With their friendly disposition, intelligent eyes, and playful exuberance, it’s no wonder golden retrievers are sought-after pets around the world. If you have the opportunity to acquire one of these sweet pups, you’re in luck. But you may also be thinking, “Are golden retriever puppies easy to train?”
What is a golden retriever like?
Golden retrievers are among the top five most popular family dogs in the US and in places like Australia, the United Kingdom, and Brazil. These beautiful creatures are loyal, calm, outgoing, and eager to learn. Their intelligence and relaxed temperament make them valuable working dogs and champions at obedience training.
These are the most marked characteristics of the golden retriever:
- Friendly and devoted
In general, goldens have a joyous and playful personality. They are amiable with unfamiliar people and animals, are goofy, and keep their puppyish liveliness all the way into adulthood. They spread their love equally to every member of the family.
These qualities are what make golden retrievers delightful pets and gentle companions for small children. Unfortunately, if you want your golden retriever to serve as a guard dog for the family, you may be disappointed. Goldens are too trusting, gentle, and friendly with everyone to protect you from potential threats.
- Obedient and hardworking
Bred to be hardworking hunting dogs, golden retrievers are reliable workers that keep going until they drop. They are calm, patient, and naturally biddable. This is why goldens are in high demand as working dogs.
Golden retrievers are popular as disability-assistance dogs. They work as hearing dogs for the deaf and guide dogs for the blind. Paws with a Cause, Assistance Dog International, and other organizations that custom-train assistance dogs work almost exclusively with golden retrievers.
Because of their innate intelligence, physical skill, and willingness to train, golden retrievers also make excellent bomb- or drug-detection dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and tracking dogs. They are capable swimmers and serve as water rescue dogs.
The golden retriever is one of the most intelligent of all dog breeds. It is fourth in the Intelligence of Dogs ranking by Stanley Coren.
Tips for training golden retriever pups
Golden retrievers have the magic combination of intelligence and obedience that makes dogs highly trainable. In fact, the first three obedience champions of the American Kennel Club were golden retrievers. Goldens excel at obedience contests and other competitive events.
If you’re thinking of bringing home a golden retriever, you can rest assured that these dogs are easy to train. Even as puppies, goldens are eager to train and learn. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Start exposing your pup to people, other animals, different places, and various situations as soon as you bring him home. According to the American Kennel Club, you should start socialization between seven weeks and four months of age. This lets you identify any habits that may need correcting and will help your pet feel more comfortable in his new home.
- Make sure your pup learns the basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “lie down.” Not only does this make your life easier, but it also strengthens the bond between you and your pup.
- Goldens have an innate need to please their owner. Obedience training gives them the opportunity to show that they are good boys and to be rewarded for their obedience.
- When training golden retriever pups, keep the sessions short. Ideally, they should be no longer than 15 minutes. Too long and your pup could lose interest or get confused.
- If your dog is having trouble learning a new command or skill, go back to something he already knows. Don’t scold, yell, or punish your golden retriever puppy. Keep the training sessions positive and lighthearted.
- Teach your pup the skills, commands, and behaviors that will help you coexist peacefully. For instance, if your pup tends to jump at people in a show of affection, you may want to teach him how to curb this habit. If you frequently travel, you should make sure your pup is crate-trained.
- Goldens are active dogs that need to burn off their stores of energy. Getting enough exercise and playtime also helps prevent boredom and makes obedience training easier.
- Start house-training your pup as soon as you get him home. Expect “accidents” for the first few weeks. Instead of scolding or punishing your pup when he makes a mess, lead him to the correct spot and say “here.”
- Sticking to a constant feeding and bathroom schedule is the best way to prevent accidents. If your golden pup is just months old, take him on potty breaks every hour, after meals, and after naps. You should also take him out before you go to bed, first thing in the morning, and before you leave for work.
- Golden retrievers are smart enough to use—and flush—an actual toilet. You can try training your golden to do this as soon as he’s big enough.
Are golden retriever puppies easy to train? Definitely. If you’re bringing one of these clever dogs home, you’ll have a lot of fun teaching him all kinds of tricks. Good luck and enjoy!