Puppy Raising Tips

Prepared by Liz and Bruce Russell

This document is a typical example of information that would be provided by your Breeder.  However, there may be some differences from breeder to breeder. 

If you are in doubt about what to do, please contact your Breeder or your Veterinarian for advice.

Preparing For Your New Puppy

You will soon be bringing home your new puppy, how exciting! There are a few things you can prepare before puppy arrives to help with the transition. The following is a list of some items you will need.


One of the following:

  • General Cage  #204
  • Vari Kennel (Plastic type)  #400
  • Any wire crate measuring (24″ w X 36″ l x 28″ )


  • Check with your Breeder, and pick up a supply of what the puppy has been eating.


  • Two Stainless steel bowls (2 litre)

Measuring Cup

  • Plastic, either 1 or 2 cup measure. (This will be to measure out the exact amount of food for your puppy)

Grooming Equipment

  • Brush (One with metal pins – firm)
  • Comb (metal with medium teeth)
  • Nail Clippers
  • Universal Slicker Brush (wire brush)
  • Ear Cleaner
  • Puppy Shampoo

Stain Remover/Deodourizer

  • There are a number of stain & odour removers available at pet supply stores.


Good Toys

  • Rope toys
  • Kongs
  • NylaBones
  • Hard Rubber Toys
  • Pressed Rawhides
  • Stuffed Toys

Bad Toys

  • Pencil Rawhides
  • Soft Vinyl Toys
  • Cow hooves
  • Pig Ears
  • Real Bones
  • Kids Toys

What Not to Give Your Puppy

  • Raw Eggs

  • People Food (they do not need people food, it can cause picky eaters and FAT dogs)

  • TV REMOTE!! They love to pick these up.

Diet & Exercise

Diet is important for your puppy’s development. An overweight or underweight puppy is not healthy. Please use the following guidelines for feeding.

Morning Feeding:

  • 1-1/4 CUPS to 2 CUPS of a recognized puppy food** soaked in water. Mix in 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt.

Evening Feeding:

  • 1-1/4 CUPS to 2 CUPS of a recognized puppy food** soaked in water.

It is best to start your puppy with the same food he is used to eating.  It is a good idea to have a supply of the same food on hand before you pick up your puppy.  Ask your breeder or your vet for advice if you would like to switch foods later on.

Always have fresh water available, but be aware that changes in water in different areas may cause temporary tummy upsets.  (It is a good idea to limit water intake in the evenings before bedtime.)

You will need to adjust the amount that you feed your puppy, depending on the size, condition and the amount of exercise that your puppy gets.

By four months of age your puppy can be gradually be switched to adult food. A young Golden usually requires 3 to 4 cups of food per day while he is still growing.  (PLEASE DO NOT allow your puppy to become FAT.)

An adult male should weigh between 75 – 85 lbs at maturity and a female approximately 60 – 65 lbs.


Since Golden Retrievers are a “sporting” breed they require an adequate amount of exercise to keep them healthy and happy.  Swimming, hiking, long walks, retrieving balls are just a few activities you can enjoy with your dog.

Please DO NOT run or bike with your puppy or young adult Golden. Forced exercise such as this can cause trauma or injury to developing joints. A dog’s hips and elbows do not stabilize until 2 years of age.

Free runs in a SAFE area are an excellent alternative to jogging. Remember when using public areas to exercise your dog to use common sense and courtesy. Always POOP’N SCOOP. This will ensure that all dogs are welcome at your area parks.

House Training

The most important part of house training a puppy is to be consistent. Set up a schedule and follow it, crate your puppy and become aware of “signals” your puppy gives you.

The following is a list of some ‘HINTS’:

  1. Puppies usually have to relieve themselves approximately twenty (20) minutes after eating.
  2. Again after sleeping (even little ‘cat naps’)
  3. If puppy is sniffing the floor and turning in circles ‘looking’ for a place to go.
  4. Limit water intake in the evening before bedtime.
  5. If you catch your pup “in the act”, loudly say his/her NAME! This will usually cause them to squeeze the sphincter muscles. Quickly take pup outside – even if the puppy has done it all     inside. This is part of learning.

Crate Training

A crate is the most effective tool for housetraining a puppy. While providing him or her with a safe, cozy place of their own.  Although some people think that a crate is cruel, just the opposite is true.  The crate is ‘den-like’ and makes the puppy feel secure.  It also prevents them from ingesting anything that could harm them, prevents house soiling and could save your dog’s life.  By crating your pup he/she won’t destroy valuable property. Which would result in very upset owners.  Over time if the destruction continues and more behaviour problems arise, the dog is often sadly displaced from the home.

Tips for Crate Training:

  1. The first night or longer your puppy will be scared and miss his/her littermates and familiar      surroundings.  He or she may cry, bark, whine and carry on like they are being tortured. DO NOT GIVE IN!
  2. If you place the crate beside your bed you can put a comforting hand down when the puppy fusses. If the crying continues then take the puppy out to see if he/she has to ‘go’.
  3. Puppies will generally not soil where they sleep, providing the crate is not too large. You can make their adult sized crate smaller.
  4. Sometimes putting an old towel or blanket over the crate will calm puppies down.
  5. Stuff Kong toys with cheese, peanut butter or Rollover and place in puppy’s crate.

Veterinary Care

If you have bought from an ethical breeder, your puppy will have already received his/her first shots.

Please find a veterinarian that you feel comfortable with and schedule an appointment for your puppy’s first examination within TWO days of going home, and make an appointment for the second set of shots.

We recommend that you take a fecal sample to your Vet for testing on your SECOND visit to the clinic, (to insure that your puppy remains free of parasites). Please try to ensure that your new puppy does not have direct contact with other unknown dogs or their feces until he/she is fully inoculated. (KEEP YOUR PUPPY OFF THE FLOOR & DO NOT ALLOW YOUR PUPPY TO SNIFF OTHER DOGS AT THE VET’S)

In some provinces dogs require seasonal protection against Heartworm and/or Lyme disease.  Please ask your Veterinarian to provide you with information on this subject.

If you do not know your puppy’s vaccine history, please discuss this with your veterinarian to ensure your puppy is properly protected.

In a breed in which hip dysplasia can be a problem, puppies four months of age and older should be lean and fit. If you are unsure of your puppy’s condition please check with your Vet or Breeder.  You and your puppy will benefit from exercise. NEVER jog or run a puppy or adolescent Golden, until muscles and bones are fully developed. Free exercise (i.e. long walks) are the best and most natural method of canine exercise. Please travel prepared to pick up after your dog. (Poop&Scoop) Cleaning up after your pet will ensure that dogs remain welcome in public parks and conservation areas. 

EmergenciesWhen to call a vet ?

Acute Emergencies:

  • Sudden vomiting and/or diarrhea, accompanied by a change in behaviour.
  • Sudden loss of co-ordination or staggering, unsteady gait.
  • Sudden onset of rapid, laboured breathing; inability to get air
  • Bloating (swelling) of the abdomen with retching and attempts at vomiting.
  • Swelling of the head, face or limbs
  • Collapse, fainting, seizure or convulsions

Potentially serious:

  • Fever (over 103.5 F) , loss of appetite or extreme lethargy
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea that persists for more than 24hrs.
  • Vomiting blood or brown smelly material
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Thick pus-like discharge from eyes and/or nose
  • Coughing for more than 24 hrs.
  • Straining to urinate, painful or difficult urination
  • Pawing excessively at mouth or eyes and/or gagging

* Common Household Poisons / Items that can be toxic *

  • Antifreeze, gasoline, windshield washer fluid, brake fluid
  • Deodorants
  • Disinfectants, cleansers, furniture polish, deodorizers
  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)  Advil  (Ibuprofen), laxatives
  • Most plant bulbs ;  daffodil, hyacinth, tulip
  • Walnut and peach seeds/pits.
  • Chocolate (particularly dark chocolate)
  • Grapes, Raisins, Onions
  • Amaryllis, Arrowgrass, Azalea, Boxwood, Buttercup, Caladium, Lily, Dieffenbachia, Dumb Cane, English Ivy, Holly, Marigold, Mistletoe (berries), Mushrooms, Poison Ivy and Rhubarb

First Aid Kit :

  • GAUZE (pads & rolls)
  • CHLORHEXADINE SOLUTION (to clean wounds)
  • LARGE SYRINGE  ( to give medications)
  • IMMODIUM  ( careful on dosage )

* Telephone number of your Vet and an Emergency phone number *

Obedience Training   

It is important to establish some household rules as soon as your puppy arrives home. By starting your puppy on the right track at a young age, you will stop any bad habits before they start. Consistency plays an important role in training; make sure everyone in the family is aware of the house rules. 

Golden Retrievers are generally eager, willing students and often excel at obedience. You can start taking your puppy to ‘kindergarten’ classes between 11-12 weeks of age, or one week after his or her second inoculation.

Golden Retrievers love to please their people. They are, however, an energetic sporting dog and require training and exercise to make them happy, well-behaved family members. We strongly recommend that you and your new puppy attend training classes together.

Finding an Instructor       . 

The obedience instructor you choose will have a lasting effect on the relationship that develops between you and your dog. When trying to find an instructor, referrals are a good place to start. Also veterinarians, pet supply stores, groomers or boarding kennels often can refer you to someone.

Here are a few questions to ask when calling training centres or trainers :

  1. How long have they been teaching dog obedience ?
  2. What breeds do they own and/or train ?
  3. What are their techniques?  (motivational, balanced, etc.)
  4. What are they doing to continue their education?  Do they attend workshops and seminars?
  5. Do they belong to any professional organizations?
    e.g.. CAPPDT ( Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers)
  6. Ask about cost and length of classes.

If everything sounds promising then go watch a class before you and puppy start.


Keeping your companion in all its ‘golden glory’ will require regular grooming. 

By teaching your puppy to accept being handled and groomed the task will be enjoyable for both of you. This requires firm but gentle guidance.

Whether you groom your dog yourself or have a professional groomer do it, regular maintenance is important for your dog’s well-being.

Regular grooming can help detect skin, coat, ear, or flea/tick problems early.

Brushing should be done weekly and more frequently during heavy shedding. During your weekly sessions check your puppy’s ears, skin, coat, teeth and nails. 


Nails need to be clipped approximately every month in an adult and more frequently for a puppy.  If you are unsure about clipping your puppy’s nails, your vet, groomer or breeder can show you how.


Check your puppy’s ears at least once a week. Ears should be pink and healthy with no offensive odour.

You can clean your dog’s ears with cotton pads and peroxide or ear cleaner. If you suspect an ear infection (inflamed and/or offensive odour present) then seek veterinary advice. 

Hot Spots

Moist dermatitis, otherwise known as ‘ hot spots ‘ are minor skin infections. A hot spot is easily identified by a patch or spot of wet, inflamed skin. If left untreated, hot spots will quickly become larger, oozing, painful sores. 

Cause & Treatment:

Hot spots can occur for a number of reasons; insect or flea bites, allergies, poor coat care, frequently wet coat & skin.  The most common cause is poor coat maintenance or insufficient grooming. 

Goldens are a ‘double coated’ breed and have a top coat with a softer undercoat, which they shed. It is important to brush and comb your dog right to the skin on a regular basis to remove any dead hair. This helps the skin to breathe, prevents matting and helps the skin stay healthy. Pay attention to areas on your dog where they are more heavily coated;  chest, behind ears, rear end and over the hip area. If a hot spot is detected early treatment is basic and USUALLY DOES NOT REQUIRE LARGE AREAS TO BE SHAVED, or STEROID and/or ANTIBIOTIC  treatment. 

  1. Wash the affected area with a mild antibacterial soap (Physoderm or Hibitane) and dry with a blow dryer set on low. When the area is dry, apply Polysporin or Gold Bond Medicated Powder.
  2. It is important to keep your pet from licking or scratching the sore. This will only make it worse and prolong healing. Sprays such as Bitter Apple work well to help avoid licking or chewing, and you can use an Elizabethan collar for areas around the head/ears where they scratch.


Swimming and the Skin 

If your dog is a puddle jumper or is forever in the lake, it is a good idea to towel him/her dry and comb out the hair to let the skin breathe.


Your puppy or dog should not need to be bathed frequently. If you notice a ‘doggy’ smell or if they have rolled in something disgusting it is an indication a bath is needed. Bathing can also help get out undercoat when your dog is ‘blowing’ coat or shedding a lot.

Use tearless shampoo for puppies and a good quality shampoo and conditioner for adults. Be sure to RINSE THOROUGHLY any shampoo or conditioners, to avoid dry, irritated skin.

Shampoos & Conditioners:

  • Puppy
  • Bio Groom Fluffy Puppy, Bio Groom Protein & Lanolin Shampoo.
  • Pure Pet Puppy Shampoo
  • Adult
  • Natures Choice Dirty Dog
  • Pure Pet Shampoos & Conditioners
  • Bio Groom Silk Cream Rinse
  • Natures Choice Remoisturizer

Dental Care 

Dental hygiene is as important for your companion as it is for you. Regular brushing prevents the build-up of tartar and possible gum disease.

You can start brushing your dog’s teeth at around 5 months (after all the adult teeth are in). Use a dog toothpaste; people toothpaste will upset your puppy’s tummy. You can use a face cloth, finger brush or a child’s soft toothbrush.

Start with a few teeth each day until you can brush your pup’s entire mouth 3-4 times per week.

Recommended Reading

  • Good Owners, Great Dogs – Kilcommons & Wilson
  • Don’t Shoot The Dog The New Art Of Teaching & Training – Pryor
  • I Just Got A Puppy – What Do I Do Now? – Segal & Margolis
  • How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With – Rutherford & Neil
  • Childproofing Your Dog – Brian Kilcommons
  • Dog Logic – Companion Obedience – Mcmains
  • The New Golden Retriever – Marcia Schlehr
  • Retriever Puppy Training – Loveland & Rutherford
  • The Winning Edge – Alston & Vanacore
  • Dog Showing For Beginners – Hall
  • Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook – Carlson & Giffin
  • First Aid For Dogs – Hawcroft
  • The Holistic Guide For A Healthy Dog – Brown
  • The Canadian Dog Owners Companion – Davidson & Manning