I’m starting to see a reoccurring theme on a lot of my posts having Gatsby in them, but I’ve also come to realize that I just can’t help it! He makes himself always noticed, and he can’t help that! He thinks he’s invisible and unless he’s touching you, you don’t know he’s there.
So here’s to Gatsby, and how I think I got the best dog ever. And what I did when he was a puppy to ensure that he would be the best, I’m not biased at all 😉
First and foremost: Training. I have to admit, I had NO IDEA what I was doing with a puppy. I think the training was more to train me on how to be a dog mom. But I made it my job! And of course Gatsby being so treat oriented helped my cause a lot. My biggest piece of advice with the training is to make sure everyone is on the same page. My parents helped me a lot with him, so I had to train them on what I was trained to do.
Also, (I lied I have another) stay consistent. For example, with walking, “sometimes” not being strict on him pulling, and sometimes it was okay. Would have taught him that he can test his boundaries.
People asked me why I was so insistent on training..well I knew if I put in the time and effort with him as a puppy, it would pay off as he got older. And it has, he listens so well, and knows his boundaries and what I expect from him.
Still after 3 years, I take him to training. He is right now in a canine good citizen (CGC) prep class. Keeping his body and brain active and hopefully becoming even better!
Next: Socialization. I took him everywhere I could, and still do. He met everything- people, animals, kids, you name it. He learned how to behave in crowds like farmers markets, and he learned how to be with kids, he sat there (most times rolled onto his belly) and let them poke his eyes, stick his fingers in his mouth, and yes, sometimes giving me puppy dog eyes to save him.
I think as a puppy this is really important because dogs are social like people (especially Goldens) and if you have a person in the house they become scared of things they don’t see/know.
Gatsby learned “Go say hi” meaning even though you are scared of it, trust me, it’s okay. Trash trucks was Gatsby’s biggest go say hi fear conqueror.
Third: I gave Gatsby my time. And I still do. Not only did I take him places, but I worked with him on his training, do things I know he loves like throwing the ball or wrestling. With time, you gain each other’s trust, and with that you have everything. I know in situations he trusts me to show him what to do, he comes and sits at my feet when he is unsure. I know how he will behave in situations as well, if a dog lunges or growls at him, I know he’ll do it right back.
Last but not least: Pick the right one. I knew I wanted a golden. They are SO beyond adorable (especially when they are fat puppies) and they are a great social dog. There are sooo many breeds out there, you have to do your research. And there are sooo many dogs in shelters that need homes (I got Gatsby from a breeder so I can’t really speak much to that). But I did look at shelters, and knowing I wanted a golden, I was told the goldens go to homes in 2o minutes because they are hardly ever turned in, and are so popular (wonder why).
STORYTIME: When I got Gatsby I like to say it was love at first lick, I knew I wanted a boy ’cause I already had the name. He was so fat and chubby. The breeder didn’t feed the pups that morning in case they were to get car sick on the way home.
So I saw Gatsby and would go pick him up and he would go right back to sitting by his food (not much has changed) but one time when I did that he didn’t, and licked me! I was like YES COME HOME WITH ME! And the rest is history.
I’m dying inside a little just reliving the cuteness, AH!
Bottom line: If you are generous with your time and affection, your dog will see that and want to listen and please you. If you take the time to train your dog when they are young, and keep reinforcing the behaviors you want, they will remember them and will become second nature.
~ XOXO, Amanda & Gatsby