Adopting an Adult Golden Retriever
It is very common for people to want a new Golden but not want the problems that come with new puppies. Beware, however, that this active breed may have been given up because of its high exercise requirement and need for training. Be sure you spend time with your new potential pal and have a clean view of just how much training and exercise he will require. Older Goldens are usually harder to place in new homes because many people are looking for a puppy, but adopting a middle-age or adult dog can be a walk in the park — literally!
The folks who run the Golden Retriever rescue groups are the best source for information about a particular dog you might be interested in. Volunteers usually foster a Golden for a period of time to learn what he needs as far as training. Dogs are carefully observed to see if they have any serious behavior problems that would make them dangerous or otherwise unadoptable. This screening by people familiar with the breed is very important. You should ask plenty of questions about an individual Golden before you adopt to be sure he is the right fit for your family.
Planning ahead is the key to a successful first night with your new Golden Retriever. Have all your supplies ready, with a feeding and exercise schedule all planned out. Your new companion will feel more secure if he knows what to expect from you.
Don't be surprised if the rescue group has a list of criteria that you have to meet. A well-run rescue will put you through the wringer before they place a dog with you. The rescue people have seen a lot (and it isn't always pretty). Their goal is to find the best homes for their Goldens because these dogs have already been through enough.
A good approach to adopting is to sit down with your family and develop a profile of your ideal dog. Pass it on to the rescue folks so that they can match your family to the right rescue. Be as logical as possible, and try not to make decisions based solely on emotion — feeling sorry for a dog is not a good reason to adopt. A few of these rescue Goldens lost their homes because their previous owners acquired them strictly on an emotional whim. Go into this with eyes wide open, and be patient. The right dog may be difficult to find, but he will be well worth the wait.