How To Take Care Of A Golden Retriever – 10 Ways To Make Them Happy!

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[UPDATED July 2021]

If you own a Golden Retriever, then you know firsthand how much joy and happiness they bring to you. So how do you return the favour to your dog?  Find out in this article how to take care of a Golden Retriever and discover the 10 easy ways you can make your Golden Retriever happy.

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in America and with good reason!

They are not only stunningly beautiful, but they have brains as well. Their friendly and gentle disposition makes them great family dogs. Goldens love people of all ages and get along well with other animals.

They are simply wonderful! They are a very easygoing breed, which makes them great for first-time dog owners, but they do have requirements that need to be met to ensure their happiness.

Let’s look at what you can do to make sure your Golden is the happiest he or she can be.

10 Easy Ways To Make Your Golden Retriever Happy

1. Show Them Lots Of Love

How To Take Care Of A Golden Retriever -  A Golden Retriever with a happy expression.

Golden Retrievers love to be with you at all times. They crave human attention and affection, the more the better! Often, they will sit by your feet and lean into you or will paw at you to keep petting them. They are lovingly referred to as “Velcro dogs”, because they are always by your side, following you everywhere, even the bathroom!

They are happiest when they are with you, and they shouldn’t be left alone for long periods of time. Leaving your Golden alone too long might make him depressed, or could cause unwanted behaviours such as chewing, excessive barking, and other destructive behaviour.

Taking your Golden Retriever to a Doggie Day Care, or hiring a Dog Walker while you are away will certainly help. But, keep in mind that you are everything to your Golden Retriever and they want to spend their time with you.

2. Feed Them The Best Food Possible

When it comes to feeding your Golden, you should feed the best food you can. A high-quality diet is a must for these dogs, as they can easily develop skin problems such as allergies, and they can easily become overweight.

Goldens love food, and will eat anything!! It is important to keep control and monitor their food intake so that they do not become overweight.

It is certainly not an easy thing to do when they look at you with their sad puppy dog eyes begging for food every time you eat.

The biggest mistake you can make is feeding them from the table. I can attest to this because I used to do it! My dog became slightly overweight, and it was a struggle to shed the pounds off of her.

3. Give Them Space

Goldens are labelled as a medium to large-sized breed.  Breed standards state that adult Goldens will typically weigh between 55-65 lbs (female), and 65-75lbs (male).   Some adults can weigh more or less depending on genetics.

Because of their large size, they need room to move. Goldens are not meant to be outside dogs all the time, they would rather spend time with their humans inside than be outside by themselves.

Having a yard for them to run and play is beneficial, but when given enough exercise and outdoor time, Goldens can also do well in apartment living. Just make sure that your house or apartment is large enough to accommodate them.

4. Keep Them Beautiful

One thing is for certain of this breed, and that is they shed!!!

Golden Retrievers are known for their beautiful long coat, which is actually a double-coat. Meaning it consists of a thick soft undercoat and a coarser topcoat.

The undercoat is what sheds heavily in the spring and fall, and there is moderate shedding throughout the rest of the year. A Goldens double-coat offers protection from the elements, keeping them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Regular brushing is a must to keep their coat looking healthy and shiny, and to minimize shedding. Bathing should be done regularly as well, and since Goldens love water it should be easier to do.

Because of their floppy ears, Goldens are prone to getting ear infections. Weekly ear cleaning is recommended to keep their ears free of dirt and debris and to prevent infections.

Golden Retrievers are beautiful, and they know it and love to show it off. It is up to their owners to keep them beautiful.

Grooming a Golden Retriever does not have to be difficult, you can easily learn to groom them yourself at home to save some money.

5. Socialize Them

Golden Retriever and Australian Shepherd carrying a stick together on the beach.

Golden Retrievers are naturally social. They love nothing more than being taken for a walk and meeting new people and other dogs. Known for their friendly and gentle nature, Goldens will get along with all animals and all people.

My Golden Retriever Ellie is such a “people dog”, and because of her social nature, we have met so many people in our neighbourhood and on the trail we walk.

She has earned the nickname ” the friendliest dog of the neighbourhood”. As a puppy, she would invite herself up onto people’s porches to say hi to them and get petted.

Now as an adult she continues this with the people that she knows. She will also go up to strangers and sit on their feet and wait to be petted. She loves the attention that she gets. After meeting someone, or another dog she usually gets very happy and excited. It is almost like a “high” for her.

I would suggest taking your Golden everywhere with you, take them to the park, for car rides, let them meet new people and dogs. Let them experience new things and you will have a happy dog.

6. Take Them Swimming

Golden Retriever retrieving a stick from the water.

Natural born swimmers, to say that Goldens love water is an understatement! I mean I’m sure there are some Goldens that do not like water, maybe because they are not familiar with it, but most of them truly love it.

Especially on a hot summer day, Goldens will love to go in any water source they can find. Whether it’s a creek, a lake or a pool, they will jump in and cool off.

Some owners have Golden Retrievers that enjoy rolling around and getting dirty in mud puddles, I am lucky enough to not be one of those owners.

Swimming is a great form of exercise for your Golden Retriever, so take them with you to a dog-friendly beach or other water spot and have a game of fetch in the water.

7. Provide Mental Stimulation

Because they are such intelligent dogs, Golden Retrievers are easy to train. They are eager to please their owner, especially when a treat is involved for being a good dog.

In order to keep them from getting bored, and becoming destructive, they should be given plenty of mental stimulation.

Golden Retrievers are happier and healthier, and more behaved when they are given mental stimulation on a daily basis. This can be done by teaching your dog basic commands and tricks, playing games with them, and providing enough exercise.

An example of mental stimulation right now for my dog Ellie is when we are out walking she loves to go into the creek at several spots along the trail and hunt for frogs. She is so excited when she sees one and tries to catch it.

8. Let Them Be A Lap Dog

Golden Retriever laying on a brown leather sofa.

Who says that a Golden Retriever is not a lap dog?! They are basically big teddy bears.

Craving human attention and affection is what they do and if that means jumping onto your lap and snuggling up with you, then that is what they will do.

I remember when Ellie was a puppy I did not want her on the couch. I even tried to put tinfoil on the couch to deter her away from it. How long do you think that lasted?? Maybe a week or less.

She would take a running leap and jump onto the couch and realize how comfortable it was, and just stay there. Nothing I could do about it, it was just easier to give in. Now I share a couch with her. She has her side, I have mine.

9. Keep Them Healthy

The average lifespan of a Golden Retriever is 10-12 years. Some Goldens live longer than the average, with many of them living up to 14 or 15 years.

Genetics, lifestyle, environment, nutrition and spay or neuter status can all contribute to the health of your Golden.

In order to keep them healthy and to ensure a long life with your devoted best friend, there are things you need to do such as:

  • Provide a nutritious high-quality diet.
  • Provide plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation.
  • Keep your Golden at an ideal weight and watch food intake to prevent obesity.
  • Look for any signs of illness and medical problems, and get regular vet check-ups.
  • Play with them, and show them plenty of love.
  • Provide regular grooming to keep them clean and healthy.

10. Don’t Expect Them To Be A Guard Dog

Golden Retriever laying on his back.

Golden Retrievers make lousy guard dogs. They may bark at a stranger at the door, but will soon wag their tail and flash their friendly smile at them.

They love people way too much to be effective as a guard dog. If someone were to break into their home, a Golden would rather lick them to death than show any form of aggression.

Final Thoughts On How To Take Care Of A Golden Retriever

I believe the number one thing that any dog owner can do is to show their dog lots of love!

The Golden Retriever especially needs a lot of love and attention in order to be happy. They value the time spent with you, and any dog owner knows that the time spent with their beloved Golden Retriever is never enough.

A Golden Retriever quickly steals your heart and becomes your best friend. Their beauty both inside and out becomes addicting that most owners of this beautiful breed usually own more than one.

Keep in mind that if you let a Golden be a Golden, by letting them do what they love such as meeting new people and going swimming, then you will be rewarded with a happy dog.


What About You?

How do you take care of your Golden Retriever to ensure their happiness?

Share your thoughts and comments below.  I would love to hear from you.

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16 thoughts on “How To Take Care Of A Golden Retriever – 10 Ways To Make Them Happy!”

    • Hi Kristy,
      You will want to consult with your vet in order to determine the best approach for Charlie to lose weight.
      Your vet will be able to guide you in terms of how much weight Charlie needs to lose.
      Whether Charlie needs to shed a few pounds or a lot of pounds, it should be done gradually.
      You will want to reduce the amount of food you are feeding him, increase his exercise, and cut down on the number of treats he is given daily.

      Oftentimes, we over-treat our dogs, simply because they look at us, and we feel guilty. Golden Retrievers are very food-obsessed and will eat anything and everything given the chance. They will always appear to be hungry, and you need to be strong and not give in to their cute sorry-looking faces. LOL!

      I have been there myself. My Ellie was slightly overweight, and it turned out we were giving her too many treats, as well as some human food. We stopped the human food, lessened the number of treats, and she gradually lost weight. It took about 6 months. It is a difficult and slow process, but you will be doing your dog a favour!

      Overweight dogs have higher risks of developing joint issues, diabetes, and cancer and their lifespans are shorter.

      Also, be sure to carefully read the ingredients, calories, and fat content in your treats and food. Many treats are “junk” and contain too many calories, sugar, and fat. I recommend looking for treats that contain limited ingredients, or even better single ingredient treats. Another tip is to buy treats for small dogs because they are much smaller in size with fewer calories. This is what I do, and I even break them in half to make them even smaller. But, my Golden has caught on!

      I wish you all the best with Charlie’s weight loss journey.

  1. Very nice . ? Accurate. We got a Golden Retriever puppy (Major) when he was 8 weeks . He’s a joy . We figured by experimenting that he likes the Purina puppy food mixed with fully cooked chicken as a meal topper.
    Yes , he always wants to be with us but he also enjoys being in a day care or boarding ( find one that they enjoy )
    Walking and activity is what makes him happy .

    • Hi Tom,
      Thanks for sharing your story, I’m glad you liked this article and found it accurate.
      It sounds like your pup Major is being spoiled (as it should be). Who wouldn’t love some chicken to top off their meal?!
      I agree, daycare is great once you find the right one. It’s great for socializing, playtime and exercise.
      I wish you all the best with your pup Major!

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

  2. Wow, great post!

    I don’t own a Golden yet, but my friend has one. I can understand what you mean by “people dog” and “social dog” here. They really do get along with everyone they meet and I have never seen one that is aggressive.

    I wish to own a Golden Retriever someday, so I found this information to be quite helpful!

    Thank You!

    • Hi Jason,

      Golden Retrievers love to socialize with people and other animals, they often love to be the centre of attention!  

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post, and hopefully, your wish of owning a Golden Retriever someday will come true.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,


  3. Hi, I am 8 years old. I read this article in the first place because I got a golden puppy just a few weeks ago and I don’t know how to care for her so I looked up and got this information. But I want to make her happy and I tried all these things but it’s not working what to do?


    • Hi Aarini,
      Thank you so much for visiting my site, and congratulations on getting a Golden Retriever puppy. I am sure you are doing a great job looking after your puppy, I can tell that you care deeply for your new puppy because you are looking for ways to make her happy and how to take care of her.

      Puppies love to play and explore, and they love spending time with you. Puppies also need a lot of sleep. I am sure your puppy is happy and feeling loved, just keep taking good care of her and you will have a great best friend.

      Take care,

  4. I didn’t know any of this until I read this post. This made me really happy, so you’re really cool and especially since my dog is lazy and annoyed ever since her brother died and I’m feeling bad for her. ️?

    • Hi Macie,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment. I am glad that you learned something from this post. Your dog is grieving the loss of her brother, as dogs will certainly do this when someone they love is no longer around. Dogs will become depressed, they may even lose their appetite, they will become lethargic, showing no interest in any activity including walking and playing. It will take time for your dog to overcome this loss, as her day to day life has changed. Give your dog some time to adjust.


  5. Indeed Golden Retrievers are also incredibly intelligent and eager to please, which makes them easy to train. I adopted mine when he was just a puppy, though we have our little fights I never deny him his earned treat.  I usually give him whatever I eat but I’ll search for more better options to make him happier. Which food would you recommend? 

    • Hi Seun Jeremiah,

      When my dog Ellie was a puppy I also fed her from the table on occasion. This was a big mistake.  Not only did she gain weight, but she also developed allergies.  It was a struggle to get her to lose the weight and also to find out what she is allergic too.  We tried several different brands of kibble, and the allergies persisted. She is allergic to poultry, beef, and other ingredients.  Finally, we decided to switch her to a raw diet.  Her allergies have improved (itching, licking, anal glands).  I strongly suggest feeding a high-quality diet that is best for your dog, my recommendation is a raw food diet.

      If you have any questions about a raw diet please ask. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and taking the time to comment.


  6. Hi

    This is one of the most comprehensive articles on Golden Retrievers that I have ever read. The information within is priceless and will help benefit all Golden Retriever owners. One thing you learn is that they do like to be the centre of attention, which is part of their charm.  I always like brushing the coat of a dog, as I find it to be as much relaxing as the dog does.

    I have learned so many new things from this article, but have one question concerning the teeth. What is the best way to look after them?



    • Hi Antonio,

      Golden Retrievers always need to be the centre of attention and always need to be petted.  I love that about them too and find it charming.  

      Brushing a dog’s coat can either be relaxing or it can be a bad experience.  It all depends on the individual dog.  Some dogs love to be brushed while there are other dogs who dislike the brushing experience.  I believe that it comes down to the actual brush you are using, and if the dog is used to the experience. (If the dog was introduced to brushing as a puppy).  

      I strongly recommend a good Pin Brush for Golden Retrievers, because they are gentle, effective, and offer a massage-like experience.

      In regards to caring for their teeth, daily brushing is recommended.  I know it is a hard thing to do!!  So if you can brush your dog’s teeth daily that is great!  However, most people find it a struggle!  Myself included.

      I try to brush my dog’s teeth daily with a dog toothbrush and coconut oil.  Coconut oil is all-natural and dogs love the taste of it. It freshens their breath, reduces plaque bacteria, and has many other health benefits.  

      Also, Golden Retrievers love to chew sticks which helps to clean their teeth.  Raw bones are a good option too but never give your dog cooked bones.

      I hope this helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please ask.  Thank you for taking the time to comment.


  7. Thank you! It was nice to read your article because you talk a lot about being kind towards the dog. I think that is so important. I think being kind to the dog is always a priority. 

    Taking them swimming is nice. I always used to see this guy at the beach with his dog. They would swim together. It looked like the dog was very happy. He cared about his dog and I never saw him be mean to his dog. 

    And yeah playing with them, giving them attention, good food, letting them go on your lap. I like it when dogs jump on me. I think it’s fun. 

    The only thing hard for me is if a dog wants to lick my face! Sometimes dogs want to and I feel sorry if I make them feel rejected. If I can wash my face soon and the dog only wants to do it once then I just let them because otherwise, I end up making the poor dog feel rejected and for what a few germs? So that’s just one thing that’s hard for me about dogs. 

    Great website and I will definitely keep coming back. Thanks!

    • Hi Charles,

      Being kind and showing your dog lot’s of love is truly one of the most important things you can do.  I can tell that you are really a true dog lover because you don’t mind when a dog jumps up on you.  Also, you don’t mind it too much when a dog licks your face.  There are many people who get grossed out by that.  I don’t mind it when my dog does it to me, but if another dog did it, it might be a different story.  You never know what that dog has eaten or licked.  LOL.

      I am glad you enjoyed this article and thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.



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