Are Golden Retrievers Easy To Train? (The Answer Might Surprise You)

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Want to know if golden retrievers are easy to train?

The short answer is yes.

Golden retrievers are easy to train because they’re smart, loyal dogs that love to please people.

They were bred to be hunting dogs and work with humans, so it’s in their nature to be obedient.

In fact, in the 2018 AKC National Obedience Championship, Streak, a golden retriever, was the winner!

But if you’re considering getting a golden retriever, there’s a lot more you need to know.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • why they can be hard to train
  • how long it takes to train your golden retriever
  • 3 tips to make it easy to train your golden
  • and much more

To learn more about training golden retrievers, keep reading.

Why Golden Retrievers Are Easy To Train

Golden retrievers are very smart dogs.

In fact, according to Dr. Stanley Coren’s book, The Intelligence of Dogs, they’re the fourth smartest breed out of 138 evaluated breeds.

But it’s not just their brains that make them easy to train.

What good would it do you if they were smart but had no motivation to obey?

Another trait that goldens have that makes them easy to train is that they like to please people.

They’re loyal, family dogs that enjoy spending time with you and obeying you.

They were originally bred to retrieve gunned down birds in the marshes and fields, so they’ve been obeying people for hundreds of years.

And finally, here’s one more reason they’re easy to train:

Golden retrievers love treats!

They love to eat (although sometimes that can lead to obesity) so having a tasty treat will motivate many goldens to learn and obey quickly.

However, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies when it comes to training your golden retriever…

Why Golden Retrievers Are Hard To Train

golden retriever puppies easy training

If you told me golden retrievers are easy to train when my golden, Oliver, was six months old, I might’ve told you you were crazy.

Sometimes I think Oliver is part hyena when he’s running around being wild or mischievous.

If you have a golden retriever puppy or “teenager” and you’re feeling the same way, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

And if you’re about to get a golden retriever puppy, well, you’ll soon know what I mean!

Puppies of all breeds can be difficult, and since golden retrievers mature slowly (they don’t calm down until about 2-3 years old), expect to be in this stage for a while.

But it’s not all bad news.

The good news is that they’re totally worth it.

They’ll bring more love and joy to your family than you could ever imagine, not to mention they’re super cute.

Besides being mischievous puppies, another reason golden retrievers can be hard to train is that they love everything.

For example, golden retrievers love people so much that if you’re trying to train your golden to walk on a leash in public, they can easily be distracted trying to say hi to everyone.

Of course, this can be trained out, but it is a hurdle that you’ll have to get over when training your golden retriever.

How Long Does It Take To Train A Golden Retriever?

Here’s the question every golden retriever owner has about training them…

When will they be trained?

That’s a tough question to answer because what’s the definition of having a “trained” golden retriever?

Does it mean that they’re potty trained?

Or that they don’t jump on people?

Or that they can sit and stay?

You can train your puppy to sit in a day or two, and potty train them in about two weeks, but you probably wouldn’t consider a 10-week-old golden retriever puppy to be trained.

Also, just because your puppy can sit in the living room with no distractions doesn’t mean they’ll sit when you ask them at the dog park.

Here are some very rough estimations of how long it takes to train certain skills and behaviors:

Potty training: two weeks to a few months

Crate training: one week to a few months

Sit: a few days (this is sitting at home with no distractions, it will take longer to teach them to sit in more stimulating environments)

Down: a few days (this is laying down at home with no distractions, it will take longer to teach them down in more stimulating environments)

Shake: a few days

Puppy biting: 2-4 months

How to walk on a leash (without ever pulling): a few weeks to a few years (yes, this may seem like a long time, but it’s a process that they’ll slowly get better and better at)

Are Male Or Female Golden Retrievers Easier To Train?

golden retrievers easy training

There are many stories, anecdotes, and unproven biases about whether male or female dogs are easier to train.

If you ask a range of vets or trainers, you’ll likely get a range of answers.

Also, in the 2018 AKC National Obedience Championship that was mentioned earlier, there was a mix of male and females that placed in the top 10.

So here’s what matters more than sex: their personality and genetics.

If a dog comes from well-behaved, biddable (aka easy to train) parents, then the dog is more likely to be well-behaved and biddable.

On the other hand, if they come from parents that were poorly-behaved and untrained, then they’ll likely be harder to train.

3 Tips To Have An Easy-To-Train Golden Retriever

If you want to get a golden retriever that is easy to train, here are three tips to increase your chances.

  1. Choose a good breeder. A good breeder will only breed (and therefore, most likely produce) dogs that are healthy and good natured. Also, a good breeder will socialize your puppy early.
  2. Socialize your golden. By exposing your dog to many different people, animals, and situations, they’ll be confident and comfortable and easier to train.
  3. Start early. If you start training your puppy as soon as you get them, they’ll get used to working with you, and it’ll be easier for both of you in the long run.

6 Tips For Training Your Golden Retriever

Now that you know golden retrievers can be easy to train, here are six tips for how to do that.

  1. Start early. I know we just mentioned this tip, but if you start training your puppy early, they won’t get a chance to develop bad habits.
  2. Use positive reinforcement. The goal is to get your puppy to want to do whatever you’re asking them.
  3. Take baby steps. To teach a new behavior, start small, and then gradually increase the difficulty.
  4. Train in small but frequent sessions. Five two minute sessions are better than one ten minute session, especially for puppies.
  5. Join a puppy kindergarten class. This will help with both teaching the basics and socialization.
  6. Make it fun. Golden retrievers love playing and having fun, and if you make training fun, they’ll learn much more quickly.

Check out this article to learn more about training your golden retriever.


easy training golden retriever

Yes, golden retrievers are easy to train, but don’t let that trick you into thinking training your golden will be a walk in the park.

They can be difficult sometimes, especially as puppies, and since they’re so smart, that can also lead to them being mischievous.

That being said, if you and your golden consistently train together, they’ll be a well-behaved dog before you know it.

Have any questions about training your golden retriever?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who’s thinking abtou getting a golden retriever puppy, please share this with them.

P.S. If you liked this article, you’ll love our guide to training your golden retriever puppy in five minutes or less.

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