About Your Golden

An important part of AGK’s mission is to educate the East Tennessee community, volunteers, and adopters on responsible pet ownership.  One way we fulfill our mission is to include this resource page on our website grouped by topics of interest to golden owners. 

Having Fun with Your Dog

Doing fun things with your golden is a great way to strengthen your relationship and enjoy time together.  Goldens need regular exercise but they also want to spend time with you!  Take your golden for walks in the neighborhood or go on hikes; throw the ball; take classes to learn new skills or become proficient in a sport together.  Also, give your golden toys that are not only safe and fun but also will challenge their brains.

Training & Behavior

Does your golden have some issues you do not know how to handle?  Generally, owners will consult a trainer or behaviorist (sometimes both) depending on the nature of the problem.  Trainers generally deal with “how” issues and behaviorists generally deal with “why” issues, but sometimes they work together depending on the issue. What is the difference between a trainer and behaviorist and how do you find one?

Behaviorists:  The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior will help you find a behaviorist who will work with you and your dog.  We also recommend that you talk with your vet or consult with AGK.  Many behaviorists do online consults as well as sessions in their office or your home.  Online consults are particularly helpful if you do not live close to a behaviorist.

Trainers:  There is no single group that certifies dog trainers, and different trainers may have no certifications or variable certifications and use different training methods.  The links below include information for locating trainers certified by the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT), the Association for Professional Dog Trainers, and The Academy of Dog Trainers (ADT).  Many of these trainers have virtual options as well as face-to-face training. AGK recommends you work with trainers who use only positive reinforcement methods.  Educate yourself before committing to a training program.  Ask for references.  If you plan to put your dog in a board and train program, visit the facility, watch a training session, know what methods they use and where your golden will be during the board and train, and require regular reports and photos.

Please DO NOT use trainers who incorporate shock collars or remote training collars (also called e-collars, E collars, tap collars, vibration/tone collars, or collars like “TENS” units) in their training programs.  These collars deliver electrical stimulation, sound or vibration of varying intensity and duration to the neck of a dog.  Some trainers also place them against other body parts.  For more information, refer to this article by Victoria Stillwell.  We also recommend you do not use trainers who use pack leader/dominance training techniques.

Things to consider in looking for a professional dog trainer.

Suggestions for choosing a professional dog trainer.

How to find trainers who use positive reinforcement:

    • Consult with your vet.
    • Find a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP)  to work with you and your dog.  KPA has built a community of positive reinforment trainers who can work with you and your dog using force-free training methods and is a leading proponent of operant conditioning.  You can use the online directory to find a trainer close to you.  For best results, use the Search by Location option.
    • One source for finding a professional dog trainer who uses positive reinforcement is the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainer  — put in your zip code to find a trainer in your area.
    • Another good source for finding a trainer who uses positive reinforcement is the Academy for Dog Trainers.
Separation Anxiety and Thunder Phobia
Thunder phobia and separation anxiety unfortunately are two of the most common issues for goldens.  If your dog has these issues, know that they cannot help the reaction they have.  Work with a trainer or behaviorist to come up with strategies for managing the environment and the dog’s reaction to it.

Socialization and Fear Issues

Goldens with socialization and fear issues can be much loved family members, but they often require homes which understand their needs and requirements.  Their issues may be the result of abuse, but more often come for lack of socialization and fear.  Working with these dogs takes patience and time but is rewarding.

Choosing what food to feed your dog can be an overwhelming decision.  Photos on the front of the bags are designed to appeal to our senses, no matter the ingredients in the bag.  Friends encourage you to use the same food they use for their dog.  Dog magazines publish lists of the top 20 foods.  Who is right?  Should you feed a raw diet, a grain free; a diet that includes grains?  What about the link between grain free food and cardiomyopathy in goldens?  Please talk with your veterinarian first who knows the nutritional needs of your dog.  If you do consult online sources, avoid those that articles that are not based on sound research.

Senior Dogs
Most of us in golden rescue have a huge soft spot for what we call the ”sugar-faced”  Golden Oldies.  We simply love senior goldens!!  There is nothing quite like the love and devotion of a senior dog.  Learn how you can help make this time of life even better for your senior golden.