Golden Retrievers, originally bred in Scotland for bird hunting, are a popular, intelligent breed. Besides being favored as family dogs, many of them become guide dogs, search dogs and service dogs because of their eagerness and ability to learn. They are friendly dogs with happy-go-lucky personalities and confident natures. They are loyal to their families and want to be around people.
The friendly disposition of Golden Retrievers makes them ideal pets for children, who can spend hours playing with them. These dogs will bark at intruders, but they do not make good watchdogs because they are willing to accept everyone as friends. This outgoing, friendly nature often causes Golden Retrievers to get excited around people, wanting to play and jump. These dogs can knock down children and even adults if they jump up on people, so it is important to develop your Golden Retriever's social skills. Socialization training should begin when your Golden Retriever is a puppy. Introduce your dog to children, other animals, crowds of people, and visitors in your home. Golden Retrievers learn proper self-control through proper socialization, which helps them become comfortable greeting new people and playing with children.
Activities such as agility trials, obedience, freestyle, or flyball are ideal for Golden Retrievers. These activities challenge the dogs both physically and mentally, building their confidence with each successful task. Dog owners who work with their Golden Retrievers in these dog sports also strengthen the bond between themselves and their dogs.
Activities and games that stimulate your Golden Retriever's mental abilities will help keep your dog alert and happy. Puzzle games, hide-and-seek, retrieving games and training keep Golden Retrievers mentally stimulated and help prevent the kinds of behavior problems that can result from boredom.
Golden Retrievers are bred to be working dogs of the AKC sporting group. They are energetic, and they need daily exercise, including walks and free play that includes running. Golden Retrievers have an innate love for swimming because of their retrieving and bird hunting background. Throwing a ball out into a pond and letting a Golden Retriever swim out to fetch it provides a physically and mentally satisfying game for these dogs.
Along with health issues, some Golden Retrievers can display dominance issues. It is important to train your dog in obedience using positive reinforcement methods to stimulate confidence but avoid having a dog that challenges the owner.