While a golden retriever puppy can provide the perfect addition to your family, his bathroom accidents indoors are less welcome. To avoid smelly messes in your home, start your golden retriever's house training as soon as possible. Early, positive potty training should be a breeze with this intelligent, gentle breed.
Savvy goldens respond well to positive, consistent training. The key to house training your little golden is to prevent accidents before they happen indoors and to reward proper elimination outdoors. Tiny pups have equally tiny bladders, so bring your golden furbaby outdoors every hour until he is about 8 weeks old. A good rule of thumb is to wait one hour for every month of your puppy's age between potty breaks, until he reaches 6 months of age, the Humane Society of the United States advises. Prevent accidents by also taking your pup out first thing in the morning, 10 minutes after meals and before bedtime. Giving your pupster as many potty breaks as possible provides the best chance for your dog to succeed at house training.
To keep your golden's potty schedule consistent, feed your little golden at the same times each day so that he is prompted to go potty consistently. In this way, you can anticipate when your pup is ready to go and bring him outside to the potty area, to the exact same spot at the same times each day. The potty spot will retain the odor of the prior elimination, prompting your little one to re-mark the area.
Train your puppy to go potty outdoors on command to eliminate any confusion on his part of what's expected of him. Bring the pup to the potty area outdoors and issue a command, such as "go potty" or "bathroom." Once your dog does his business, give him a tasty treat and lots of praise. Each time your dog eliminates after you issue the command, treat and praise him; over the course of a few weeks, your dog should get the hang of what is expected when he hears the potty command. As with feeding and potty breaks, keep the command consistent each time, and say it only once to your dog in an authoritative voice.
An important part of house training your golden retriever pup is teaching your dog to use a crate. Remember, your little golden cutie won't stay tiny forever, so you may want to purchase a larger crate to suit a 55 to 75 pound dog, the size of an adult golden. Simply close off part of the crate with a piece of cardboard to prevent your dog from accessing the whole thing as a youngster. Too large a crate space allows your dog an area to eliminate in and sit away from it; dogs won't eliminate in smaller spaces because they don't want to sit in their own messes. This is the beauty of the crate in potty training -- to discourage your dog from eliminating indoors.
Place the crate in a room your family frequents often, as golden retrievers are social creatures who enjoy being part of the family that they consider their pack. Make the crate comfortable with a blanket and one of your dog's favorite toys. Leave a treat or two in the crate to lure your dog into it. Associate the crate with a command, such as "crate" or "bed," and slowly train your dog to spend more and more time in the crate while you aren't in the same room with him.
No puppy is perfect, even an eager-to-please little golden retriever, and you will experience some accidents indoors along the way. Your little guy won't understand yelling or upset at a mess in the house, especially as golden retrievers are sensitive dogs, so don't punish him for something that he can't control. Instead, clean the mess as quickly as possible with an enzymatic cleaner to remove the stain and scent of the urine or feces. This prevents your dog from re-marking the area again if he smells any residual odor. Constant supervision when you are home with your pup, the use of his crate and even a visit from a dog walker during the day can help to prevent these accidents from occurring.
If you catch your little golden in the middle of an accident, clap your hands to startle him and stop him from going. Quickly bring your pup outside to his potty area immediately and allow him to finish outdoors.
A major roadblock to potty training can be your golden's tendency to urine mark if not spayed or neutered. Once your pup reaches between 6 and 9 months old, he will become sexually mature and want to communicate that he is available to mate. Dogs, unfortunately for their owners, tend to do this with urine, leading to an unhappy owner and smelly home. To avoid such issues, have your pup fixed before he reaches 3 months old, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends.
During your puppy's initial training, accidents may happen, but once your dog adapts to his new routine, these accidents should stop. If you notice that your pup suddenly begins to backslide, eliminating indoors frequently or suffering from diarrhea, it's time to visit the veterinarian for an exam. Golden retriever pups are prone to urinary tract infections, which cause frequent urination and indoor accidents, according to Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue. Loose stools can indicate a number of gastrointestinal issues, so visiting the doctor is the best way to ensure your little one's health and clear up any issues early on.
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: House Training Your Puppy
- The Humane Society of the United States: Housetraining Puppies
- Dog Channel: Golden Retriever House Training
- Veterinary Partner: Housetraining for Good Bonding With Your New Dog
- Golden Retriever Handbook; D. Caroline Coile
- American Kennel Club: AKC Meet the Breeds: Golden Retriever
- Dog Channel: Training the Golden Retriever Puppy
- Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue: Urinary Tract Infection
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Urine Marking in Dogs
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.