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[Updated July 2019]
Do you wonder what it is like living with a Golden Retriever? Perhaps you are considering a Golden Retriever as your first or next dog, and want to know all the good things and bad things about this breed.
Goldens are one of the most popular dog breeds out there, they make great family dogs, they are easy to train, smart, loyal, and beautiful.
They certainly have great qualities about them, but not everyone likes everything about them and they are not the right dog for everyone.
In this article I will share some insight into what it is really like living with a Golden Retriever, I currently own a female Golden named Ellie.
1. They Are High Energy
A Golden needs a daily amount of exercise in order to burn off all that high energy. If you enjoy being outside and getting physical activity yourself, you’ll have a perfect companion, and it should be easy to tire them out.
They enjoy being outdoors going for walks/jogs, and they love to swim. Once you introduce a Golden to water you will never get them out. They are always up for a game of fetch and love to chase anything, including squirrels.
A Golden Retriever will not exercise without you, even if you have a big yard and let them out by themselves they will stand by the door waiting for you to go with them.
If you are considering a Golden Retriever puppy, expect them to be high energy, and not to calm down until the age of two or three.
Remember that male dogs mature slower than females, and a Golden Retriever, in general, remains more puppy-like and matures slower than other dog breeds.
You will find them doing laps inside your house, and outside as well. People refer to this as the puppy zoomies. A sudden burst of energy! Believe me, once you witness it you will know what I mean.
They romp and jump with full energy and can easily knock a person over. If you have small children, supervision is a must.
I have been on the receiving end of a Golden Retriever knock down a few times. They don’t mean to do any harm, and you will soon learn to bend your knees when they come running towards you.
If you are considering a Golden Retriever, then you need to set aside 2-3 hours a day of exercise for them, so they do not get bored and become destructive.
Along with exercise, they need mental stimulation. They are easily trained and love to please their owners.
2. You Will Never Be Alone
Golden Retrievers love human companionship and will follow you everywhere. If you enjoy your alone time, this is not the breed for you, but if you love to have a furry best friend always by your side then you should consider a Golden.
Goldens love to spend time with their humans and are always eager to do anything with you. You can expect to share the couch with them, and they’ll have no issue in snuggling up to you in bed. Wherever you go, they will follow, even to the bathroom.
They are very intuitive to your feelings and can sense when you are sick, or unhappy, and will do everything they can to comfort you.
3. Your House Will Never Be Clean
You can expect your house to have Golden hair everywhere. If you own a Golden you know that even after you vacuum you will find hair everywhere.
Golden Retrievers shed heavily twice a year (Spring and Fall), and moderately throughout the rest of the year.
As a Golden owner, you will own quite a few lint brushes and a really good vacuum. You might even find yourself wearing the same colour clothes as your dog to disguise the dog hair.
If you are a neat freak, this may not be the dog for you. Goldens love to roll in mud and don’t care if you just cleaned the floor. They don’t see a problem with walking all over your freshly mopped floors and shaking themselves all over the furniture. They even do it with a smile on their face.
When I walk my dog Ellie in the rain, she always comes inside and jumps on the couch and slides back and forth on it to dry off. This is after I have towelled dried her off outside.
Did you just do the laundry? Well then expect them to grab those nice clean socks of yours and run around the house with them. They don’t care, to them, it is a game of fun.
You may have guests in the house and your dog will come running down the stairs with your underwear in their mouth, always good for an embarrassing laugh.
4. Your Yard Will Have A Collection Of Sticks
Goldens love to carry things in their mouth, and soon your front and backyard will have a collection of sticks and whatever else your dog decides to bring back from their daily walk.
My Ellie has brought back so many sticks, and big rocks as well that I have had to get rid of quite a few of them. Now we just have 3 or 4 sticks in the backyard and front yard for her to chew on.
Watch out when you walk a Golden in your neighbourhood because they will pick up anything they can find such as socks, gloves, tennis balls, and toys.
We have a collection of tennis balls in the backyard that Ellie has found throughout our neighbourhood and on our walking trail. There’s really no need to buy new ones because she does her own shopping for them.
5. You Will Meet New People
If you are an anti-social person, then this is not the dog for you. Goldens are extroverts and very social. They enjoy meeting new people and making friends with everyone they meet.
They need and crave human companionship, this is not the type of dog that you can leave home alone for long periods of time. If left alone too long, they will get bored and destructive, and become depressed.
A Golden Retriever will have no problem with walking up to a stranger to say hi and get petted. They will make it seem like they never get any attention at home. They are definitely not shy.
Personally, I have met and gotten to know so many people because of my dog Ellie.
6. It Will Never Be Boring
Being the owner of a Golden Retriever means that your day will never be boring. Never being bored may sound like a good thing, but at times you will pray for boring.
Goldens have a way of easily getting themselves into trouble and keeping you on your toes.
You may find yourself chasing them around the house for those clean socks they stole out of the laundry, or stopping them from eating food off of your plate, or trying to stop them from digging in the backyard. No matter what, they will always find a way to make you laugh.
My Ellie tries to outsmart us, and oftentimes she does. For instance when we go walking she knows that she gets a treat every time she pees, (something that we did since she was a puppy) and she has tried to do a fake pee in order to get a treat.
Another example is when she will just stop and sit and not walk anymore until she gets a treat, we call it her “stop and go” trick.
7. They Eat Everything
I have heard people call their Golden Retrievers “walking stomachs”, and I can totally relate. My dog will eat anything and everything.
As a dog owner, this is very frustrating. When you are out walking your dog, and your dog will eat anything off the ground and it is almost always bad for them.
So many times my dog has eaten something questionable, and no matter what you do it happens so fast. I can yell “leave it” and it’s already too late, she has gulped it down.
Goldens love food, and you really have to watch what they eat, as they can easily become overweight.
They will sit and stare at you while you are eating, hoping that you will give them something, or that something will fall on the floor for them.
It is hard not to give in to their sad puppy dog eyes, but keeping them at an ideal weight will keep them healthier and they will live longer.
8. They Need Regular Grooming
In order to keep a Golden looking their best, they need to be groomed regularly. Brushing should be done on a daily basis to prevent any mats and tangles, and to keep the coat looking clean and healthy.
Brushing regularly will also help to reduce some of the shedding. Bathing should be done regularly as well to keep a Golden clean and smelling good.
Goldens have floppy ears which can be prone to ear infections, so ears should be cleaned regularly, and nails trimmed as well. It is never recommended to shave a Golden, but their coat can be trimmed to keep them looking neat.
The grooming requirements of a Golden Retriever may be more demanding than that of other dogs, but it is not difficult and can easily be done by the owner at home.
You’ll find that Goldens love to be pampered, and show off their beauty. Grooming is a great bonding experience, and you’ll find they love the attention.
9. You Will Fall In Love
Once you become an owner of a Golden Retriever, you will most likely never get another breed of dog.
Most owners love this breed so much that they own more than one. What’s not to love, they are basically big teddy bears. They are loving and loyal to their family, and everyone they meet.
You will find that your phone will have more pictures of your dog than anything else, and you will constantly be telling stories of your dog to other people. You will be a very proud owner.
10. Their Lifespan Is Not Long Enough
If you have ever owned a dog then you can agree that the time spent with them is just never enough! They quickly steal your heart and become part of your family.
Golden Retrievers live to be 10-12 years old on average. They are a large breed dog which automatically shortens their lifespan.
Genetics play a big role in their lifespan, as well as how you take care of them. Goldens are prone to certain health issues such as cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, heart disease, thyroid issues, as well as skin conditions and allergies.
Keeping your Golden at a healthy weight, feeding a high-quality diet, giving plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and regular vet check-ups will all help to ensure a healthy life.
Don’t forget the most important thing you can do, provide your dog with lots of love and affection.
Final Thoughts On Living With A Golden Retriever
I hope this article has shed some insight into what it is really like to own and live with a Golden.
I have been the proud owner of one for over 4 years now, and I can honestly say it is absolutely wonderful! Ellie has quickly stolen our hearts and has given us so much joy and happiness.
What About You?
Do you live with a Golden Retriever? Are you thinking of getting a Golden Retriever?
Find out what the best toys for Golden Retrievers are.
Please share your experience below, as well as any thoughts and comments. I would love to hear from you.