PRIOR to submitting a puppy application, please consider the following:
There is a common misconception that golden retrievers are perfect and require little training. While we believe goldens are the perfect breed for individual companionship, families, therapy and service work, this in no way suggests that golden pups don’t require a lot of work or will arrive “perfect”. Training is an absolutely necessary part of integrating a puppy into your life and preventing problems. Puppies have normal puppy behaviours that are far from perfect. Early and consistent training prevents these normal puppy behaviours from becoming problematic. Training a puppy is a long process and it’s impossible to implement a quick fix, unless you’re going to compromise your pup’s trust, temperament and emotional well being. We want our puppies to join families who are invested in the long-haul, not wanting a quick fix when issues arise.
We put our time, energy and training into our puppies the entire time they are with us, plus provide our families with valuable suggestions, tips, and resources, so each family is set up optimally for their puppy’s homecoming. However, this doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy for you. Raising a puppy is hard work, it’s tiring, and completely time consuming. And creating your “perfect golden” involves more than accomplishing sleeping happily in the crate and peeing outside consistently. You will want to create a puppy who doesn’t jump up people, doesn’t steal food off your counters, doesn’t nip when something is taken from them, doesn’t pull the leash when you walk, doesn’t guard it’s food dish, tolerates children, people and other dogs of all ages, etc. And this needs to start the day the puppy arrives home. Your days and nights are going to change completely. It gets easier as time goes on, but this is still a living being and not something you can take the batteries out of and turn off or put away when you want time to yourself.
Some pups have easier personalities and intelligence, which makes training easier and more straightforward, but all of them require training and life-long consistency. Sometimes normal puppy behaviour is difficult to fix, and you will need a different approach. If/when this happens it might be necessary to step up your own knowledge or work with a trainer to help out. I need all of our families to be aware of this and prepared to do what it takes if the need arises. Just like children, they all learn differently and it’s our jobs to work with them so they learn with strategies and a pace necessary for them. On the topic of children … your puppy can never be left alone with a young child, EVER. Puppies and children are unpredictable and move fast. Please consider this if you have young children and ask yourself if you have the time to devote to constant supervision and positive attention to your very important children + a puppy in your life. Raising a puppy is as much work, or harder than raising a toddler. Do you have the time and patience and raise both at the same time?
The assessments we do while the puppies are with us tell us the puppy’s learning style and how best to work with the puppy – like a blueprint or instruction manual – but not a decision on who is best for which family or what the puppy will develop into. We use these assessments to make recommendations to our service families, but the family always makes the decision. Once the puppies leave our home, we have zero influence on the training methods, consistency, or the amount of love and attention the puppies get. We hope and pray that our families will take our advice given in the report cards for how best to work with their puppies, but it’s completely out of our control and therefore impossible to predict what your puppy will grow into. We give them an optimal beginning, but you are your puppy’s destiny.