Golden Retrievers get on well with other animals. Being dominant and starting conflicts is not about them. That is why it is pointless to use Retrievers for guarding purposes. These dogs see a friend in every person. Such job will only damage their psyche. Golden Retrievers like children. They will be protecting kids from danger and play with them. However, because of being large in size, the dog might accidentally hurt the child. For that reason, it is better to watch their games.
Despite having a high level of friendliness, Retrievers are great hunters. They were created to bring shot game. These dogs have great smell and eyesight, and they like water. These facts let them search for game birds in bushes. While hunting, Golden Retrievers behave restrained and patiently. Thanks to having long hair, they can swim in freezing water. This breed is perfect for people looking for a family and hunting dog.
The first thing you need to start working on with the dog is house adaptation. It is important not to let your dog`s cute appearance manipulate you. The pet needs to understand well what it is allowed to be done, and what it not. Otherwise, it will be very hard to teach an adult dog to do something in a different way.
By they time a Golden Retriever turns 3–4 months, it needs to understand basic commands. The first one needs to be «no». Because young pets like chewing on different things, «no» has to be a rule for them. Then, start working on other commands: «sit down», «lay down», «voice», «give paw», «come here». It is essential to praise your dog, as well as to give it treats, for successfully completing commands. If the pet does not listen to you, it is important not to beat it. It will only damage its psyche. Patience and love are key instrument for communicating with a Golden Retriever. The training process should take no longer than 15–20 minutes every day. If it is too long, the dog might lose interest to learning something new. If you do not manage to get on well with the dog, you can take it to a course of training.
It is important not to forget about dog`s socialization, and to teach it to walk on a leash. Take your pet outside and get it used to other animals, people and sounds. After the dog turns 6 months old, you need to help it get used to water by bringing the pet close to nature. If the dog was bought for hunting, start teaching it to search for game. Before the dog starts working with real game, it need to know how to bring similar-looking dolls. For this, throw something you made yourself to the dog and tell it to come to you and bring the doll, so that the dog can boast about its skills. After your Golden Retriever turns 12 months old, start working on the «apport» command, as well as developing endurance for hunting. Additionally, you can take your dog to special courses, where an experienced hunter will work on small details of this procedure with the pet.
Apart from hunting, Retrievers can be used for doing sports: dog-frisbee, flyball, freestyle, coursing and agility.
Retrievers need to be given a bath once a month, using shampoos and conditioners for longhair pets. After the procedure, use a hairdryer. Apart from getting their hair washed, Retrievers can get haircuts. It needs to be done following the direction of hair growth — it is better to start from the neck and go up. Wipe your pet`s paws after each street walk. Check its eyes and ears once a week and clean them when needed. If there is dirt in dog`s ears, it needs to be taken away using wipes and boiled water. Wipe pet`s eyes using cotton pads, soaked in chilled tea leaves. You should clean your dog`s ears once in 10 days with a special brush and a zoo-paste. As an alternative, you can give your pet treats that help clean up teeth.
Golden Retrievers need to be fed with either high-quality dry or natural food. Dry food of premium quality contains vitamins and minerals, needed for your dog`s health. If you choose to feed your dog with natural ingredients, 50% of the diet needs to be filled with not greasy meat — beef, mutton, rabbit meat and turkey. Additionally, you can give your dog offals. Count pet`s daily dose of products following such formula: 10–20 kg of meat equal 1 kg of pet`s body weight. Apart from meat, feed your dog with: grains — buckwheat and rice; stewed vegetables — pumpkin, carrot, cabbage, turnip and beet; fat free dairy products — cottage cheese, kefir and sour milk. Dry and natural food can change one another. However, it is important not to mix them into one portion. A puppy under the age of 4 months needs to eat 5 times a day, under 6 months — 4 times a day, under 8 months — 3 times a day, then — twice a day (in the morning and in the afternoon).
For comfortable life, Golden Retrievers need constant interaction with people and physical exercises. They can live both inside and outside. It is crucial not to enchain dogs of this breed. Remember that it is not a guard dog. Walk the pet for at least 60 minutes twice a day.
Health and Illnesses
Hip dysplasia is a congenital disorder that might lead to loss of ability to walk. It develops because of disrupted formation of the acetabulum, which head of the femoral bone is located in. When acetabulum forms in a right way, they work together and let the dog walk. However, when acetabulum becomes flat, head of the femoral bone gets dislocated and starts rubbing against the joint, destroying its structure. Because of it, the pet feels pain while walking. It is impossible to cure dysplasia. However, its development can be slowed down, if treatment is offered in time.
Retinal atrophy is a hereditary health problem that affects retina of both eyes and leads to blindness. It develops because of destruction of cells, that are responsible for accepting light rays, in the retina. It is impossible to cure retinal atrophy.
Von Willebrand’s syndrome disrupts blood clotting. It develops due to poor secretion of a protein, responsible for destruction of thrombi. It leads to constant spontaneous bleeding.
Apart from hereditary health problems, Retrievers are prone to obesity. Because of being overweight, pets might suffer from arthritis, heart disorders and abdominal bloating. That is why it is crucial to control your dog`s diet and to train it physically.
History of the Breed
A Scotish lords and hunter Dudley Majoribanks is believed to be the founder of the breed. In 1858, he visited a show in circus. One of performing dogs amazed him with its skills and intelligence. It was a Russian Shepherd. Finally, he bought the dog from director of the circus and began the breeding work. Thanks to the fact that Dudley was making notes about the process, it is now known which breeds were used for creating the breed of Golden Retrievers: Tweed Water Spaniels, Labradors, Bloodhounds and Straight-haired Retrievers. He only used dogs of golden and red colors for that purpose.
A dog handler, named Elma Stonex, found lord`s notes in 1920. By that time, Golden Retrievers were already accepted by English Kennel Club and gained much popularity in Europe, the USA and Canada. In 1954, International Kennel Union officially recognized the breed.