Skip to main content

Golden retriever training 101: Obedience lessons at home

Your golden retriever is the light of your life, but sometimes that energy can be a little much. That’s why you need handy guides on potty-training and leash-training your golden retriever. Now, it’s time to think about obedience training, and luckily, there are some things you can work on at home, whether your golden is a puppy or a senior.

Golden retrievers need stimulation and exercise, making training exercises the perfect way to satisfy curiosity, expend energy, and encourage bonding. Here’s what you need to know to handle golden retriever training at home.

Golden retriever with collar
Charlie Howell/

Why start obedience training

Obedience training helps establish you as the leader of the pack. It also helps teach them manners and what to expect as a member of your household. Goldens will only get bigger and more excitable, so it’s essential to teach these basic manners as soon as possible.

Puppy training covers a variety of things, from basic commands to elaborate commands for competitions. It offers more than just manners, however. It can establish a long-lasting bond between you and your furry friend.

It’s also mentally stimulating for your golden, which could relieve excess energy and discourage behavior issues from boredom or separation anxiety. It helps them feel useful and challenged, tapping into a golden’s natural abilities.

The basic commands

When you start with obedience training, there’s no need to overwhelm yourself or your dog. These basic commands can help keep your golden on track and cover a lot of ground.

  • Sit — This is one of the first commands you can teach. Begin by putting gentle pressure on your golden’s hindquarters until he or she sits. Reward and praise your golden until it happens consistently.
  • Stay — Stay helps keep your pup out of the way when necessary. Begin with the “sit” command and back up a few steps. Wait a short time and reward your golden. You can increase the distance and time slowly.
  • Come — A vital command for any time, this one can happen after “stay.” When your golden stays consistently, call your dog. Practice this one in a variety of settings until consistent. You can also use a leash and tug gently to encourage an understanding of the command.
  • Heel — This command helps make walks more enjoyable. Begin in a neutral space and use the leash to hold your retriever in position. Walk a few steps and say “heel” to pull your dog back in position. Increase time and go for more interesting walks as your golden masters it.
  • Down — Once your dog manages “sit,” you can extend it into the down command. From a sitting position, direct your dog’s nose with a treat by drawing it from the air to the ground, encouraging your dog to drop.

Practice these commands until your dog is consistent. Even if your golden knows these commands inside and out, continue training as a fun exercise and bonding ritual before your dog gets treats or is fed.

Advanced commands

Once your dog has mastered the simple commands, you can move on to more complex ones. Some examples might be “roll over,” “up,” or agility commands on a course. Take a look at what your lifestyle is like and some things you’d like your golden to do.
These unique circumstances can form the basis of your advanced commands. Remember to keep things fun and be creative about what you teach your pet. It could turn into a fun ritual for your golden and could build a lifetime of memories.

Some training tips

Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin home obedience training. These tips can help you smooth out obstacles and keep everything positive.

  • Focus on the positive — Dogs don’t respond to negative stimuli well, so keep things positive. Rewarding the behavior you want to see, rather than punishing what you don’t like, will get you better results.
  • Start small — The very first command may take a while because your puppy or adult dog doesn’t have an obedience framework. Don’t get discouraged and work slowly. As your dog gets better at the first command, the subsequent ones will come easier.
  • Be consistent — You can’t do some training for an hour one day, skip the next week, and then 10 minutes the next time and expect your golden to get it. Set a specific amount of time to work on it every single day to help establish the commands.
  • Start with exercise — Take your dog on a walk or play a Frisbee game to help alleviate some of your pet’s natural energy. Expending this energy can help your golden concentrate and learn.
  • Establish lifetime rules — Ensure that the rules and boundaries you set will be consistent throughout your dog’s lifetime. If you don’t want your pet on furniture or in a certain room, that’s final. Don’t expect your golden to understand nuance or circumstances.

Training is a vital part of a dog’s life

This puppy training is a vital part of your pet’s life. It can ensure that your golden retriever understands rules and boundaries for a lifetime of well-being. These commands improve your relationship and help your dog understand what to expect.

Be patient, and stay positive. Your golden wants to please you and loves the time you’re spending together. You can create an enriching environment and help your dog bond with your family. Start your relationship off right with simple obedience training at home and reap a lifetime of benefits.

Editors' Recommendations

Science says dogs cry tears of happiness when reunited with their humans
New study shows dogs cry happy tears when reunited with pet parents
A man hugs a Golden Retriever, facing away from the camera

There are so many ways to tell whether a dog is happy. We all know to look for a wagging tail, but there are countless clues hidden in a dog's body language to let you know how they feel. But for the first time ever, Japanese researchers have confirmed that dogs show emotion in another way: by crying.
While the image of a crying dog can be enough to bring a person to tears themselves, empathetic people can rest assured--there are no sad dogs here. In fact, scientists recently discovered that dogs cry happy tears when reunited with their pet parents. Now that is a sign of true love!

Scientists wanted to explore whether tear reactions are similar in dogs and people
Azabu University professor Takefumi Kikusui was first inspired to discover the role of tear production in dogs while watching one of his Standard Poodles nursing her puppies. He noticed that she appeared to tear up while nursing, and the professor hypothesized that dogs can experience happy tears, too. After a bit of research, this pet parent and the professor found zero studies focusing on emotional tear production in animals.

Read more
Video: Dog befriends bike thief (or why golden retrievers shouldn’t be guard dogs)
This is all the proof we need that golden retrievers make bad guard dogs
A sweet golden retriever puppy lies on the grass

The golden retrievers are at it again. Well known for being playful and goofy, these beasties lack one dog-defining characteristic: a healthy dose of stranger danger. In the mind of a golden, there's no such thing — only a new friend waiting to happen. This viral video takes that flaw to its natural conclusion when a beautiful goldie proudly invites a bike thief into his garage.

The video is a snippet from a broadcast and is entitled "Guard dog or accomplice?" on TikTok. The newscasters explain that a $1,000 e-bike was stolen out of a garage, and we all get to witness the scene. A sweet pup goes right up to the presumed thief and demands pets and belly rubs. The bike thief happily obliges and looks a little confused, perhaps unsure if he should stick to his original plan after meeting such a delightful pooch.

Read more
Video: Adorable dog thinks the TV wants to play fetch
This is why dogs love the game fetch so much
Beautiful couple watching television at home with their dog on sofa

Some pups just can't ever get enough playtime and will take every opportunity to chase a ball, even a virtual one. Videos of cats and dogs watching TV frequently catch our attention because they remind us how much more advanced our animals are than we really understand. Unlike us, though, this doggo doesn't quite get that he can't jump into the action on the screen, sadly for him. Watch this video of a dog playing fetch, or at least attempting to.

The video opens with a shot of a person throwing a football in a yard on the TV. The player tosses the ball, and it goes offscreen as we pan to a beloved dog watching it excitedly. He tries to follow the football, not realizing that it exists in a completely separate time and place. He looks back and forth, seeming to question his pet parent about the laws of physics, not understanding where the chaseable football went. It ends with the sound of his delighted person laughing in the background. The caption sums it up perfectly with: Huh? Mom, where’d it go?

Read more