Human socialization must have been started by the time your dog is four weeks old. Puppies should be handled several times a day by their breeders and caretakers, and they should begin to meet different people by the time they begin their fourth week of life. If the puppies are raised in a kennel (or the garage or basement) with very little social contact, chances are that they will be fearful and tentative around new people and in new situations.
A four-year-old male Golden.
It is crucial that you notice these things when you are shopping for a puppy, for they will influence the way your Golden turns out. Walk away from Golden puppies that were not raised underfoot in the home, right in the middle of the household action. You want a puppy that has been hearing the sounds and seeing the sights of life. A puppy that grows up hearing the vacuum, the banging around of pots and pans, or the ringing of a telephone, will adjust to life much more easily than a puppy raised in the basement or outside in a kennel run.
Once your Golden Retriever puppy comes home, the real fun begins. Your puppy is ready to meet people and learn how to act around them from the start. The first thing you'll want to teach your Golden puppy is that people mean good things. Right from the start, you can have visitors teach your puppy to sit for treats. In this way, you can start teaching good manners right away. Put your Golden Retriever puppy on leash, and have the visitor put his foot on the leash. This will prevent jumping while your guest lures your puppy into a sit with a food treat.
Keep good treats on hand for when you have visitors. Allow visitors to feed these special treats to your puppy so that he learns to look forward to being handled and petted by strangers.
Invite friends, coworkers, and family members over on a regular basis. Company is fun for you, and it will also help your Golden puppy learn to accept handling and restraint. Take turns touching the puppy all over: ears, feet, mouth, tail, belly, legs, and back. Supervise closely to be sure your puppy doesn't become overwhelmed with this. You can also show visitors what to do if your Golden does seem a little scared — lots of really yummy treats usually keep this from being a problem.