Interview with a Golden Retriever Dog Owner
A big thanks to Sean Smith (Ohio, USA)
for sharing his insight into living with his Golden Retriever , Lilly
Lilly is a four-year-old, spayed, purebred golden retriever. She was born on December 31st, 2011, out of a litter of eleven puppies.
We got her on February 18th from one of my mother’s coworkers who had been breeding one of her Golden Retriever Dogs.
She is a very social and well-spirited dog who loves to play and go on walks. Lilly has a beautiful, thick coat made up of various shades of red, gold, blonde and brown.
She is a nice dog and my favorite out of all the dogs my family owns.
Lilly was relatively easy to train. We had the most difficulty with potty training, but the rest went well.
My mother brought her to obedience classes at Petco.
These classes taught her the basic commands like sit, stay, and lay down.
We were not training her to be a show dog, so her behavior is just fine for a domestic pet.
We already had an electric fence installed for our other dog, but had we not I do not think Lilly would have given us much trouble, as she is a very loyal dog.
Lilly can be taken on walks without a leash, but we keep her on one so she doesn’t run off to harass some squirrel. Overall I’d say she was the easiest of all our dogs to train.
The Golden Retriever Dog needs a lot of exercise, and this is something that my family has admittedly fallen short with. Golden Retrievers were originally duck hunting dogs, so they’re supposed to be moving very frequently.
With my family’s busy schedule, it is difficult for Lilly to get the kind of exercise she needs. A golden retriever dog needs to be walked and played with daily for it to have a long, healthy life.
Golden retrievers are also prone to hip dysplasia, so extra weight can make this condition worse. If you want to get a golden retriever dog, you must be willing to put forward the necessary time and effort to keep it healthy and happy.
Lilly, as with most golden retrievers, has a very thick, oily coat. They have this extra oil to wick off the water because while hunting ducks golden retrievers would have to use their webbed feet to swim out and retrieve killed ducks in water.
This oil does not have a bad smell, but it will stay on your hand after petting her. It goes away just by washing your hands with soap and water, though, as you should after petting any dog.
She needs to be regularly bathed as with all dogs, but sometimes more frequently, as mud and anything else she rolls in out in our yard will stick with her coat.
The better question is: does she ever stop shedding? I’m not quite sure. The vacuum cleaner gets a real work out at my house.
It runs year-round, picking up her hair as the multiple layers of fur are continuously being replaced. If you do not want to frequently clean up after shed hair, I would not recommend getting a golden retriever.
However, I find her company and playfulness is well worth the time
sacrificed cleaning up.
Lilly barks the same as any average dog, so whenever somebody walks by the house, you know.
She will bark to get your attention as well, which can get annoying at times. Her barking is how she communicates.
Lilly’s barking can only mean one of four things: she wants food, she wants a treat, she want to go out, or she wants to be pet. I believe her barking to communicate shows off how she really does have her own personality.
Lilly is for the most part very friendly and playful with other dogs. My family currently has two other Shih Tzu’s and we’ve never had any serious problems between them, despite the size difference.
They play together just fine. However, Lilly will sometimes snap at them if she is chewing on a bone or a treat.
Lilly also treats strangers’ dogs well, and will hardly
bark at them while on walks. So overall I’d say Lilly is good with other
I do, my family also owns a small black cat named Salem that we got the same year we got Lilly.
Their relationship is beautiful for a cat and dog. They can often be seen playing together, as we let our cat outside with the dogs.
You can also sometimes see Salem and Lilly sleeping next
to each other. Salem is the only other pet we have besides our dogs, and they
get along just fine.
Lilly likes meeting new people, and can get very excited when there's a new face in the house. I have siblings of multiple ages so there are often other kids in the house.
She hardly ever jumps on them and never bites. Lilly will mostly just want to be pet by them, so guests love her.
Some golden retriever dogs can be aggressive but with Lilly this is not the case. She is for the most part fine around children.
Lilly is anything but a fussy eater, she might eat any food you put in front of her. This is not usually a problem, as my family has catered to this by not leaving food unattended on any low lying surfaces.
As she was growing, she often tore
up any paper towels, tissues, or toilet paper left in any place she could reach
it. This is because golden retrievers have softer gums.
This trait can be traced back to golden retrievers being bred to be hunting dogs. Their more delicate gums were perfect for picking up the fallen game without damaging them further.
This has become less of a problem for her now that she is an adult dog, and usually sticks to her dog food or treats when she eats.
A couple times a week we brush Lilly with a unique brush we bought that is made for dogs with a lot of fur called “The FURminator”, and it cost around $30. This usually takes maybe fifteen minutes, and we just toss out the fur that comes off with the brush.
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Lilly enjoys this though and stays still through the whole ordeal. It’s important to brush golden retrievers because they have such thick and long fur. The brushing is also important to show off her feathering, which is a light, fluffy blonde compared to her coarser, more red coat.
We also bring all our pets to be groomed once or twice a month at some local pet stores.
Lilly’s personality quirk is how much of a personality she has. She’s very loyal, friendly and playful.
She has her own funny ways of communication that actually make her seem like a person. She likes
to stretch out and sleep under blankets, which also adds to this. It's Lilly’s funny and playful personality that
make her such a fun dog to have.
Country of Origin: Great Britain
Height: Males: 22-24 inches (56-61 cm)
Females: 20-22 inches (51-56)
Weight: 60 to 80 pounds and up (27-36kg)
Colors: Dark red to Light Cream
Health Concerns: Heart Disease, Epilepsy, Skin Disorders, Hip Dysplasia
Average Lifespan: 12-13 years
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