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The 7 Most Unusual Habits of Golden Retrievers

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on April 12, 2024

Golden Retrievers are one of the most beloved dog breeds worldwide, renowned for their friendly, tolerant attitude, and beautiful, shiny golden coat. Originally bred for hunting and retrieving games in Scotland, these dogs are incredibly versatile, excelling in roles such as search and rescue, as therapy dogs, and in obedience competitions, alongside being affectionate family members. While Golden Retrievers are known for their intelligence and loyal nature, they also have a few quirky habits that can be both amusing and baffling. These behaviors often stem from their breeding background, instincts, and their highly sociable personality. This article will explore seven of the most unusual habits of Golden Retrievers, offering insights into the reasons behind each behavior and providing tips on how owners can manage these idiosyncrasies effectively.

1. Carrying Objects in Their Mouth

Golden Retrievers have a natural predisposition to carry objects in their mouth, a trait that originates from their breeding as hunting dogs tasked with retrieving game. This behavior can manifest in carrying everything from their toys to random household items, and even sometimes items that do not belong to them, like shoes or remote controls. While this habit is generally harmless and can be quite endearing, it is important for owners to ensure that the objects their pets choose to carry are safe and not valuable items that could be damaged. Teaching a “drop it” command is essential for managing this behavior and ensuring it does not lead to undesirable consequences.

2. Water Love

As retrievers, these dogs have an inherent love for water, which is highly beneficial in their traditional role of retrieving waterfowl. Golden Retrievers will often take any opportunity to splash in puddles, swim in ponds, or even dive into swimming pools. This love for water can sometimes become a challenge, especially if they decide to jump into water bodies without regard for safety or cleanliness. Owners should provide controlled and safe opportunities for their dogs to swim, perhaps through visits to dog-friendly beaches or swimming pools designed for dogs, ensuring they are always supervised during water activities.

3. “Mouthing” and Gentle Biting

Golden Retrievers are often known for their “soft mouth,” a trait that was selectively bred into them to retrieve game without damaging it. This trait can lead to a habit of gentle mouthing, where they softly bite as a form of interaction. While this is not aggressive biting and usually doesn’t cause any pain, it can be unsettling for guests who are not familiar with the behavior. Training to minimize mouthing behavior, especially around children and new people, and redirecting this instinct to toys or chew items can help manage it effectively.

4. Following You Everywhere

Golden Retrievers are incredibly social animals and may follow their owners around the house, often referred to as “shadowing.” This behavior stems from their pack animal nature and their bond with their family, who they view as their pack. While this can be comforting, it might also become inconvenient, especially in situations where privacy is needed. Teaching independence and providing a comfortable, inviting space where they can stay alone comfortably can help mitigate excessive clinginess.

5. Obsession with Food

Golden Retrievers are known for their voracious appetite, which makes them prone to overeating and obesity if not carefully managed. This obsession with food can lead to persistent begging or scavenging behaviors. It is crucial for owners to establish strict feeding routines, avoid giving table scraps, and ensure their pet gets adequate exercise to manage their weight. Engaging them in food puzzle toys can also help slow down their eating pace and satisfy their need for mental stimulation.

6. Digging Holes

Despite being well-behaved, some Golden Retrievers may develop a habit of digging, often in an attempt to bury something or to find a cool place to lie down. This behavior can be problematic, particularly if it leads to destroyed gardens or lawns. Providing a dedicated digging spot or sandpit in the yard can allow them to satisfy their digging instincts without damaging important areas of the garden.

7. Sleeping on Backs

Golden Retrievers often sleep on their backs with their legs in the air, which is quite a sight given their size. This sleeping position is believed to be a sign of complete trust and comfort in their environment, as it exposes their most vulnerable area. While no action is required for this habit, it’s a delightful quirk that showcases their carefree and trusting nature.

Learn More About the Golden Retriever Dog Breed: Information, Facts & Pictures

Golden Retrievers are not only known for their versatility and friendly disposition but also for their endearing and sometimes unusual habits. These behaviors, from carrying objects around to sleeping in funny positions, highlight their charming personality and the nuances of their breed characteristics. Understanding and gently shaping these habits ensure that living with a Golden Retriever is both harmonious and joyful, further cementing the bond between these beloved dogs and their human families.

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