Tips for Adopting a Golden Retriever
When Claudia and David Haworth recently adopted Bridger, they had a fairly good idea of what they were getting into. The first of their six dogs together was Golden Retriever puppy, but that was more than 20 years ago. Bridger had a few surprises to offer.
“You can never prepare yourself for the crazy energy that a puppy brings or for the amount that it sleeps,” says Dr. Haworth, who is a veterinarian and also president and CEO of Morris Animal Foundation, which is running the largest and longest veterinary study ever conducted to improve canine health.
When the Haworths decided to add a second dog to their family, they chose a Golden Retriever specifically so they could to take part in the groundbreaking Golden Retriever Lifetime Study.
A purebred is required (to gather genetic information that may be associated with cancer), so the Haworths talked to many reputable breeders before making a decision.
Dr. Haworth offers up some good advice for adopting any breed of dog whether from a breeder, a shelter or a rescue. When adopting a specific breed, such as a Golden Retriever, it’s important to understand the history of the breed, what they were bred for and how that breed will fit into your life.
“This could be a 15-year commitment,” he says. “People really need to make sure the dog they pick has a personality that fits their lifestyle.”
The Haworths knew that, even though they are active, they wanted a dog that was fairly mellow and very sociable. They interacted with many puppies before choosing the laidback Bridger.
Dr. Haworth recommends that when adopting a Golden Retriever, or any dog, older than 4 months that you use a systematic behavior assessment tool to understand the dog’s individual personality. If the puppy is younger than 4 months, assess the behavior of its parents if possible and, if you are working with a breeder, talk to others who own adult dogs from the same line you are considering.
If you are adopting an older Golden Retriever, Dr. Haworth says it’s critical to see how the dog reacts in your home and neighborhood before committing. For example, if you live near a busy street, a dog afraid of loud noises will be stressed every time you take it for a walk.
“Knowing a dog’s personality before you bring it home helps you make a good choice for your lifestyle and strengthens your long-term bond with your new family member,” says Dr. Haworth.
To learn more about Morris Animal Foundation and our other programs please visit morrisanimalfoundation.org.