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  • Writer's pictureAmy Montalvo

Setting Up Your New Golden Retriever Puppy for Success: A Guide to Puppy Equipment and Care

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Ensuring your new puppy gets the best start is essential, and it begins with equipping new puppy parents with the right tools and guidance. Preparing your home for your golden retriever puppy's arrival involves more than just choosing cute toys and a cozy bed. From selecting grooming tools to picking the perfect food, finding the right crate, and creating safe play areas, this guide covers what will help you. I'm here to empower you with honest recommendations and valuable insights, enabling you to make informed choices for your beloved pet. I have a commitment to supporting you, the new puppy parent, every step of the way. Whether you're a first-time golden retriever puppy owner or a seasoned dog lover looking for a refresher, this guide is designed to assist you in providing the best care and supplies for your furry family member.


I know everyone will want to meet your new puppy, hold off on inviting visitors over and take the next two weeks to allow your puppy to understand the world. Everything is new and so overwhelming. For now, let them settle in and learn a schedule. The puppy will still be in quarantine for the next two months. This means staying in his home and limiting them to one area in your yard for potty training.


This type of outside playpen works well to get you out and back inside as soon as possible. The pictures are links on Amazon to get you started on comparison shopping for your needs.

Once you are finished using these pens for potty training, they also make good barriers for doorways and allow you to partition off parts of a room. A mistake new puppy owners make is giving a puppy too much freedom in the house. You can easily buy a second one for inside to limit the puppy's access to the home and provide a safe area for you to place the puppy if not in the kennel. If your eyes are not constantly on the puppy, the puppy needs to be in a safe area.


Giving your puppy a free run of the yard detracts from the purpose of taking them out to potty. They will easily become distracted by falling leaves, bugs, or potential hazards. They will think this time is to play. Get them out and back inside. Be careful during your quarantine time outside. You will greatly appreciate how quickly they learn to potty in the pen outside, especially if it is raining. Play with them for a bit to wear them out. Take them out again before you put them into the kennel for a nap. Once you understand how often you are going in and out throughout the day, you will appreciate the puppy does not see these trips as playtime.




Outside the pen is strong in the circular configuration. It withstands the body weight of a puppy jumping against the wall. It is lightweight and you can quickly move the enclosure wall towards the puppy by positioning the fecal matter on the outside providing you an opportunity to clean the feces from the yard and keep the puppy from stepping into the pile.


Repeat to the puppy often that you are going outside to potty. Once in the pen, tell them to "go potty" Once they potty, repeat often “Oh! good potty! Oh! good potty outside! Before long you will learn their cues.


Pictures on this page are affiliate links to products most often on Amazon. They are just to provide some guidance on items I find that work well and provide you an opportunity to compare similar items. Some that are higher cost may come with a door. However, sometimes the doors fail and pop open. Walmart and other stores carry similar products in the baby department. They do sell metal puppy pens. However, I've found these to be dangerous at times and too lightweight whereas the puppy jumps on the wall and the entire structure flips over.


Puppies typically will want to defecate outside. Bladder control takes about four months. Give them the opportunity every 45 min or so to relieve themselves while utilizing positive reinforcement with your praise. They will quickly learn their schedule. The feeding and nap schedule will dictate when they need to relieve themselves. Typically right after eating, they will need to poo. As soon as you notice they are awake, take them outside immediately. You do not want to give them an opportunity to potty in the kennel or the house.



You can start short car rides while in quarantine. Make sure to hold feedings on the days you plan on transporting them, withholding food should help with bowel elimination and vomiting from motion sickness. Benadryl is safe for dogs and can aid with motion sickness. Car rides will allow the puppy to get used to the sensation and fear of the car.


Whenever scary things, sounds, and situations can be introduced and normalized at this stage will greatly help them to focus on only you in the world. It is critical to introduce them to things that may be scary so they are not traumatized and have anxiety later in life.


Crate:

Welcoming a golden retriever puppy into your home comes with the exciting responsibility of providing a safe and comfortable space for them to call their own. Choosing the right metal crate is a crucial aspect of this process. Opt for a crate that allows ample room for your golden to stand, turn around, and lie down comfortably. The size should accommodate their full-grown dimensions, ensuring a cozy den-like environment rather than a cramped space.


When bringing your golden retriever puppy home, consider using two crates for an effective nighttime routine. Place a smaller crate near your bed to quickly attend to your puppy's needs during the night. When your puppy stirs for a potty break, keep interactions calm and business-like—avoid playtime. After the necessary trip outdoors, gently place the puppy back in the crate with a soothing ice cube and a treat, such as a baby carrot. This not only redirects their focus but also encourages a settling bedtime routine, helping your puppy associate the crate with restful sleep rather than playtime in the wee hours


Metal crates, with their durability and visibility, are an excellent choice. Typically these measurements are around 42" L x 28"W x 30" H

To the left is an example of and economical crate MidWest Homes Single Door Crate. The open design promotes ventilation and allows your pup to observe its surroundings, reducing anxiety. When introducing your golden to crate training, make it a positive experience. Associate the crate with positive activities, such as meals and treats, to create a positive association. Gradually increase the time spent in the crate, always keeping it a positive and secure space. Crate training not only aids in housebreaking but also provides a safe haven for your golden retriever, contributing to their overall well-being. With the right crate and positive reinforcement, your golden will happily embrace their den as a comforting retreat within your loving home.



Beds.

When embarking on potty training, it's advisable to avoid using your puppy's bed inside the kennel. Instead, position fluffy dog beds near their toys to create a cozy environment. Keep in mind that regularly washing cushioned beds may diminish their effectiveness, so consider using an old blanket or comforter as a practical alternative. When purchasing a bed, prioritize easy cleaning. Elevated beds are often preferred by dogs and make excellent choices for maintaining hygiene and comfort.


Selecting the right bed for your golden retriever is about more than just comfort—it's about enhancing their overall well-being. Elevated beds, also known as orthopedic beds, offer crucial joint support, reducing the risk of arthritis and promoting long-term joint health. The raised design enhances air circulation, keeping your pup cool in warmer weather and providing insulation in cooler temperatures.


Elevated beds also excel in hygiene, being less likely to trap odors and easier to clean. They minimize contact with the cold or hot floor, ensuring a comfortable and regulated sleeping surface. Additionally, dogs naturally enjoy having a vantage point to observe their surroundings, and elevated beds fulfill this instinct, alleviating anxiety and stress for a calm and contented pup. In conclusion, the advantages of elevated beds for golden retrievers are clear—supporting joint health, promoting hygiene, and providing a secure and comfortable space. Elevate your furry friend's comfort with a thoughtfully chosen bed.



To the left is K9 Ballistics Chew Proof Armored Elevated Bed. Invest in quality from the start to avoid frequent replacements. The suggestions I provide are tailored for optimal choices but steer clear of the cheapest options as they often lead to the need for premature replacements. Prioritize durability and functionality to ensure a long-lasting and worthwhile investment for your golden retriever's well-being and comfort. This company also offers a cushioned bed attachment.



Food:


Your puppy is currently being fed Blue Buffalo Life Protection Formula Puppy Large Breed Dog Food, the Chicken and Brown Rice Choosing the right nutrition for your golden retriever puppy is paramount, especially when it comes to managing their growth. Opting for a specially formulated large breed puppy food is crucial to ensure a controlled and gradual development. Rapid growth in large breeds like golden retrievers can put excessive strain on their developing bones and joints, potentially leading to skeletal issues later in life. By providing a diet tailored to their size, you promote the proper development of hips and joints, fostering strong bones that will support your puppy's active lifestyle throughout its life. This careful approach to nutrition lays the foundation for a happy, healthy, and well-balanced adult golden retriever


Your puppy must stay on the same food for at least two weeks after going home. Be mindful of dog ingredients and keep up with research. The Dog Food Advisory website is a good tool when you need to research quality foods available to you. It also will give you the opportunity to understand what the ingredients actually are. https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/


I do not use commercial treats. Make sure you never buy foods or treats manufactured in China. Many products from China have poisoned dogs. Never use rawhide. It is processed with dangerous chemicals and can easily lodge in their throat. Dogs enjoy many fruits and vegetables. I typically always keep baby carrots, apples, bananas, broccoli, and cabbage on hand for their snacks. They also really enjoy various melons. Here is a good list of safe foods for dogs:


Too many blueberries can loosen their stool. Don't get carried away by giving them too much of anything. Turkey can have the same effect in my experience. Pineapple is a good food if a puppy is eating their stool. There are products for this behavior. I've also heard black licorice and sprinkling MSG over their food also make feces undesirable.



ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Phone Number: (888) 426-4435

Poison control advice is not free for animals. I believe it is around $100 and can quickly provide piece of mind.


Bowls:

Stainless Steel or weighted. If ceramic, watch for possible lead. Flat bottoms work best. Watch rims—some puppies can carry their bowls around and quickly learn to flip them.

Ice cubes are great at night to limit water intake. Feeding and utilizing treats (carrots. Kongs with a bit of peanut butter). When they “go to the kennel,” quickly helps them accept the kennel as a happy place where rewards are waiting. Keep their favorite toys in the rear of the kennel so they can enter to retrieve their favorite toys or treats.


Leashes.

You should introduce your puppy to leashes as soon as possible. In the house, they are also very handy to help start your training right from the start. In the beginning, I like to use a thin leash with the handle cut off. Cutting off the handle will not allow the leash to not get caught and will allow you to quickly get control. The weight of the leash helps acclimate them to the sensation of having something attached to them. Start training immediately. You will be very surprised how quickly your puppy will learn. Be consistent. Use their name followed by a command. Serious training should occur after four months in a group class once vaccinations are complete.


The European leashes below have snaps on both ends. The middle leash has an additional handle near the pet.

Holding your leash with two hands keeps an extra hand on your dog. Never use a retractable leash.



Washable Potty Pads

Embarking on the journey of puppy parenthood comes with its unique challenges, and effective potty training is undoubtedly a top priority. One invaluable tool to consider is the washable potty pad—an essential element in the early stages of housebreaking. Unlike disposable pads that can be shredded by your lively pup, washable pads provide a durable and sustainable solution.


I've found that incorporating washable potty pads, along with designated towels in the pup's kennel at night, creates an excellent foundation for effective potty training. These pads, adept at absorbing liquids, not only help keep your puppy dry but also streamline the cleanup process. After exploring various types, I've identified a few of my preferred brands as a standout choice.


I want to share my personal recommendation for the Yangbaga washable potty pads. These pads

excel in absorbency, with premium cotton swiftly handling urine. The rubber-layered non-slip bottom ensures containment. Having washed them hundreds of times since 2019, I can attest to their durability and structural integrity. Specifically for young puppies, the four-pack of 16 x 23" pads is fantastic for layering on top of a larger one. This layering allows you to quickly pull out any mess and still have a pad under the puppy. While the largest size of 36" x 64" proved a bit too large for most of my needs, the two-pack of 32" x 36" is a great size, though a tad large for kennel/crate use, These pads have been a reliable part of my routine, maintaining their quality over time. Remember, avoiding fabric softeners is key to preserving their water-repelling properties. Consider these pads for a practical and enduring solution in your puppy training journey


The KOOLTAIL Washable Pee Pads for a practical solution in managing puppy messes. These plaid potty pads stand out with a non-slip and waterproof mesh bottom, ensuring stability even during lively pet activities. What sets them apart is their thin design and quick-drying capability, making them a convenient choice.


The four-pack of 24" x 36"pads fits the crate floor perfectly and lines the kennel floor with ease. Personally, I find using one of these along with two small blue Yangbaga pads on top works seamlessly for the day. It allows for easy removal and replacement of fresh layers, simplifying cleanup in your puppy training routine.







In addition to potty pads, I've found rubber-backed whelping pads versatile and effective, they are perfect for covering carpets, placing them under kennels, playpens, and even for use in the car.The last brand I bought, I'm still using after many years. The rubber backing is not gripping as well but they have held up well to rugged use. I've been very happy with Peepeego Non-Slip Whelping pads.



House Training Basics for New Puppy Parents


Consistency and Patience:

  • Establish a consistent routine for feeding, potty breaks, and playtime.

  • Be patient during the learning process, understanding that accidents are part of the journey.

Establishing a Potty Routine:

  • Take your puppy to their designated potty area regularly, especially after meals, play, and waking up.

  • Use a consistent verbal cue like "Go potty" to associate with the desired behavior.


Crate Training for Containment and Safety:

  • Utilize a properly sized metal crate to aid in house training.

  • Choose a crate with a removable tray for easy cleaning and consider door placement.

  • Use the crate as a safe space, maintaining cleanliness and security.


Choosing a Designated Outdoor Area:

  • Select a specific area in your yard for your puppy's outdoor potty needs to establish consistency.

  • Accompany your puppy to the designated area and reward them immediately after they've finished.

  • Positive reinforcement strengthens the association between the outdoor spot and the desired behavior.



Remember, successful puppy training requires dedication, positive reinforcement, and a bit of patience. Celebrate your puppy's milestones and progress, setting the foundation for a well-mannered and happy golden retriever.


Collars.

Chain collars are reserved for use during training sessions only. Martingale collars are nice for walks because they tighten, not allowing the dog's head to not slip out without choking or retracting too tightly. Collars are a personal taste. Just make sure you have function first.

Handles are also incorporated into collars. However, with a puppy, you need to be careful the collar can't get caught on anything, including their crate if they try to escape. It is a wise practice to remove a collar if your dog will be kept in their crate while gone. If they try to escape a collar may become caught in the crate while they try and squeeze out of an opening.

Harness. I prefer a harness with a handle. If your dog can slip out of a harness with two straps, you’ll need one with an additional strap around the chest.



Personally, I like using the combination of a collar and also making use of a harness with a European leash. This way I’m able to have both the harness and the collar under control and have a backup if they are able to pull out of one. During the first trips in public, you need to know your dog can not pull away if afraid while learning about the world. I rarely trust a collar alone while training. If the dog bolts, or runs away afraid, he may run into a terrible situation and be killed while you watch in horror. In the bottom left picture, you will also notice a short traffic leash also attached to the collar. I like it to quickly keep the dog as close to me as possible. Also in that picture is a kong harness with a handle. Hamlet is pictured in the bottom right picture in a MOLLE tactical vest. Notice it has two straps. A dog will not pull out of this. Being a MOLLE est I can attach a number of optional items to him. Calypso is pictured in the top left picture. I like her vest to go to the park. It has two pockets and a place to have potty bags easily dispenced. In all of the pictures,



I'm using a European leash aka an adjustable Schotzhund leash or multifunctional. It has a buckle at both ends and is very versatile. Do research brands and read reviews. Typically you want a nice heavy-duty brass snap typically around 3/4" wide.

Petbaba Multifunction Leash is an option. Another with a few other features is Joytale Tactical Dog Leash pictures at the right. This leash has a great quick-connect carabiner clip, a bungee built into the material, an extra handle position, and a seatbelt attachment. There are so many great versatile leashes being made today. While training, I always suggest a good six foot leather leash. You'll be using a training leash with your foot as well as your hand. The leather softens as it ages.








. He will always need something to chew. If you do not provide enough interesting toys to gnaw with, they will find your table legs, drywall, moldings, and all your favorite things very interesting.

Remember to cover electrical plugs and cords. Remove anything breakable for the time being. You may also want to put your area rugs away for a few months. Puppies do find the corners and fringe interesting to chew. Baby gates will keep the puppy restricted to certain areas. Watch garbage cans, laundry, and anything you hold dear.


Toenails

Trimming your puppy's nails is crucial to maintaining their well-being. Unchecked nail growth can impact your dog's foot placement and movement. Invest in curved-tipped scissors for precision when cutting the hair between their toes and around the pads on the bottom of their feet, preventing excess dirt from entering your home. Initially, a basic human toenail clipper suffices for young puppies. Detect the hook on the nail's end that catches on the clipper, as removing this part is essential to avoid potential skin injuries. While many people feel uneasy about nail trimming, regular practice builds confidence, making both you and your pup comfortable with the process. Resist the temptation to rely on a veterinarian for this routine task; instead, gradually familiarize yourself with your puppy's toenail structure and safe cutting zones. For added safety, keep a jar of quick-stop on hand to halt bleeding if you accidentally cut too close to the quick. As your puppy grows, consider transitioning to a nail cutter with a guard designed for thicker nails.


Before you leave with your puppy, I usually take the time to sit down with each family member to ensure everyone is familiar with the nail-cutting process. This is a crucial task that demands regular attention. I want to emphasize the importance of taking on this responsibility yourself; overcoming any apprehensions is key to teaching your dog to be groomed. Moreover, it contributes to your veterinarian's ability to conduct thorough exams. Relaxation is key in this process, and by doing so, you can train your dog to stand by gently placing your hand under their tummy ribcage area while instructing them to stand. Move your hands around their body as if you're feeling muscles and bones. Your role is to normalize and socialize them properly, fostering a positive grooming experience for both you and your furry friend.


A Guide on how to cut nails.

https://hospital.vetmed.wsu.edu/2022/03/10/how-to-clip-a-dogs-nails/


If you accidentally cut your dog's quick while trimming their toenails, styptic powder can be a lifesaver. It is typically known as Kwik Stop. First, remain calm to avoid stressing your furry friend. Take a small amount of styptic powder on a clean applicator or your fingertip and gently apply it to the bleeding nail. The powder works by promoting blood clotting and stopping the bleeding swiftly. Maintain gentle pressure for a few moments to ensure the powder takes effect. Always keep styptic powder in your pet care kit as a handy solution for unexpected nail-cutting mishaps. Here is a good illustration page for you to understand the angle you will want to cut:



During your puppy's early stages, human toenail clippers are suitable until their nails outgrow them. To effectively use them, position the lower part of the clipper under the 'hook' of the nail, gently pulling back. This will reveal the edge of the toenail clipper securely gripping the hook-like part of the claw. The Millers Forge Steel Nail Clippers were always my go-to clippers while working at a vet office. They allowed me to see where I was cutting more easily. Many of the scissor types are bulkier. I do like the slim design. Sometimes the rubber covering slips off. I just put a dab of glue to keep it together if this happens to you. They need to remain sharp to cut and not apply pressure. A good file helps to take off the nail's sharp edges after cutting



Brushes and Grooming Tools

Caring for a Golden Retriever's coat involves a strategic approach, and using the right tools is essential. Invest in a double-shedding blade, an effective tool for removing loose hair and minimizing shedding. Here is a link to Intrepid Double Shedding Blade so you are able to visualize a shedding blade. These are also effective on horses. Begin grooming with the shedding blade, working through the coat to eliminate tangles and mats. Follow up with a slicker brush to further reduce loose fur and keep the coat smooth. A metal comb is used for untangling stubborn knots, ensuring a thorough grooming session. Hair trimmers are very handy to use between the pads of their feet. You do not want your Golden walking around with Grinch-feet. Keep their feet trimmed nicely so their pads are able to make contact with the ground while also keeping the most dirt out of your home. If you decide not to use clippers, use curved-tipped scissors. Typically mats will form in the fine hair behind their ears and in their bottom region. If you do not want to cut out a chunk of hair, you will cut a few slices in the direction of hair growth and comb out.


Regular use of a de-shedding tool is particularly beneficial during shedding seasons to manage the copious amount of hair. Vacuum attachments are also available. Here is an example: Afloia Dog Brush Vacuum Attachment. Most dogs are afraid of the sound of the motor. Maybe if the vacuum was on the other side of an ajar door, it may make it easier. But, whatever your puppy may be afraid of, try to normalize anything scary while they are young. Alongside these tools, shampoo and conditioner help maintain the coat's natural oils during the bathing process. I do not. spend the extra money on dog shampoo. I personally like the smell of the classic VO5 shampoo and conditioner. If you are noticing skin irritation, a dandruff shampoo or T-Gel, whose active ingredient is coal tar extract, Family Dollar and stores alike usually have inexpensive brands.


Regular ear checks, cleaning, and a balanced diet further contribute to a healthy and lustrous coat. Consistent use of these tools and grooming techniques will keep your Golden Retriever looking and feeling their best.


Effective Cleaners and Disinfectants

Accidents happen, and maintaining a clean environment is crucial for your puppy's health. Choose pet-safe cleaners and disinfectants that effectively remove odors and stains without harmful chemicals. By carefully considering and investing in these essential items, you are setting the stage for a successful journey with your golden retriever puppy. In the next sections, we will delve deeper into the specifics of puppy training, health care, and responsible breeding practices. Together, we'll ensure that your new furry family member thrives in your care.



Over the next two months, the crucial lesson for your puppy is always to respond when called! It's vital to maintain a positive tone when using their name; avoid expressing anger or using the word 'no' in conjunction with their name. Keep their name associated with joy and warmth. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out. Happy training!

Best regards, Amy Montalvo 770-549-7555




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