How Smart Are Golden Retrievers?

How Smart Are Golden Retrievers?

Golden retrievers have a reputation for being very smart dogs. Known for their beautiful golden coats, in this guide we will be discussing whether they are intelligent animals or whether this is purely a hype.

As a medium to large-sized dog, Golden Retrievers have a lot of energy making them a great pet for active families.

In regards to their intelligence, Golden retrievers are currently ranked as the fourth most intelligent dog in the world thus falling just behind border collies, poodles, and German Shepherds. 

Identified as one of the brightest dogs out of a total of 138, golden retrievers are thought to be easy to train with the ability to process and understand new commands within 5 times of being told.

They are also considered to be a very obedient breed responding well to commands the majority of time. 

Measuring A Dog’s Intelligence

Stanley Coren, a canine psychologist, conducted intelligence trials to assess the intelligence of many different breeds.

The findings of the trials were based on the number of repetitions (the number of times that the command needed to be repeated for the dog to understand it) and the success rate (the dog’s ability to respond and obey a given command on the first attempt).

It is because of these findings that golden retrievers were identified as one of the most intelligent dogs because they responded and performed very well to the given commands. 

Training Golden Retrievers

Just because a dog is smart it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is going to be easy to train. Courtesy of their intelligence, golden retrievers are easy to train hence why they are considered to make excellent family pets.

Their ability to receive and process new commands means that you won’t find yourself spending hours going over the same things.

Golden Retrievers also have a desire to please their owners and as a breed that is primarily recognized as a gun dog that was used to retrieve shot game. Because of this, they tend to want to impress their owners. 

It is thought that their intelligence derives from their history as working dogs. In fact, a lot of their work required awareness, independence, and problem-solving.

Although they are recognized as an intelligent dog, they are also sensitive and because of this, they are best suited to a positive training approach that rewards them for their response to new commands.

As an attentive breed, they also tend to excel more when completing advanced tasks, giving it their all in an attempt to earn your respect and gratitude. 

Golden Retrievers as Guide Dogs

Because of their temperament and intelligence, golden retrievers are considered to be the perfect guide dogs. They have a friendly temperament and they work well with people processing commands and responding to training very well.

As such retrievers are thought to display an excellent work ethic that works hard to impress their owners. Although they are an active breed, they aren’t overly energetic and so they offer patience and reliability which makes them very capable of fulfilling their duty.

Are Golden Retrievers Good Pets?

Besides being an intelligent breed, there are many reasons why golden retrievers make great pets. They are pretty adaptable and can become accustomed to new surroundings and environments rather well.

When choosing a pet the temperament is very important and one of the main reasons why retrievers make excellent pets is because of how friendly and loving they are.

They are easy-going, appreciative and affectionate, and quieter than many other breeds.

There are many breeds that aren’t very receptive to children, however, this needn’t be a concern with golden retrievers as their friendly and playful nature makes them a great family pet.

Golden retrievers also get along very well with other dogs and so there isn’t likely to be any rivalry between them and any other pets that you already have. 

Stimulating The Intelligence Of A Golden Retriever

As intelligent dogs, golden retrievers need to be mentally stimulated as this will help to prevent them from engaging in unwanted behavior.

There are several ways to keep your retriever mentally stimulated including training them to occupy their minds with new skills and tricks, providing them with lots of engaging toys; puzzle toys being a great option.

You can also encourage your dog to work for their food rather than giving it to them straight away, of course, this doesn’t need to happen for every meal but the occasional time can add variety and stimulation to their routine.

You may also wish to create an obstacle course for your canine as this will require them to use their problem-solving skills while participating in a mental workout where they are required to progress from the beginning to the end of the course.

Another simple way of stimulating your golden retriever is to play with them regularly. Doing so will help to exercise their brains through engagement with interactive play such as fetch. 

Final Thoughts

Golden retrievers are a very smart breed and because of this, they are much easier to train than many other breeds of dogs.

As they are very attentive to their owners, you will often find that retrievers have a very good work ethic and a desire to please those who train and own them.

With a working dog history, they are known for receiving and acting on commands very well, and because of their impressive array of skills, they are now often used as guide dogs.

It is beneficial to ensure that your retriever is mentally stimulated because despite being an obedient breed, boredom may lead them to unwanted behavior.

Introducing a few stimulating activities to their routine such as interactive play and puzzle toys can help to channel their intelligence correctly.

Aside from being intelligent, there are many other reasons why golden retrievers make excellent family pets. They are happy, loving, active without being too full of energy, and good with other dogs and children too.

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