The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

Training a golden retriever: a useful tip

Jeremy Hunt gives some advice on teaching a working golden retriever

Training a golden retriever

Golden retrievers do stay puppyish for longer

If you’ve previously owned a labrador, you may find that golden retriever training takes a little longer. Working golden retrievers have a reputation for being slow to mature and challenging to train but are still a joy to work with once they have mastered their lessons. (You might like to read why the golden retriever is a golden all-rounder.)

A working golden retriever doing his job well is beautiful to watch and this breed often has a stylish way of operating.

Training a golden retriever

Be patient, it will be worth it

A tip on training a golden retriever

I recently received a request for help from a reader who said: “My golden retriever is rather enthusiastic on the return when I send him for a retrieve and often circles me. How do I slow him down to enable him to present the retrieve correctly?”

My advice was as follows:

The most tried and tested way to avoid a dog going behind you or circling you is to stand with your back against a fence or wall, so that the dog has nowhere to go but in front of you. But there are other things you could try.

  1. Reduce the length of the retrieve. A shorter distance means the dog needs to think about you and the delivery a lot sooner than if he has a long run back.
  2. Try getting down on your haunches, opening your arms wide and making as many encouraging silly noises as you think fit. All that encouragement should overcome any thoughts of going elsewhere. Do this with your back against a fence.
  3. Another option is to do both of the above but try sending him to retrieve down an incline so he has a bit more work to do on the way back, which acts as an involuntary braking system.

What you don’t want to do is destroy the dog’s enthusiasm, but you need him to learn to do his job in the right way.

Puppies for longer

Golden retrievers do stay puppyish for longer than labradors , so be patient. It will be worth it. (You might like to read why aren’t golden retrievers more popular in the field?)

This article was originally published in 2020 and has been updated.