Golden retrievers are praised for being some of the most intelligent and sociable dogs that you’ll come across. Adequate training reinforces good behavior and makes your puppy a joy to be around. You must have heard of people who excitedly acquired golden retriever puppies only to surrender them to animal shelters weeks later. What can possibly make a puppy so intolerable? The two prominently arising challenges with puppies are potty issues and biting/chewing. A constantly soiled house is intolerable. So is a puppy that bites people or chews items around the house. If you can streamline these two, you’ll be off to a good start with your puppy.
How to Successfully Train Your Golden Retriever Puppy
Golden retrievers are just what pet owners dream of. Their beauty, tranquility, and loyalty fill your days with sheer joy. Their infectious zeal for life will get you up and running without a second thought. Training your puppy requires some effort and patience. Prepare some toys and treats, keep a fun attitude and Remember to keep a fun attitude, prepare some treats, and make sure not to give up. Every owner wants to provide their furry friend with nothing but the best. Training your puppy right will keep them happy and ensure a harmonious relationship so you’ll enjoy the delight that is a Golden retriever for years to come.
Curbing Biting and Chewing
Your puppy’s urge to bite and chew has a lot to do with the Golden retriever teething process. Just like in humans, puppies first develop a set of milk teeth, which then shed off to give way to permanent teeth. Newborn Golden retrievers have no teeth. At around one month of age, they begin to develop their puppy teeth and end up with a set of 28 teeth. These temporary teeth then fall out between the 3rd and the 7th month or thereabout, giving way to the progressive development of an adult set of 42 teeth.
Golden retriever puppy biting and chewing is most prominent during the period of milk teeth shedding. If left unrestrained, they will chew anything they come across; shoes, carpets, cushions, fabric, plastic, and even furniture. When you play, they’re likely to bite your hands and legs. What starts as gentle biting could develop into a full-blown sinking of those razor-sharp teeth into your flesh. Fortunately, you do not have to resign to this fate. You can train your puppies to inhibit the bite and prevent them from causing damage.
Regulating the Bite
Puppies use their mouths when playing, even amongst themselves. That should not be stopped. In fact, you should not banish the puppy due to the biting. It will only feel rejected and will be left wondering what it did wrong. The goal here is to train the puppy to use their mouth, but not to bite.
Mouthing involves putting your furry friend’s mouth over your hand, for instance, but without the kind of pressure that would hurt you. How can you train your puppy that biting hurts? By yelping every time he bites you. A brief, sharp scream will do; enough to startle him. You can add a firm command like “Stop.” In addition, ignore them for around 20 seconds, move your hand away, or even walk away if they insist on continuing to play. Even a puppy recognizes human distress.
Once you resume play, reward them for gentle mouthing. Repeat the above whenever the puppy bites. The message should be clear; play only continues when they’re gentle and stops right after biting.
Provide Chew Toys
A Golden retriever teething period is one of the most anxious moments for a pet owner. The oral discomfort as the milk teeth give way to the permanent teeth leads puppies to chew on anything that they come across, making them very destructive. The solution here is to provide your puppy with a chew toy explicitly designed for teething, such as bully sticks, nylon bones, hard rubber toys, and so on.
Teething sometimes causes pain. You can relieve this by cooling the chew toy in the fridge before giving it to the puppy. Buy several toys as puppies quickly get bored of the same toy. Having an array of options keeps them occupied and prevents them from damaging other items in the house.
The Basics of Potty Training
This one is the elephant in the room. The highest percentage of dogs surrendered to animal shelters have potty issues. Owners just can’t stand the sight and smell of pee or poo anywhere in the house. On the other hand, it is not the puppies’ fault. They can only hold their bladder for so long. If not given direction, they will release their bladder wherever the urge finds them.
At eight weeks, a puppy will need to pee every three hours or so. Add one hour for every additional month, and you have a fairly accurate figure of the number of times your puppy needs to use the potty. Ideally, a potty trained dog should learn to relieve himself outside, but newborn Golden retrievers or a new puppy that you just acquired can be an exception.
Start With Indoor Training
For indoor training, we have potty training trays/pads that pups can use before they learn to go outside. Select one that is absorbent and easy to clean. Some trays consist of a mesh that is fixed onto a holding pan, so the waste goes right through. They should never get soggy, as this will just give the puppy more reason to avoid it. You can also find trays/pads that have a surface resembling grass, or even consisting of real grass so that the puppy will relate grass with the need to potty before finally being able to go outside.
Let the puppies sit, stand, and sniff around the new pad, so they can know it’s a safe place to be. Have a command that you repeat every time they’re on the potty. You can simply say ‘potty.’ The shorter the command, the faster he gets it. We mentioned earlier that your puppy’s age gives you a reasonably accurate idea of the frequency of potty breaks. For instance, if you have two-month-old puppies, they’ll likely need to potty every three hours, so take them to the pad accordingly. Repeat the ‘potty’ command gently yet firmly. They may not go every time, but they’ll learn the purpose of the potty pad.
Let the potty pad remain at a particular spot until your Golden retriever puppies learn to use it on their own. Remember to praise your puppies every time they use the potty pad. You can offer a treat, pat, clap, or even compliment them aloud. Once your puppy is accustomed to the potty pad, gradually move it towards the door and eventually take it outside.
Sometimes you’ll notice that your puppies seem to prefer to potty in a particular spot away from the potty pad. They must have soiled that spot before, and the smell keeps drawing them back there. Dogs love consistency too; they’re most likely to pee in the same spot even in the absence of a potty pad. Even after you wash this spot, a faint scent remains, which will make the puppy keep going back. The solution here is to clean the area with what we call an enzymatic cleaner. Not only does it clean the spot, but it breaks down the molecules of feces and urine, eliminating the smell.
Study Your Puppy’s Behavior
Can you tell when your puppy wants to go? Learning these signals enables you to lead the puppy out on time to avoid a mess. To begin with, you’ll notice that your Golden retriever puppy is distracted from his prior activity. They’ll begin to sniff, pace, paw at the door, and generally try to take your attention. Should you utter ‘potty’ at this point, you’ll see him light up as if to say, “Finally, you get it!”
Do note that your puppy is most likely to potty after three main activities – waking up, playing, and eating. Remember, the puppy’s meals should also follow a schedule. Golden retriever puppies require three meals a day. Don’t just fill the bowl and leave it there. You don’t want the puppy nibbling all day.
Here’s how to enforce a healthy eating routine: give the dog a measured portion of food at mealtime. Wait for 20 minutes, then pick the bowl, even if there’s some food left. Your puppy will have to wait until the next mealtime. With time, they will learn to consume the entire portion provided within that limited time. Now you have a regular feeding schedule, and with it comes a fairy regular potty schedule. Remember, whenever you have to leave your golden retriever puppy unsupervised, he should be confined by a leash, puppy gate, or crate.
Finally, avoid punishing golden retriever puppies for potty accidents. An average puppy will soil the house a couple of times before getting the hang of things. If you spot the puppy squatting in a corner, say a firm NO or any other command that you choose to communicate unacceptable behavior. Then lead the puppy outside.
If you find a soiled patch but didn’t actually catch the puppy go, that’s a whole different story. Do not hit or shout at your little buddy for this; they’ll be left confused since they’re unable to relate the incident to the punishment. As far as potty training goes, and every other aspect of puppy training for that matter, rewarding positive behavior always works better than punishing negative behavior.
Once you have a puppy that does not bite, chew, and knows how to use the potty, you’re already off to a great start. You can now move on to behavioral training where the puppy learns how to obey commands such as sit, stand, stop, fetch, and so on. With enough time and patience, you’ll have a well-adjusted Golden retriever puppy that’s a bliss to be around.