You weren’t entirely sure what breed to get to start with. You had a few potentials in mind, but then you watched 'Homeward Bound'. After that, it was always going to be a Golden Retriever. So far, you have had no regrets. He made the most adorable puppy in the world. Even as he’s grown up he’s remained cute and cuddly. Guests and family love playing with him when they come round and you love cuddling up to him in the evenings.
However, he does have one bad habit. You simply cannot keep him contained in the yard. He’s hell-bent on leaping over bushes and exploring. Yet training him to stay in the yard is essential if you want to keep him safe. If you don’t, there’s the danger he has an altercation with another dog or that he’s involved in a traffic collision.
Training him to stay in the yard isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Golden Retrievers are intelligent and at times, mischievous. So, you will need to take a number of steps to deter him from escaping from the yard to start with. You will also need to motivate him to stay put using a variety of incentives. If he wants to stay in the yard then it will be far easier to keep him there.
If he’s a puppy he should be a fast learner. You could see results in just a week or two. If he’s older with a long rap sheet of trying to escape then you may need a little while longer. Be prepared to invest up to a month into training. Succeed and you won’t have to panic each time you lose sight of him.
Before you start training, you will need to gather a few bits. You may need some new, secure fencing for your yard. You will also need a deterrence collar and a water spray bottle for one of the methods.
An array of toys and food puzzles will be required, as will some tasty treats or his favorite food broken into small chunks. Then set aside a few minutes each day for training.
Once you have all the above, you just need patience and an optimistic attitude, then work can begin!
I have to go to work and he will have to spend most of the day alone (7-8 hours). How can I make this work for him? I also have a small yard, would it be safe for him in the yard or shoul I only keep him inside the house?
Hello Daniela, I generally recommend keeping pup inside while you are away for safety reasons, and so pup doesn't develop bad habits like barking, digging, eating things, or destroying things at this age, but that also depends a lot on the area you live in. In the city a dog may bark and annoy neighbors, there could be other animals that wander into the yard in any location, people who tease pup, bad weather, or other dangers. If you live in the country away from other people, have a securely fenced yard other animals aren't likely to come into, and don't have issues with wild animals that would come over the fence, pup may be fine outside as long as they have adequate shelter and water. Inside, at this age pup will need to be crated while you are away or kept in a dog-proofed room, depending on how pup's potty training is. I recommend giving pup a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy, and if you can, have a dog walker or family/friend/yourself come home midday to give pup a short walk/potty break, and a new dog food stuffed chew toy when they return them to their crate or room. To stuff a kong you can either place pup's dry dog food loosely in it and cover 1/2 of the opening with a larger treat - so the dog food will dispense more slowly, or place pup's food in a bowl, cover with water, let sit out until the food turns to mush, mix the mush with a little liver paste, treat paste, or peanut butte (avoid xylitol! - it's extremely toxic to dogs and a common sweetener substitute), place a straw through the kong's holes, loosely stuff the kong with the mush, place in a baggie, and freeze overnight. Remove the straw before giving pup, and grab the kong from the freezer as needed - for a time-released treat. Pack loosely, not too tightly, or pup won't be able to get the food out. You can also purchase several durable hollow chew toys and stuff them at the same time so that you have a stash in the freezer to grab from as needed. If pup can handle being in a dog proofed room instead of the crate, you can also use something like AutoTrainer or Pet Tutor, which certain models can be programmed to occasionally release a treat when it detects pup being quiet and calm. Most dogs will sleep a lot of the day once they are used to being alone. If pup isn't used to being alone yet, I highly recommend practicing crate training as soon as possible, before pup has to be alone for so long. https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate When you are home, just make sure you are stimulating pup mentally and physically through things like walks, fetch, training sessions, incorporating training into fetch and walks, and other ways, since pup will have slept or lied around most of the day and need some stimulation by then. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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