The Golden Retriever is among the nation's most popular breed of dog — and with good reason. The typical Golden is sweet and friendly, ready to accompany you on the most mundane task or the most exciting adventure. A Golden can be the dog of your dreams, but only if you choose him carefully and are willing to exercise and train him. Goldens are not born trained and well mannered — quite the opposite, they come at life full-throttle and full of a puppy exuberance that is also part of their appeal. Golden Retrievers are not for everyone — they are large dogs that are active and mischievous and if left to their own devices will quite happily eat the couch in your absence and then knock you down in greeting when you arrive home.
In the coming pages, we hope to give you an accurate view of what life with a Golden Retriever is all about. We hope that our love for this breed doesn't sugarcoat them too much — they are amazingly lovable but they are a lot of work. In the pages that follow, you will learn how to bring a Golden Retriever successfully into your life. We hope to help your Golden find his place within your family and to keep him from getting too pushy or needy. You will learn about training and the importance of teaching your Golden the basics of living with humans. We can't emphasize enough how important it is to socialize a puppy and bring him to meet and play with all kinds of other dogs and people — it is so important to a Golden's healthy social development.
This book also gives you the basic tools you need to research this popular breed. Finding a breeder who is both conscientious and knowledgeable is crucial and can save you so much time in the long run. Choosing the right puppy for your family is another must — not all Goldens are the same. Though they share some general characteristics, their temperaments do vary. You want to choose a dog that is a match for your activity level and personality. A high-energy field dog would not be a great match for a sedentary couch potato who is looking for a television buddy.
The Golden Retriever is among the most versatile of dogs. He is a friend and companion first, but he also excels at hunting, search and rescue, competition obedience, agility, tracking, and service or therapy work. The Golden can be taught to do any activity within his physical ability, and he excels at almost any dog sport you might care to try.
Proper exercise and diet are essential to the Golden's long and healthy life. Golden Retrievers are active dogs that should be fed moderately and kept lean. If given the chance, a Golden may not be able to regulate food intake on his own. With those soulful eyes and that pushy nature, Golden Retrievers are capable of cajoling their guardians into overfeeding and underexercising them. An overweight Golden is prone to many health problems, among them diabetes and torn ligaments. Kept lean, the Golden will stay active and vital well into his senior years.
As the proud new owner of a Golden Retriever, you should take the time to research your dog's veterinary needs and your options in meeting them. It's up to you to decide on things like how often your dog gets vaccinated, the components and quality of his diet, and whether you want to use alternative therapies such as herbal and homeopathic remedies. Take the time to educate yourself. Your search for the right treatment is essential to keeping your dog vital well into old age. Options like acupuncture or chiropractic care may help you improve the quality of your dog's life and perhaps prolong it.
Owning a Golden Retriever is life at its best. They are the sweetest, most fun-loving, comic dogs around. Do your homework on the breed and breeders. Then commit yourself to training, socializing, and providing plenty of exercise, and your Golden will be the companion of a lifetime. Enjoy!