Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers have a reputation as the Miss Congeniality of the dog world, and in a way, they are. These enthusiastic dogs are just thrilled to meet new friends and eager to please the ones they love. They love to play with children and even other dogs, and their cheerful expressions make them fun companions.

These friendly dogs are people pleasers. They will fit perfectly into most families, especially active families who are excited to spend plenty of time playing with their dog and don't mind some extra Golden hair around the house.

Goldens make pleasant family companions because they are patient with other people and dogs. They are friendly with strangers and love to greet new friends. Watch to make sure they do not become over-exuberant when they cheerfully attempt to say hello. Indoors and with their family, they are mild-mannered and can't find much with which to take issue in their daily life. Their strong retriever instincts mean that they love to chew and carry whatever they can find proudly around in their mouths. Although these active dogs need plenty of exercise and love opportunities to burn off energy, they enjoy fetching and can easily amuse themselves with outdoor play.

The Golden Retriever's enthusiasm for everything can distract him during training. His attention his easily diverted, so be sure to make training sessions interesting and fast-paced. Usually, though, Goldens are obedient and willing to work for their owners, because their main goal is to please.

Goldens are aptly named — their coat should be a rich golden hue, from creamish gold to deep auburn, but never red. Throughout their lives, their coats change hue. They are born with light, creamy gold coats as puppies, and the color gradually darkens until they age, when they develop lighter guard hairs. The Golden's long, flat coat is a dense and wavy feathered coat that should never be curly.

These active dogs love to swim and investigate outdoors. They may need to be bathed at least once a month to help keep their coat healthy, shiny and odor-free.

No aspect of home dog grooming requires as much time and regular devotion as brushing. Routine brushing keeps your pet’s hair clean and tangle-free, while keeping his skin healthy by stimulating blood flow, removing dead hair and distributing natural oils.

With a combination of a long, silky coat and a short, smooth coat, these breeds are prone to mats and tangles, while also experiencing seasonal shedding. Depending on the breed or even individual dog, they rate anywhere from low to high on the coat maintenance scale. Many fall under moderate. Use a slicker or pin brush and a combination comb to remove tangles and keep the coat smooth. Areas under the neck and near the hind legs are generally thicker and need close attention when brushing. When encountering matting, gently brush out without excessive pulling. Use liquid detangler or baby oil for stubborn tangles and mats, gently massaging it into the trouble spot. A light mist of detangling spray after brushing helps remove loose hair and leaves a great shine.

Goldens have a lot of hair, and they shed a lot of hair. To stay one step ahead of their massive shedding schedule, brush your Golden regularly to prevent mats and to remove dead hairs. The thick coat should be brushed with a large pin brush. During times of heavy shedding, run through the Golden's coat with a rake comb to remove dead hair and keep his coat healthy.

What you need

  • Slicker, bristle or steel pin brush
  • 2-in-1 comb
  • Shedding blade (for heavy shedders
  • Liquid detangler or baby oil

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

Breeds with combination coats should be bathed seasonally, or about every three months. Naturally, it can be done more often if needed. The coat should end up fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. Coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.

Golden Retrievers can develop an odor, so they may need to be bathed at least once a month to help keep their coat healthy, shiny and odor-free.

What you need

  • Slicker, bristle or steel pin brush
  • Dog shampoo
  • Rubber tub mat
  • Towels
  • Bathing tether (if needed)

Clipping or trimming your dog’s coat is far easier than you would ever imagine. With the right clipper, trimmer and scissors, giving your dog a haircut is easy on your wallet and your schedule.

Dogs with combination coats generally require routine trimming. It lessens the chances of matting, tangles and the infestation of fleas and other pests, thus reducing the risk of skin infections. There is no set timetable. Judgment should be made on an individual basis, depending on functionality and owner preference. There are a wide array of trimmers available that will make each snip a snap. It’s a good idea to take your dog for a short walk to calm him down before you groom him. Thoroughly brush the coat to remove tangles and mats. Use trimmers to trim excess fur off the dog's body, choosing the appropriate clip attachment to achieve desired length. Start with the shoulders and progress towards the tail. Use a trimmer or a scissors to even out areas around the tail, paws, sanitary areas and chest, as needed. Groom the head and face last, being watchful for sudden movement. Trim with the flow of the fur, away from the eyes and nose.

What you need

  • Slicker, bristle or steel pin brush
  • 2-in-1 comb
  • Shedding blade (some coats)
  • Pet clipper
  • Pet trimmer

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.
 
Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.
 
You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

What you need

  • Sharpened nail clipper
  • Styptic powder

Not all breeds and coat styles require routine trimming in and around the eyes and ears but all should undergo regular inspection and cleaning around these sensitive areas. Doing so will help prevent the development of infections that could seriously damage these amazing organs.

It is always important to routinely clean your dog's eyes and ears, and examine for potential infections. Small dogs, like Dachshunds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Papillions and Japanese Chins, and dogs with hanging ears like the Saluki,  have sensitive ears that need to be checked weekly for infection and cleaned with a cotton ball. Gently wipe a cotton ball moistened with mineral oil, olive oil or witch hazel in your dog's ear, being careful to avoid the ear canal. Never use a Q-Tip, which could cause damage to the inner ear if your dog suddenly shakes or jerks his head. Bushy hair growth within the ear can be thinned with tweezers or blunt scissors. Use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around the eyes, ears and face. Small dogs like Papillions and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to developing tear stains around their eyes, so clean around their eyes with a cotton ball or soft cloth and use a small trimmer to trim excess hair around their eyes.

What you need

  • Pet trimmer
  • Blunt scissors
  • Cotton balls or soft cloth
  • Warm water
  • Mineral oil (or olive oil or witch hazel)

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.

What you need

  • Dog toothbrush
  • Dog toothpaste (homemade recipe of baking soda, salt and water is acceptable)