Like I imagine many new parents do, my husband and I spent a considerable amount of time researching: how to introduce your dog to a new baby. We took notes and felt confident our rescue Golden Retriever Fleetwood would do well when she eventually met our new baby. Fleetwood had always been a calm energy in the house, but we wanted to make sure that she didn't feel neglected, and, though it was completely not her character, that she wouldn't become aggressive toward our new baby.
Our daughter is 16 months now and we couldn't be happier with how Fleetwood has welcomed her new friend, convincing me that Goldens truly are the best for families. Here's why:
Golden Retrievers naturally have a calm disposition and temperament.
While I can't speak for every single Golden, I've never met one that wasn't a sweet soul — even those who are high-energy! The breed is routinely chosen as a service animal for this reason (though their sense of smell is certainly another reason!).
Golden Retrievers are smiley and goofy.
Any time Fleetwood click-clacks into a room, our daughter's head immediately swivels in her direction and she starts giggling. The dog's smile is just infectious.
Golden Retrievers are intelligent dogs.
Don't let their goofy disposition fool you. We invested the time early in acclimating our dog to our new baby by having my dad bring home our newborn's blanket from the hospital before we even came home with her (that's her above with the blanket). We wanted Fleetwood to get used to the smell of a new person, and when we eventually were discharged from the hospital, we slowly brought Fleetwood over to make sure she socialised and interacted well with our baby. She understood that the baby belonged and was part of the family.
Golden Retrievers love to please.
The breed loves humans and can learn quickly if you train them early and well. Our dog has been responsive to the few things we've taught her, and even when our daughter was an infant, Fleetwood knew that she was precious and not a toy.
Golden Retrievers are friendly toward other children as well.
This is especially helpful when other children come over who are scared of dogs. Fleetwood allows nervous children to approach her, pet her, sometimes even cry and scream in front of her, all without causing any sort of alarm.
Golden Retrievers are so patient.
My husband and I are always paying close attention to how our daughter plays with our dog, because Fleetwood will certainly take a lot of abuse. She's tolerant of our daughter when she crawls on her, and Fleetwood never shows aggression, though she routinely gets up and relocates when she's annoyed or has had enough. As with any breed, it's important to always supervise when they play together.
Golden Retrievers don't bark a ton.
Other than alerting us to someone at the door, our Golden doesn't bark a ton which is super helpful while our daughter is napping and sleeping.