Are Golden Retrievers Good With Kids
Behavior Golden Retriever Purebred

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Kids?

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Golden retrievers make great household pets. They are gentle, loyal, easy to train and have a calm temperament. This makes them the obvious choice when it comes to choosing a dog. But are they suited to a household that has kids?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are good with kids of all ages and make a great family pet. They are very social dogs and love being around people. They are also easy going, and don't mind a bit of rough and tumble or occasional loud noises.

Before you rush out and get a Golden Retriever, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration, especially if you have young children. Will you have enough time to train, exercise and feed a dog? Do you work long hours, or are you a stay at home parent? Do you have a baby or are you planning on starting a family soon? These are all questions you should be asking yourself before you commit to any new puppy or dog. 

In this article I'll explain if a Golden Retriever is the right dog for you and your kids, and how to introduce one to your household, with some rules for the kids and the benefits for the entire family.

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Kids of all ages?

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. This is because they usually integrate really well into any household. They are people pleasers, that are usually easy to train and love playing games. This makes them a great companion for children.

A well trained Golden Retriever can be great with kids of all ages.  They do however grow to be fairly large and can weigh 60 to 70lbs, so you need to be careful if your kids are small or if you've got a baby. Most Golden Retriever owners will tell you that their retriever doesn't know his own size and will gladly climb on top of you like a baby just to get a hug.

When it comes to smaller children, babies and toddlers, a younger Golden Retriever may not be the best option. Young retrievers can be boisterous and playful and whilst it is possible to train them not to jump up on people or to bite, accidents do happen. 

One of the main reasons why a Golden Retriever is a great dog for kids is that they are very energetic and they love to play. Other dogs may not be as interested in playing, but a Golden Retriever will always be ready for any activity. This can be a great way to get your kids off the sofa and outside as they love to play ball or run around like crazy. 

Are Golden Retrievers Good with Infants and Toddlers?

Golden Retrievers are very social dogs, and this makes them ideal for families with kids. Of all the dog breeds out there, Golden Retrievers are one of the best dog breeds to have if you've got a toddler or infant in your home.

Some dog breeds don't get on well with children. Children can be unpredictable and younger children don't understand that some dogs need their own space. In my experience, most Golden Retrievers tend to love attention from children, and make great playmates.

Every dog is different, and no matter how long you've had your dog, or how much you trust him, you should never leave a young child or baby unsupervised around a dog.

If you've got a young baby, then getting a new dog is usually not a good idea. You simply won't be able to give the dog enough attention and training, especially if he's a puppy. 

Golden retriever small child

If you are rescuing or fostering a dog, a Golden Retriever is a great choice, especially if he's a bit older. This is because they are probably one of the best dog breeds to have around kids. They are big dogs, and are usually ok with a bit of ruff and tumble, and don't mind the odd tug on their coat.

Fostering any dog is a great way to see if you can handle having a dog and a toddler or baby at the same time. Dogs can be a lot of work, and they demand a lot of your attention, just like small children. Fostering a dog for a few weeks can help you to understand how a dog will fit into your family, and how he will interact with your young children. 

How To introduce a Golden Retriever to A house with young children

Introducing a dog to your home for the first time can be very exciting. Most young children love the idea of owning a puppy, and if it is done correctly, it can be the start of a long loving relationship.

Golden Retriever puppies are just like any other puppy. They are inquisitive, boisterous, untrained and just love to chew anything they can get their paws on. This can make it a bit frightening for young children if they are not used to dogs.

All dogs have a few basic social rules that they are born with. It's important that you teach your child how to interact with your dog, whilst remembering that young children don't really understand dog social rules and boundaries.

If your child is very young (under the age of 2) then they won't be able to understand how to act around any dog, and it will be up to you to manage the situation. It's a good idea to keep your new Golden Retriever on a leash the first few times that they meet. This will help you to keep control of the situation, and will stop any accidental jumps or nips from the puppy. It's probably best to keep the puppy and child separated until the puppy gets a bit older (12 to 14 weeks old) and has learned a few basic commands. 

If your child is between the age of 2 and 5, then you can teach your child a few of the basics when it comes to interacting with the new puppy. I always recommend crate training a puppy from day one. A crate can provide a safe haven for the puppy to retreat to when it becomes overwhelmed or just needs some quiet time away from the kids. 

You should also get your kids involved in training the puppy. Golden Retrievers are fast learners and will pick up basic commands like sit and stay very quickly. I find that a great way to teach young children how to act and interact with dogs is by getting them to feed the puppy a treat when he gets a command right. This helps to teach the child how to avoid getting their hands nipped or how to anticipate a surprise jump from a puppy.

Grooming is another way of teaching your child how to touch and play with the puppy. Most toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy helping you to bathe and groom their new dog. Brushing the puppy's coat is a great way to teach your child how to be gentle with the puppy, and also gets the puppy used to being handled.

It's important to remember that introducing a new dog to your home is going to take a few weeks. Take it slow, and don't overwhelm the puppy. It's important to build a bond with your new Golden Retriever yourself, so be sure to take him for plenty of walks on your own away from the children so that he can learn how to walk on a leash and how to interact with other dogs.

How To Introduce A new Baby To A Golden Retrievers' Home

Many couples get a dog before they start a family. It's often the case that a new baby will be brought home to a house that has an older dog that has been living there for years. Golden Retrievers make great family pets, but you need to be careful that you introduce the baby to your Retriever properly so that he doesn't get jealous.

Golden Retriever with a  baby

A new baby is going to take up a lot of your time and attention, so it's a good idea to have a plan in place before the baby comes home. Here are a few ideas to help get you organised before the big arrival.

1. Crate train your dog

This is one of the best things you can do for your Golden Retriever, and is often misunderstood as being cruel. All dogs love to retreat to somewhere that is safe and is exclusively theirs. Babies can be confusing and noisy at first, and some dogs can become overwhelmed by all of the fuss and excitement. By providing a safe place (such as a crate) for you dog to go to when he is scared or confused, you can help him to control his own anxiety without it escalating into a more difficult and dangerous situation. A crate is also a safe way to isolate your dog if he becomes over excited, or if you need 10 minutes to clean up a baby mess or change a dirty diaper!

2. Play baby sounds in your home before the baby arrives

Type "baby sounds for dogs" into Youtube or Spotify and you can prepare your Golden Retriever for the new sounds that he will soon be hearing on a daily basis. Some dogs don't like the sound of a baby crying or screaming at first, and this can be a great way to get them used to it.

3. Get into a good exercise routine

If you don't already have a good walking routine with your Golden Retriever, then you should start one before the baby arrives. Get into the habit of taking your dog out for a walk or a run at the same time every morning or evening. Dogs love a routine, and a morning walk is an excellent way to spend time with your dog and to allow him to burn off some energy.

Once your baby arrives home, you should introduce your dog as soon as possible. Most dogs will want to know who this new little person is, and if they are a threat to his family. Before they meet, leave one of your baby's towels out so that your Retriever can sniff it and become familiar with the scent. 

When meeting for the first time, you obviously want to be in control, so it's a good idea to keep your dog on a leash and your baby in a crib where he can be seen and sniffed but not harmed.

Most dogs, especially older ones won't be too bothered by a new baby and after an initial introduction won't show much interest as long as their lives are not impacted too much. Remember to heap lots of attention and praise on your Retriever and include him in all of the family activities as usual so that he does not feel left out.

Some Rules For Kids Around Golden Retrievers (and Dogs in general)

It's important to teach your children (especially the older ones) a few rules for when it comes to interacting with your Golden Retriever. These can help to keep your kids safe and to stop them or your Golden Retriever from getting hurt.

Golden Retrievers are usually very patient and don't mind being touched and hugged sometimes. However, all dogs have the capacity to bite and snap if they are stressed, in pain or need some space.

Here are a few basic rules that you should teach your kids if you have a dog in your home.

1. Never pull on your Golden Retrievers' tail, ears or paws. 

Dogs don't understand playful pulling on body parts, and can react instinctively by biting or barking loudly if they don't like being pulled on. It's also possible for a child to hurt a dog if they pull too hard on a leg or paw.

2. Don't hug your Retriever unless he comes looking for affection

Most dogs don't like being crowded, and contrary to what most owners will tell you, don't actually like being hugged. A child won't be able to read the warning signs if your Retriever is uncomfortable, so it's best not to encourage hugging. Some dogs like to come sit on your lap if you're on the sofa, or lie across your legs. This can be a good time for hugs, as your dog is actively looking for affection and won't be startled if your child throws her arms around him.

You should tell your child to always approach a dog from the front so that he can see them coming. This gives him the opportunity to dodge an encounter if he wants and it will avoid him getting startled or aggressive.

golden retriever hugs

3. Don't let you Golden Retriever lick your child's face or hands.

Dogs like to lick things, especially things like the ground, the bin or even their own behinds! So you don't want them licking your child's face or hands if you can help it. You should teach your child to always wash his/her hands after playing with or petting a dog.

4. Don't play chasing games

Chasing games between a child and a Golden Retriever will usually end in tears. Smaller kids love chasing each other around the garden or playground, but this is not a game you should encourage with bigger dogs like Golden Retrievers. They don't understand the rules and will usually get too excited and can jump up or knock over small children very easily.

5. Don't scream or shout too loudly around your Golden Retriever

A dog's hearing is much more sensitive than ours, and they are much more reactive to loud noises than we are. Kids can be noisy, and that's ok, but make sure that they are not screaming or shouting directly at your Retriever as this may upset or anger him. Sometimes its a good idea to put your Retriever outside or in another room if you're hosting a kids birthday party or the kids are just being a bit rowdy.

The Benefits of having a golden Retriever in your Home

There are many proven benefits to having a dog such as a Golden Retriever as part of your family

Golden Retrievers are one of the third most popular dog breed in America today. The reason for this is that they are a loving, gentle, social breed; that are great around kids and other family pets. 

There are plenty lots of benefits when it comes to having a Golden Retriever live in your home. They make great companions for children and having a family dog is a great way to teach your child how to care for, and love animals. Children that grow up around dogs will be more comfortable around dogs in general, and won't be unnecessarily scared if they encounter one in their neighbourhood.

If you’ve got children, Golden Retrievers make a great playmate as they are a playful and sociable breed. Having a dog will force you and your children to become more active outdoors. Golden Retrievers need lots of exercise, and the whole family can benefit from joining in.

They are also good for your health and the health of your children in other ways.  A recent study in the New England Journal Of Medicine has shown that growing up around animals can have a beneficial impact on your immune system. Children that live in homes with dogs (and other animals) have a lower risk for developing autoimmune illnesses like asthma and allergies. 

About the author

Jenna Brady

Jenna Brady

Jenna has been a pet lover all of her life. She is the proud owner of three cute dogs (Molly, Oscar and Dobby), and regularly fosters and cares for puppies that have fallen on hard times. She is currently studying Animal Sciences and has a special interest in animal behavior, welfare and grooming.

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