Choosing a Golden Retriever

Once you’ve found the right breeder for you, it’s time for the fun part: choosing your Golden Retriever pup! Before you rush out and choose the smallest, cutest puppy you can find, take a moment to read these useful tips.

Why you should choose carefully

This is a decision that should be made with care – after all, you’re going to be spending the next 10-14 years with your dog. The last thing you want is to come home with a pup that’s too timid (leading to behavioural issues) or too pushy (making him difficult to train). In addition, there is a risk that you will take home a very innocent looking pup who may turn out to have health issues. This is one of the reasons that you should resist the urge to go for the tiniest, quietest pup in the litter – there may well be a reason this pup is cowering in the corner.

Temperament tests for Golden Retriever pups

The Golden Retriever is famed for his wonderful friendly temperament and eagerness to please. He should be gentle natured without being timid, and confident without being too domineering, so be as observant as you can when you go to view the litter. Here are some useful tests you can do.

  • Test 1: Observation
    Sit and watch the puppies for a few minutes. Which ones are playing happily with each other, and which ones are shying away from their siblings? Ideally you want a sociable puppy who is happy playing with the others in the litter. Look for one that is neither too submissive nor too dominant with the other pups – somewhere in the middle is a good choice.

  • Test 2: Handling
    Pick up the Golden Retriever you like the best and see how he reacts to being handled. Cradle the pup on his back and see what he does. If he reacts badly, and seems very upset, you should choose a different pup. A puppy with a good temperament will wriggle and show some resistance at first, but will then settle down and accept being cuddled.

  • Test 3: Play time
    See how the puppy responds to being played with. Does he show a keen interest in playing with you? Or does he simply look away? Choose a pup that seems playful with plenty of energy and a zest for life.

  • Test 4: Loud noises
    Take a set of keys out and shake them above your pup’s face. Does he look up quickly, show surprise and then look away. Or does he cower away? Maybe he reacts aggressively? The first of these is a sign of a good temperament – a puppy that looks startled at first and then loses interest.

Meeting the mother Golden Retriever

Apart from meeting all the puppies, don’t forget to spend some time with their mother. This will give you a good indication of what the temperament of the pups will be once they are fully grown. She should be gentle, friendly, happy and relaxed. She should also be well trained and used to strangers. If you can tick all of these boxes, you have probably chosen wisely. Good luck!

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