Are Golden Retrievers easy to train

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One aspect of pet parenting that keeps most potential dog owners on edge is the trainability of their desired breed.

Are Golden Retrievers easy to train? Yes, training Goldens on command and behavior can be an easy affair compared to most breeds.

The simple trainability of Golden Retrievers is perhaps one of the major reasons why this breed has found their way into the homes of most families across the United States.

Keep reading this post as we highlight the trainability of Golden Retrievers and disclose why you may experience some challenges during the process.

Watch out for our practical tips on how you can successfully train your Golden Retriever and get our answers to some of your most frequently asked questions on this subject.

Why Golden Retrievers Can Be Easy to Train

One of the major reasons that make it easy to train Golden Retrievers is because of their incredible intelligence.

According to a study outlined in the book ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’ by canine psychologist Dr. Coren, Golden Retrievers emerged as the 4th most intelligent dog out of the 138 tested breeds.

These long-furred canines were found to take up obedience training after 5 repetitions or less and they showed an average accuracy of 95% in responding to new commands.

Golden Retrievers are also very loyal to their human caregivers and this in-born personality makes them eager to please.

A woman with her Golden Retriever
Image credit: Blue Bird from Pexels

They will be motivated to learn new tricks during training and become better in the pursuit of making their owners happy.

Golden Retrievers are also not innately aggressive which makes them easy to approach and deal with during training.

They can also be handled by professional canine trainers without being resistant compared to other breeds.

Dogs respond well to positive reinforcement during training and this is even much better with Golden Retrievers.

They are highly motivated by food and will certainly perform better when you reward them with high-value lean meat or seafood treats during training sessions.

Golden retrievers are also fun-loving canines who find lots of satisfaction when being stroked gently along their lustrous coats.

Praising and petting them when they learn new tricks will trigger them to become better to continue receiving the same pleasure.

Why Golden Retrievers Can Sometimes Be Difficult to Train

Golden Retrievers can be easy to train, but that does not mean that you will not encounter a few struggles during the sessions.

Sometimes it can be difficult to train a Golden Retriever, especially puppies, due to their mischievous nature.

Untrained Golden puppies are known for their rather naughty character which can distract them from focusing on the trainer.

Golden Retrievers can also be gentle and highly sociable to people, and this can distract them from taking up new skills.

Are Golden Retrievers easy to train
Image Credit: Jean Alves from Pexels

For example, if you are potty-training your Golden puppy in a room with many people, you may experience a hard time because the dog can get twitchy when they notice lots of people around.

The pup may find it more appealing to interact with other people during training than to follow your rather tedious commands.

Even with these challenges, you should not lose hope in training your Golden Retriever from a young age.

You can help them to take up new commands and shape good behavior by being reliable in training and exercising tolerance with the dog.

Remember to keep the training sessions short, sweet, and memorable. Give your Golden Retriever a few minutes of break to help them concentrate and reenergize.

Tips For a Trainable Golden Retriever

1. Find a reputable breeder

If you haven’t adopted your pup yet, we recommend that you get your Golden Retriever from a reputable breeder with ethical practices.

A good breeder will most likely produce healthy types of Golden Retrievers from a clear and familiar lineage.

A well-bred Golden Retriever has the instinctive traits written in their genetic makeup and hence they are much easier to train than a poorly bred one.

Such dogs are also less likely to suffer certain conditions that may arise due to genetic mix-ups when breeding without care.

2. Start early

The earlier you start training your dog the better they will respond to new tricks and behavior training.

Golden Retriever puppies should be nursed by their mothers full-time before you pick them up for training. You can start training them as soon as they are 2 months old.

Once they get weaned out, you should not let the puppy stay alone without training them on basic skills. Leaving the young dog alone will encourage them to form naughty puppy behavior that may become engrained in their habits.

Golden Retriever puppy
Image Credit: Ignacio from Pexels

The first training phase (2 – 6 months) should be the period of bonding with your puppy and introducing them to their new environment.

This early socialization will help your Golden puppy to know their surroundings and appreciate you as their newly found caregiver.

The attention span of puppies at this stage is relatively low and it is therefore important that you keep the training short and precise.

Factors Affecting Golden Retriever Training

Several determining factors will play a role in how well you can train a Golden Retriever. Here are some of them:

1. The Age of the Dog

Puppies, adolescents, and young adult Golden Retrievers are much easier to train than their senior and elderly counterparts.

Without proper training, the dog might carry on their puppyhood behavior into adulthood and they might be difficult to train.

2. The health of the dog

Health disorders in dogs can make it harder for them to take up training sessions. This is made worse if the conditions are painful such as arthritis, cancer, etc.

A healthy Golden Retriever is much more responsive to training and they can pick up new commands and mold responsible behavior within a short span.

We recommend that you take your dog to the vet for a regular checkup for early detection and prompt treatment of any medical condition.

3. Training tactics & environment

Sometimes your dog might find it difficult to pick up new skills because you are using the wrong procedure to handle them.

You need to look out for the perfect training environment that will give your Golden Retriever a good chance to concentrate on what’s being taught.

We recommend setting aside a quiet indoor environment that is free from distractions to help your pooch in focusing on the trainer.

Training Timeline for Golden Retrievers

Before starting your Golden Retriever on any training, you have probably wondered what the training timeline would look like.

Canadian Golden Retriever
Image credit: Ben Pitasky from Unsplash

How Long Does It Take to Train a Golden Retriever?

There is no specific answer to this question because the average period it takes will depend on the type of training and how quickly the dog learns the tricks.

When training your Golden puppy on basic obedience commands like sit and stay, you can expect to take around 2 weeks of consistent sessions whereas an adult will take a week or less.

Teaching your puppy, the knacks in potty training may last you anywhere between 2 weeks to a few months.

Crate-training your Golden Retriever adult will need a rough estimate of about 1 week to a few months for a puppy before they find comfort in the crate alone.

You can train your puppy to stop biting while being consistent with them for about 2 to 4 months. This period will also depend on how fast your puppy goes through the teething stage.

The training that may need more time is teaching your dog how to walk on a leash without pulling.

This may last anywhere between a few weeks to a whole year or more depending on if the dog was a heavy puller and when you started the training.

If you are planning to train your Golden Retriever on hunting, then it can take an average of between 3 to 6 months to reignite their instinctive hunting skills.  

Training Difference: Male Vs Female Golden Retrievers

The difference in training efficiency for Golden Retrievers is not clearly seen in their gender. Both male and female Goldens share similar instinctive traits and personalities that make them highly trainable.

Several owners of female Golden Retrievers have reported that it was easier to train their pups but that can be attributed to the faster maturity rate of females.

Some male Golden Retrievers have also been attributed to an independent and stubborn nature that can harden their trainability.

Remember that these characters may be those of an untrained dog. It is therefore important that you start training your Golden as early as possible to help them adopt a more responsible behavior.

What we know for sure is that training a dog has more to do with their inborn personalities and genetics. Gender will only play a very negligible role if any.

If you have a pure-bred Golden Retriever from well-natured parents, then it is most likely that you will have an easy time training them as well.

But if you get a Goldie that is mainly bred from a naughty lineage, then you can expect to face a few hurdles when training the dog on command and behavior.

Practical Tips for a Successful Golden Retriever Training

1. Keep it short

You should always keep the training period short, sweet, and precise. Golden Retriever puppies have a short attention span and therefore, you should limit their training period to a maximum of 10 minutes.

Adult Goldens can withstand relatively longer training sessions but you should never go beyond 45 minutes.

You should also keep the training period in intervals of 3 minutes for puppies and 10 minutes for adults to give the dog enough time to rest in between.

2. Use positive reinforcement techniques

As we mentioned earlier, Golden Retrievers are highly motivated by food. You can leverage this by using valuable dog treats to reward them during training.

This will help the pup to associate the learning with good things and they will be more than willing to pick up new tricks and respond to behavior correction.

3. Make it lively

Golden Retrievers are fun-loving dogs who cannot seem to get tired of playing and socializing. You need to make the sessions lively and your doggo will be much more willing to join you in the training.

This will also help them in picking up the training quicker.

4. Patience and consistency

We cannot stress enough the importance of consistent practice and patience when training your Golden Retriever.

Do Golden Retrievers Shed a Lot

Repetition is largely a make-or-break aspect of dog training. It makes all the difference between success and failure in training.

You should repeat the same commands and other behavior traits for your dog to absorb and remember what they absorb.

Do not tire and always be patient with your Golden when teaching them new commands and tricks.

5. Increase the intensity

Dog training never ends, it is a lifelong event. You should start slowly with the basic skills and gradually increase the intensity of the training that is proportional to your Golden Retriever.

As your dog becomes responsive to the basic skills, you can include distractions in the upcoming sessions to make them better.

This will help the dog in developing good behavior and it will also help you when recalling them from potentially bad situations.

6. Avoid punishing your dog

You should never scold or punish your Golden Retriever trainee for not doing what you expected them to do.

Punishing the dog would only make the training more difficult and you risk breaking the relationship with your Goldie.

Physical punishment can also harm the dog hence leading to injuries that may turn out to be nasty.

In most cases, the punishment also hurts the dog emotionally making them more fearful, stressed, and anxious.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Are Golden Retrievers easy to house train?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are easy to housetrain. This breed is brain-smart and always eager to please their human caregivers which makes them easy to housetrain.

However, your individual Golden Retriever might require some more time in training than others. You should take your time in starting with the basics and socializing your dog to make the training more efficient.

2. Are Golden Retrievers easy to potty train?

Potty-training a Golden retriever is relatively easy but that does not mean that it should be a walk in the park.

Training your Goldie on proper bathroom etiquette requires immense patience and consistency from your side.

Start by establishing a workable routine for your dog and cutting out the specific spots in the house where you want them to potty.

Make sure to take your dog out during the same periods every day for them to know what is expected in their potty areas.

3. Are Golden Retrievers difficult as puppies?

Golden Retriever puppies can get naughty sometimes but they are not considered to be a difficult breed to handle.

These young dogs are fun-loving and easy-going when given plenty of attention. Make sure to start training them early enough to curb mischievousness and mold dependable behavior from a young age.

Golden Retriever puppies can also be very energetic so they will need physical stimulation as a positive outlet for excess calories.

Make sure to provide them with enough chew toys during their teething phase to ease their pain and prevent destructive chewing.

4. Is Golden Retriever a good dog for beginners?

Golden Retriever is an excellent choice for a first-time dog owner. This breed is friendly, intelligent, highly trainable, loyal, and gentle with kids which makes them a favorite option for people starting their journey on pet parenting.

Golden Retrievers are also a good choice for people with an active lifestyle because they can be trained to hunt or accompany their owners wherever they go.


Golden Retrievers are loyal to their owners and eager to please, which makes them highly trainable.

Goldens are also motivated by food which is helpful in training because you can use dog treats to reward them for good behavior and progress.

You can still expect to encounter hurdles in training your Goldie because these dogs are very playful and highly sociable.

The innate traits can rob their focus during training making it hard for you to redirect their concentration.

With the right skills, consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement, you can train your Golden Retriever on new tricks and model them to become highly responsible canines.

Written By

Laura is the founder of Furs'n'Paws. She is a also a pet writer and expert with more than 20 years of experience of working with dogs and cats. She developed a very strong love for animals at a young age. Her passion led her to establish a thriving pet sitting and dog walking business in Dubai. As an expert in pet training, behavior, and nutrition, Laura is committed to helping pet owners and pet lovers by offering high-quality information on a wide range of topics.

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