The Responsible Owner-to-Be
As a prospective dog owner, you have a responsibility to educate yourself on the breed, its care, training, and socialization. Start with the appendix at the back of this book for a list of great books to get you started. The better educated you are about the care and training of a dog, the better able you will be to evaluate a breeder and see if she has the Golden Retriever you are looking for.
Research puppy kindergarten classes so that you can enroll your puppy within the first few weeks that you bring him home. Make sure that you have determined what veterinarian you will visit and set up that appointment as well. Learn about the basic veterinary care your puppy needs to receive, as well as socialization and early training needs. You may also want to hire a pet sitter or dog walker to help you take care of your puppy if you work full-time or will be away for periods of time, to help you maintain your puppy's housebreaking schedule.
On the home front, inspecting and puppyproofing your house and yard is essential. Though your puppy won't be given free reign unattended in either place, it is important to consider fencing, gating, and otherwise preventing him from getting into trouble. If you have children or a large family, you may want to plan who will be responsible for what, and designate a job for each person so that your puppy's first few weeks at home run as smoothly as possible. Children should never be expected to have full responsibility of a puppy, of course. An adult should always be available to assist and supervise the care, feeding, and training of this puppy to ensure his best possible start in life.
What is the best age for children to enjoy raising a puppy?
The ideal age is six or older. Children younger than six tend to still require large amounts of time and care from their parents, and will often view the puppy as competition rather than a companion.