Most dogs have their favorite toy. But Goldens have some unique requirements that make selecting the right gear a little trickier.
Leashes, Collars and Harnesses
Since they can get relatively large, a good leash or harness is a must. But what is ‘good’ in this case? The average male Golden is 22-24 inches (56-61 cm) in height and between 65-80 lbs (30-36 kg) in weight. Females are slightly shorter and about 10-20 lbs lighter. But that’s an average for purebreds. Male Goldens can easily reach 100 lbs, especially if they’re even a slightly mixed breed.
That height and weight requires a very strong collar and leash or harness. At the same time, you want one that doesn’t tear your hand or require enormous strength to control. A wide leash made of good nylon mesh or leather will fit the bill. Plastic, self-locking clips on collars are made these days of astoundingly strong composites and will serve the purpose well.
A chest harness isn’t mandatory, but using one can make it easier on the owner and dog. Some individuals are more inclined to pull than others, some are more easily distracted. A chest harness will make it easier to control the dog and avoids stress on its throat.
Golden Retrievers are by nature very mouthy. They love to chew on rawhide bones, balls and every other imaginable object. Though, they’re not particularly prone to chew on shoes, clothing or furniture, if properly trained and provided with alternatives.
Giving them plenty of alternatives helps keep their teeth clean and their chewing desire satisfied. Since they love attention it also gives their human companion a much needed break. Unlike children, you can’t occupy a Golden with TV.
Specialized plastics and rubber compounds are a blessing for Golden Retriever owners, since they provide a broad set of safe, healthy chew toy alternatives. Rawhide bones are another good choice, but avoid the flavored or coated ones in the house, since they’ll stain the carpet.
Don’t give your Golden real bones unless they are the large, non-splinter type manufactured for chewing. Chicken bones, and even real beef bones can shatter and splinter making for an unhealthy situation.
Golden Retrievers love to play tug. They have incredibly strong necks and jaws and it’s perfectly safe to play a vigorous game of tug with a Golden over a few months of age. Ropes with knots at the end are the best option, since it gives the dog something to grab onto. And something for you to grab, too. A full grown Golden can easily beat you at tug!
More complex gear is available for specialized training. Obstacle courses, tunnels and a wide variety of other arrangements can be used for show training, or just for fun. Goldens are smart, energetic and eager to please. Watching them wind their way up ramps and through tunnels is fun for both dog and owner. Just make sure it’s large enough to accommodate your pet as he or she grows.