As mentioned many times in previous articles, golden retrievers have the reputation of being very good family pets. They are great with people, children, other dogs, and sometimes even cats. However, there is a huge difference between babies and children. Children have an easier time interacting with the dog, while babies have to be carefully watched. So, you want to make sure you have a good tempered breed. Luckily, that is a trait that golden retrievers are also known for.
An older golden retriever is one thing, however, a puppy might not be the best around a baby. Young Golden Retrievers (2 to 3 years old) romp and jump with vigor, and things can go flying, including people who are not steady on their feet. If you have toddlers, or if you or anyone who lives with you is infirm, consider adopting an adult Golden Retriever from a rescue group. Adults have a wonderfully settled temperament and you can specifically look for a calm one.
Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers have become a risky breed for long-term health. Many Goldens do live to 12 or 13, but many others are lost at age 7 or 8 to joint and bone diseases, heart disease, epilepsy, or cancer. If you plan to have a baby and pup grow up together, you might end up disappointed if the dog is not properly taken care of.
If you allow your golden on furniture, do not leave your baby unattended at any time. Your pup could be an angel. But accidents do happen. Some people suggest bringing home a blanket from the hospital with your baby’s scent on it. This allows the dog to get used to your baby’s smell.
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From the time that you find out about your baby to the time that he/she is born, you should work on your retriever’s obedience. This will really make sure that the dog is ready. Obedience classes is also something that you can utilize.
Also, now would be a good time to teach the dog to go to a spot to settle. Like a dog bed in the living room or somewhere where she can go to relax. If you plan on using things like baby gates to keep them safely separated, now is the time to introduce those. You don’t want the dog to feel like anything new is baby’s fault. You want any and all changes to occur before baby comes.
Most importantly, be sure when the baby comes to give the dog an outlet. An exercised dog is a happy dog–and the happier the dog is, the easier the transition will be. Be sure to keep the walks going (maybe even more so) and perhaps some doggie daycare would help as well. Those things should start as soon as possible.
Another thing many golden retriever owners with infants should look out for is the baby pulling the fur out of retriever’s coat. The golden retriever sheds enough already! But babies tend to put everything in their mouths, and we wouldn’t want that.