Training Goldens

Training a Golden Retriever

Provide appropriate chew toys for your Golden Retriever.  They enjoy chewing things their entire lives.  You don’t want to encourage him to chew items that aren’t his toys by thoughtlessly tossing an old slipper to chew. While intelligent, the retriever cannot distinguish a new slipper or shoe from an old one.  To keep your personal items in tact, be sure to provide an adequate supply of chewies.

Golden Retrievers, like all dogs, seek out any item possessing your scent.  Therefore, it is important to keep your clothing and shoes out of his reach. This will save your wardrobe, and keep the arguments between you and your pet to a minimum.

ToNic-Pics / Pixabay

Sleeping

When you first acquire your Retriever, sleeping may cause some issues. Your Golden will, whine, wail and whimper.  This is understandable.  She’s in a new home and away from Mom, and her brothers and sisters. However, if your dog will be sleeping in a crate, don’t let her out just because she cries and whines.  If you do this, she’ll learn that all she needs to do is whine in order to get out.

If she’s sleeping in a sleeping box, reassure her using a soft soothing voice, but do not take her from the box.  Providing a ticking clock can be comforting to some dogs as it reminds them of the sound of their siblingsÕ or motherÕs heartbeats.

It may seem cruel at first, but your dog must deal with the loneliness as soon as possible.

Here’s a good piece of advice: Consider placing your pup’s crate or bed in your bedroom Ð at least initially.  Part of the reason your dog whimpers and wails when she sleeps alone is loneliness.  Another part is because dogs are pack animals.  If your puppy is sleeping alone, instinct tells her that the rest of the pack is dead. By being in the same room, the dog may be comforted by your presence.

Training Commands

Before any training session, make sure you walk your puppy to work off extra energy. Hold the sessions in an area that contains the least amount of distractions. Then train for short, productive spurts of time.  You can even do these short training sessions two or three times daily.  It’s also most effective to train him before he eats.  Treats aren’t as effective on a full dog.

Start with the basic commands: sit, stay, and come. Teach these elements in a very simple, one-word style. Simply say, “Come.”  To ensure her compliance use your tone and your gestures. The Golden Retriever breed is one which is very receptive to hand signals and tone.  Use these to your advantage every chance you get.

Golden_older

Sit

After a good walk, take your Golden into a room where the two of you can be alone. Leave the collar and leash on the dog. Holding the leash with your right hand, place your left hand on the puppy’s bottom.

Then say “sit” in an authoritative voice.  You can extend the command to include her name.  “Sit, Goldie.” Don’t raise your voice.  Just be firm.  While you’re saying this, gently but firmly press down on her hindquarters.  Then give lots of praise!

At the same time pull the leash upward to keep her from lying down.  Keep her in this position for a short while; if he attempts to jump back up, stop him.

Your Golden isn’t going to become the master of this command the first time you show it to her.  You’ll need to repeat this for at least an entire session or until she loses interest.

Be sure to praise the dog a lot in this learning situation.  Every time she sits (even with your help), tell her what a good dog she is.

Once your dog has demonstrated this command several times in a row, remove the leash and try the command again.  If she’s trained, she should be able to obey without your help.  If she can’t, don’t become annoyed.  Simply put the leash back on and continue working on this aspect of training, or try again later.

If you plan on taking your dog hunting with you, then you’ll want her to be able to read your hand signals as well.  You certainly don’t want to scare the prey away while you’re giving her verbal commands.

Now’s a great time to teach her this as well.  Once she has mastered the verbal command, hold up your hand or even just one finger in a distinct motion.  Say, “sit.”  Make sure she can see the signal.  Always use the word and gesture together so your dog connects the two.

Stay

“Stay,” is a little more difficult because your Golden by nature doesn’t want to stay.  She always, always wants to be by your side.  This makes the command a bit more difficult.

The stay command instructs your dog to remain still Ð regardless of where she is.  This is the one command that may, indeed, save your dog’s life someday.

First, place the leash and collar on your dog.  Next, perform the “sit” position with her.  Now, you’ll just transition right into the “stay” command.  Using your authoritative training voice, tell her to stay.  At the same time, raise your hand, palm toward the dog.  You’re going to look very much like a police officer stopping traffic.  Each time your dog rises to stand, give him a sharp “no.”

As you feel the leash move, take the slack up on it enough to hold him in place.  Repeat this procedure until your dog appears to understand what’s going on.  At this time, then, you can remove the leash and instruct him to stay again.

Be sure every time he follows through and obeys you, to praise him.  Each time he doesn’t, give him a stern, strong “no.”

After you have a little experience with this command, try out his obedience.  Making and maintaining eye contact with your dog, back slowly away from him, all the while repeating the word “stay.” Be sure to make the appropriate hand gesture- keeping your hand raised.

If Goldie starts to follow, give her a stern, strong authoritative “stay.”  If she ignores this, tell her “No.”  However, when she does stay, give her lots of praise -that’s what she really wants from you, after all.

Come

Come should be the next command you teach. First, review “sit” and then “stay.” Once your dog has successfully obeyed the “stay” command and he’s a short distance from you, tell him to “Come.”  Along with this, make a gesture such as slapping your thigh, or waving in a direction toward yourself .  This motion helps to excite your dog into motion.

It won’t take your Golden long to connect the two – the verbal command and the gesture.  Praise him for his obedience.

If you dog doesn’t respond appropriately, put him on a long leash.  Let him wander off a little.  Slowly reel in the leash all the while, repeating the word “Come.”

When she finally reaches you, praise her abundantly.  Repeat this several times, always praising.  Now, try the “Come” command without the leash.

Congratulations on mastering the basic command. As you and your pup spend more time together, training will be easier.  One of the many benefits of training is the bonding that occurs between you two.

– Scott Hall

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