Acquired: Breeder (professional)
7441, South Africa
Posted July 28, 2016
Raising and training Kiara has so far been enormously fun, challenging, and rewarding!
The biggest things I've learned with her:
1 - It's worth it to wait for a pup to be at least 8 weeks before bringing them home! Kiara was super easy to potty-train, she had an incredible sense of maturity and I believe it is all because she got to be with her mom for slightly more than 8 weeks.
2 - Doing lots of training from the very beginning is good, and it's a real fun way to "play" with your dog. Kiara learned new things (like sit, down, rollover, etc) very easily and I did training with her for small amounts of time twice a day as a pup. It sometimes felt tedious, but aside from just training her to be a good dog, it also strenghthened our bond as it was a lot of fun for her to do this with me.
3 - Biggest lesson of all! - One has to keep reminding oneself that doing "dog chores" is FUN! I walk Kiara at least once (mostly twice) a day, play with her, and train her. These things often tend to feel tedious, but it's possible to remind myself that all of these things are really just fun ways to spend with my dog, with the bonus being that she turns out to be an awesome dog because of it!
On a general note: Kiara is a bure-bred golden retriever. She is amazing with small children, she loves when they play with her ears, her tail, and her paws.
She loves when I play hide-and-seek with her! She has an incredible sense of smell, so I let her lie down in one room while I hide 5 of her toys (each with one piece of kibble on it) around the house (behind stuff, on top of stuff, inside an open cupboard, etc), and then she has to find them. Each time when she finds it, she has to lie down there and wait for me, then I reward her with more kibble. This is so so so much fun for her!
Kiara also LOVES swimming. We go to the river and various dams a lot. Last summer (it's now winter where we are) I started teaching her to retrieve items in the pool from under the water. This summer I want to improve her skills on that :)
Dogs are also like children in the sense that they have a mind of their own though. Certain things are nearly impossible to get right, and can be frustrating.
Kiara sometimes barks if she does not get her way. I've tried various methods of training her to stop barking but not with much success yet.
Also, she (AS MOST GOLDEN RETRIEVERS AND LABS) is a big scavenger! Whenever we go for walkies in the field, she goes and looks for any odd bits of food that she can scavenge. Her most disgusting habit is scavenging for and eating cat poo!! Try as I may, I've not been able to get rid of this awful habit.
However, as with kids, we learn to make peace with the not-so-fun parts as well, and we learn how to manage it. I know where her favourite scavenge areas are so I just try and steer clear from those.
I love Kiara to bits and am having so much fun with her!