10 things I wish I Knew before I brought my Golden Retriever Puppy

Vinod Pandey

My biggest mistake with my golden retriever puppy has caused him to be anxious in public, disobedient, and frankly not always fun to be around. And the worst part, it was all my fault and totally preventable. If you're about to get a golden retriever, or if you're considering getting one, then you've got to read this post. 

You'll find the 10 things that I wish I knew before getting a golden retriever puppy that will make your life a lot easier, save you a bunch of headaches, help you avoid the mistakes that I made, help your dog be the best dog they can be, and potentially even save their life. Plus, you'll see the most common reason that people abandon their dogs so you don't fall into that situation yourself. 

Sorry for the heavy intro, but knowing what to expect before you get a golden retriever puppy is really important. Too many dogs are abandoned or neglected because the owner and the breed aren't a good match. 

Too many people are stressed out during the puppy months, not realizing that it's gonna be over soon, or they're taking this time for granted, which are actually some of the best times with your dog. So to help you decide if a golden retriever is right for you, and to help you have the proper expectations when you do bring them home.

Here are the 10 things I wish I had known before bringing home my golden retriever. They're ranked in order of importance, and if you're currently struggling with a golden retriever puppy, then the number one thing might surprise you. All right, let's dive in. 

10 things I wish I Knew before I brought my Golden Retriever Puppy

Table of Contents

10. Golden retrievers shed a lot

Puppies actually don't shed too much, so you'll have plenty of time to fall in love with them before shedding becomes a big issue. Now, when goldens are about a year and a half old, their full coat comes in. They blow their coat in the spring and fall, which is just a fancy way of saying that they shed a lot. 

If you have a golden retriever, you're gonna have a layer of golden hair over everything in your house. It's just the way it is. I've often found golden hair in my dinner my lunch or my breakfast. I don't know how it got there, but it's just in the atmosphere. 

If having hair over everything in your house is a deal breaker, then it's good to read the post till the end before you commit to bringing a gold retriever home. But if it's not a deal breaker, then there are a few things that you can do to make it a little bit more bearable. 

You can vacuum

Some people vacuum every day. Some people vacuum every few days, and we vacuum once a week. We have tan carpets, so the golden hair kind of blends in with them, so we don't really know that it's there. You can also have a Roomba going, so you don't need to vacuum that much yourself. 

Brush Them

Another thing that you can do is brush them. Take them outside, brush them, and get all that loose hair off. That way, it's coming off in the brush instead of falling off on your floors. Also, do it outside, and then when you're done brushing them, rub them down and get all that hair off of them and outside. 

9. Golden retrievers are big dogs

Goldens weigh about 55 to 75 pounds, and the males are a little bit bigger than the females. They're certainly not small dogs. So why does this matter? 

Well, let's say you have a Chihuahua. If your Chihuahua pulls on the leash and jumps on people, it's not that big of a deal because they're only like 5 or 10 pounds. But if your 70-pound Gold Retriever pulls on the leash and jumps on people, then it is a big deal. 

So if you have a Golden, you're going to need to do a little bit more training. Also, not all apartments allow big dogs. Some apartment complexes will have weight limits where dogs can't be over, say, 40 pounds. And if that's the case with your apartment, then you're not going to be able to have a golden retriever. 

According to the National Council on Pet Population, the top two reasons that people give up their dogs are because they're moving or their landlord doesn't allow pets. So before you get a golden retriever, just make sure that your home allows pets. 

Another thing to consider about golden retrievers and their size is traveling. Let's say that you're flying. You can't exactly put a golden retriever in a pet carrier and then put them under your chair. And let's say you're road-tripping. Is your car big enough for your family and all your stuff and your golden retriever? You can't exactly stick a golden on your lap for a long road trip. 

Of course, being big isn't bad. I love big dogs. I think they're cool. There's more to love. And when you're cuddling with them, it's like they're a whole big body pillow. It's also fun to go on adventures with them, like hikes. 

But here's one downside about golden retrievers being so big. Their bigger size means they're going to be more expensive. Which leads us to number eight. 

8. Golden retrievers are expensive 

Golden retriever puppies are not cheap. They're going to run you about $1,000 to $3,000 or more, depending on where the breeder is located, what the dogs are bred for, and the breeder's experience. And it's not just buying the actual dog that's going to cost you a lot of money. 

Since Golden Retrievers are bigger, they're going to need bigger toys, they're going to need bigger crates, and they're going to need a lot of food. For example, a 22-inch single crate is about $45. A 42-inch crate, which is the size that Golden Retrievers need, is about $75. So there's $30 right there. 

And for toys, Benny Bone Witchbone in a small is $9. But this Benny bone wishbone in a large is about $17. All this adds up. And let's talk about food. Gold retrievers eat a lot. Yorkies eat half a cup a day, but gold retrievers eat about five to 10 times as much food, so it's gonna cost you about 5to 10 times as much to feed them. 

You've also got vet bills. Gold retrievers have several common health issues like skin issues, joint issues, and eye issues, and according to the Morris Animal Foundation, about 60% of gold retrievers are gonna get cancer. That's really expensive, so you need to plan ahead for that. 

Now, all dogs need to go to the vet, so no matter what breed you get, you need to take that into consideration. So when you're talking about how much gold retrievers cost, you're talking about the actual puppy, their toys, their food, their treats, vets, groomers, travel, everything. I tallied it up on a blog post on our website, and for the first year, it's going to be about $2,000 to $3,000. For every year after that, it's about $2,000. 

The fourth most common reason that people abandon their dogs is because they can't afford it. So it's really important that you know beforehand before you commit to getting a dog, whether or not you can afford it. What you don't want to do is get a dog, realize that you can't afford them, and then have to abandon them. 

Also Read: 

Use These Tips To Stop Golden Retriever Puppy Biting

7 reasons why your Golden Retriever Stinks

How to Stop Golden Retriever Puppy Biting with just 3 Tricks at early stage

7. Golden retriever puppies are difficult

All puppies bite a lot, but golden retrievers were bred to retrieve the gun down game with their mouth. So it's in their nature to be extra mouthy. Fingers, ankles, clothes, expect all these things to be fair game for your puppy's razor-sharp teeth. And puppies potty a lot, like every hour. And also they have to go potty at night. So you're going to be taking them out all day. 

When I first got my puppy, I couldn't believe how often we were taking them outside. Puppies are destructive. They need constant supervision because they love getting into mischief, chewing things, biting things, ripping up things, you name it. 

So unless they're confined to a playpen or their crate or a special room, then you need to have them under constant supervision. And you'll need to be sure to puppy-proof your house. Not only can they destroy your stuff, but they can also do real harm to themselves. 

For example, they might swallow a sock, it'll get stuck in their stomach, and they might have to have surgery. Or they could chew a cord and get electrocuted. All these things could be really dangerous for your puppy, so make sure that your house is puppy-proof to keep them safe. 

Puppies also have the attention span of a goldfish. This can make training them hard and also keep them entertained and out of trouble. They also go through different phases. They go through the teething phase, where they're biting everything and they're chewing everything and they're losing their teeth. 

They go through the teenage phase, where they forget everything that you taught them. And Charlie even went through what I call a vacuum phase, where every time we were on a walk, he was eating every little thing. Another thing to keep in mind is that all puppies are different. 

So let's say you had a puppy in the past that was a perfect little angel. They slept well, they listened well, and now your puppy that you have now is a little crazy. Well, it's not fair to compare one puppy to another, since all of them are different. 

So just do your best with the puppy that you have. Finally, here's some good news and some kind of sad news. The puppy phase goes by fast. Before you know it, there'll be angsty, rebellious teens wanting to dye their hair pink, and forgetting everything that you ever taught them. 

6. Golden retrievers need a lot of training

Goldens are smart. In fact, according to Dr. Stanley Korn's book, The Intelligence of Dogs, they're the fourth smartest dog breed. So what does that mean? Well, for one, it means that they're relatively easy to train. They pick up commands quickly and they retain them as well. 

But this also means that they're gonna need a lot of training, otherwise, they're gonna get bored. And when they get bored, they act out. And one thing about golden retrievers in particular when it comes to training is that they love everything. 

Yes, they're gonna love you and they're gonna wanna please you, But also if you walk by somebody on the street, they're going to love them too. They're going to want to go get pets from them. The other day I was walking my dog Charlie and he noticed that our neighbor was outside. He loves our neighbor. So when he saw him, all he wanted to do was get pets from him. He started jumping and pulling and just acting like a fool. 

So that's one of the problems with training gold troopers. Yes, they do love you and they do want to please you, but they love everything else in this world. So it's hard for them. 

OK, so let's back it up and just talk about training in general. Training isn't just about commands like sit or down or stay. It's also about life skills and manners. You're going to need to spend a lot of time with your dog, teaching them how to not pull on the leash, how to not jump on people, how to be calm in the crate, and how to go potty outside. 

And then there's also life-saving skills like come or drop it. So let's say, for example, you open up the door and your dog sees a squirrel outside. If they run out towards the street trying to chase that squirrel, then your dog better come back when you call them. Otherwise, if they run to the street, that could be a big problem. 

Also, let's say you're going for a walk. You're on an evening walk with your dog. They see a toad on the ground and they bite the toad. If your puppy doesn't drop it, when you say drop it, and that toad is poisonous, that could be the end of their life. 

Another aspect of training is socialization. Socialization isn't just about having to meet people and meet other dogs, but it's just about getting them comfortable in the world around them. You want them to get used to the sights and the sounds and the smells of the world around them. If they're not, then they could be anxious, fearful, and disobedient, and that could even lead to aggression. 

Also, training is as much about training you as training them. So for example, let's say your dog jumps up on you. How you react is going to dictate their behavior. If your dog pulls on the leash, how you react is going to dictate how much they pull. 

And here's one of my favorite quotes when it comes to training your golden retriever. The more well-trained your golden retriever is, the more freedom they'll have. That might sound counterintuitive, or you might be thinking, oh, I don't want my dog to be a robot and just listen to everything I say and have no personality. But really, training is super important. 

So let's say, for example, you want to go to a brewery. If your dog jumps and barks and pulls, you're not going to want to take them. So in that case, you're going to be spending less time with them than you would. But if your dog is well-behaved, it's going to be easy to take them places. You're going to enjoy spending time with them, and they're going to be able to live a full life going out and about with you. 

5. Golden Retrievers are the best dogs

Now, the fifth thing I wish I knew before getting a Golden Retriever is that Golden Retrievers are the best dogs. If I had known this before, I probably would have gotten a Golden Retriever much earlier than I did. 

According to the AKC, Golden Retrievers are the fourth most popular dog in America. Personally, I think that's bloody. You see Golden Retrievers in ads and TV shows way more than you see German Shepherds, French Bulldogs, and Labradors, which are the three breeds that are more popular than the Goldens. 

Also, if you go on Instagram, some of the most popular dog accounts are all Golden Retrievers. When I'm walking Charlie, I get compliments and stories all the time about how people used to have Golden and how they loved them so much and they were the best dog they ever had. 

Earlier this year, we did a survey asking Golden Retriever parents how many Goldens they've had in their lifetime. Over 48% have had more than one Golden Retriever and 4.9% have had more than six golden retrievers in their life. 

Golden retrievers have amazing personalities. They're sweet, they're loyal, they're loving, they don't bark that much, they're cuddly, and even though they're so friendly, they're still not afraid to protect their house. 

4. Golden retrievers require a lot of time

We talked about training earlier and how important that is. So that probably takes about 10 to 20 or 30 minutes per day. And when your golden retriever is a puppy, you're gonna need to take them potty about every hour or two. So that's like 12 times a day. 

Also, at night when you first get them, they're gonna need to go potty about two or three times per night. So it's gonna take a lot of time for you to wake up, take them outside, and then try to fall back asleep. 

Golden Retrievers also require a lot of grooming. You're gonna have to brush them several times a week. You're gonna have to trim their nails, clean their teeth, clean their ears. It's a lot of work, so it's important that you know that ahead of time. 

Also, they need a ton of exercise. We're gonna talk about that later in this post, but they're gonna need about an hour or two hours of exercise per day. 

And finally, you're gonna need to plan ahead if you're doing something that your golden retriever can't do with you. Let's say you're going to work or you have a wedding or you go to a baseball game. You're gonna need to take the time to either arrange someone to come and take care of them or to drop them off somewhere. 

The eighth most common reason that people give up their dogs is because they don't have enough time. So it's important to take that into consideration before you get a dog. 

3. Golden retrievers have a lot of energy

Golden retrievers were bred to hunt in the fields and the marshes all day. So it's in their blood to have a job and to be doing things all day. In fact, many gold retriever rescue organizations don't even allow you to adopt a gold retriever unless you have a fenced-in backyard that your dog can run around in. 

Golden retrievers need about one to two hours of exercise per day. And if they don't get all that exercise, then it's bad news. They can be destructive and they can start chewing things. They can pull on the leash more. They can bark, they can jump, they can pace. None of these are fun things when you're a gold retriever owner. 

So how do you get all this energy out? 

  • You can play fetch with them. 
  • You can play tug with them. 
  • You can take them on walks. 
  • You can take them on play dates. 
  • You can wrestle with them. 

And also, it's not just about physical exercise. You want to mentally exercise them too. So you want to train them and teach them new tricks or commands. You also want to give them puzzle toys like Frozen Kongs. They're going to make them think and try to figure something out to get a reward. 

2. Not all breeders are the same

Now this is a tough one if you've never had a dog before. You might just think, oh, I just want a dog. I don't care if they have papers or I don't care how expensive they are. All I want is a golden retriever. But here's the problem. 

Golden retrievers are popular and they're expensive so some people who have no business breeding dogs are now starting to breed them to make some money, these are called backyard breeders and you want to avoid them at all costs. 

Goldens with health issues or temperament issues are being bred and that's going to increase the odds that the puppy that you get is going to have a health issue or a temperament issue. I just heard a story the other day about this person who got a golden retriever puppy, they fell in love with them but then at eight months old, they had to put them down because of a genetic kidney disorder. 

It was heartbreaking, and it might have been avoided if the breeders had been more careful about which two dogs they bred. Not all dogs from good breeders are perfect, and not all dogs from backyard breeders are bad, but if you want to increase the odds that you get a happy, healthy puppy, then you want to choose a reputable breeder. 

1. You're going to love them way more than you could ever imagine

Alright, now the most important thing that I wish I knew before getting a golden retriever is that you're going to love them way more than you could ever imagine. Even though the puppy phase is incredibly difficult, You're going to miss picking them up, having them sleep on you, and watching them frolic around and steal your underwear.

Be sure to take tons of videos because pictures just don't capture the adorable way that they bounce around. Also, when you get a golden retriever, they are yours. There's just something special about the bond that you're going to have with your dog. 

Even when they're biting, or they're barking, or they're shedding, or they're expensive, or they're taking up all of your time, just remember that the time that you put into them is more than worth it, and you're going to get tons and tons and tons of love back that is irreplaceable. Just be sure to enjoy every minute with them and never take them for granted. 

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