House Training A Golden Retriever

One of the most common methods of house training a Golden Retriever puppy is paper training. [Which Adam doesn’t recommend.]

The puppy is taught to go to the bathroom on a piece of newspaper inside of the house and then is later retrained to go outside. While this is a common method, it usually is not the best as it teaches the puppy to relieve himself inside the house.

Instead of paper training, teach your Golden Retriever puppy what you really want him to know. Take him outside to the area where you want him to relieve himself and tell him, “Go potty!” or any other command that you are comfortable using. When he has finished with his business, praise him by saying something like “Good boy to go potty!” Be sure that you don’t just send him to the backyard and hope he goes to the bathroom. You need to escort him to see that he has relieved himself and so that you can praise him for doing so.

If you try to house train your Golden Retriever puppy by punishing him for accidents that happen in the house whether it is by rubbing his nose in his mess or by sharply scolding him, you run the risk of confusing and scaring him more than actually teaching him. If you correct your puppy for housetraining accidents, he may feel that going potty is what is wrong and he may start being sneaky about where he goes so that you don’t catch him.

Successful housetraining is based upon setting your puppy up for success rather than failure. Keep accidents to a minimum and praise him when he does relieve himself where he should go.

Because your Golden puppy is a creature of habit; routines are very important. Housetraining is easier if there is a set routine for eating, eliminating, playing, walking, and sleeping.

The schedule you establish will have to work with your normal routine and lifestyle. Just keep in mind that the puppy should not remain in his crate longer than three to four hours, except at night. The puppy will need to relieve himself after eating and drinking, after exercise and playtime, and when waking up from a nap.

Limit Freedom

Many puppies do not want to take the time to go outside to go potty, especially if there are interesting happening things in the house. These puppies will then sneak off somewhere to relieve themselves. By limiting the puppy’s freedom you can prevent these “accidents” from happening. Close the bedroom doors and use baby gates across hallways to keep your puppy close. If you can’t keep an eye on him, put him outside or in his crate.

Establish a routine that works well for you and stick with it. If you stick with the schedule, your puppy will progress. However, don’t let your apparent success go to your head; don’t assume he is housetrained. Too much freedom too soon will result in problems.

Household Rules

It’s important to start establishing some household rules as soon as your new puppy joins your household. Even at eight to ten weeks of age, it is not too young for him to learn. By starting early, you can prevent problems. When deciding what rules you want to establish, look at your puppy not as the baby he is now, but rather the adult he will grow up to be. While you might not mind if your Golden puppy is on the couch now, you may not want a full grown Golden on your couch.

Some common household rules might include teaching your puppy not to jump on people, to behave when guests come over, to stay out of the kitchen, and not to chew on inappropriate things. In addition, you might want to teach the puppy to leave the kids’ toys alone, to ignore dirty clothes, and to stay off the furniture.

To teach your puppy what is allowed and what is not, you must be very clear with your commands and corrections. Either something is right or it is wrong. When the puppy picks up his toy instead of your slippers, praise him by saying something like, “Good boy to play with your toy!” When he picks up your slipper, correct him by saying something like, “No, that’s not yours!” Let him know what is wrong, then follow it by showing him what he can do instead and praise him when he does it. 

Please note: This article is part of a collection of dog-related content that we purchased the rights to. Opinions expressed may or may not agree with those espoused by Master Dog Trainer Adam G. Katz. When in doubt, please refer to the advice given in Adam’s dog training book.  This article is provided for your enjoyment, only. It’s relevance to real world working dog training may be limited.