If you’re thinking about adding a dog to your family, you can’t go wrong with a golden retriever. Every year, they’re among the most popular breeds in the US. Their loyalty, patience and intelligence make them an all-around perfect family dog. But if you’re thinking about buying a golden retriever, there are a few things you should know before you buy.
The first thing you can do to prepare yourself and your family for a dog is to learn about the breed. Perhaps you’ve had a golden before, or you’re otherwise familiar with them. This is great preparation for another one. If you’ve never owned a dog before, it makes sense to read everything you can about the breed and caring for a new pet. Not only will it prepare you for the new family member to come, it will make you feel more confident in caring for the dog.
Don’t limit your research to goldens. Before you ever go to look at puppies, research the organization from which you’re getting your dog, too. (You don’t want to see the puppies before you do this. You could be swayed by an adorable dog.) Be sure you’re getting it from a reputable breeder. Many pet stores claim to sell dogs from breeders, but they’re really ordering the dogs from puppy mills. Many times, these establishments breed dogs in deplorable conditions, with little regard for congenital defects that can be exacerbated through careless breeding. Puppy mill dogs are more likely to have chronic health problems throughout their lives. A responsible breeder takes care to only breed dogs that are free of health issues that can be passed down to their puppies. Good breeders also have “papers” for their dogs. They tell you the exact lineage of your puppy. Many times, the sire and dam are on site, so you can get an idea of what your puppy will grow up to be like.
Another alternative to buying a golden retriever from a breeder is adopting from a golden retriever rescue organization. More often than not, the dogs in rescue have been given up due to circumstances beyond their control, and are perfect purebred dogs.
Now it’s time to go see the dog. (If there’s more than one, might be hard to choose!) Go when you can spend a little time with the dog. And be sure to bring everyone who will live in the house with the dog. It’s important that everyone get along with the dog, and vice versa. It’s also important that everyone agrees to get a dog in the first place. If one person doesn’t, you might find that person undoing all the careful training you’ve been doing, by not participating in the dog’s care.
You might find that one dog is friendlier than another, or one dog is a little more aggressive than the rest. Some people decide simply by choosing the first dog to approach them or the first dog to kiss them. While that can sometimes be successful, it’s important to get to know the dog’s personality, and determine how it would blend with the personalities in your home, before making a selection.
If it’s possible for you to have access to medical records, take a look at them. Review them for any signs of long-term illnesses or chronic issues. A golden retriever’s life span is approximately 11 years. If you’re looking at a puppy, and it already shows signs of illness, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to take on the responsibility of caring for a dog that could be chronically ill. Of course, some issues could clear up as the dog gets older, but it’s wise to consider the alternatives. See if there’s a chance you can take the new dog to the vet to be checked out prior to you taking it home permanently.
Once you think you’ve chosen the dog that’s right for you, see if you can put it on hold overnight. Dog ownership is not a decision to be taken lightly, and it’s one that will stay with you for a decade or more. It makes good sense to sleep on it. If you wake up thinking about your new puppy, that’s a good sign.
This is also a good time to get all your supplies, if you haven’t already. Buying a golden retriever isn’t just buying a dog. It’s buying everything the dog needs to be happy, healthy and comfortable. To start, plan on picking up food, bowls, a collar, a leash, a bed, toys and treats.
Now go get your new dog and prepare to be loved!