Are Golden Retrievers High Maintenance?

by Kern Campbell

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Golden retriever and girl smiling

I just adopted an adorable Golden Retriever puppy, and I am curious to know if they are high maintenance.  I lead a hectic lifestyle that can make it hard for me to devote lots of time to my dog.   I wonder if I will need to have someone care for them while I am away from home.

Sparing a few minutes today, I attempted to find some information that might help me figure this out.

Are Golden Retrievers High Maintenance?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are high maintenance because they form close connections with their loved ones and have a hard time being away from them.  They suffer from separation anxiety which makes them high maintenance and need daily exercise and outdoor time.  They have a fur coat that needs regular brushing and can also suffer from some health conditions which can also make them high maintenance. 

Golden Retrievers need good physical exercise, which should also include some outside time as they love both.  Their fur coat needs regular brushing to prevent it from tangling up and knotting, not to mention collecting debris and dirt, which can make them high maintenance. 

Even though they are high maintenance, much can be done to reduce their neediness and make life more agreeable and pleasant for everyone involved.   Golden Retrievers that are high maintenance will continue to be so throughout their lives as most dogs are.  

If your Golden Retriever is high maintenance, it can help if they are adequately trained and socialized, with regular review periods being necessary.  When Golden Retrievers require much attention, it can be essential for the pet parent to set healthy boundaries.  Whatever the reasons are that make individual Golden Retrievers high maintenance, they have a lot of love to offer in return.

Golden Retrievers are a wonderfully loving dog breed that forms and needs a close connection to their loving family to feel secure and happy.  If they don’t have this secure, closely connected bond and regular physical contact with their loved one they can suffer from separation anxiety, putting them in the high maintenance category as a dog.

Dogs that are considered high maintenance need a lot of attention, one way or another.

For a Golden Retriever, they do need a lot of attention.   Not only do they need a close physically connected bond between them and their owner, but they also have other needs.

Golden Retrievers will need regular daily exercise and outdoor time to feel content and happy.  Since their fur coat is long, they will need daily grooming of their coat to prevent matting, knotting, and tangling.  Aside from that, Golden Retrievers can also suffer from numerous health issues throughout their lives, making them high maintenance.

With all the maintenance they require and their difficulty with separation it can be frustrating at times, but much can be done to reduce their neediness and make life happier and more agreeable.  This quality of being high maintenance will be lifelong for dogs that are this way.

Thankfully, training and socialization can help reduce some signs of neediness related to their separation anxiety and their need for constant, close connections.  Even with this training and socialization, it is necessary to have regular review periods.  Setting healthy boundaries can be helpful, so everyone, including the dog, knows what is acceptable.

What makes a dog high maintenance versus low maintenance?

What makes a dog high maintenance versus low maintenance is how much care and attention they need.  Maintenance includes their physical, emotional, and mental needs.

If they are high maintenance dogs, they need a lot of attention and care to live healthily and happily.  Low maintenance dogs need less to be happy and healthy.  It must be understood that these words are just that words.  Determining if a dog is high need or low need is relative, we all have needs with some needing more than others.

High maintenance can be related to a dog’s fur coat, physical body in the form of brushing, and other grooming habits, including how often they need their ears cleaned, nails trimmed, or teeth brushed.

Some dogs that are considered high maintenance may suffer from genetic or other health issues like allergies that require their owner to spend a lot of time thinking about their diet and lifestyle.

Thinking about what foods they can eat and how certain foods affect their health would be considered a high maintenance situation.

Other dogs will have high maintenance needs regarding their emotional state.  They may not like to be left alone or have trouble dealing with thunderstorms and need extra attention.

Even still, some dogs will need lots of physical love and affection in the form of being carried around often and cuddled a lot.

Mentally some dogs need unique toys that entertain so they don’t misbehave because they get bored quickly. Simultaneously, others may require a combination of all the above to be happy, healthy, and content.

The time of day, their environment, and how they are feeling can also affect whether any dog is high or low maintenance.  If someone new comes into their home territory, some dogs might react by becoming clingy.  Other dogs might be high maintenance first thing in the morning when they are hungry and then lower maintenance throughout the rest of the day as they are fed and content.

Each dog will have their wants and needs, which makes them unique.

In most cases, dogs are always high maintenance to a certain degree.  Like children, they depend on their parents for everything they need.  Food, water, bathroom breaks, toys, snuggles, playtime, fresh air outside, a comfortable bed, and many other things must forever be supplied.  They can’t visit the veterinarian without their pet parent taking them.  Nor can they go to the dog park for the same reason.

Are Golden Retrievers High Maintenance?
Teenage girl stroking her English Cream Golden Retriever dog

What makes them different from human children is that they never outgrow this stage.  While they may grow older, their needs and wants never to go away.  They may change and ebb and flow with the cycles of their lives; but their needs are always there.

Golden Retrievers can be high maintenance, but they can have moments where they are low maintenance too.  They might be content sitting at the feet of their loved one and taking a nap after a good meal, and brushing but not need much else, which could be considered a low maintenance.

Being high maintenance is not necessarily a bad thing, as it forces pet parents to be responsive and form a close bond with their four-legged family member.  Sometimes people attach negativity to certain words, but in reality, we all are high maintenance at different times in our lives.

Attaching negativity to your dog because they have more needs than you would like them to, doesn’t promote a loving and accepting family life.  Focusing on ways to help them be less needy during certain situations is by far a better way to look at the situation and your dog.

What can be done about my Golden Retriever being high maintenance?

Not much can be done about your Golden Retriever being high maintenance except being responsive to their needs before they happen.

This can include having a set daily schedule where they get some outdoor time, exercise, good grooming, and plenty of attention.

Scheduling these needs into the pet parent’s day can make them seem less daunting and challenging to accomplish as they become a regular part of the day, like eating or brushing teeth.

The Golden Retriever can be a high maintenance dog, but it should be noted that they are not fussy about how everything happens.  This can make life a bit easier for their pet parent versus the dog who must snuggle up three times a day right after each meal or the dog misbehaves.  This can be a small victory for a pet parent who doesn’t like having a set schedule or feeling like their dog runs the show.

Training and socialization can help a Golden Retriever that is high maintenance.  It can teach the dog how they are expected to behave in certain situations.  Golden Retrievers love to please their pet parents or those they love, which can help with how they react if their needs are immediately met. 

If they are adequately trained and socialized, pet parents can expect them to behave while they get something done and the Golden Retriever will likely be patient and forgiving during those moments.

Closing Points

While all dogs can be high maintenance because they depend on us for all their wants and needs, Golden Retrievers still have a great personality that makes it easier to handle.

Understanding that needs as well as wants area normal part of life, even for a dog can be helpful to pet parents that struggle.

Those potential pet parents that find it hard to deal with their Golden Retrievers needs should focus on the happy, gentle, and fun-loving dog they are in return, and it might just make things a lot easier to deal with!

Are Golden Retrievers High Maintenance?

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