Is a puppy right for you? There may be many reasons why you are considering a Golden Retriever, you may be looking for a pet that is good with children, be interested in a dog for showing or working or just a loving companion. Before you buy, I suggest that you consider why you want a dog. Remember a Golden Retriever has a life expectancy of anything from 12 to 14 years and hopefully longer, so this is a long term commitment for yourself and the family. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you look at any pups.
Is this the right time for you to get a puppy? Puppies' first 16 weeks of life require a lot of attention. They go through different stages of development and need lots of exposure to the world to develop into great dogs. From the time of breeding/mating till the puppy is ready to go to their new home is about 4 months total. Pregnancy lasts about 9 weeks, then puppies are raised in my home for another 8/9 wks. then they go off to their new homes. For the following 2 months after they leave my place, puppies will need to be vaccinated, dewormed, trained, socialized etc. Can you take a puppy home when required?
Can you take holidays to look after the puppy, are you planning a vacation in that time frame or a big event that would not be good for a small puppy? Puppies cannot be boarded at a kennel facility or be around other dogs until they are fully vaccinated at around 16 weeks of age. Please ensure you have adequate time to spend with your puppy, or consider waiting for another litter whose timing suits you better.
Do you have the time? Dogs are pack animals and like to be around people. A young puppy as well as an older dog needs company. Are you prepared to get up an hour earlier before work to spend some individual time with your puppy? Do you have the time to take a puppy or older dog for a walk before work or at lunch? Are you prepared to have someone come in throughout the day to feed and let your puppy out for possibly an hour at a time and dedicate your evenings to them? A puppy or indeed an older dog will become stressed and destructive if left alone for long periods. They are inquisitive and like to play and learn. Are you prepared to take your puppy to obedience training and out into the big world to socialize them? The Golden Retriever is a sporting breed and therefore needs a good amount of exercise. A tired puppy/dog is a happy puppy/dog and a happy owner.
Toilet Training: You will have to start toilet training right away. This means taking him out when he wakes and after each meal and play session. Without attention it will be virtually impossible to toilet train. Is your yard secure? It is so important that your yard has adequate fencing and is secure. A young puppy is naturally curious and will explore any hole or gap he can find. Remember some plants and bulbs are poisonous, so make sure these are out of reach. Please refer to this link: Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants.
Crate Training: Your flooring and woodwork are in serious danger as well as other items in your home if someone is not around to watch the puppy! It is also for the safety of the puppy. It makes it easier to toilet train a puppy as most dogs don’t like to do their business in their 'den', so will hold it until they can get outside. It also prepares them if they must be crated while at the veterinarian or a boarding kennel. It will be far less stressful on them if they are already crate trained.
Are the children old enough to take on the responsibility of a dog? Although the breed makes excellent family pets, and chosen with care from the right breeder, will be happy with young children. The younger members must realize that the puppy is an animal and not a toy and should respect the puppy or dog's boundaries. They also have very sharp teeth and bite alot as they are teething, are your children prepared for this? It cannot be emphasized enough: YOUNG CHILDREN SHOULD NEVER BE LEFT UNSUPERVISED WITH A PUPPY OR DOG. A good website to view with your kids is
Dogs are a long term commitment and not a whim, so discuss this thoroughly before you contact a breeder.
Financial costs of owning a puppy/dog: The initial cost of purchasing a puppy might be the cheapest part of owning a dog. Puppies/dogs can come with or grow to have some inexpensive issues or some very expensive ones. I highly recommend pet insurance.
Here is a list of some expenses (prices are approximate):
Puppies initial vet visits and vaccines (3 of them-I provide the first one) $70.00-$100.00 each visit
Stool sample tests for worms/parasites – $80.00 per test
Spaying & Neutering – $300.00 -$800.00
Unexpected Veterinary bills – ???
Puppy Kindergarten class – $150.00
Obedience/Agility classes etc. – $150.00-$200.00
Crates, toys, collars, leash, etc. ..
Pet insurance - $75.00 /month (estimate)
Food - $80.00 - $100.00/month ( average 30/40 lb bag of good quality dog food when adult; growing puppies need more)
Behaviour Specialist (if needed) $500.00
Doggy Day Care $25.00/day
Dog walker – $20.00 per walk
Kennel – $45.00/day
Fencing – required before puppy comes home.
Replacing items that have been destroyed - i.e. the carpet, chair, base boards etc...$$$
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