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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 24460
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 17 years.
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Hello, My husband and I (young retired) are thinking of buying

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Hello,
My husband and I (young retired) are thinking of buying a 20 month old Golden Retriever bitch from a Gundog Kennel. We just want a family pet to come on long walks with us (we live in the Lake District). The bitch in question is being sold because she is not quite making the grade for a top gundog, but is otherwise healthy and KC reg. However, she has always lived in kennels and so has not been socialised with young children or in the house. We have a young grandson (19 months) and are likely to have more in the future. My concern is that it will be possible to socialise a dog at this age as I understand that there are certain "windows" of opportunity to achieve certain aspects of training. I have previously owned 3 dogs and 2 horses and am a trained Biologist but have had my other dogs from puppies. Thanks for your comments - Heather Brizell

Dr. Altman :

Welcome! I am Dr. Altman and am happy to answer your questions today

Dr. Altman :

First, I want to commend you on asking the questions before leaping in with your heart. Most people don't do this.

Dr. Altman :

Second, have you met her? Has she been kenneled her first 20 months?

Dr. Altman :

As far as breeds that will transform into home life with children readily the Golden is definitely a great choice. I have a client who purchased a 10 month old Male that was going to be a breeding/ show dog and they ended up placing him and with some hard work from the owners (regular classes of obedience, agility) he is a remarkable dog

Dr. Altman :

If you meet her and she is timid and hiding (definitely taking her on a walk outside their property if this is an option) then perhaps she is not the right choice but if she approaches with confidence, wagging her tail and wanting attention this is a great place to start. Taking her off the property is so important because if she is used to their familiarity she might be a great dog there but might shut down elsewhere because it is outside her comfort zone

Dr. Altman :

But knowing her temperament is key in making that decision and how she handles new surroundings and people. If you are unable to meet her ahead of time then perhaps this is not the best situation for you and your family

Dr. Altman :

I am going to change formats in a moment if I have not seen you enter the chat to ensure you are able to view my responses and ask additional questions I am sure you are going to have

Customer:

No - we are hoping to see her on Thursday but she is a 3 hour car journey away so if there could be big problems we are reluctant to make the effort to go there. Our concern is whether a dog of 20 months that has only lived in kennels will be able to adapt to a domestic environment with occasional visits from grandchildren.

Dr. Altman :

If she were a German Shepherd or another breed I would be more reluctant but with a Golden they really do thrive on personal interaction. My concern would be if she is a timid Golden or that she since she was bred for work might not be as socially adept as a Golden bred for the purpose you seek which is a pet

Dr. Altman :

And is she not going to be a top gun dog because she is flighty with the activity? This would also make me hesitate if she is fearful of big noises, etc

Dr. Altman :

There are a lot of questions I think that need to be answered

Dr. Altman :

Did they give you any indication of her personality?

Customer:

Advert says she is friendly and confident but no indications as to why she isn't making the grade as a gun dog

Dr. Altman :

So questions for them: has she been off the property to train? If so how did she adjust? Has she been around children? Has she been in a house situation at all (sometimes they are rotated through the house in these situations)? Why did she not work out as a gun dog? Have they placed any of the rest of the litter in homes as pets or are they specifically only gun dogs? What is their return policy after the first few weeks if it is not a good match?
If they can answer these questions on the phone in a way that resolves some of your fears then perhaps it is worth the trip but if there is any hesitation perhaps it is best to move on. There are SOOO many dogs that need homes that this might not be the best match if you have any qualms...

Customer:

Thanks for that. We'll have another chat with the owners based around your questions.

Dr. Altman :

Great! How else can I assist you today?

Dr. Altman :

I can definitely set a reminder to check in if you have any additional questions in a few days. There is no additional charge and I can do this after you have rated our chat...

Customer:

No more questions at the moment. Thanks for your help. We appreciate the opportunity of additional questions if needed in a few days time.

Dr. Altman :

When would you like me to set the reminder for after you have rated? Two days? Three? Whatever works best with your schedule... you don't have to be available at that moment but it will send you an e-mail to reenter the chat to ask any additional questions that might have popped up with the chat with the breeder

Customer:

3 days please.

Dr. Altman and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Good day, I was checking in to see if you had any additional questions after speaking to the Golden breeder?