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[UPDATED August 2021]
Are you thinking of adding a Golden Retriever to your family? Before deciding on this breed, the first thing you need to discover is what Golden Retrievers need, and if you are able to meet those needs.
Every dog requires the basics such as food, shelter, and exercise. However, a Golden Retriever has breed-specific needs that you should provide in order for them to live their happiest and healthiest life possible.
In this article, we’ll look at 9 things that every Golden Retriever requires from you.
What Golden Retrievers Need From You!
1. Unconditional Love and Attention
This is first on the list of what Golden Retrievers need and should be a no-brainer. All dogs need to be loved, but I really believe this breed needs constant love and attention.
Golden Retrievers do not do well left alone. They love to be with their family at all times. They are highly social and crave human interaction.
Sometimes they can be very needy for attention, pawing at you to keep petting them, or following you everywhere like your shadow.
If you plan on getting a Golden Retriever, you must have time every day to spend with your dog. If you are away from home most of the day, you should plan on hiring a dog walker, or take your dog to doggy daycare. This way your Golden will stay active and entertained throughout the day.
If you are looking for a faithful companion that is always by your side, a golden is for you. But, if you can’t handle that much togetherness, and need your own space, you should look at a different breed.
2. Plenty of Room, Be Prepared To Share Your Furniture
Golden Retrievers do not make great outside dogs. If you are wanting to keep your dog outside all the time, this breed is not for you! A Golden Retriever prefers to be inside with their family, enjoying the finer things in life, such as the comfort of your couch and bed.
You’ll need to have plenty of space to accommodate their size. Golden Retrievers are considered medium to large-sized dogs. Males stand 22-24 inches and weigh 65-75 pounds, females are typically smaller, standing 20-22 inches, weighing 55-65 pounds. These sizes and weights are standard, and they definitely vary.
It’s important that your Golden has enough room to freely move around and be comfortable. Don’t forget that their wagging tail can easily knock over prized possessions that you have sitting on your coffee table.
Once your Golden Retriever has grown accustomed to a comfortable lifestyle, like taking up half of your couch, they will continue to lounge on your furniture. Good luck changing this behaviour once it has started, LOL!
3. Large and Fenced-In Yard Is Beneficial
Golden Retrievers are easily distracted by anything that moves. They will chase after birds, small animals and moving objects. Having a fenced-in yard will keep them safe and out of trouble.
Having a large-sized yard for your Golden Retriever to play and run around in is certainly an advantage. However, it is not a requirement. If you give your Golden plenty of outside time, such as going for walks, swimming, to the park, etc…, they can adapt well to living in an apartment.
4. They Need At Least 2 Hours Of Exercise Daily
Golden Retrievers are high energy, especially when they are young! You will find that the younger your Golden is, the more effort it will take from you to tire them out.
If you think that you can just let your Golden out in the yard to play by himself, think again! He will be standing at the door looking in at you waiting for you to join him. Did I mention that Goldens love being with their humans?!
Providing your Golden with plenty of exercise is a must! Putting aside 2 hours a day for physical activity is a good idea. Remember to not overdo it with puppies. A puppy needs only 5 minutes of exercise per month they are alive, twice a day. This means that a 3-month-old puppy can go for a 15-minute walk twice a day, and this should not replace their playtime.
Golden Retrievers belong to the sporting group of dogs and were developed as hunting dogs. These dogs were bred to work, and they need to keep active in order to stay happy.
If you enjoy the outdoors, then this breed is for you. A Golden Retriever will be happy to be your jogging partner, go hiking with you, enjoy nature walks, and go swimming.
Meeting the exercise needs of a Golden is extremely important. It keeps them healthy, happier and calmer. A Golden that doesn’t get enough daily exercise will have pent-up energy that will be released in other ways, such as destructive behaviour.
5. They Need To Be Mentally Stimulated
Golden Retrievers are very intelligent. In fact, they are the fourth most intelligent dog, after the Border Collie, Poodle, and German Shepherd, according to Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs.
With all that intelligence going on, their brain needs to be stimulated on a daily basis, or else they will develop bad habits like digging and chewing.
Golden Retrievers are eager to please, and that along with their intelligence makes them easy to train. Some great ways to stimulate your dog’s brain are:
- Teching your dog new tricks.
- Taking your dog on a new walk to discover new smells.
- Providing puzzle & interactive toys.
- Enrolling your dog in an obedience class.
- Enrolling your dog in agility training.
Providing your dog with mental stimulation is an easy thing to do, and doesn’t have to cost any money.
6. They Need A Little Patience And Sense Of Humour From You
What makes Golden Retrievers so great is their easygoing and playful personality. These dogs are not choosy about who they play with either, they get along great with other dogs, and animals in the household.
Golden Retrievers are slow to mature compared to other breeds, and they remain puppy-like for many years. This breed is very playful and tends to have a goofy nature. You will need to have patience with this breed, especially when they are puppies.
They love carrying things in their mouths, picking up anything they can find, and that means your dirty socks and underwear from the laundry hamper too. When this happens you will likely chase your Golden around the house to get your socks back, but your Golden will think it’s a game. This is why you need to have a sense of humour, and expect the unexpected.
Some Golden Retrievers can be very stubborn, if they don’t want to do something they will not do it. For instance, if you want to walk down a different street, and your Golden disapproves, then your Golden will just sit there and refuse to move. This happens all the time to me! What do I do? Well, usually I try to wait it out until my dog decides to go my way, sometimes I win, and sometimes I end up going her way.
When training a Golden, you need to have patience and handle them in a gentle loving manner. If you get angry or scold your Golden, they will end up pouting, as they are very sensitive.
7. They Need You To Accept All That Hair
It’s no secret that Golden Retrievers shed, and if you are allergic to dog hair, or are extremely meticulous about keeping a clean house, then this breed is not for you.
Owning a Golden means you’ll have to accept all that shedding. Golden’s shed heavily twice a year, during spring and fall, and moderately throughout the rest of the year. If you have a puppy, you can expect their very first shedding or “blowing of the coat” to be the worst, it will almost be a shock to you to see all that hair lying around.
Feeding a high-quality diet, one that is non-processed, is a great way to reduce the amount of shedding. Also, brushing your Golden daily for 10 minutes is a great way to help reduce the amount of hair that ends up on your floor.
There is no way to stop a Golden from shedding, and you will have to accept the fact that there will be dog hair everywhere. If you want to keep a clean house, but don’t want to vacuum dog hair up every day, you may wish to invest in a powerful robot vacuum to do the work for you.
8. They Need A Job To Do
We’ve already established that Golden’s are smart and eager to please. So, why not take advantage of those characteristics and give your Golden a job to do. Not only will your dog benefit from having his brain exercised, but you will benefit from a calmer and happier dog.
They are called Retriever for a reason, they were born to fetch and retrieve. So, why not let your Golden fetch the newspaper for you, put away his own toys, or fetch things around the house for you like pieces of dirty laundry.
Golden Retrievers can easily be trained to do pretty much anything if you take the time to show them how. They love to please you and will work for treats and praise.
Golden Retrievers are happiest when they have a job to do, and when they know they are doing it well. Have you ever noticed a Golden carrying a stick? You also would have noticed the big grin on his face, because he had a job to do. Carrying that stick and bringing it home was his job.
Golden’s are hard workers, and natural people-pleasers, which makes them popular working dogs. Many Golden Retrievers have jobs as assistance dogs, therapy dogs, scent-detection dogs, and starring roles in movies and tv. shows.
I’m not saying that you need to employ your dog in a real job, but if you give your dog some simple tasks to do around the house, you will notice a happier dog.
9. They Need To Be Cared For
Caring for a Golden Retriever is a big commitment. This breed has an average lifespan of 10-12 years, and like other purebreds, they have some health problems that you need to be aware of.
Some issues that can affect them are cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, various eye problems, heart disease, allergies and hypothyroidism. While these issues are common among this breed, it is not to say that all Goldens will suffer from any or all of them.
Golden Retrievers are also prone to obesity, and are very food motivated and will eat pretty much anything. If you decide to own this breed you will need to watch their food intake and avoid overfeeding.
Owning a Golden can be very expensive, and you should be prepared for all the costs associated with this breed. You will need to factor in the cost of regular vet visits for routine check-ups, as well as any emergency situations you may encounter.
Other costs to factor in include grooming, food, treats, toys, bedding, collars, leashes, and training.
The health and well-being of your Golden Retriever are in your hands. In order for your dog to live a happy and healthy life, you must take the steps needed to provide daily care.
A balanced and nutritious diet, regular exercise, regular vet check-ups, grooming, playtime, and love are all essentials in maintaining good health.
Final Thoughts On What Golden Retrievers Need
I hope that this article has not scared you off of owning a Golden Retriever, but instead made you think carefully about examining your own lifestyle and if you are able to meet the needs of a Golden.
This breed is rather needy when it comes to attention and love, the more the better. They are wonderful companions and will follow you from room to room, just to be near you. They crave human interaction, and you cannot leave them alone for long periods of time.
If you are okay with sharing your furniture, having a large lap dog, and are accepting of all that dog hair, then you will be happy with a Golden.
It also helps to have a sense of humour, and patience, because this breed is very playful and loves to act goofy. Remember, they are slower to mature than other breeds and remain puppy-like for many years.
Meeting the needs of a Golden takes time, commitment, and effort on your part, but it is a rewarding experience.
If you enjoyed this article, please like and share. If you own a Golden Retriever or are thinking of owning one, please share your comments below. I would love to hear from you.