Basic Training for Golden Retrievers

Starting your Golden Retriever early is the key to good obedience training. Golden Retriever puppies may be started into a training session on the very first day that you bring him home. The later you wait to start with the training process, the harder it will be for your puppy to learn.

Always call your puppy by the same name. Golden Retrievers can understand tones better than words, and using any name other than his will likely confuse him. This will be your puppies first lesson. You will be amazed at how fast he learns what his name is.

Your Golden Retriever’s next lesson will be to walk properly on a leash. Always be consistent when walking your new pet. He should be taught to walk on your left side, close to your leg, but not under your feet. This will take work, so remember to be patient. Reaffirm your dog with kind words if he doesn’t cooperate at first and give him a gentle tug, if necessary.

The lesson of “NO” will be learned as your puppy explores his new home. When you find him doing something wrong, tell him “NO” in a firm sharp voice, so that he knows you are serious. If he doesn’t listen to you and continues with his actions, pick your puppy up and place him in his cage. It won’t take him long to learn what “NO” means.

Begging should not be tolerated. This is a bad habit for your dog to get into. If he does approach you while you are at the table, use your “NO” command and point in the direction of his cage. He will soon learn that this is not acceptable.

Teaching your Golden Retriever simple commands will be done through training sessions. They should be limited to ten or fifteen minutes in the beginning and then increased as your dog shows interest in learning more. Two or three sessions a day when you are just starting out will teach your dog without boring him. Some commands you will want him to know may take two or three weeks to learn. Long periods of time between training sessions is not recommended, the more frequently you train with your Golden Retriever, the more eager he will be to learn.

Do not attempt to teach your dog more than one command at a time. Each command must be mastered completely before moving on to the next one. Every puppy learns at their own pace and should not be rushed.

Provide your dog with a distraction free area for your training session. Don’t expect to take your Golden Retriever to the local dog park and have him pay attention to you in the beginning. Also, never invite an audience to watch as you are training.

There are four basic commands that your Golden Retriever will need to learn. Sit, stay, come, and heel will be the basic fore-ground for any further advanced training. Always use these simple words when training because your dog will not understand sentences. He will rely more on the tone of your voice than what you are actually saying to him.

Learning “SIT” will be accomplished by holding your Golden Retriever’s leash in your right hand and use your left hand to press on his hindquarters as you say the command. Do not let him lie down by keeping tension on the leash. Have him stay in this position without letting him jump back up. Repeat this procedure for this entire training session . Continue to teach him the command “SIT” until you can take off his leash and he will “SIT.” This must be accomplished and practiced regularly before moving on to the next command.

The next command will be difficult for your Golden Retriever. “STAY” is hard for him to understand because of his loyal nature, he will want to be by your side. This is a necessary command as it may save his life someday. You may need him to “STAY” in order to keep him from being struck by a car, so it is worth the time it takes to master this skill. “STAY” will always be started with the “SIT” command. Once your dog is sitting follow with “STAY” and raise your hand like you were stopping traffic. Every time your dog starts to stand say “NO”. Repeat this process with the leash on until your dog seems to understand, praising them each time they obey. When he knows what “STAY” means it is time to put him to the real test of walking away. Command your dog to “SIT” and “STAY” release his leash and walk backwards away form him repeating the “STAY“ command often and using your hand gesture. If he attempts to follow you, make the hand gesture again and say “STAY” in a firmer voice. If he continues to follow you, reprimand him with a “NO” and return him to the starting position. If he does stay, give him plenty of verbal praise. Continue practicing this in your training sessions until your Golden Retriever has it mastered.

The next command for your Golden Retriever to learn is “COME.” This is necessary command to learn because you will want your puppy to come to you whether he wants to or not. Always start this command with the sit and stay command. After a successful “STAY” and you have walked a good distance away, clap your hands and say your dog’s name followed by “COME.” This should set your dog in motion to come running to your side. The word “COME” will become learned through practice. If your dog comes to you reward him with verbal praise and a good scratch behind his ears. If your dog does not want to cooperate, find a long rope to tie him to and let him walk a good distance away, then reel him in slowly toward you saying “COME” the entire way. Praise him when he reaches you. Again practice through training sessions will be the key. Do no move on to another command until he knows this one. The “COME” command may have to be used later to remove your dog from a dangerous situation.

After mastering “COME,” you and your Golden Retriever may move on to the “HEEL” command. This command will be taught on the leash until successfully mastered. When your dog is heeling, he will walk at your left side with his head near your knee level. Before giving the “HEEL” command, go through the other commands he has already learned to give him some confidence and he will also know that a training session has begun. Now, using the leash, hold your dog in the correct position and start to walk fast. Give your dog the “HEEL” command as you walk and if he tries to pull away you will control him by your side repeating “HEEL” in a firmer voice. If he doesn’t seem to comprehend the command at first, run through your other commands and then try “HEEL” again. This is the most difficult of the four commands for your Golden Retriever to learn. It will usually take a long time to learn this command, just remember to be patient and offer verbal praise when your dog does what you are asking him to do.

You will need to practice making turns with your dog when learning to “HEEL.” This will teach your dog that no matter which way you go, he is to follow. Allow slack in the leash as your Golden Retriever seems to get the idea that he is supposed to be walking by your side. Only remove the leash after many successful training sessions. If he should stray from your side when the leash is removed, reprimand him with “NO” and put the leash back on. This should be done every time he acts up so that he will learn to stay by your side.

After learning the four basic commands, be consistent with your training sessions, going through everything you have taught him so far. Always praise him for a job well done and reprimand him when he disobeys. This should be in the form of a “NO.” Never strike your dog with your hand or anything else as this will destroy your learning atmosphere and your Golden Retriever will begin to fear you.

After your Golden Retriever has mastered the basic commands of sit, stay, come, and heel, you may move on to other commands such as lying down, retrieving, even jumping hurdles or other obstacle course skills. You will be surprised at what you can teach your dog to do with a little practice and firm reinforcements.

Golden Retrievers learn very quickly if taught properly and can be very obedient dogs. Even if you don’t plan on showing your dog or training him later for an obstacle course, these are still necessary skills to ensure your dog will obey your orders in the face of danger.

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