How To Prepare For Your First Golden Retriever Puppy

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The first few days of having your Golden Retriever puppy home are so important.

And what you do before you bring them home will either make life a lot easier, or a lot harder for you.

Here are seven steps you can take now to prepare for your new Golden Retriever puppy:

Puppy-proof your home

prepare for golden retriever puppy

Puppies are baby animals with small bladders and needle-sharp teeth.

They don’t understand where to potty or what’s okay to chew.

And this means that unless you puppy-proof your home, they can cause a lot of damage with potty accidents and destructive chewing.

Puppy proofing helps set your puppy up for success by making those unwanted behaviors much less likely. 

If you do this, then they won’t create a habit of chewing or shredding up your belongings or peeing on the corner of your nice rug.

To puppy-proof your home, start by removing things that your puppy might be able to easily access such as shoes, books, medications, house plants, and power cords.

Anything that your puppy could get to on the floors, on counters and on furniture is better off out of reach for now.

You may want to consider rolling up rugs and storing them in another room if you’re attached to them.

Your pup could have some potty accidents on them, and young puppies often find rug corners and fringe very fun to chew.

Consider putting up baby gates to keep your puppy out of spaces you prefer they not be in, as well as to block stairs.

Keeping doors closed is also part of effective puppy-proofing and it’s something you can get in the habit of before your puppy comes home.

Toilet paper can be a puppy magnet, so make sure you keep those bathroom doors closed!

You’ll also want to take a good look at your yard and puppy-proof your outdoor space.

If you have a fence, make sure there aren’t any big gaps or broken posts, where your puppy may squeeze through.

Remove any yard decorations that your puppy might mistake as toys, as well as poisonous plants, which we’ll talk more about soon.

Inside you can use baby gates to keep your pup away from things you don’t want them to get into, but outside it can be a little trickier.

Some good options are using play pens or snow fencing to block off landscaping or unmovable items that you want to keep safe from them.

Puppy proofing can help keep your home and your puppy safe.

Plus, you’ll save money by not having to replace furniture or belongings, and it saves you from expensive vet bills.

And speaking of the vet, let’s move on to the next thing you should do before bringing your puppy home.

Make an appointment with a Veterinarian

It’s typical to take your puppy to the vet within the first couple days of having them, to make sure they’re healthy.

So it’s a good idea to already have an appointment scheduled with a vet before your puppy arrives.

If you don’t already have a vet, you can find one by asking around for recommendations from friends, neighbors, or even your local Golden Retriever facebook group.

Some vets are very experienced with Golden Retrievers, and it may be helpful to work with a vet who is well-versed in issues that can affect this breed.

Besides getting set up with your regular vet, you’ll also want to take note of the nearest 24-hour emergency vet.

Hopefully, you’ll never need to go there, but if you do, the last thing you’ll want to do at that time is scroll on your phone frantically trying to figure out which vet office is open.

sleeping golden retriever puppy

Get a list of local poisonous plants & animals

Puppies are curious and they like to stick their noses in everything.

When you’re at the vet’s office, one of the things to ask them is about local poisonous plants and animals.

Obviously, I can’t tell you which plants or animals to avoid in this article because they differ depending on where you live, but your vet can definitely help you there.

They can also tell you about which human foods you can avoid, but if you want to get a headstart on that, you can watch this video about which human foods are dangerous for Golden Retrievers.

Arrange your schedule for puppy care

Puppies are babies and they can’t stay home alone for long periods of time.

Before your puppy comes to you, they spend all day with their mother and littermates, so it would be a massive change for them to suddenly be home alone for long hours.

If you work, you might want to take a week or so off from your job to help your puppy transition into their new home and routine.

You’ll also need to arrange for puppy care once you go back to work because puppies need potty breaks, meals, water, play time, and attention.

Perhaps you can adjust your schedule so you can visit your puppy at lunch, or maybe a friend is able to stop by to give your pup a break.

You can also hire a dog walker or pet sitter to make sure your puppy is getting their needs met while you’re out of the house.

It’s best to get all this sorted out before they arrive so that you aren’t scrambling for care once your puppy is home.

As your puppy matures, they can usually handle being home alone for longer periods.

But ensuring that your puppy has good care throughout the day can help prevent challenging issues like separation anxiety and potty training trouble.

There’s obviously a lot to remember before you bring your puppy home, and we’re not even talking about what to do when you actually do bring them home…

But if you want a game plan for how to raise your Golden Retriever puppy right in the first 30 days, you can check out our Golden Retriever puppy handbook.

Alright, onto the next step of getting things ready for your Golden Retriever puppy…

Buy all the necessary puppy supplies

Raising a Golden Retriever pup is a lot of work, and if you don’t have the right puppy supplies on hand, it can be even harder.

The most important thing to have ready is puppy food!

Find out what kind of food your puppy is eating so you can have the same brand ready for them.

Even if you plan on switching their food, you’ll want some of the old food to transition them without causing an upset tummy.

While you’re shopping for puppy food, pick up some yummy treats for training, too.

If you’re wondering if you should arrange for puppy training before your puppy comes home, we’ll cover that in a bit.

christmas golden retriever puppy

And as we all know, what goes in must come out, and so you’ll be wise to have potty accident cleanup supplies ready to go.

With a good potty training plan, your puppy should be having very few accidents, but you’ll want to have the right cleaner on hand just in case.

An enzymatic cleaner is best, as it breaks down the odor, rather than masking it.

A bed and crate are also very useful to have, so you can start working on crate training right away.

You might also want a puppy pen, which gives your puppy more space to play and burn energy than a crate, but still contains them so they can’t wreak havoc behind your back.

You’ll also need a collar with ID tags, and a leash.

You can see our favorite collars and leashes here.

And you might consider getting a harness too, which is really great for taking pressure off your puppy’s neck while they learn how to walk on leash without pulling.

Of course your Golden Retriever pup will also need some toys and things to chew.

Try to get a variety of shapes, textures, and flavors, so you always have something that will interest your pup.

Interactive, food-dispensing toys, like frozen kongs, can be great to have on hand too, as they are perfect for entertaining your puppy when you’re busy.

There are literally thousands of puppy products on the market, so feel free to have some fun with your shopping.

Once you get all of their supplies, you’ve got another task to get ready for your pup:

Set up the puppy supplies

The last thing you want to be doing on the first day you bring your puppy home is making a lot of noise and getting frustrated while setting up their crate.

You’ll be flustered and they’ll be terrified, which won’t exactly help you get crate training off to a good start.

You may also want to set up their food and water bowls, and install any baby gates in doorways where you don’t want your puppy to visit quite yet.

If you have landscaping outside that you don’t want them to get into, set up the snow fencing or play pens out there now.

Again, this will make the first day of having your puppy home so much easier.

Enroll your puppy in puppy school

Early training is so important for puppies.

It can help you prevent common behavior problems and establish good habits with your new pup.

Golden Retrievers that receive early training are much more enjoyable to live with.

So while you’re waiting for your furry friend to come home, find out what puppy training services are available in your area.

Goldens thrive with positive reinforcement training, and it’s best to avoid training methods that involve punishment or corrections.

Both group puppy classes and one-on-one training with a professional trainer are excellent options.

A lot of puppy training is actually training you as the owner to understand how to communicate with your puppy, so look for training that involves you, rather than sending your puppy away for someone else to train.

There are even some great virtual puppy training options, so no matter where you live or what kind of schedule you have, you can find something that works for you.

Raising Your Golden Retriever Puppy

Getting a Golden Retriever puppy is one of the most fun adventures you’ll ever go on.

It won’t always be easy, but they’re more than worth it.

If you’re about to bring home your Golden Retriever puppy, check out this article next to learn about how to raise your Golden Retriever puppy.

P.S. If you want a week-by-week game plan for raising your puppy, get the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook here.

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About the author:

Alisa Healy is a professional dog trainer in the Chicago suburbs, with a wide range of training experience from shelters to in-home training to dog sports. She is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and is passionate about helping people and dogs live fulfilling, harmonious lives together.

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