Important Points:

1. Do not let your puppy get fat. This invalidates the hip guarantee, obesity can aid in the development of hip dysplasia, and can be the source of other poor health considerations.


2. Get his shots in a timely fashion! He is at extreme risk until the final set of puppy shots has been given.


3. Play between his toes, stick your fingers in his mouth, look in his ears, make him stand still, check his teeth. Starting now. Continue to expose him to loud, startling noises. Continue to expose him to quick, startling motions.


4. Practice taking his food bowl away while he is eating, pause, and give it back. Take things out of his mouth, pause, and give it back. Do NOT permit growling or possessiveness of food or toys. Not with you, not with other dogs.


5. While being aware of possible sources of infection, socialize, socialize, socialize.


6. Check with your vet about required vaccinations e.g., Oregon requires rabies vaccination by 6 mos. of age for first vaccination, followed by a booster one year later, followed by revaccination every 3 years. I don not recommend the use of the Lyme vaccine for tick born diseases, this vaccine is known to cause false positives and lacks in protection.


7. Heartworm medication is important year round in the PNW in my opinion, and also protects your pet against all other internal parasites. We recommend Sentinel brand monthly for life. And we require use of a monthly internal and external parasite treatment program for any dog that comes to our home to be a guest. Ie: Sentinel, which is internal and external protection in one given orally. Interceptor & Frontline combo, internal, external protections separately, Interceptor is oral and Frontline is topical. Or: Revolution which is topical internal and external all in one.


8. Understand that you know some things that your vet doesn't. He is the expert on canine medicine, you are the expert on your dog and what is and is not normal behavior for your dog.


9. Your dog is close to the breed standard, don't let someone say that they should be taller, shorter, redder, blonder, or have pointier heads. Your dog is a fine example of the breed. He will do obedience, hunt, track, sleep on the couch, or play ball, all while looking like the aristocrat that he is.


10. Call us with problems first before you consult your vet, often we can help you avoid vet charges.


11. If, for any reason you are unable to keep your dog, even if he is 13 years old, we want him back. In fact, our contract insists on it.

The Owners Manuel

Time to Go Home

American Kennel Club (AKC) Dog Registration Application: The form was given to you with the puppy, and we have helped you fill it out, or we will furnish it when we receive it form AKC if we have not received it prior to go home. This form transfers title from the breeder to the buyer. Its also used to formally name your puppy. It's very important you keep this safe, do not loose it. AKC will only accept the original. Fill out the red portions of the form; we will have completed the blue portions. Be careful, the AKC will return it requesting explanations if it is incomplete or you have made corrections or erasures. Registration applications must be sent to the AKC within one year. If you fail to do so it is highly possible AKC will refuse to issue you your registration and you will be without "papers". Prior to sending in your application, make a copy of it after you have completed it front and back, just in case AKC makes an error or misplaces it. It does happen.


What's in a Name

Call Name:

Take a few days to come up with a call name. Think about this name carefully, because your dog will carry this name for life. You will use it daily. We try to name our dogs with simple, easy to say, single or double syllable names that do not sound like other pets names, other family members, or obedience commands. For example, we use the command "no", and would not name a dog Beau.


Your should use your puppy's name only in relationship to a positive. When you want to get his attention, you will use this name and you will want him to come, tail wagging. Never call your dog with anger in your voice. Never do you want your dog to relate his name with unpleasantness. Example: puppy gets out of the yard, headed for the street. For his safety, you want to be able to call him back and for him to come with a wagging tail, not for him to continue into traffic.


It is not necessary for the registered name to have any relationship to the call name and often since we use themes for the registered name it's hard to incorporate the call name into the registered name. Themes however are important to us this is how we remember who your dog is, which litter he came from.


Registered Name:

This is where you should be unique and have fun. You puppy will carry our kennel prefix "BRIER" as part of his registered name. The registered name must fit in the blocks provided on the Registration Application, excluding punctuation such as dashes, apostrophes, etc. On the other hand, there are cases where a longer name has been accepted by the AKC, but you can't be sure that the AKC will accept it e.g., Brier's One Down N Dirty Please is a few letters too long, but that is her registered name as accepted by AKC - (I just added extra boxes to the end of the form with a pen). If you name your puppy a name that has previously been registered, the AKC will add a numerical suffix at the end of his name and this is not desirable please run registered name choices by us. For example if you wanted to call your dog: Brier's One Down N Dirty Please she would be: Brier's One Down N Dirty Please I .


Remember, a call name should be short and easy. The registered name should be unique, and will include the kennel prefix "BRIER".


House Training

Oh No! They don't come potty trained! Not part of the deal. However, they are started, and should be somewhat reliable (unless left for too long) perhaps by four to five months old and certainly by six months one would hope most reliable. But this really is up to you and your dedication to this task.


We are advocates of crate training. It is clearly the best method of house training, and has other benefits as well. It works. Dogs are den animals and feel a sense of safety in confined spaces. They LIKE their crates; it is NOT cruel to use a crate to confine a dog. It's instinctive behavior for them to keep their den clean. If the crate is not too big, they will not potty in their crate under normal conditions. For the first couple of weeks, you may wish to close off part of the crate by placing a cardboard box inside the crate reducing crate size if you find your puppy is soiling in his crate. If a crate is too big, the pup won't have the sense of enclosure necessary to invoke the denning instinct. Most puppies don't need to have the crate size decreased but occasionally one will. Basically though, most puppies will do everything in their power to keep their house clean. Gradually, he learns to respect your house as his home, too.


If a puppy does excessively urinate in his crate and it is not from excessive water intake or not being allowed to relieve himself properly, consult your vet. You may have a urinary tract infection going on. It is common in puppies, but must be treated.


When you take your puppy out of his crate, always take him outside to the spot you have picked for his bathroom. Use the same door each time, as later, your puppy will go to that door to let you know when he needs to go out. I strongly suggest you designate a particular part of the yard. It makes clean up easier if you know right were to find the mess, keeps the families shoes clean at the very least. Pick this area up often. Dogs do not like to go in a dirty place and will use your entire yard if allowed. It is also important to keep the area clean because puppies relish in poop pie, and it gives them bad breath and is not particularly a desired trait, though a perfectly normal dog instinctual behavior. Poop eating is not a sign of something missing in their diet. It is a biological part of being a canine and some dogs just eat poop while others may not.


To help your puppy feel at home in his crate, feed him there and allow toys in the crate too. Water, however, is not a good idea. Your puppy is a water dog and water bowls are swimming pools, you know. In addition, what goes in, must come out. To begin formal crate training, whenever you cannot supervise your puppy, crate him. When he becomes more trustworthy, start extending his time out of the crate. As time goes by, he will gain your trust and you can gradually increase his "loose" time (supervised, that is). Each dog is an individual, how long the process of potty training will take will differ dog to dog and trainer to trainer. Be consistent with the crate training and taking him out. Correction and praise are very important and I cannot stress this enough. It's how your puppy learns. You will need to watch your puppy. It's very important you gradually increase the loose time or he will never learn to be out on his own. Puppies have two speeds: on and off. They play hard and they sleep sound. Always after a nap, they must be taken outside. After eating, take them outside. As they get older, wait for 20 minutes and then take them outside, leave them in their crate for the 20 minutes. We start this at about 12 weeks and work up to as long as an hour by 6 months of age when possible. This is also good for digestion.


Accidents are going to happen. This is how your puppy learns if he is pleasing you or not. Accidents are good; they give you he opportunity to give that gentle correction. Just remember you must balance the corrections with praise. After correcting a puppy take him outside to his area. He just might finish his business outside. If he does, praise him. If he does not, set him up to win with something else, like a short game of fetch. Praise him when he brings the ball back.

Accidents are, however, YOUR fault. You weren't watching! Puppies have very distinctive body language for both urination and defecation. If you are watching, you will see the posture develop and can scoop up the puppy and deliver him outside in the appropriate area. If you are too late, this is where you begin to teach the word "no". However, after about 2 seconds, DO NOT give a correction; the puppy CAN'T understand after that length of time. The same is true for chewing or other infractions, you must correct immediately, "caught in the act", otherwise all you will do is confuse them. Conversely, praise must be delivered with 3 seconds to have meaning, and 1 second is much better. Otherwise, the pups don't make the connection between the act and the correction or the praise.


The crate method is really an advantage and gives your puppy a place to call his own. Often you can look for a 'lost' puppy and find him fast asleep in his crate, with a ball between his paws. It's like seeing a sleeping baby in their crib safe from harm.


Establish a pattern of in and out of crate time. The first place your puppy goes when released from the crate is outside. There can be no exceptions. This means you do not release him from the crate unless you have the time to take him out and stay with him. This is how he has been treated since he moved from the whelping pen to the exercise pen; he is familiar with this routine. Be sure he does his business, and then praise him lavishly. This stands true even in the worst of weather. Keep an umbrella handy and a couple of towels to dry him. Fair warning: most Goldens love the rain, and don't know when to come out of it. Don't say I didn't warn you!


Balance the time spent in and out of the crate. Be sure your puppy gets lots of exercise. As he matures, he will be able to hold his urges to go. Give him an opportunity to prove himself, by allowing extended time out for the crate (supervised of course). Still, if you cannot give your full attention, crate him. When you are away from home, crate him. Alone with no one or anything to play with (or get into trouble with) he will sleep. The crate is your friend and your dogs bedroom. Our dogs love their crates; it's their house, their private place. Should you travel with your dog as we do, the crate makes you more welcome at motels. It is required for air travel. Perhaps most importantly, it makes the dogs more comfortable, a feeling of home. You may find retrievers to be amazingly sensitive and looking for a crate, any crate for comfort. For an animal as rough and tumble as a golden retriever, apparently minor things can upset them tremendously. A change in surroundings, just like a change in food, can trigger a bout of diarrhea. The crate serves as a buffer from travel and strange surroundings. It is a 'little piece of home' that makes the dog more comfortable in strange circumstances.


There are two types of crates, the wire type or the plastic, airline type. Either will be fine; we use both. The wire type is not airline approved. There are, however, advantages to the wire type that are worth consideration: In hot weather, they provide the best ventilation and in colder weather, you can throw a blanket over the three sides. They fold up for easy storage and transportation in a vehicle. An open crate door policy while the dog is loose in the house is the best. When placed in the crate for the night, or during the day due to bad weather or life in a motel room or whatever, we close the door, especially during house training. Our personal dogs are not subject to separation anxiety (probably because there are so darn many of them) and, depending on the individual dog, once they are a year or so old, can be left in the house unsupervised all day. Don't, however, consider this a recommendation, and definitely don't leave an unsupervised puppy out of the crate in the house and expect an unsullied, intact home when you return.


Once you have decided on the type you need to purchase, the proper size for a full-grown Golden. In the Veri-Kennel, you want a 400 for a female and a 500 for a male. A large or XL is best in other brands. A 300 is too small and a 700 will dwarf your room. The wire type should be 22" to 24" in width by 24" to 26" high and 32" to 36" long. All of them will fit into a 24" high kennel (we use the term kennel and crate interchangeably, though a kennel also means an outside fenced enclosure in our terminology). We prefer, especially for male dogs, a 26" high crate. Females will be from 55-65 lbs, and should fit nicely into the 24" high crate, while males can be 65-80 lbs, hence the larger crate might serve them better, but either will do in a pinch. Minus air travel, airlines have specific size requirements and sometimes we need to accommodate even a female with a 500 to satisfy airline regulations. Also remember only the hard sided crates are airline approved and only specific brands with some airlines.


In addition to potty training, you will find your crate handy for the times you can't supervise your puppy. Puppies, when bored, can be destructive little monsters. They can't get into trouble if you aren't there to watch them, nor can they eat a can of Drano and die. Never correct your dog in his crate, this is his private place away from all harm and intruders are not welcome. When he is out of the crate, leave the door open. You just might find him in there when you 'lose' your puppy. The keys to crate training are to be consistent, balance the time and extend free time gradually. Firm, yet gentle corrections are equal amounts of praise.


Your first night or two can be restful, or you can be up all night with a howling puppy. You choose. I choose to rest, so we can play with all the energy of a puppy the next day. One hour before bedtime offer a drink of water and a trip outside. Again, just before bed, we do the trip outside (no water this time) and it is off to the crate. He may cry, he may howl, put up a real good argument. However, ignore him! I know it's hard, but don't give in. If you give in, you have taught your puppy how to get out of the crate. He will eventually settle in. I always plan on rising early when I have puppies, but if the puppy sleeps in I do too. Some puppies will go longer, that others, average though, is six hours over night. But if they do go longer, enjoy it. Never wake up a sleeping puppy in the middle of the night. There is no need to get up in the night and take your puppy out if he is quiet. This is just like teaching a human baby to sleep in its own crib overnight. For example though, if after say 4 hours your puppy is fussing first try to quiet them, they may just be looking for reassurance that someone is close by. At any rate though at least get them calm to some degree before you give in and take them out.


Where you place your crate is up to you. I prefer to place the crate next to my bed so I can reassure the puppy. Others prefer to start sleeping their puppy elsewhere in the house. There is no right or wrong here, just different advantages. Some people can sleep through anything and others cannot. In any event, even if there is a mess, they clean up at 6:00 AM the same as they do at 1:00 AM… As hard as it may be to believe and to do, leaving a puppy in a soiled crate at 1:00 AM might be beneficial to learning. And some puppies may take longer to learn… Some just are cleaner than others… All in all, again consistency with the crate is the key and you should not be a slave to your puppy or his crate.





Your puppy has been fed a premium brand Adult Formula dog food, "Canidae" we do not use or recommend you use any puppy formulas. Up until now, he has eaten in a litter situation for the most part where he has eaten to his fill. Therefore, it is impossible for me to tell you exactly how much he will eat at a sitting. The following are guidelines only and each puppy needs to be evaluated individually. The best gauge is the puppy. DO NOT LET THE PUPPY GET FAT. We have done our best to breed puppies that lack hip dysplasia in their genetic makeup. However, it is impossible to completely remove all of the dysplasia genes in retrievers given the gene pool. A dog that maintains an active lifestyle (to develop strong muscles) with no extra weight between the time it is born and two years of age is less likely to acerbate dysplasia if the disease is present. Though dysplasia is most generally genetic it can also be caused by excess weight. There is a balance in growing puppies that you must carefully observe. They eat, start to get a bit chunky, then have a growth spurt. Don't let 'chunky' become fat. We don't guarantee hips for fat puppies.


There is some argument about when to change to an adult maintenance or feed puppy food, though we personally never feed puppy food we know you may opt to. Some premium brands are producing a large breed puppy formula, which may be a good choice, though not our choice or recommendation. The concern regarding the nature of dog food stems from the relationship between speed of growth and hip dysplasia. A puppy that is predisposed to genetic dysplasia that grows too fast will become dysplastic. Puppy formula food is now thought by many to permit too rapid growth in large breed dogs. Feeding adult matinance formula will not permit such rapid growth.

Also, impact on joints can have a deleterious effect and allow dysplasia to develop if the predisposition exists, or cause dysplasia through injury. There is evidence to suggest that, if a puppy is completely confined to a crate until the growth plates in the bones fuse (about age 12 mos.) they cannot become dysplastic no matter how predisposed they are to dysplasia. No one encourages you to confine your puppy in this manner, heaven forbid. Nevertheless, limit jumping and encourage swimming until age two.


If you are planning on changing food, I suggest that you purchase a bag of the food you intend to feed, and, over the course of 3 days, gradually change from our food to the new food. When the puppy first comes home, measure out the food in the morning for the whole day. Feed 2 times per day only. Please do not feed full meals more than twice per day. A mid day snack of fresh veggies and or a couple of small dog briskets is fine but please no matter how thin you think your puppy is or your vet says he is do not feed more than twice per day. The amount of food will vary from about 2 cups per day to 4 cups per day, depending on the dog and on the level of activity. But 4 cups is max for most altered pets at maturity. A good rule of thumb is from 8 weeks to 10 weeks you will probably feed a total of 2 cups per day, if you feed a good quality adult formula such as Canidae 1 cup each meal with some supplements as noted below. Leave the food down for 20 minutes (if it lasts that long). Whatever isn't eaten, discard.


Supplements suggested: Canidae canned dog food but just a couple of tablespoons per feeding or another premium brand. And/or: fresh or frozen raw but ground up veggies just about any minus raw potatoes or other night shade veggies. Green beans, carrots, broccoli, squash are all good as are fruits; apples, bananas, pears, peaches (dogs don't so much go for citrus usually) but use moderation with veggies and fruits too, no more than a couple of tablespoons or with fruits such as apples etc about ¼ of a medium piece of fruit is a good serving. I use to advocate adding cottage cheese but I do not any longer unless it's for a specific reason such as a bland diet for stomach upset due to the extra calcium in cottage cheese. Same goes for yogurt. (see below bland diet notes) Missing Link is an excellent supplement and your puppy has most likely been fed ML here. Continuing on with ML is highly recommended. Extra V-C at the rate of 500 mg per day is also recommended and may help prevent dysplasia, at the very least it is a water soluble vitamin and a member of the antioxidant family. And that's that. With adding some fresh veggies, fruits, ML and V-C to your puppies diet your doing the best you can do if you are feeding a commercial diet. Pet Tab's brand dog vitamins may or may not be good I personally do not feel they are necessary or useful. They do not contain V-C by the way.


Bland diet: On occasion you may find the need to feed a bland diet. Puppies often will eat things that upset their systems. When this happens, they get diarrhea and may even throw up. In this case, their system needs a rest but they still need to eat and be hydrated. However there is a balanced application that needs to be followed which includes fasting and withholding and or monitoring water intake. This is done for your puppies speedy recovery, (24 to 48 hours is a speedy recovery) Very important you keep your cool, do not panic, your emotions on not feeding and giving water need to be set aside.


If your puppy is sick from eating yard debris and you know this is the cause, he is not sick, running a fever ( a fever is anything over 102 for a puppy 10 weeks or older) or has gotten into a toxin and is not lethargic he probably does not need to go to the vet. He just needs extra rest and a diet change: Withhold food and water for 6 to 8 hours, (he is not going to die nor will you). At the end of the fasting period offer small sips of water, if puppy hold down water for 30 minutes offer a small amount of bland diet, ¼ cup at a time not to exceed 1 cup in 4 hours. (see below recipes). Use your common sense if puppy eats and throws up again, go back to just water in a couple of hours, but if puppy is still unable to hold down water, and has a fever, call me or your vet if I am not available. However if he's holding down food and water move forward to offering water at the rate of ¼ cup at a time (do not give free choice water, sometimes puppies will tank up when they don't feel well and this is counter productive) offer food in the same way every couple of hours or ever 4 hours or what ever you can do with your schedule, if you need to go longer than 4 to 6 hours try 1/3 cup at a time.


Bland diet recipes: Boiled skinned potatoes and full fat 4% cottage cheese and low fat yogurt diet: Boil 6 medium potatoes peeled (no peels to be fed at all) mash in 1 pound container of full fat 4% cottage cheese and one small 8 ounce container of plain unflavored yogurt with live cultures. Store in fridge and feed as needed.


Rice, broth, cottage cheese, yogurt diet: 2 dry cups of rice, 4 cups of liquid, (1 can of chicken broth full fat and the rest water) add to this 1 pound container of full fat 4% cottage cheese and one small 8 ounce container of plain unflavored yogurt with live cultures. Store in fridge and feed as needed.


Do not add meat protein such as hamburger or boneless chicken to the above for the first 48 hours and you have had at least 24 hours of keeping down food. After 48 hours you may add meat protein, ½ pound of either lean boiled and rinsed hamburger, ground turkey, or chicken. After normally 3 to 5 days you should be able to go back to your regular diet if this was a bad case of digestive upset. Most light cases only require a day or two of restricted diet. Freeze left over for just in case…


Back to regular feeding: Do not free feed Golden Retrievers. They do not know when to stop eating, and this can create picky eaters or fat dogs. It is just a bad idea for Goldens. Optimally, feed your puppy two times per day for life. Consult me if you have concerns. Puppies that are fed twice a day do just fine. Take note: Fat puppies are not healthy and will not grow up healthy. There is nothing worse than an obese Golden Retriever.


Learning to Learn


These are some pretty sharp puppies, but you must help them learn how to learn. Mom started that, we tried to continue, but it is your job. A dog that learns HOW to learn at a young age will maintain that knowledge till they die. You must do it starting now, but you cannot apply pressure to them until they are older. You CAN help them, though. At this age, they are learning so much on their own, including hundreds of bad habits. They are so much easier to teach at this age, too.


No! Is the most important command you will ever teach your puppy. No means No. No, "maybe" or "oh, well" or "just this once". No gray areas! Do not hit my puppies, teach them "no". Your Golden wants to please you. He lives to please you. He will learn with the proper use of the command "no". "No" is not just a word. It is a command and the foundation of a loving pet.


Goldens are very oral and relish in a good chew. Puppies don't know the difference between a discarded tennis shoe and a two hundred dollar pair of boots and will chew on anything they are allowed to. This includes, furniture, electrical cords, house plants, etc. Puppies don't know electrical cords can bite back with a deadly result, or that house plants can be toxic, or that piece of furniture is a 200 year old antique. They are just into oral gratification. Supervision and the No command are a must. Make an investment in a few, safe toys. There are many arguments over what are safe toys. Some won't give rawhide chews; I won't, nor do I give horse hooves, cow hoofs, which stink and produce sharp edges. The veterinary dentist told me that problems caused by nylabones fund her annual vacation, however I do use them and I have never had a problem. Large leg bones and knuckle bones (RAW) of cows are good, and keep teeth clean as well as keep the dog happy. Long, thick rope toys are a favorite, but should only be used supervised dogs can eat the strings and this can cause an intestinal blockage. Natural rubber toys are safe, kong toys are usually favorites here as are tennis balls.


When (not if) you catch the little guy chewing on something you don't think should be chewed on, tell him NO in no uncertain tone. Immediately remove one of the toys that you have in your pocket at all times and give him the toy. A few times of this and he begins to learn what is chewable and what isn't. This training combined with house training lets me leave my adult dogs loose in the house for as many as 12 hours with no messes and no chewed up furniture, rugs, or whatever. A caution, though, that not all dogs are that trustworthy.



Training your puppy to respond to "No" and the firm tone are the foundation to a well-behaved Golden, as well as a lot of praise. Use common sense with your puppy. There are a number of books on training as well as classes you and the puppy can attend. Go to puppy class once all of the puppy shots are in place. A good book to start with is How to Raise Puppy You Can Live With, by Rutherford and Neil. It is easy reading and good, common sense. See additional book list in puppy package.


Be CONSISTENT with what you will allow and what you will not. That is the basis of all training, and inconsistency on your part is the basis of almost all misbehavior and neurosis in dogs. Praise is equally important. Give him lots of praise when he gets it right, even if it's something really minor. Try very hard to balance your corrections with praise. Set the puppy up to win when he is having "bad" days. It can help to turn him around.


Training starts on day one, with the crate and learning quiet time. The foundation of learning to learn has begun. Young puppies have very short memories. When a puppy does something wrong (wets, chews, retrieves wrong items, etc) pick him up and tell him no firmly. If this is a first offense, it will be repeated. It takes time to learn and your firm and CONSISTENT guidance is the key. A good example of consistency is don't let your puppy jump up on you now, and then expect him to stop when he is an adult. Don't let him on the furniture now, and expect him to stay off later.


Paint rollers make great retrieving training objects. Retrievers are genetically predisposed to carry things in their mouths, not to retrieve per se. You must train your puppy to bring back whatever you have thrown. Using a hallway, so that there is not chance for the puppy to run off, is a great place to start. Otherwise, use a 20 ft check cord. Don't let him get away and chase him - chase can be much more fun than retrieving, and you want a retriever, not a criminal. When he returns, don't take it out of his mouth immediately! Let him savor the possession, make him happy he brought it to you to see. Tell him he is wonderful. After a bit, take it and throw it again. A puppy should never have more than 2-4 retriever in a row, lest he get bored. Boredom with retrieving makes for a lackluster retriever, and retrieving as excellent exercise and great fun. Retrieving will get the dog exercise when you don't want to walk 3 miles.


Collars and Leashes: Adjustable nylon collars are great. You can buy one collar that will fit your puppy for six months. Then purchase a larger one that he can wear out. Leash, I only buy leather, never nylon or chain. Six feet is the proper length for training, and no thicker than 3/4" I prefer ½ ". Leather will not burn your hand if the dog pulls hard. Buy a sewn leash, or a braided leash not riveted. The sewn or braided ones are much stronger. Walk your puppy with your thumb through the loop not your wrist, gather up excess leash in your hand. This prevents escapes and chewing on the leash but if you need to let go all you have to do is open your hand, if the leash is around your wrist you will need two hands to free yourself and act.


We strongly urge you to get involved in a group class. Why group classes over private? Simple: socialization. The socialization with other dogs and people is training in and of itself. Classes are everywhere, starting all the time. Puppy Kindergarten begins usually at 12 weeks. Distemper and Parvo and incredibly common, and final puppy shots have not been given until 16 to 18 weeks of age so be cautions coming and going to and from class with the younger puppies. Often dog training facilities have special areas just for puppies and you should try to find a center that follows this rule. In fact, keep your dog away from parks, campgrounds, and other places where there is a possibility of contacting fecal material from other dogs, vaccinated adult dogs won't get sick but they can pass on diseases through their fecal matter. The backyard of a friends house where you are sure the dogs have been vaccinated is fine, you don't need to do puppy in a bubble and you have to socialize, just be careful and follow some general guidelines of watching your puppy closely when not at home. You must balance the need for socialization with dogs and people - very, very critical and best accomplished prior to 16 weeks of age - with the need to limit contact with infected materials or animals.


These puppies have received human interaction on at least a daily basis since they came out of the womb, even on day one. Further, they have had the opportunity to interact with our adult dogs. Nevertheless, exposing them to as many kinds, shapes, and appearances of people is critical, as it is to as many different environments as possible, and interactions with other canines. However, never leave a puppy under 4 months old unsupervised with an adult dog. The puppies do not have their social repertoire of behaviors solidly in place until after 4 months, and the adult dog could hurt them, mistaking ignorance for aggression.


How well you accomplish the necessary exposure to other people, dogs, and situations BEFORE THEY ARE 4 MONTHS OLD will be reflected in the mental health and temperament of your dog forever. How you do this without exposing them to infection is not an easy task. We have tried to see that this exposure happened while they lived here.


At 6 months hit the real books with formal classes. Beginning obedience is a lot of fun. It's how one of us started in formal dog events.

Obedience does three extremely important things - it teaches you how to communicate with your dog, it builds a bond between you and your dog that you will never, ever experience if you do not train, and it gives your dog the skills to be the dog everyone likes you to bring. It is not easy to learn how to communicate your desires to another species, and learning how to perform obedience tasks will teach you. Training together makes the two of you a team in ways that non-trainers can never experience, and builds a closeness that can never feel otherwise. You are shortchanging yourself in ways you can't understand unless you have trained a dog. Goldens are wonderful, anxious to please dogs that dote on your every mood. This relationship is enhanced geometrically if you train. Finally, few people appreciate a poorly behaved dog, and restrictions on where dogs can go and where you can even have a dog are added to our regulatory existence every day. Your obedient dog is welcome in hundreds of places that a poorly behaved dog is not, serves as an ambassador of dogs in general and goldens in particular, and will be invited back to places that you may find amazing.


Also, goldens are smart dogs. If you don't give them a job, they will find one. The job they find may entail excavating your foundation, eating all of your roses, or chewing a hole in your fence. At six months a Golden can be a total Bozo, but in a short six to eight week basic class with daily work, you can turn things around. Don't be surprised if you end up with a high score and a trophy at graduation. Goldens, because of their inherent nature to please, do very well in obedience. You might even find yourself interested in competition in obedience trials. At the very least make it a goal to obtain the dogs CGC (Canine Good Citizen Certification) many obedience trainers offer CGC testing at the end of their classes. If you can't find one, contact one of use and we will do our best to find one. I will find you a test when your ready. Visit the AKC site on line and check out the CGC program.


Goldens, by nature, need a lot of exercise, but puppies should not be pushed beyond their limits. It is very important not to let your puppy jog or run for too long, especially on pavement, until they reach at least 18 mos. of age. If you are a runner or jogger and want a companion, use grass or dirt surfaces when ever you can and do not start training your puppy till he is at least 18 mos. no exceptions and work up starting with walks to jogging do not flat out start jogging any dog no matter the age. You are asking for orthopedic problems if you are not moderate with your puppy. Running and playing at their own pace is fine on their terms of when it's time to stop. Walking is great. The pressure that is put on the skeleton in repetitive movement such as running or jogging can be really hard on any immature skeleton. Jumping is very destructive of joints in young dogs. Once they have reached close to adult size, they can run on dirt at the level to which they are conditioned. Some of our dogs hunt, and the adults can run for hours. But, like humans, a dog must be conditioned before they can work that hard. Goldens love to work, and they will literally work themselves to death if you let them.




Grooming 101

Work in progress, some of this will be beyond you with puppies under a year but good still to go over this and understand what goes into grooming a golden and keeping him up.

Are Golden Retrievers a grooming breed? Absolutely!

Golden Retrievers require regular maintenance grooming to keep looking their best. As a professional groomer and a breeder of show lines I have always recommended that anyone looking to this breed learn how to properly brush and if possible learn to scissor their own dog. Most pet groomers unless they have apprenticed under some one who shows this breed does know the finer points to grooming a golden and generally leave ears and feet untidy. Most breeders are willing to teach anyone how to groom a golden, pass on tips they have acquired over the years that can make coat maintenance and trimming less of a chore and your dog looking smart. This offer is usually extended not only to the client but the clients groomer.

How often should a golden be professionally groomed? What should a professional groom include?

This depends on the dog, but on the average I estimate about every 8 to 10 weeks for a well kept smart look. A professional groom should include bath, ear cleaning, blow dry, brushing, trimming nails, tidying feet, ears and general neatening to enhance the appearance of the dog. General neatening should include rolling out undercoat, carding dry coat out and minor blending. However, when a dog is blowing coat profusely and or the owner has not been doing maintenance grooming they should expect an extra long visit and to pay extra for these services. By the way it is customary to tip groomers.

How often should I do my part of the maintenance grooming? What is my part of the maintenance grooming?

This again depends on the dog, however going over your dog thoroughly, weekly with a brush and medium spaced greyhound style comb will hold down on loose hair in the house. Plucking or carding out dry coat, see below spay alter coats. Check ears and clean only when necessary. Nails should be checked weekly and either ground with a dermal or cut with nail trimmers, also see below for instructions on how to trim nails.

When the dog is blowing coat or rolling out undercoat preventing matting and dust bunnies in your house is best served by using an undercoat rake and going over the entire dog in an organized fashion. This is sometimes left up to the professional but there is no reason an owner can not successfully roll a coat. See below list of tools and use. Keeping your dog brushed out is the most important role an owner can have in grooming.

List of tools and use:

Ever Gentle Slicker: This tool is used to brush the top coat and to aid in removal of loose undercoat. Must be used in a gentle manner as not to rake the skin and irritate "brush burn". May be used in the same manner as the undercoat rake or can be gently pulled over the top coat but will be more effective if used in the same manner as the undercoat rake.

Medium spaced Greyhound style comb: This tool is used to check your brushing, if you can easily get a medium spaced comb through the dogs coat you are matt free and have done a good job.

Undercoat Rake: Pins should be no longer than 1/4 inch in height. This tool is used to aide in rolling out undercoat and is used only to remove unwanted loose ready to roll undercoat. Must be used correctly, never rake over the dog with this tool, it can irritate the skin easily. To properly use an undercoat rake start at the rear leg of the dog just above the hock, lift the guard hairs with one hand place edge of rake with teeth facing down toward the ground and rake away from the skin. Continue this pattern until you have reached the spine. Move a section over and rake in same fashion brisket to spine. Brisket, under belly. This is called brushing brisket to back bone or spine. This tool can also be used effectively on the pans and ruff in same manner. Always start from the under side of a section lifting the hair and pulling your rake away from the body.

Nail trimmers or Dermal tool: To maintain nails at a proper length. Dermal tools are great, and most dogs will get use to them quickly. Please be sure to have some one show you how to use this tool and be extra careful to not get your hair or the dogs coat caught in the tool. Grinding is not hard but it is hard to explain. With nail trimmers just tipping the ends is usually sufficient if you are tipping weekly. If you tip off about 1/8 of an inch weekly you will keep the quick worked back and there is less chance of nicking the quick. However if you do nick the quick do not be alarmed, use Quick Stop by wetting your index finger or use a damp Q-tip and apply pressure to the tip of the nail where the bleeding is. Generally the nail will stop bleeding right away but on occasion they can open back up. In this case crate rest for 30 minutes after your finished grooming. Tip nails before bathing.

Quick Stop: To be kept on hand if a toenail is taken too short, this product is styptic powder and will stop most nails from bleeding.

Ear Cleaner: 50% white distilled vinegar and 50% 91 proof alcohol (rubbing alcohol at 50 or 70 proof has too much water in it to be used for ear cleaner). Or buy a good commercial product that includes a drying agent usually a two step process, a cleansing agent and a drying agent. Check ears for debris, if they are clean leave them to be, or just wipe out. If there is debris or a odor clean the ears by flooding the ear with cleansing solution vigorously massage the ear canal from the base of the canal to the opening of the ear expelling debris and cleaner. Wipe ear out with 100% cotton balls or 100% cotton cosmetic pads or a towel. Do not use cosmetic puffs they have fibers in them that can irritate the sensitive ear skin. Allow the dog to shake head and re dry ears either with drying agent or cotton/towel.

Advanced tools:

Thinning Shears: need to be fairly good ones Fromm 44-20 are popular and not that expensive, check catalogs. Thinners are used on ears and feet. See below.

Scissors: again fairly good scissors are a plus but even throw away scissors that you can buy at a Beauty Supply Store will work. 4 inch to 7 inch in length seems to be what works best for multi purpose trimming of feet.

Miscellaneous trimming questions:

To trim feathers or not, pro's and cons.

The only "pro" that I can come up with is less debris tracked into the house and in my opinion that is what woman made vacuums for.

The con's: The dog will still shed since it's mainly undercoat that goldens shed, guard hairs are rarely shed in abundance. If you opt to shorten your goldens feathering, you will have to brush more often as hair that is trimmed tends to matt with new hair growth. This is particularly the case with pants and ruffs that have been thinned as well as under bellies that have been shaved or shortened. No matter if you groom or not it's natural for a golden coat to roll it's self from season to season, hair growth is perpetual. The best way to maintain these heavily coated areas of your golden is to brush and check comb regularly (see equipment and uses).

To shave the body or not : Never!

The Golden Retriever is a double coated dog for a reason. The soft undercoat helps insulate year round and the outer coat, guard hairs protect as well. Goldens will normally blow coat in late spring early summer leaving less undercoat than in the fall and winter months, though they do shed year round. In the summer months what is left by nature acts as protection against the elements, sun, wind, rain and terrain; dry brush etc. By shaving or clipping down the body coat you are leaving the dog open to a wide variety of possible problems. Sunburn, skin infection, injury to name three and matting as the hair grows out as noted previously. It is never recommended to shave a golden. If a professional suggests you do, please reconsider and look to another professional or ask your breeder for help getting the dog back in shape. Clipping does not prevent shedding, you will just have shorter hairs to vacuum up.

How do I neatly trim my Goldens ears and feet?

Ears can be difficult for the novice and it's best to have an experienced person show you how to trim ears. There is a lot of sculpting that goes into making the appearance of the ear look natural yet tidy. But here is a stab at trying to explain. Following the ear leather with thinning shears trim close to the leather from the back of the ear at the head across to the tip but not into the front of the ear, leave that natural. You will have to make several passes since the thinning shears are not a straight edged shear, they have teeth on one side which leaves a broken look, rough edge which is desired. When you are satisfied with the look stop. For thinning out the long hair that lays on top of the ear flap with your slicker brush the hair straight out. With your thinning shears sculpt by starting at the bottom of the fluff that is standing straight out and round to the top of the ear. Brush down and look identify what else needs to come off a repeat sculpting till you have a neat tidy ear. The hair closest to the skull should be shorter and the finished look should look layered, in a week he trimmed look will be less obvious.

Feet are easy! With slicker brush up the hair that grows between the toes. With your thinners lightly resting on the foot follow the line of the top of the foot from the nail toward the leg. Remove all the excess hair. Brush hair down and back up again repeat till neat being careful not to get into the guard hairs on the top of the foot for the most natural of appearances.

To neatening strays around the foot use your straight scissors and on a 45 degree angle follow the foot around, this takes practice but in time like ears you will be a pro. For cleaning out the under sides, do this last, simply angle your scissors between the big pad and each toe, and use the middle of your blade not the points to scissor out the pad hair. You may need to repeat this several times too. Pasterns, are done with Thinning shears, brush the hair up and with your thinners parallel with the back of the pastern lightly remove the hair leaving a fullness about a 1/4 inch of pastern hair. Neatening with straight scissors as you see fit. Hocks are a bit more difficult for a novice, like ears there is a fair amount of sculpting. Brush the hair up so it stands straight out from the back of the hock. With your thinning shears neatening up stray hairs, Bevel the sides so the appearance is more round than square.

Why does my altered dog have a different coat than an intact dog? What do I need to pay close attention to?

Altered dogs have a different coat type because of the removal of hormones. They grow a longer guard hair and often almost appear to have a triple coat with an extra down type coat that grows on the legs and on some dogs the body. This hair is like undercoat but is present year round and is always very loose. This hair is not live rooted so pulling it out is not painful. Carding it out with a fine tooth comb or simply plucking it out with your fingers is effective. Also brushing against the grain ( against the way the hair naturally falls) with your slicker can be helpful.

A tool I use to remove this coat is a greyhound style comb with a very small groomers rubber band inter twined between the teeth, laced between each tooth. The rubber band ketches on the hair and pulls it out. These are the rubber bands used to put bows in dogs or by poodle groomers in top knots.

What about if I want to bath my own dog? What do I need? Find a public dog wash or:

Please purchase dog shampoo, do not use human shampoo on your dog as a steady diet. A lot of people will say using baby shampoo or dish washing liquid is ok but it's not. Baby shampoo is very drying and the PH is not correct for a dog same with dish washing liquid. Both are ok in a pinch however. Dogs should be showered not bathed and rinsing is of the utmost importance. Do not wash your dog with cold water only, use warm water. In most homes the best place to wash a dog is in the bathtub or shower where you may have a hand held shower head. Before wrestling dog into tub or shower, premix your shampoo in a one gallon bucket, following the mixing directions on your shampoo, most dog shampoos are concentrated and will give mixing directions. Those that are not should still be diluted. Fill your bucket with warm water, then add the shampoo to prevent over foaming. With dog in place wet dog with warm water all over with a sponge massage and scrub the shampoo mix all over the dog. Rinse with clear water. To check to see if you have rinsed well enough squeeze behind the ears if the water is cloudy re rinse. You can also check other areas but the ears seem to be what does not get rinsed well the most. A nice rinse that can be left on or rinsed out is ½ cup vinegar to 1 gallon of water. Best to have this standing by premixed also. With a clean soap free sponge apply this mix over entire dog. This will leave the coat soft to the touch and helps cut shampoo residue. Towel dry ears, inside and out make sure that the area around the ears and inside flaps is well dry. Goldens are prone to ear infections and water left in the ears can aid in the formation of yeast (yeast infection) A tip there is to clean the ears before the bath or to put several drops of 90% alcohol in each ear prior to bathing. If behind the ears is left damp too long heat will build and you may end up with a hot spot from the heat and moisture irritating the dog to the point that they scratch. You might even want to invest in a dog blow dryer. See catalogs, my recommendation is either a Double K Challengeaire 2000 force air dryer or a Metro there are several metro force dryers.

If you don't want to go to the expense of buying a dryer check the yellow pages most areas now have self serve dog wash facilities that supply everything needed to wash dogs, including shampoo. The cost will vary but on the average it's about $20.00 to use the facilities which is reasonable considering the cost of supplies and the clean up required after bathing and blowing out a dog. Most dog wash facilities also have grooming tables which can come in handy if you are planning to do your own trimming too, though you will need to have your own grooming equipment, combs scissors etc.

All in all the most important role an owner can play in grooming, is to keep their dog brushed out and free of matts and debris that can cause matting.