One of the most popular dogs in American society is the Golden Retriever so if you're the owner of one of these magnificent beasts, you'll need to know how to train a Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers, or "Goldens" for short, are a very intelligent breed and should be handled with respect and love. Goldens can be a bit timid so never yell at or reprimand your dog for doing something he doesn't know is wrong. Instead, choosing a positive reinforcement training method will work the best for these dogs with a big heart.
Learning how to train a Golden Retriever is mainly about training the human first. So, come along and learn some basics of dog training.
- The easiest way to train a Golden is to enroll him early on in puppy training classes. Goldens tend to be of very good dispositions, so they will mix and match with other dogs very well. Starting off with obedience when your dog is young will help him adjust to you, strangers and other dogs. Pick a puppy class that trains with positive reinforcement instead of negative reinforcement and you'll have a much easier path to training your Golden Retriever.
- Find out what motivates your particular dog to work for you. Your dog might go nuts over liver treats or, with a lot of Goldens, a toss of a tennis ball is enough to get them to do whatever you ask. Work closely with your dog to see what treat he enjoys the most and stock up for training sessions.
- Purchase a clicker at your local pet store and start training. You must first teach the Golden that a click means a treat will follow, so take ten small pieces of food and place them on a table. With your dog in front of you, click the clicker once and pop a piece of food in his mouth. Do this all ten times. In this way, you've trained the dog to associate the click with a tasty treat. This is called "loading the clicker" and you only need to ever do it once.
- Wait for your dog to offer you a behavior, such as sitting, click and reward. While you're in a training session with your dog, every time he does something you eventually will want to command (such as sit, down, or even shake), click the clicker and reward. Your dog will quickly associate the last action he performed with a reward. Eventually, and only when you're sure he is offering you the behavior because he understands, give the behavior a name. So, after eight or nine "sits," tell him "SIT" before clicking the clicker. He'll soon associate the word "sit" with the action.
- Never repeat the command more than once. This is where most humans fail. Don't ever give a command that you're not willing to reinforce. So, this means that, if your Golden is bounding after a squirrel, don't tell him to "sit" as you know he won't do it. Do not say "sit, Sit, SIT" as you'll teach your dog that he doesn't need to listen to you the first time. If you learn nothing else, learn this—give the command ONCE and then make the dog do it. If you can't make the dog do the command, don't say it. You'll have a much more obedient dog following this axiom.
Tip: Even if your heart is set on getting a purebred Golden, please consider adoption over purchasing, especially from a pet store. Every dog breed has their own rescue network and there are millions of homeless dogs. The added bonus is that an older Golden Retriever will be much easier to train than an eight week old puppy.