With a reputation for being friendly, easygoing and playful, golden retrievers are listed among the American Kennel Club's most popular breeds. Raise your retriever right and your golden girl will always be happy she chose you.
You'll want to feed your baby the best, but shopping for quality kibble can be overwhelming with all the selections coming to market. Teach yourself to be a label reader. In her book on golden retrievers, Gerilyn J. Bielakiewicz lists things to look for when you're reading puppy food labels; they include whole meat as the first two ingredients, more meat than grain content, identifiable sources of meat and meat meal preserved with vitamins E and C (known as mixed tocopherols).
You'll find plenty of kibble formulated for puppies, but some dog food manufacturers are now making breed-specific foods formulated to meet the unique needs of different breeds of dogs. In "Golden Retrievers," Stuart A. Kallen advises feeding your puppy four or five small meals a day for the first six months, switching to a permanent twice-daily feeding schedule after that. Scheduled feedings will make potty-training easier. It also makes monitoring the amount she eats less complicated, which will help with weight control.
A golden puppy has a silken short coat that will soon enough grow to a medium length. While yours is still young, start the habit of daily brushing. This will serve you well later in her life when it becomes necessary to take the brush to her double coat regularly to reduce shedding and keep mats from forming.
Your puppy won't need a bath more than every few months, unless she gets into something messy or smelly. Find a puppy shampoo at the pet supply to ensure it's gentle enough for her baby skin and hair. Dry her as thoroughly as you can with a towel after bath time. Allowing your little retriever to air-dry naturally should be okay, unless your environment is chilly. If necessary, speed up the drying process using a blow-dryer on the lowest heat setting.
The Super Learning Puppy
Golden retrievers are known for their intelligence and are very trainable. "The Everything Golden Retriever Book" explains that you can enhance your retriever puppy's capacity for learning with frequent interaction and a stimulating environment. Provide interesting and interactive toys, and commit to spending time training her.
Puppy kindergarten is an effective resource vital to shaping a golden retriever puppy into a well-behaved adult. Engage in training exercises outside of class, as well. It's the only way to train a dog effectively, and it will be quality time well-spent with your puppy. The golden retriever enjoys learning; interactive training will help her become able to solve problems for herself.
Quality food will go a long way in maintaining your golden retriever puppy's health. She'll need to see the vet on a regular schedule, too. Take her to meet the doctor by the time she is 10 weeks old or as soon as you can. Your vet will do a thorough examination, checking your pup's eyes, ears, belly, heart and lungs, and will discuss vaccinations with you. You should know what, if any, vaccinations the breeder has already given your little golden. PetPlace.com reports that initially puppies are given a vaccination that immunizes your baby against distemper, adenovirus, parvovirus and parainfluenza. After the initial visit, typically you'll be scheduled to bring your puppy back in one month and twice more, around age 6 months and 1 year. Subsequent wellness appointments are usually yearly.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.