Training Playtime

Training PlaytimeTraining, socialization, and positive experiences can all be incorporated into a puppy’s training playtime. Playtime is an important part of your puppy’s routine. It is important to be mindful of the training tips even while playing.

Playtime is a great time to show consistency in positive training. Socialization skills she has learned will begin to blossom during playtime as well.

Training Playtime and Socialization

Playtime is more casual than training time yet it is a perfect time to introduce socialization skills which expand your puppies experiences through touch (texture, toys, and people), sound (clicker, music, or toys), as well as other new experiences for her senses.

Introduce one new experience at a time and be watchful for her reaction. The main thing (as discussed in other socialization posts) is to have a positive approach and not rush your puppy into anything new. Be sure your reaction is warm and understanding.

Training Playtime and Manners

While a puppy is expected to have a lot more freedom during playtime compared to training session you will want to take time to teach playtime manners and behaviors as well. The communication you have learned together during training will work well in the playtime setting.

Be sure your puppy is playing in a safe environment where boundaries are well established (visually as well as command) to ensure he will not wander into areas where wildlife, traffic, or other potential safety issues are present.

Training Playtime and Toys

When you are in a training session with your puppy you will have specific tools to use. You may have a clicker, a treat pouch, a leash, and a mat. These tools provide a visual sign for your puppy to know it is time for class.

It is important to have playtime props as well. Visual signs it is time to play. However as a leader you will be on hand to provide positive communication and praise when your puppy is showing signs of having grasped a skill you have been working on together during a training session.

Training Playtime & Planning Ideas

  1. Go for a walk: Show your puppy the boundaries for the play area by putting her on a loose leash and walking with her around the inside boundaries of the play area.
  2. Choose a Toy: Provide a few choices of toys to play with during playtime.
  3. Provide an empty box or small pool for the puppy to climb in and out of.
  4. Make a game out of skills she has learned. For example: Put two or three commands she has learned together. Be sure to celebrate while you play!

a. Walking backwards, turn around, and repeat. Add challenges, as he grows older, such as walking backwards up a couple of steps.

b. Lay down, and roll-over.

c. Get it, bring it, leave it, and repeat (fetch game).

Playing games, using training commands he has already learned, can be fun for relationship building as well as a great time to celebrate skills she has learned.

English Cream Golden Retriever Socialization Checklist

English Cream Golden Retriever Relationship Development

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Approach

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach To Dog Training

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Dogs Blog on Wisteria GoldensAssistance dogs are “empowering people for independence” in more ways than ever before. Thanks to dog training organizations, like Power Paws, the needs of more people are being addressed by training assistance dogs. The contact with a healing companion and help with daily needs combine to enhance each person’s life in miraculous ways.

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion

Nathan and his companion service dog Sandra (1:52 in the video below), show us how these remarkable Disability Companion Dogs are being taught to sense when a child needs to eat, or take insulin, and then she promptly provides him with what he needs to balance his blood sugar. This is of great importance for Nathan so he can better manage his diabetes. This kind of assistance is life saving on a daily basis.

Power Paws Assistance Dogs Video

(Nathan and Sandra’s story are shown in this video beginning at the 1:52 digital time mark)

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Training

The specialized training opportunities for Disability Companion Dogs can address challenges, provide the dog with the right training, and teach disabled people (their handlers and their families) how to communicate with their new companion. The goal is to empower people with challenges of mobility, PTSD, fears and phobias, or other limiting conditions. These are just the beginning of what can be accomplished when a dog is given specialized training.

Training is to provide a dog with the knowledge to identify a situation and take an action. This needs to be consistent even in the case when the owner or handler gives a command which is in contradiction with the trained skill. For example; when a guide dog is instructed to cross the street and at the same time the dog sees a car coming he will follow his training rather than the handlers command. This is called ‘intelligent disobedience’ or ‘selective disobedience’ because the service dog has been trained to do things a certain way ‘not cross the street when a car is coming’ and will not follow the handler’s command to cross.

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Communication

A bit more specific would be the difference between stepping off of a curb and stepping down stairs. When stairs or a curb are present (in the case of a Seeing Eye dog) the dog is going to wait for the handler to specifically state they are aware of the obstacle. The ‘code words’ for stairs and curb will be different. If you are a recipient of a companion dog it is imperative you learn the language your dog has been taught and consistently communicate with her in her language.

The right skills training (for dogs and their owners) as well as the right dog for the job are keystones to successfully creating new opportunities for dogs and for the people they assist.

If you, someone you know, or an organization in your community would benefit from knowing more about this amazing topic please share this page.

English Cream Golden Retriever Disability Companion Related Links

The Healing Power of Dogs

Library Jobs for Dogs

Power Paws

Guide Dogs

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach to Dog Training

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Training ApproachWhen you take on the responsibility of becoming a dog owner you are taking on a leadership role. Many leaders have come to the conclusion when there is a problem in the organization the problem is often with the leadership approach. Many teachers have learned this as well. When a class is experiencing challenges, and other methods seem to be ineffective, there is probably a problem with the way a subject is being taught.

When we are training a family companion, if the problems seem complicated, and we are not getting the results we want, the problem may be in the training approach.

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach to Dog Training Comparison

Whenever anyone consults with a trainer about the challenges they are having working with their dog, upon observation, there are usually problems in the way the training has been approached. The same theme occurs in cases where children seem to be out of control. We have watched an episode or two of the reality show where a super nanny arrives to observe the problem, in most of the cases, the nanny is working more closely with helping the parents make some changes in how they are communicating with the children.

The lesson in these training tips is to change the focus off of the behaviors, onto discovering how the trainer can revise the approach and revise the communication method, so the problem can be resolved. When we begin as pet owners with a sense of responsibility for the results, and we spend our energy on developing a communication relationship with our dogs, our results are greatly improved.

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach to Dog Training Questions

Consider your approach and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is the training routine fun?
  2. Is the training routine anticipated with enthusiasm?
  3. Is the curriculum being taught building upon skills already mastered and then adding a new small challenge?
  4. Are the praise and celebration segments nurturing and timely ? Is your dog understanding what behaviors are being celebrated?
  5. Are the skills you are teaching age and personality appropriate?
  6. Are the behaviors you are expecting realistic?
  7. And finally, is your communication consistent?

If you have found yourself at a gap, are struggling to lead your dog past unwanted behaviors, and you want to build a bridge over to having fun with your training again, take a little time to evaluate your leadership technique and apply what you learn to the relationship development with your dog.

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Training Approach

Anticipating the next command with focused attention and enthusiasm

There are a few things to remember.

  1. Leadership is a learned skill. There are few born leaders. It takes skill, practice, and training to become a leader.
  2. Leadership techniques are best when they are focused on relationship building,
  3. Our companion will often mirror our attitude toward training, so as we focus our attention, on consistent engagement during training so will she.
  4. Communication skills are an ongoing process which will add to and enhance progressive positive results.

English Cream Golden Retriever Leadership Approach to Dog Training Related Links

English Cream Golden Retriever Socialization Checklist

English Cream Golden Retriever Relationship Development

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Approach

English Cream Golden Retriever Guide Dog

Joyce Williamson Guide Dog for the Blind Foundation press release storiesGolden Retrievers are historically in the top three breeds of choice for assisting blind and sight impaired individuals. The assistance dog is trained to negotiate obstacles so a person with sight challenges can become more independent.

Training curriculum for assistance dogs includes a wide range of skills including; obstacle identification, response, socialization, personality and behavior, and communication ability. Goldens are naturally well suited because of their desire to be companion dogs and to assist. They are also well suited as guide dogs because they are strong enough to communicate with body language.

English Cream Golden Retriever Guide Dog News

When an individual is sight impaired they are able to respond to sound and touch. A golden retriever can be trained to use both sound and body language to communicate the need to navigate around obstacles.

Vision loss can be frustrating and limits an individual’s ability to safely participate in activities they once enjoyed alone. A guide dog can reopen doors which were closed as a result of losing vision.

This was the case for Joyce Williamson. She gradually lost her vision due to retinitis pigmentosa. After she made a decision to work with a guide dog she soon reclaimed her independence, self confidence, and her personal safety. Williamson said, because of her guide dog, she has her “freedom’ and ‘she has given me back my quality of life and opened doors that were beginning to shut” as a result of vision challenges.

Joyce Williamson found the Guide Dog Foundation for the Blind and decided they were the best choice for her. “Students live on campus, working and bonding with their dogs, for 25 days.” She said.

Story and Image used with permission from Guide Dog Org Foundation Stories Press Release

English Cream Golden Retriever Guide Dog Related Links

Guide Dog for the Blind Foundation

Wisteria Goldens 

Qualifying for Therapy Dog Certification 

Library Jobs

English Cream Golden Retriever Crate Training

English Cream Golden Retriever Crate TrainingCrate training is a gradual process with the goal of providing our dogs with a comfortable and safe haven for sleeping and retreat. The crate is often compared to a den environment because it is a place where a dog can retreat and be certain disruptions will be at a minimum.

There are a few things to consider and to practice to make the crating process easier and give you positive results.

  1. Crate size,
  2. Crate location,
  3. Routine development, and
  4. What is inside the crate.

English Cream Golden Retriever Crate Training Tips

Each of the items listed above are explained below.

  1. Crate size

A crate should be just big enough for your dog to walk in, turn around, and lay down.

  1. Crate location

A crate should be located in a place where your dog can sleep undisturbed. There should be no drafts and the temperature should be relatively consistent. Place the crate in an easy location for your dog to access, should he chose to go inside for security, or a nap away from activity. Leave the door open so he/she can enter and rest with the option to exit at will.

  1. Routine development

When your puppy is at Wisteria Ranch we begin crating at 4 weeks to introduce them to the crate. We start out by putting two puppies in a crate at a time and then at 6 weeks we put them in a crate by themselves.  They have ‘nap time’ each day in the crate.

As you develop a routine you will want to take your dog out of the crate and right to the potty area before offering food, water, or playtime. Increase crating time gradually, adding a few minutes at a time, at times when your pet is unsupervised but, crating should not exceed two-four hours depending on age.

Remember to include your dog in your family routine as much as possible because he/she is naturally a family companion and will want to join you in the daily activity.

  1. What is inside

Keep the items inside the crate to a minimum. A comfortable mat and a favorite toy for example.

 English Cream Golden Retriever Crate Training Tips

Crate training is part of a complete relationship development training process. Once your dog is comfortable with a crate you can use it when your dog is unattended, when you are away from home, or when your dog is sleeping.

Crating should not be used as a time-out to correct unwanted behavior. A dog should not be alone in a crate for extended periods of time. At most, your pet should not be alone in the crate, for more than three-four hours. If your schedule keeps you away for longer periods of time it is beneficial to have a family member or neighbor let your dog out of the crate for water, playtime, socialization, exercise, and a potty break at mid-day.

 English Cream Golden Retriever Crate Training Related Links

English Cream Golden Retriever Relationship Development

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Approach

English Cream Golden Retriever Socialization Checklist

English Cream Golden Retriever Therapy Dogs

English Cream Golden Retriever Therapy DogsOver the years we have watched puppies born at Wisteria Ranch. We watch them socialize, begin to grow, we begin to see their own unique personality, and then, when they are ready, we part ways and they move to their forever home. Later we hear how they are doing, see photos of how grown up they are,  and often we hear they have found a calling.

The first job an English Cream Golden Retriever encounters in life is the job of ‘companion’ as they are remarkable in the art of friendship. Testimonials are submitted to us often and include the sweet sentiments about how each puppy has captured the hearts of their new family and the hearts of everyone they meet as well.

Another kind of ‘job’ story we are proud to hear about is when a Wisteria Ranch puppy grows up to become a service dog or therapy dog. The wide variety of job titles he or she could learn to do is unlimited.

Recently I was looking for stories to share on our blog and was delighted to find and share about the Dog Scouts of America and Library Jobs for Dogs. What I didn’t realize at the time is we really didn’t need to research the news to find amazing stories, because there are so many testimonials describing our very own Wisteria Ranch dogs and the remarkable paths they are taking.

First…I would like to introduce you to CJ and Barley.

English Cream Golden Retriever Therapy Dogs from Wisteria Ranch

CJ (Violet-Harley) aka Red Boy born 01-23-2013

CJ has learned how to be a PTSD specialist therapy dog.  His certification is Service Dog. He is reported to have a clear sense of his schedule regarding work and play. He has this concept mastered so when he is at home “he is all puppy” and while he is at work (with his vest on) he is a professional service dog.

Barley (Sugar-Aspen) born 02-27-2010

Barley is a natural when it comes to helping people feel better. His kind, gentle, and affectionate disposition combined with how much he enjoys making people feel better, combine to enhance his service in settings such as nursing homes.

Next up… Companion Dogs.

English Cream Golden Retriever Companion Dogs

Of course it is remarkable to hear about the amazing fields and vocations the puppies we adore grow up to serve in. We couldn’t be prouder of them. But, most of all, the Wisteria Ranch puppies are all celebrated for their ability to evoke the following kind of testimonial. About Cutter (Zoey-Harley) born 07-28-2012, Brad wrote:

Just wanted to say thanks for such an amazing friend. He literally does everything with me. – Brad

The testimonials we receive always touch our hearts. Testimonials like this one, we received about Baxter (Rory-Buddy) born 12/16/09, and how he has been in continuous intensive training to serve  his new family, remind us how important it is to give each puppy an early start in a training routine.

With or without a ‘job’ what is most amazing about Wisteria Ranch puppy testimonials is the love and companionship they  continue to give to us right from the start, to each of their new homes as soon as they arrive, and to each new person they meet along the way. It is a treasure how they can so easily warm our hearts. Today, as we share these remarkable testimonials, we are reminded why we love what we do. We are grateful to be dedicated to give your future companion the best possible start.

English Cream Golden Retriever Therapy Dogs Related Links

Healing Power of Dogs

AKC Therapy Dog Certification

Qualifying for Therapy Dog Certification

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Approach

Trained Puppies for sale. English Cream Golden Retriever Misha was born 4-4-2014 Zoey & Thor Wisteria GoldensWisteria Goldens has provided dog training information specifically about how to get the best results when training your English Cream Golden Retriever. Today I would like to summarize and elaborate on previous lessons which focused on positive dog training methods with emphasis on desired behavior reinforcement.

Training is a relationship building activity to establish a language between us and our pets. The breed of your pet will determine, based on personality traits, the best approach. For Goldens, who are naturally suited as family dogs and want to please you, the best approach is to communicate to your puppy exactly which behaviors you desire, by practicing behavior observation.

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Approach

Good natured puppies will naturally have a wide range of behaviors. When we see a behavior we do not want, and if the behavior is immediately an issue, we can redirect gently by moving the puppy to a preferred location (in regard to potty training for example). But, our primary responses will be to reinforce positive behavior, when we see the behavior we want to see, we immediately respond with positive praise and appreciation.

Being consistent will result in the best results. Our puppy will first learn about our training approach, then the language we are using, and then will learn the lesson we are teaching. The advantages of using this positive training approach method are numerous. The most advantageous is how quickly our puppies learn, because the language of smiles, praise, and celebration are universal.

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Overview

  • Determine the language you will use for each behavior you want to reinforce.
  • Be consistent by using the same terms and the same praise system (clicker, smile, gleefully respond, treats, or a combination of techniques).
  • Plan each behavior training session simply and methodically. These are 5 basics:
    • Sit
    • Stay
    • Leave It
    • Come
    • Heel
    • Stop


  • Use the word ‘no’ only for situations when your dog is in immediate danger, needs to be redirected (gently moved to another location or activity), and you haven’t yet mastered other commands to communicate the importance of the situation.

We often say ‘Uh-Uh’ or “Leave It” instead of ‘no’ to convey our desire to stop a behavior we do not want. The most important positive reinforcement approach training tip of all is to remember a golden’s natural characteristic to please you and to receive praise. Watch for amazing behaviors and celebrate them immediately. Your puppy will quickly be able to connect the behaviors you desire, with your response, and are naturally delighted to negotiate with you to enjoy the celebration with you.

If you say “NO” he has no clue what you really want, but if you say, “leave it” or “stop” he gets it right away.

English Cream Golden Retriever Positive Training Related Links:

Tell Your English Cream Golden Retriever Puppy What You Want vs. Saying “No”

Why You Don’t Want to Use Scary Tactics to Train Your Dog

English Cream Golden Retriever Relationship Development

English Cream Golden Retriever Library Jobs

English Golden Retriever library dog article image License: CC0 Public DomainDogs are companions. They are assisting a wide variety of people in all walks of life. The remarkable way they engage with people gives dogs an advantage in many jobs ordinarily suited for people. One such remarkable job is working in a library.

Dogs are assisting children who are learning to read.

At first glance we might wonder how a dog can help a child learn to read. The reasons are many, but, the most apparent are how a dog relaxes a child so they are free from the stress of learning a difficult task.
There are many reasons children may struggle while learning to read. One of the most common symptoms of the struggle is anxiety. The concern that they will not read well may give a child a sense of insecurity.

English Cream Golden Retriever Library Jobs

A well mannered pet can change all of that by providing a comfortable space, a safe and accepting space, where they can read and not feel self conscious about making mistakes.

These are specialized therapy dogs.

The training is specific and relatively similar to other therapy dog program certifications. When your dog becomes a registered therapy dog the scope of the service you can provide together is astonishing. Read more about the R.E.A.D. Program and the dogs and their handlers on the Library Dogs website.


Dogs who have completed a basic therapy training program and are registered qualify to participate in reading programs at libraries, schools, and children’s reading programs.
This may be a good fit for a dog who is in a continuing education program to become an emotional support or service dog in any specialty.

English Cream Golden Retriever Library Jobs Related Links

Therapy Certification and Registration
Library Dogs R.E.A.D. Program
United States Dog Registry
American Kennel Club Therapy Dog Organization Directory

Image License: CC0 Public Domain

English Cream Golden Retriever Socialization Checklist

English Cream Golden Retriever SocializationSocialization is an ongoing process of introducing your puppy to new environmental objects, textures, sounds, people, and situations. Each phase is important to approach with the understanding your dog is learning how each of the elements in their life happen and what they can expect as a result of it.

Begin socialization training as soon as your puppy comes home. Start with the home environment and work out from there into situations in the community.

At Home: Look at each of these areas and make a list of the objects, textures, sounds, people, and situations happening or potentially happening in that space.

If you miss something, or an unexpected situation arises, approach it as calmly as possible as if you had planned it, and use the same training methods you use when you plan a training session.

English Cream Golden Retriever Socialization Checklist

What objects, textures, sounds, people, scents, sights, and situations do you notice or anticipate in the following areas of your home and home life?

  • Sleeping area,
  • Play area,
  • Potty area,
  • Eating area,
  • Other pets,
  • People who live in the home,
  • People who visit or drop by (delivery people or friends for example)

People: Consider the age of people when socializing. Different ages of children, for example, might involve different skills for your pet to experience. Consider personalities of people, their occupations (uniforms for example), and be sure to have an observant eye to watch for any changes in your dog’s response to situations.

Socialization Sand

Example: One of the textures your puppy may encounter is sand. Sand is going to respond in different ways depending on the depth, moisture content, and other variables around it. One way to introduce sand to a puppy is in a sandbox in your backyard or on a playground in your community.

Socialization Benefits

The main reason to take an active part in Socialization Training with your dog is so he/she can develop a self confident and well adjusted character.

Socialization Umbrella

Umbrella example: Items such as umbrellas and grooming equipment are great to include on your socialization training checklist. There are times when your puppy will be around people who have these items and it would be helpful for him to understand and anticipate what to expect.

English Cream Golden Retriever Socialization Praising Positive Behaviors

Introduction to objects, textures, sounds, people, and situations can be facilitated using clickers and treats to get started. The primary focus for you (or your trainer) is to show positive and consistent praise whenever behavior you want is accomplished.

Introduce each item with the intent to allow your pet to become comfortable with the situation. Praise her for her positive behavior whenever she adapts. This can be in words, clicker sound, and treats. Celebrate a positive behavior and you will begin to see more of the same.

Related Links

Karen Pryor Clicker Training

Treats Large Breed Puppy Food

WG Blog Relationship Development

WG Blog Personality Overview

Image License: CC0 Public Domain Creative Commons


English Cream Golden Retriever Dog Scouts

Dog Scout Group -Dog Scouts of America Media Press Information Photo Used with PermissionIn 1989 Dog Scouts of America was an idea for a camp for dogs. Over the years it has evolved into a community of dogs and their owners who have taken ‘obedience’ training to a whole new level.  The organization began as a Dog Camp, evolved into ‘Dog Scouts’, and eventually “Dog Scouts of America” with a simple yet remarkable mission.

“To improve the lives of dogs, their owners, and society through humane education, positive training, and community involvement.” Dog Scouts of America Mission Statement 

 English Cream Golden Retriever Dog Scouts Troops Trips and Trainings

This is a remarkable organization to become involved in because it is fun! Also, dogs and their owners, who participate in the events, trainings, challenges, organized community services, and rallies, earn badges each step of the way.

The following video will show you a bit more about one of the events.

Dog Scouts Troop 107 River Trip

Happy Campers — Terri and Ty

Happy Campers Terri and Ty Dog Scouts of America Media Press Information Photo Used with Permission

As you can clearly see from the photo Ty is earning a lot of badges but, what stands out the most in this photo is the smiles. Training is a part of developing a relationship with our pets. When you have the opportunity to participate in organized programs, such as Dog Scouts, the training curriculum doesn’t look like a classroom anymore. Instead it is a journey, an adventure, and spending time together which both owner and pet are going to enjoy and cherish.

English Cream Golden Retriever Dog Scouts Training Plan

When you are planning your puppy’s training program we hope you will consider the Dog Scouts of America option. The myriad of results of this model for obedience training are closer relationships, happier people and pets, and the assurance you will remain the leader of the pack for your treasured pet. Giving pets our time and attention, meaningful work, praise and encouragement, all combine to enhance our journey together.

Young Learners Richelle and pup

Young Learners Richelle and pup - Dog Scouts of America Media Press Information Photo Used with Permission

Begin early and you will have the advantages of learning how to teach your pet along the way. The youngest members of the Dog Scouts of America are having just as much fun and they are also learning to play and work together more effectively.

Related Links:

How Dog Scouts of America was Formed 

DSA Mission, Values and Vision 

Images on this page were used with permission from Dog Scouts of America Media Press Kit