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Golden Retriever Training

Nipping

Nipping is an age old phenomenon of puppies and golden retrievers are no exception. In fact, golden retrievers learn about the world through their mouth and will often nip and mouth at their families much like they play with their litter mates. This should be discouraged by everyone right from day one. A firm enough or no will usually control this behaviour. Games like encouraging your golden retriever puppy to chase your hands or feet, or tug or war type games will encourage this nipping behaviour. So will swatting at the puppies muzzle or face and it won't accomplish anything. A firm voice and the removal of your hands is best. Replace your hands and feet in the puppies mouth with a rope toy, ball or other interesting toy.

Chewing

Chewing on "contraband" such a shoes, baseboards, etc., etc., is going to happen with your new golden retriever. What won't happen, if you do the right things, is your golden retriever puppy won't renovate your house. When puppy is chewing contraband say "no" firmly and replace the contraband with a toy that belongs to puppy. Rope toys are great as you can wet them and put them in the freezer for an instant teething ring. Once you give your golden retriever puppy an appropriate toy to chew on, praise the pup for taking it. Most importantly, don't leave your golden retriever puppy unattended outside of its crate. When golden retrievers are young they chew out of curiosity or teething. When not allowed to develop this habit, they will not grow up to be destructo-dogs.

Here is a quote about barking, taken from the Golden Retrievers Training Manual:

Do not encourage barking and growling during playtime with your golden retriever. This behaviour can become an obnoxious habit very quickly. If you want a golden retriever that barks when people come to the door just wait. S/he will probably do this quite naturally when s/he grows up. If you do not want this, then discourage it when it starts. Do not bark and growl at your golden retriever puppy during play or you will start a habit which you will, will, will regret. Golden Retrievers are fairly quiet dogs by nature. This is part of their appeal However, as with any habit, it can be easily encourage and not easily discouraged once it starts. Please don't turn your new Golden Retriever puppy into a neighbourhood nuisance with unwanted barking !!!

At 2-3 months old, your puppy should begin learning...

  1. His daily routine. Where his food and water dishes are located. What times of day he will eat (typically morning, early afternoon, and evening). Where his bed is. What time he goes to bed. What time he gets up. Where he goes to the bathroom. Where his toys are kept. What routes he will be taken on for walks. And so on.

    Puppies love routines. They feel reassured and safe when they know where everything is and when they're on a predictable schedule. Routines reassure your puppy that, regardless of the unfamiliarity of his new world, everything is predictable. Routines reassure him that he knows what comes next, that his world is the same as it was yesterday, and that it will be the same tomorrow. Routines reassure him that YOU are dependable, that he can count on you to say and do the same things.

  2. Correction words. What "No" means -- to stop what he's doing when you say "No!" or "Ah-ah!" or "Stop that."
  3. Praise words. What "Good" means -- to wag his tail and look happy when you say "Good!" or "YAY!" (Puppies especially love the sound of "Yay!")
  4. Crate training. To stay quietly in his crate at night when he goes to sleep - and during the day whenever we're not interacting with him.
  5. Housebreaking. You should immediately introduce him to his bathroom spot, but a puppy of 2-3 months old is still an infant, so it will be several months before his internal organs are developed enough for reliability. Toy breeds and hound breeds are especially slow to housebreak, with many not being reliable until eight to ten months of age.
  6. Acceptance of being handled. Teach him what a grooming table is, and introduce the grooming positions of "Sit" and "Stand" and "Open your mouth" while you handle him all over, brush his coat, brush his teeth, and clip his nails.
  7. Food words. "Hungry," "Supper", "Breakfast", "Biscuit".
  8. To take things gently from your hand. "Easy!" No grabbing.
At 3-6 months old, your puppy should begin learning...

    * To sit on command.

    * To lie down on command - and to STAY lying down for up to 30 minutes.

    * To stop barking when you tell him to be quiet.

    * To interact well with strangers, other dogs, and other animals.

    * To walk politely on the leash.

    * To look directly at you when you say his name.

    * To come when called.

    * To "give" or drop whatever is in his mouth when you tell him to.

    * To play games (such as "Find it!" and "Bring it!") with his toys.

    * To wait inside the door or gate, even when it's wide open.

    * And more... 

At 6-10 months old, your puppy should begin learning...

For more info about this, try dave harden's homepage.

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