Thinking about a Golden?

This checklist is designed to help you think through your impending decision from an intellectual point of view – the emotional part has probably already been considered!

  • Do you live inside the Austin and San Antonio metropolitan areas and nearby surrounding communities? If you live outside the area where we have a trained volunteer to do an in-person visit at your home, we will not be able to complete your application. Before applying, please email to ask if there is a Home Visit Volunteer in your area.

  • Are you committed to providing a safe, happy, healthy, loving home and make the dog a member of the family? The dog must be allowed to sleep inside and spend most of its time inside with the family. We are looking for homes with lots of love to give and time to spend with the dog. Please understand bringing a rescued dog into your home should be a commitment you are making about the dog’s needs being met and not about your own personal needs being met.

  • Are you committed to providing excellent care for the dog as a family member (this includes love, attention, shelter, good nutrition, appropriate vet care, monthly heartworm prevention, monthly flea/tick preventative, if needed, exercise, mental stimulation, training) for the next 10 or more years?

  • While some of our dogs come from loving homes, all have been unexpectedly uprooted, and many come with needs for training, confidence-building and/or medical care needs -- are you committed to providing whatever the dog needs with loving patience and ample time to bring out the best in your new companion?

  • Do you agree to keep the dog on leash anytime he or she is outside an enclosed fenced-in area? This is for the safety and protection of the dog from unexpected and sudden dangers.

  • Do you agree to keep the adopted dog inside the home anytime the family is sleeping or away from home? Places such as, but not limited to, screened-in porches and garages (even if air conditioned) are unacceptable.This includes closing access to a dog door to prevent the dog from being able to go outside the home when the adults are gone. How will you manage this?

  • When being transported, do you agree that the dog will always ride inside an enclosed vehicle and never in an open truck bed, whether contained in a crate, loose or tethered?

  • Why do you want a dog? What will its primary function be?

  • What size dog do you want? Goldens can range from 55-80 pounds.

  • Why do you want a Golden Retriever?

  • Do you have a private fenced yard (with a large enough grassy area for dog to run around and play fetch) with a minimum 4' fence attached to your home? Dogs need sufficient room to exercise and play. (Rare exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis and only for senior/golden oldie dogs deemed appropriate for the situation).

  • What are the schedules of the family members? Goldens are active dogs and need to run, play, exercise, potty and have mental stimulation at least every 4 hours. Puppies may need the same in 2-4 hour increments.

  • Do you mind grooming? A Golden Retriever sheds year-round. Some shedding can be managed with frequent brushing. Are you aware you will need to groom the dog monthly yourself or take to the groomer which costs on average $100 or more each time?

  • Do you want a male or female?

  • Have you ever owned dogs before? Did you train them or someone else? Have you or anyone else ever used aversive training methods such as shock collars, choke chains, prong collars or excessive use of force on your dogs? GRR supports the use of science-based positive reinforcement training. Dog training is an unregulated industry and there are many practices that can be harmful to your relationship with your new companion. If you are willing to find wonderful trainers, we can help you.

  • If you have other pets, do they get along with dogs?

  • Do you have children over 8 years old (GRR does not adopt to families with children under 8 years old)? Children should never be left unsupervised with dogs or have full responsibility of the dog. Even children and puppies can be a disaster. Please read How to adopt for more information on our requirements about children and Goldens.

  • Are you willing to go to obedience classes and train a dog yourself?

  • Are you familiar with the use of crates in housebreaking and training?

  • Do you travel much and have you considered what arrangements you must make when you travel?

  • How will the dog be exercised and by whom?

  • Have you discussed getting a dog with everyone in your family – especially the kids—and decided what will and will not be allowed and who will be directly responsible for the dogs care?

  • Have you given serious thought to the fact that the average lifetime of a Golden is 12+ years, and this means a long term commitment to this animal?

  • Have you investigated the cost of owning a dog? Good dog care in our area is expensive. Annual vet care, inoculations, parasite testing, monthly heartworm preventative, flea preventative (if needed), quality dog food, toys, miscellaneous equipment, grooming and other supplies can cost $2500 a year This does not include any injuries, illnesses the dog may incur or boarding/kennel fees. Are you prepared for this commitment?

Do you want to adopt a Golden Retriever?

Though initially Goldens may seem to be the ideal pet, there are DISADVANTAGES!

Listed below are the many areas that need thought and consideration before you bring one into your home.

  • SIZE… Goldens are medium to large size dogs. The Golden standard is for a male to range from 23-24 inches high at the shoulder and weigh 65-75 pounds; females are 21½ to 22½ inches at the shoulder and weigh 55-65 pounds. They normally possess very active tails just at the height of a coffee table. Though that happy tail is one of their advantages, putting breakables up while the dog adjusts to its new home makes for happier owners.

  • EXERCISE… While most Goldens will adjust to a variety of lifestyles, ALL dogs need exercise, and some need more than others. While less active Goldens are happier and healthier with a good walk every day, more active dogs MUST have regular daily exercise to help them become the calm housepets most owners want and cut down on behavior problems. Fenced yards are a must; (See Why Do I Need A Fence?) however, most dogs will not exercise themselves just because they are outside - they need you to play with them and take them for walks.

  • SHEDDING… Goldens are a medium coated breed and they do shed, often profusely. Because of the coat, frequent brushing is to your advantage. If you don’t care for vacuuming, either don’t get a Golden or join the many Golden owners who have decided they are worth living with some dog hair in the house!

  • FINANCIAL...Good dog care in our area is expensive. Annual vet care, inoculations, parasite testing, monthly heartworm preventative, flea preventative (if needed), quality dog food, toys, miscellaneous equipment, grooming and other supplies can cost $2500 a year. This does not include any injuries, illnesses the dog may incur or boarding/kennel fees.

  • TRAINING… We highly recommend a beginning obedience course for ALL dogs. The investment of a few weeks in learning about obedience together can be the difference between a happy dog that becomes a satisfying companion and a dog given up because the owner "doesn’t know what to do with it."

  • GUARD DOG… As a protective guard dog, Goldens are LOUSY! Though they may bark and growl defensively, in a confrontation Goldens would rather kiss the intruder and show him the silver!

  • ADDICTIVE… Very few people own only one Golden. We simply find them habit forming. Contrary to popular belief, two (or more) CANNOT live as cheaply as one.

If you have made it this far and are still considering a Golden, WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOLDEN ADMIRERS! We look forward to helping you find a Golden to add to your family.

So now what to do?

If you still feel a Golden is right for you, your next step is to read our guidelines and fill out an application.

If you have decided this is not the breed for you, we hope that you will consider your local shelter or other dog rescues. Getting a new dog is exciting and filled with many great expectations. We’d be happy to help you make them come true!

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