Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in America and are loved for their affectionate demeanor, energetic personalities, and soft, silky fur.
But pet ownership is no walk in the park! Like any dog breed, Golden Retrievers need to be taught how to cope in a home environment. So if you’re thinking of adding a new member to your family, training your pup should be a top priority.
Read on to learn the dos and don’ts of Golden Retriever training so that you can train with confidence.
Before you get your Golden Retriever puppy
For your new puppy to become a fully-fledged family member, everyone in your household needs to be invested in its health and wellbeing. You should never get a new dog if you’re unsure of how you will care for it or if you or a family member worry about the long-term commitment. Your pup will be in your life for the next 12 years, which is absolutely amazing if you’re fully prepared.
Another thing to remember is that your pup isn’t magic! Although Golden Retrievers quickly adjust to family environments, you’ll need to be patient while he/she learns the law of the land. Just like a child, they’ll make mistakes, but with the right support and consistent training, it won’t take long for them to settle down.
Tips for Golden Retriever training
Let’s get down to business! Golden Retriever training should be fun for you and your fluffy friend. Follow these tips to make your training sessions a success:
1. Watch your mouth
Just like kids, Golden Retrievers learn best through play. Keep things fun during your training session to keep your pet engaged and motivated.
Even the tone of your voice can make a big difference. Although dogs can understand certain commands, one of the main drivers of their behavior is the way you deliver verbal messages. Use a happy tone when giving instructions and lavish them with praise if they correctly do what’s asked of them.
Using short, snappy phrases also gets great results. Saying a set phrase, such as “yes!” (delivered with enthusiasm), after each correct action will help your Golden learn what to expect when they satisfy you. They’ll learn to associate “yes!” with keeping you happy.
Try to avoid using a stern voice. If your Retriever doesn’t seem to be getting to grips with a particular action, be patient. They’ll get it with time.
2. Wait it out
New Golden Retriever owners make a common mistake of not giving their pet enough time to respond to a particular command.
Dogs are smart creatures, and importantly, they want to impress their owners. So when asking your puppy to complete an action, such as sitting or lying, give them time to get it right. Often, if you stay still, they’ll try different behaviors until they find the right one, and that’s when you hit them with your “Yes!” or other chosen phrase.
Remember: Don’t keep repeating commands over and over again. Say it clearly once, and give your pet time to test out their options.
3. Always keep a reward handy
Do you know that police search dogs aren’t actually looking for illicit materials at all? They’re on the hunt for tennis balls, which magically appear when they make a discovery!
Dogs are reward-driven, so your pet will be more motivated during your training sessions if they know a treat or toy is up for grabs. Experiment with different options until you find what most excites your Golden Retriever.
Then reinforce their positive behaviors with a reward. Your fluffball will quickly learn that to get what they want; they need to follow your commands.
4. Train little and often
They say practice makes perfect, and this applies to pets as well as humans! Speed up your progress by incorporating small doses of training every day.
About to have dinner? Encourage your dog to sit rather than steal food before the bowl has touched the floor. Going for a walk? Practice heel commands and staying. Almost every activity you do with your canine companion offers a learning opportunity.
Training little and often has another benefit. Your Golden Retriever might get overloaded with lengthy training sessions. Much like how children might behave if they don’t understand a game — they might opt out altogether.
To avoid this, try not to overstretch your pet. If they’ve not nailed a command after three attempts, switch to doing something else and give them a break. Then revisit it later in the day.
5. Get the whole family involved
Training doesn’t have to be a two-person activity. In fact, you’ll get much better results if your whole family helps out, including other pets!
Ask your family to help work on two or three commands at a time. For a new pup, “sit,” “stay,” and “come” are good ones to start with. By getting everyone involved, your new addition will come to trust every member of the family (this is even more important for rescues), and they’ll learn to behave when you’re not there to keep an eye on them.
You might be surprised to learn that other pets can also play a big role in your Golden Retriever’s training. Having an adult pet at home gives your newbie the chance to tag along and mirror behaviors, so tasks like housebreaking become much simpler!
Build a bond during Golden Retriever training
Your golden retriever will be a loving, loyal, and affectionate companion for your whole family. Use these training tips to help train your golden retriever puppy. By working together on obedience, you’ll create an even stronger bond with your newest family member.