Your Golden Retriever Puppy Month by Month
By Terry Albert
Released in January 2016, this book takes you month by month through your puppy's first year. It includes everything you need to know about health, development, training, nutrition, socialization, and just how to have fun with your new Golden Retriever.
Numerous experts helped me with this book, and I hope you will find something new and interesting on every page! Many thanks to Alan Gunther of Shadalane Golden Retrievers, and Deb Eldredge DVM, who offered valuable input and reviewed every word I wrote. Also thank you to the many breeders, trainers, groomers, Golden Retriever owners and other experts who shared their knowledge and expertise: Pat Schaap, Tonya Struble, Michael Schooley, Robin Bowen, Jane Jensen, Jenifer Masterson, Laura Franci, Susan Maloch, Rebecca Barney, Dave and Catherine Geiser, Linda Barlow, Michael and Kathy Bogner, Judy Maraventano and Lianne Morrison. So many generous people gave their time and expertise. Thank you!
More about my co-authors:
Alan Gunther has been involved with Golden Retrievers for nearly 30 years and got his first show dog in 1993. He and his dogs have competed in obedience and agility, and he has owned multiple breed champions and members of the Golden Retriever Club of America's Show Dog Hall of Fame with his Shadalane Golden Retrievers. A past president of the Golden Retriever Club of San Diego County, he's a member of Shoreline Dog Fanciers Association in Southern California, where he serves as Sporting Group director. Alan worked for many years as a professional handler and currently owns a dog boarding and training facility in Vista, California.
Deb Eldredge, DVM, graduated from Cornell University, where she was the first recipient of the Gentle Doctor Award given by the clinical faculty for best patient care. Dr. Eldredge is past president of the Dog Writers Association of America, is the author of more than 20 books on pets, and has won numerous writing awards. She counts numerous Goldens as good friends and patients.
One of the top ten breeds in America for the last two decades, Golden Retrievers are loved for their outstanding temperaments and stunning beauty. The superlatives you’ll hear are endless: good-natured, great family dogs, eager to please, easy to train, superb athletes, friendly toward all varieties of animals and people. These same traits have made them ideal dogs for helping people in many different roles: assistance for the physically handicapped, search and rescue, therapy visits, and more. A Golden’s devotion to his family is deep and endless. Wanting nothing more on earth than to be by your side, this happy-go-lucky dog is always ready to play hard or just sit with you by the fire.
Although they are genetically blessed, just like human children Goldens need loving care, guidance and discipline to grow into a well-behaved member of society. And that is where this book comes in. We hope to helpease the journey during your first year with your new family member!
Months 1 & 2: The Littermate
Your puppy grows rapidly these first two months. Her mother provides most of her care, and mom and the littermates teach your pup the skills she needs to know.
Month 3: Your Puppy Comes Home
You choose your pup this month and then go home and prepare for his arrival. When you have him home, you begin crate and housetraining, get him his vaccines, and more.
Month 4: Finding Her Way
Teething begins during Month 4. You start socializing her to other dogs and people, introduce obedience training, and have fun playing together.
Month 5: The Rebel
Your puppy becomes more independent this month. His vaccines are finished, socialization continues, and obedience training and household rules are reinforced.
Month 6: Full Speed Ahead
She starts to look less like a puppy and more like a growing dog this month, and injuries are possible as she romps and runs. Expect some shedding and behavior issues.
Month 7: The Silly Tweenager
At 7 months, you consider spay or neuter surgery. Exercise is important, and training continues, further cementing the bond between you.
Month 8: Adolescence
Teenagers are a challenge, as you'll learn this month. Watch for and treat coat problems if they develop, and help her learn concentration and self control.
Month 9: In Search of a Leader
Your pup begins to develop mature male and female physical characteristics this month. Expect him to test your authority; he is a teenager after all!
Month 10: In Transition
You can begin comparing your puppy to the breed standard this month. You'll see some teenage behavior regression as you prepare for off-leash control.
Month 11: Putting Your Golden to Work
At 11 months, he's almost an adult. You can more easily travel with him now and get him involved in dog sports. You can also work on refining his obedience and teaching tricks.
Month 12 and Beyond:
Your Golden Grows Up
More physical changes occur this month, and she goes in for her annual checkup. Continue training and exercise, and enjoy your best friend!