions for age and weight limits on each product, few are appropriate for puppies under 6 months. If you are treating with a monthly insecticide, be careful not to let young children get it on their fingers.

The best treatment for ticks is to look for them as soon as your puppy returns from a run and remove any you see. If you don't remove them quickly, or completely your puppy may be at risk from Lyme's Disease and other infections. Vaccines against Lyme's are available, you should discuss them with your Vet. 

WARNING : Don't mail order pesticides and treats at the same time. Spray bottles especially may leak in transit.


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