Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things to Know Before Owning a Golden Retriever:

Our oldest Golden Retriever will be six on April 1st. We got Scarlet when she was just six weeks old and quickly fell in love with her. Within another six weeks, we had our second Golden, Rhett. (Rhett passed away two years ago.) It has been five (almost six) years since we have had adolescent Golden Retrievers in our home. While I have often joked about the “first terrible two years” of a Golden Retriever’s life, I had truly forgotten just how trying a Golden puppy can be - that is until now. Cosmo will be one year old in a matter of weeks, and Rose Bud is six months old. Now all of the reasons we’d joked for so long over how hard it was to survive their puppy hood have come back to me. We’re learning again - the hard way.

With that in mind, I would like to share some tips on owning a Golden. Retriever.

Here are a few things you need to know:

1. You do not own a Golden Retriever. The more accurate description is that they own YOU.
2. Golden Retrievers will chew. If you do not provide them something to chew, they will chew whatever they can find to chew. Amended: whether you provide chew toys or not, Golden Retrievers will chew whatever they can find to chew. *Furniture made from steel is recommended.*
3. People who choose to be owned by Golden Retrievers need to have the patience of Job. If patience is not a virtue that you possess, steer clear of Golden puppies. If it is a virtue in which you wish you had more, you definitely should acquire a Golden Retriever. They will teach you to have it by the boat loads!
4. Golden Retrievers need to be kept busy. If you don’t give them something constructive to do (play fetch, go for a walk, etc…) they will find something destructive to do.
5. Golden Retrievers will EAT anything. This goes beyond the chewing issue. Chewing just leaves your belongings unsightly. Eating involves digesting said object followed by the reproduction of the original object but not in its original form.
6. The whole “mine, yours, and ours” thing is not understood by a Golden Retriever. You should know up front that it is all theirs.
7. Unless you have the pitching arm of Nolan Ryan coupled with the patience of Job, a Golden Retriever is not for you. My husband is now recovering from the second tear to his rotator cuff, and while those were not directly caused by throwing the tennis ball for the dogs, it certainly didn’t help. A Golden’s opinion of ball playing is “keep it coming”.
8. Golden Retrievers dig. My once luscious, green yard would now be a good host for a mud fight pit thanks to the multiple Golden Retrievers who spend part of their day in it.
9. Golden Retrievers LOVE water. Let me emphasize this: GOLDEN RETRIEVERS LOVE WATER. The only thing they love more than water is mud and when they can’t find mud, they make their own! Our dogs dig in their water bowl (as they are drinking and when they are not) then find the nearest pile of dirt and dig and roll and roll and dig until there is one pond size body of mud. (See above tip about digging. These two work together.)
10. Did you see the movie “UP”? (If not, it is a GREAT movie and you should definitely watch it!) Remember the scenes with the squirrels? Golden Retrievers love watching squirrels. We have acrobatic squirrels that spend the day jumping from tree branch to tree branch above our backyard. As they taunt our pups endless, our dogs stand “pointing” below while barking to one another what really sounds like, “SQUIRREL! SQUIRREL! SQUIRREL!”

While I could give many, many more examples, I will stop at ten. If you think that you can live through these ten things for at least the first two years: Congratulations! You should definitely get a Golden Retriever!! And if you do manage to survive those first two years, you really will be rewarded with the best dog in the world. These dogs truly do have hearts of gold!

“COSMO, BRING THAT SHOE BACK!!!” “ROSE BUD, DROP THAT SOCK!!” Yep, that’s it for now.. I’ve gotta go chase some pups!

(The above picture is Rose Bud and Cosmo. They were playing tug of war with one of my daughters boas.)