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Ile Maurice Goldens

Based In Western Australia 



Author: Gwen Dasborough – Goldcity Golden Retrievers.
Used with permission from author.

We’re awfully cute and cuddly too,
We love to kiss and play with you,
All we ask is to be loved,
A place to sleep,
our tummies rubbed,
A walk with you in the evening breeze,
Goodnight’s kiss when we need some zees.
You’re all we have in this scary world,
we’ll look to you when trouble is hurled,
In return we’ll be your very best friend And watch over you till the end.

I hope you will become as enchanted with the Golden Retriever World as I am.

Going Home

Today is the first day that Puppy will be without his litter mates or mother. There is bound to be some whining and whimpering as puppy adjusts to new smells, surroundings and sounds. The best way to deal with this is be close to puppy, talking, cuddling and playing.

At night puppy will settle quicker if she can here you close by. When I brought my pup home I put her in a playpen near my bed, in easy reach so if she did whimper I would only have to reach over and stroke her to reassure her that she was not alone. A soft toy and towel or blanket that puppy can snuggle with works well. Puppy just needs to know that she is safe and secure from predators. She just needs to know that she has not been abandoned and vulnerable. This settling phase should pass very quickly as puppy bonds with family. Don’t worry if puppy goes off food and don’t be tempted to give more tempting treats as you will produce a fussy eater— as long as pup seems healthy she will soon get too hungry to resist.

Food, Glorious Food

What did puppies eat before domestication? Ever wondered why there are no fat wolves or dingoes or coyotes etc.? The answer is simple: they ate prey! They didn’t cook it or go to the supermarket to buy the latest ‘complete and balanced’ food – they ate it raw!

We can therefore replicate as much as possible the natural way dogs eat by giving raw meaty bones, raw meat, raw fruit and vegetables, supplements like eggs, yoghurt or dairy free probiotics, omega oils.

For more information on how to feed a balanced species specific diet: https://www.drianbillinghurst.com/

Puppies from 4 wks to 3 months of age require 4 meals per day. 3 meals per day can be given from 13 weeks of age to 6 months of age.

From 6 months of age Puppy should be fed the main meal twice daily. Some foods to avoid or give only occasionally:-

♥ AVOID Wheat products and grains (pasta; rice; breads)

♥ NEVER give cooked bones. These can splinter and cause internal damage and severe pain. Beef products should be kept at a minimum; these have been known to cause allergies.

♥ Onions, excess garlic and capsicum, chocolate are toxic to dogs.

Health Care

Vaccinations: Dr Jean Dodds is one of the world leading experts on vaccinations, immunology and other health aspects. Please read her protocol on vaccinations on her Hemopet website.
Most puppies are given a C3 vaccination at 6 weeks of age. The C3 covers the 3 major life threatening diseases: parvovirus; hepatitis and distemper.

The subsequent vaccination need only be another C3 at 12 weeks of age. This depends on which brand of vaccination is used. Some vets recommend C5 which includes two other vaccines which are NOT life threatening. This flooding of vaccines can compromise the young immune system and lead to conditions such as allergies, skin irritations and even epilepsy. Please be well informed before accepting the C5. Depending on the brand of vaccine used another vaccination is given at 16 weeks. A booster is given at 16 months of age.

The Australian Veterinary Association recommends that annual vaccines are NOT necessary, and recommend that if vaccinations are desired they can be given every 3 yrs. But please be very aware that vaccines contain chemicals and if the dog doesn’t need the vaccination then it need not be given. To be sure that the dog’s immunity is sufficient a Titre Test can be performed every 2-3 yrs. The Titre Test is a simple blood test that measures the antibodies. Dr Jean Dodds’ research indicates that dogs have lifelong immunity once they have been given the initial puppy shots and booster shot. Personally I have titre tested my dogs to be sure and stopped once 3 titres have come back with high enough immunity.

For more information on vaccinations: http://www.applecrossvet.com.au/Information/Vaccinations.aspx


There are many many articles on the risks and benefits of desexing and the age at which desexing is recommended.

For more information on desexing: http://www.applecrossvet.com.au/Information/Desexing.aspx


First Aid

Wherever possible and practical use natural products e.g. salt water for cuts and abrasions, infections etc.

Bee stings:
Anti-histamine medications such as Polaramine can be given but always check with your vet before ad- ministering.

Dead, decaying blowfish are 10x more toxic than live ones. Take your dog to the vet immediately if you suspect that your dog has eaten one.

Hot spots:
These can flare up in no time and can be quite painful and very irritating. Trim the area of all fur; cleanse with salt-water 3x daily, dry thoroughly and apply Curash powder.

Remember that Puppy is as curious as a small child therefore keep poisons out of reach. If ingested seek veterinary advise immediately. Be aware of plants around the home/garden that may be toxic.

Prevent choking by close supervision and inspecting toys regularly.

No veterinary medications are without risk of adverse side effects. If you decide to give these medications then you need to know that the immune system will be compromised potentially resulting in life long conditions such as skin irritation/allergies, poor gut health, etc.

There are some very good holistic vets in Perth:
• Dr Judith Congrene - a veterinary surgeon and Traditional Chinese Medicine Vet, Acupuncturist and Herbalist
• Dr Clare Middle – holistic vet, kinesiology, TCM and homeopath.

 Inherited/Genetic Dispositions

Golden Retrievers are susceptible to varying genetic or inherited diseases such as hip or elbow dysplasia; entropian or Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA); subvalvular aortic stenosis; skin allergies and joint diseases such as osteochondritis (OCD) or panosteitis and Icthyosis.

While every effort on the registered and responsible breeder’s part has been made to minimize the risks of these conditions, no breeder can guarantee 100% that any of the conditions won’t appear. The fact that the breeding pair have been screened and only those dogs with the best results have been bred can only indicate that there is a lower risk of the diseases appearing. Genetics being what it is there is always a risk.

Hip/Elbow Dysplasia

An abnormal development and growth of the hip joint and is polygenic.
There are three areas influencing the health of the hips and elbows-

♥ Genetics – (the Breeder’s responsibility) the careful selection of sire and dam includes assessing the health of the hips and elbows via x-ray. These x-rays are taken when the sire/dam is approximately 12 months of age and only required to be taken once in the dog’s life. The x-rays are then sent to a specialist radiographer who is qualified to interpret the images and thereby gives the hips and elbows a “score”. The lower the score the less chance of the dog developing hip/elbow dysplasia. The average score in Australia for hips for Golden Retrievers is approx 11 so it is advised that breeders use breeding stock well below that score and that the scores of the previous generations also be considered. I.e. it is also wise to check the grandparents. 

Environment – (the Breeder’s responsibility up to 8 wks old then the new owner’s responsibility) also affects the health of the hips. Climbing stairs; constant exposure to hard surfaces eg concrete or soft surfaces eg sand; running on slippery surfaces eg tiled or highly polished wood floors, can affect the health of the hips and elbows. A dog that runs and turns sharply on a slippery floor can slip too frequently. Constant exposure to unstable surfaces results in overbalance of movements thereby causing more stress on (growing) joints and increases the chance of injury.

♥ Diet and Exercise - (the Breeder’s responsibility up to 8 wks old then the new owner’s responsibility) plays another part in the health of the hips.

Diet Obesity and rapid weight gain are also factors that increase the chance of poor development and illness/injury.

Exercise – (Golden Retriever) Puppies should not be subjected to a rigorous exercise regime under 12 months of age. It is recommended that the pup’s “walk” increase gradually from 5 mins daily to 20 mins by the age of 12-18 months.

A young pup of eg 12wks should never be taken for more than a 3-5 min walk. Gradually increase as the puppy grows so that at 12 mths of age puppy can walk 20 mins – a relaxing sniffing walk.

 Avoid encouraging the dog to — ♥ jump for a ball thrown high in the air ♥ Jump on/off furniture; in/out of the car ♥ Jump for treats held high up ♥ Jump over hurdles; puddles etc ♥ Perform any movement that requires “springing up” and landing heavily.

Eye diseases

A veterinary ophthalmologist can perform a simple test to determine the health of the eye and if no disease is present the dog is cleared for breeding. This test must be repeated annually especially for breeding purposes.

Problems can be detected as early as 6 weeks in the case of eg Entropian. A simple surgical procedure can be performed to correct this condition with no long-term ill effects. The dog will not be suitable for breeding. Similarly with any other eye disease, once present the dog is not suitable for breeding.

The long term effects is dependent on the disease.

Subvalvular aortic stenosis

This genetic trait is polygenic, so that the inheritance is complex. The condition is usually detected during puppy visits to the veterinarian by hearing a heart murmur during physical examination. There is a possibility that the murmur may come and go, or it may develop slowly; therefore, it is important to have a veterinarian check a puppy's heart often during the first few months of age. This is a very frustrating condition to be identified in your pet because the future is bleak and the chance for long-term survival is low.

Occasionally the Golden Retriever Club of WA holds heart check clinics, which helps to identify problems for future breeding prospects.

Skin allergies

A very common genetic trait in Golden Retrievers, these can vary from mild to severe. The causes can include diet or environment or a combination of both. Diet—corn, wheat, soy and chicken are common allergens. However, each dog is different.

Environment—Kikuyu grass is the highest allergy reactive grass for dogs according to Dr Mandy Burrows, a veterinary dermatologist at Murdoch University. Dr Burrows recommends a couch grass, which is available by the name Winter Green. Other allergy reactive agents can include pollens and other plants. Beware of the toxic plants such as Moses in the Cradle and Lantana.

Joint diseases

Osteochondritis—where the cartilage or bone in a joint is inflamed. (OCD) osteochondritis dissecans can manifest in animals as a primary cause of elbow dysplasia. Symptoms usually develop between 4 to 10 months of age and may develop in several joints.

Genes may play an important part in the cause of OCD but the jury is still out on this. Nutrition is the most widely found risk factor as a diet high in calcium in-creases the risk of OCD. Rapid weight gain due to high- calorie diets causes unnecessary weight on the joints and may also contribute to the disease.

Running or walking on hard surfaces for long periods of time may cause trauma or injury to the puppy's joints. Excessive workload, exercise, and rough play can cause the cartilage to separate from the bone and add further lesions on the cartilage. Period of rapid growth can also play a huge part in the occurrence of this disease.

Lastly, restricted blood flow to the cartilage from a separate underlying disease may cause OCD as a secondary culprit.

Toilet Training

A helpful way to toilet train is crate-training. You will need to read some articles on the appropriate way to introduce your puppy to being in a crate.

Never, ever force or push puppy into the crate. The puppy will feel secure in a crate especially while adjusting to her new surroundings. Put the pen in a room where you will be most of the time during the day and take the puppy outside at regular intervals, showing it where it is allowed to go to toilet.

At night-time place the crate in your bedroom if possible. First thing in the morning take the pup outside to the toilet area.

Lots of praise when she performs but don’t get too upset when there are some accidents -it won’t take long to get the idea of where to go.

Scolding or smacking a puppy for making a mistake will not teach the puppy anything – it will just make puppy wary of trusting you… your harsh voice seen as a threat.

If Puppy soils carpet or absorbent surface, wash the area with an odour neutralizing product such as Amway’s Trizyme, rinse at least 4 times with warm water and dry thoroughly with a hair dryer.

Vinegar is also a good odour neutraliser. For non-absorbent surfaces a solution of 1% bicarb soda (1 dessertspoon in 1 litre of warm water) can be used.


For best advice consult Good As Gold Dog Training/Canine Life Skills Coaching. We are certified Industry Accredited Dog Trainers who use force free, gentle, reward based methods.

Your Puppy will respond and enjoy training using the Positive Reinforcement method— Praise and reward for good behaviour/ignore inappropriate behaviour.

For great information on raising a happy well-adjusted puppy please read books by Turid Rugaas.

Pups can’t distinguish between designer shoes or furniture so if you don't want them destroyed keep them out of the way. If your puppy is acting inappropriately, remove him from the focal point and distract with his own toys.

Physical punishment is not recommended.

One very important point—never chastise the puppy when calling it to you - always make coming to you a wonderful experience.

You will need to purchase a top quality harness. Leads on collars are not recommended and can risk damage to neck, throat, spine, vegus nerve and thyroid gland. Please read about this at www.freedogz.be

The recommended harness is the Haqihana, which has matching lead.

IWhat is an appropriate Puppy Pre-school?

At Good As Gold Dog Training/Canine Life Skills Coaching we believe that puppies from the age of 8-12 weeks need to keep playing with other puppies for the following reasons:

♦ Bite Inhibition – learning how to bite in play without hurting. This learning begins with mother (dam) and should continue throughout puppyhood.

♦ Social interaction and appropriate manners during play – dogs have a language to communicate with each other. Humans cannot teach this language to a puppy and this language is vitally important for social manners and etiquette throughout life.

♦ Learning the signs of playtime over – some pups who are not left to learn from each other and where humans have interfered too much never learn when the other dog has had enough of play… its important that they learn for themselves

For the above to be successful qualified and experienced puppy instructors need to know the emotional needs of pups and be well versed in canine behaviour. Our classes are carefully monitored and supervised to prevent any incidences occurring. Occasionally pups will scuffle between each other – in most cases this is quite normal and important for learning about each other. Our instructors will careful monitor all behaviour and respond appropriately.

Our Puppy Fun Time class also will include instruction and information for pet parents about the following:
♥ House manners
♥ Puppy management skills to help with jumping; nipping; digging; chewing
♦ How to teach dogs
♦ The language of dogs – so humans can recognise emotions and signals from dogs
♦ Settle and relax, including canine massage

Following from Puppy Fun Time pups can enrol in Puppy School Grade 1 for the following components:
♦ Basics such as Sit; Come; Leave it; lead walking
♦ Giving an object, picking up an object
♦ Recall
♦ etc
Please don’t hesitate to contact Gwen Dasborough who has been my mentor and very good friend regarding recommendation of puppy schools in Perth – Pawan Rughoobur (Ile Maurice Goldens)

Exercising the young puppy


It is amazing and very worrying the amount of times we hear of owners of puppies as young as 4 months, being taken for long walks, jogs or even bike rides. The owner often feels they are doing the right thing and are quite shocked to learn that continuous exercise of this sort for dogs under 12 months is not necessary and in fact harmful for their growing joints. Little walks of 5-10 mins are important for lead training and socializing with the outside world. Free running in a safe environment is much better as a puppy can regulate its own activity - it is also a good time to teach about staying with you & coming when called. Watch out for long romps on the beach as sand can prove hard going for growing limbs (especially running up & down sand hills).

We cannot really blame new dog owners for making this mistake as the importance of regular exercise for dogs is stressed in all the literature. Not much is said about growing dogs, especially in the larger, heavier breeds, and this is where we rely on breeders to make clear the dangers of too much exercise at a young age.


Frequent brushing is recommended, (especially while the pup is young) to learn to enjoy the experience. I use a good quality brush and a comb with rotating teeth, which makes removing tangles much kinder.

Be aware of particular areas such as behind the ears, under the armpits, tail feathering and ‘pants’ with the mature golden.

For young puppies having them used to being brushed and trimmed around the long hair of the pads is sufficient. Use a steady table for grooming, it will save straining your back and when older the pup will be keen to learn to jump onto the table to be groomed. (under 1 year always lift the pup, supporting all 4 legs to avoid elbow and hip injury). I’ve recently discovered the value of a ‘lick mat’ – a silicone pot mat sold at popular department stores. Spread some vegemite or yoghurt on the lick mat and puppy will be happy to lick while you groom a little at a time – keep sessions very short and increase duration over time.

The secret to grooming is, a little often, to avoid a hugely overgrown coat. Goldens usually lose their coat twice a year and with bitches this coincides with their seasons. Regular brushing at these times helps cope with all the hair loss, as does regular bathing, which loosens the dead hair. It is best to avoid bathing too often – every 4 weeks in summer is sufficient and every 6 weeks in summer. Beware of leaving the coat damp overnight and on humid days as this may cause ‘hot spot’ – a bacterial infection of the skin.

Bathing too frequently strips the coat of the natural oils, which can lead to irritation and skin infections

“Let’s have some fun”

Digging—natural doggy behaviour

There are several reasons why your Golden will dig:-
• To get cool
• To bury bones or toys
• Stress/frustration and a coping mechanism.
• During pregnancy - Golden is making a nest.

It’s vital for your dog’s mental health and future behaviour that you understand what is normal behaviour for a dog – and digging is NORMAL and even healthy.

Have an allocated area for your dog to dig. Put toys and treats there or even get down and dig yourself to show the dog that its ok to do that there.

If your dog continues to dig in unacceptable areas simply place some of their poop on top –don’t bury it in. You may have to do this over and over again but eventually the dog will use the spot that is allocated.

Nipping and Biting—natural puppy behaviour:- 

Ever sat and watched dogs at play? What do you notice? Their mouths are their hands. All discoveries are made with the mouth so it stands to reason that Puppy will “mouth” everything including you. However, those needle-sharp teeth can hurt, especially little children or aged people’s skin. Often the reason for the nipping and biting is over-stimulation especially if the person has engaged in the ‘game’ by pulling back on the item – the pup now sees it as fair game and a reason to latch on even harder.

Some of the techniques that have worked for me are:
♦ Preventing hyper-excitement… keep play calm
♦ Having a toy ready to distract from clothing or feet etc
♦ Settle and relax hold (this needs to be shown by one of our qualified instructors)
♦ So long as the teeth are not in skin – if puppy is pulling at clothing stand very very still and quiet until puppy realises there is no game.

Be consistent and do not become aggressive – this will only serve to tell your puppy that you are a threat and will not help with bonding and mutual respect

Remember the positive re-enforcement technique.

Jumping—natural puppy behaviour:-

Avoid patting, touching or talking to puppy if he jumps – it’s hard to resist when they are babies and so cute but by giving attention to this behaviour you are encouraging it to continue and before you know it you have a 30kg dog jumping on you and other people.

Praise and pat puppy – CALMLY - when he is calm and has four paws on the ground.

Separation Anxiety/Isolation Distress

Dogs are social animals, so isolation is an unnatural state for a dog. The human family is seen by the dog as it’s family, therefore when left alone the dog becomes anxious and stressed.

It is good practice to leave the dog outside for irregular lengths of time while you are home, giving him an opportunity to learn to amuse himself (with safe toys) or just rest quietly. For example, when you are home go outside and talk or play with puppy calmly every so often. If, when you return inside Puppy whimpers and howls, give him a toy or bone to chew, with as little fuss as possible – is this seen as rewarding for whimpering and seeking your attention? Certainly not, especially as a very young pup. Puppy needs to know that you will meet her emotional needs as well as her physical needs. If you need puppy to stay outside alone for a while ensure that what you give will keep her amused for a while.

Vary the routine of exiting your home, i.e lock the house in a different order, pick up keys before getting dressed etc. The idea of varying the routine helps the dog not to notice your departure. Refrain from farewells. Upon your return, wait a few minutes before going to Puppy and pay attention to him when he sits calmly. It is natural for him to be excited at your return but paying attention to the excitement only reinforces that excitable behaviour is acceptable and the excitement may rise to uncontrollable levels.

Make a point of spending quality time with the dog daily, say 15 minutes of uninterrupted play. By doing this you are telling the dog that you will be the one initiating the interaction. He may be more ready to accept that while you are absent there will be no interaction and so be more relaxed.

Home Alone

Ideally, Puppy should never be left alone for long periods of time. Isolating him tells him he has been banished from the family for some wrong-doing. This will cause behavioural problems. However, there are occasions when leaving Puppy alone is unavoidable. To make sure Puppy remains content while you are out provide the following:
♥ Ample shelter
♥ Adequate supply of fresh water in a non-spill bowl.
♥ Toys– like Kongs, treat balls, rope bones, etc Make sure the toys are durable and non toxic. I highly recommend the use of Aussie Dog products. These toys were developed for zoo animals such as bears, lions etc so they are very durable.
♥ A child’s clam shell pool is an ideal toy– fill one half with silica sand and the other with water, making sure that the level is safe enough to prevent drowning.

 About the Author

Stella was my first Golden Retriever – a beautiful dog who was gentle and sweet natured. Sadly she passed away tragically at age 3…. From then on I couldn’t live without Golden Retrievers in my life.

Sally came shortly after Stella and I learned so much from her. She was the foundation bitch for Goldcity Golden Retrievers. Her descendants Include:
• therapy dogs
o Samson
o Charli
o Dina

• Samson – Seizure Alert/Support dog
• Simba – Mobility Support Dog
• Kaelen – Australian Show Champion
• Belle – Autism Support Dog
• Toby – Assistance Dog
• Loyal, loving companions

I co-founded West Australian Assistance Dogs in 2003 serving as President on the committee and Head Trainer.

In order to give the best for my dogs and the organisation I enrolled and successfully completed Certificate 3 Companion Animal Services which included the following units:
• Canine behaviour
• Training
• Nutrition
• Maintaining Health
• Breeding/Genetics
• Grooming
• Handling
• Canine First Aid

My passion developed for the training of assistance and pet dogs so I enrolled and successfully completed the Industry Accredited Dog Trainer’s Certificate that is a nationally recognised certification under the AQTF.

In 2010 I commenced my private business – Good As Gold Dog Training – and have been privileged and blessed to have helped many people and their dogs to enjoy a better quality of life.

I have travelled with world in my pursuit of knowledge to enhance my skills. Countries include:
• New Zealand x3 – spending time with my mentor and learning more about therapy and assistance dogs
• Norway – Turid Rugaas Dog Symposium 2016
• Scotland – 2016 and 2018. Golden Gathering 2018
• England and Wales 2016
• Brussels in 2018

I have attended several seminars and workshops including:
• APDT conference 2007
• Linda Marsden workshop 2008
• Turid Rugaas seminar 2014
• Ian Dunbar conference 2014
• Jenny Golsby workshop 2016
• Bowen Therapy Module 1 – 2016
• Animal Communication Module 1 – 2016

In 2013 I accepted an offer of employment with Guide Dogs WA as Puppy Raising Coordinator.

In 2014 I qualified as an Independent Public Access Test Assessor for the WA Local Gov’t giving me the authority to assess dogs for suitability as Assistance Dogs.

My philosophy about living with dogs is a simple one:
Do what must be done to ensure your dog lives a happy and healthy life…. You owe him/her that much!

At the time of writing, all information is true and as accurate as possible. As time progresses and new information comes to hand it will be necessary to review the information contained in this booklet – by the author.