|Is a golden retriever puppy right for you?
Bringing home a new family member means having to evaluate various aspects of your life. Time, space, finances and emotional commitment are universal factors in proper dog care, regardless of breed.
Puppies are a huge time commitment and ensuring a well-adjusted pet means having the time to provide for a puppies mental and physical needs. Remember that dogs of every age require stimulating interaction every day, be sure that this is a commitment you can make for many years. It is important to keep in mind that dogs live long lives and it is not unusual for golden retrievers to live for at least 12 years.
A golden retriever is a large active dog that needs space to move around. Regular walks, runs, and dog sports can compensate for a small backyard. However, space also refers to inside the home. Is your house full of precious antiques and family heirlooms? Are you prepared for an active puppy exploring your house with its nose and teeth? Are you alright with your doggy friend who might not immediately know where the bathroom is? If you have children, are you committed to managing the stuff the kids leave lying around? Puppy proofing and proper training can alleviate a lot of these concerns, but you must consider all the above as possible scenarios before your new family member arrives home.
What breed is right for you?:
Why a purebred dog? A well bred purebred dog gives a set of expectations for size, shape, personality, exercise requirements, life span, possible health concerns, grooming requirements and perhaps most importantly behaviour. Good breeders spend a lot of time creating great dogs true to their breed and to the best of the breed. Breeders want owners to know what they will be going home with and what to expect. Crossbred dogs or mix breed dogs usually do not come with health testing. There is often great variability when mixing breeds. Often what we see is the worst of both breeds in one dog. If you are seeking a mixed breed or designer dog, please ask about health testing. If those selling mixed breed dogs truly care they will be doing health clearances or testing which should be made available to you. Going to dog shows is a great way to expose yourself to different breeds. Breeders are happy to talk about their breed (as long as they’re not on their way to the show ring!).
Finding a Breeder
If you think a golden retriever is the perfect breed for your life style, contact the state breed clubs for recommendations of Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) Breeders. Connecting with a breeder should result in multiple conversations and planning in advance of choosing your best friend. Puppies are rarely available on a moment’s notice. Remember that a good breeder will interview you as much as you interview them and will tell you if you have the correct breed for your situation. If no puppies are planned, they may be able to recommend another good breeder. Good breeders have great passion for their breed. They should have details about the pedigree – parents and grandparents. Good breeders will tell you what their dogs have done in conformation and dog sports. They will freely share health clearances as well. These are the tests that are done to check for inherited diseases . Different breeds will have different testing requirements. In order to know what health clearances are recommended for the golden retriever check out the NGRC’s factsheets. You can also go to the state breed club’s websites to see what their requirements are. Breeders will invite you to visit their home and allow you see at least one parent of the litter. At the breeders home you can look at the way they are housed, handled and socialised. The breeder will help select which puppy in the litter may be best for your situation. A good breeder will not want the puppies to leave too early, not before 8 weeks of age. The breeder will have a contract which outlines each party’s responsibilities. All good breeders will take a dog back if it is not working, or circumstances change. Additionally, breeders will offer support for the duration of the dog’s life.
Always ask questions – you should get reasonable answers, and if you have any concerns, don’t rush into a commitment. Remember, happy endings begin with research.