Our trained English Golden Retriever puppies are trained with a well-developed positive reinforcement program that creates confidence, self-control, resilience, and an amazing and obvious desire to please. Our trained Golden Retriever puppies begin life with a well thought out and implemented program that begins at birth. Then we build on that program to produce well rounded puppies with an excellent start in training. Scroll down to our video links to see for yourselves!
Though the visible results of our training is impressive, the more important difference in our puppies is with regard to what goes on at the core or the heart of our puppies. The training methods we use are designed to teach behaviors as a secondary goal. Our primary goal is to shape our puppies’ emotional make-up. We train our puppies to focus and think before we teach them to perform behaviors. We concentrate our attention on building confidence, self-control, resilience, an ability to focus, and a love of working for and pleasing a person. Our program is built around the idea that HOW a puppy is trained is more important than the behaviors they learn. Every aspect of our program is centered on the fact that to us behavior in young puppies should be secondary to attitude.
Good behavior is taught as well. The videos below will show that the behavior our puppies learn as a by-product of our building internal qualities is incredible!
Videos of Summer Brook Trained English Golden Retriever Puppies
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video must be worth a million. Below are a few videos that show our puppies at work. In addition to the videos on this page, there are dozens of other videos on our Youtube channel. Our most recent videos feature entire litters of puppies going through our training program. You can find examples of our training on YouTube of over a hundred puppies. The few you see below are not just isolated cases of a few well-trained puppies.
Video of an Overview of a Summer Brook Trained English Golden Retriever Puppy
The first video is of a puppy in 2018. Though this video is old and our training in some areas has changed a bit, it does cover most aspects of our training.
This next video was done in 2020. The nine puppies in this video aren’t even 10 weeks of age and are doing an incredible job of demonstrating the heeling aspect of our training program.
Video of a Litter of Summer Brook Trained Golden Retriever Puppies Heeling
Videos of a Litter of Summer Brook Trained Golden Retriever Puppies Doing Sit/Stays and Down/Stays
The next three videos feature the same 9 trained English Golden Retriever puppies that are in our heeling video above. The purpose of these next videos is primarily to help those getting our puppies to continue the training with regard to the sit/stay and down/stay commands. However, these videos also give an idea of how we train these very important commands.
The puppies in the video below are staying at a longer distance than our norm for 11 week old puppies. Not all of our 11-week old puppies are as consistent with their stay work as these 5 puppies were on the day of this video. However, many of our puppies develop the necessary self-control and focus to excel at early ages. (As a side-note, the other 4 puppies in the litter left us at 10 weeks of age.)
Video of Our Trained Golden Retriever Puppies Learning Meal Time Manners
The next video shows a condensed version of a typical meal time training session of our trained English Golden Retriever puppies at 8 weeks of age. By the time puppies leave us, this routine has built into our puppies an incredible amount of self-control.
Summer Brook Trained English Golden Retriever Puppies: What’s the Difference?
What distinguishes our training programs from the training provided by most is the focus our puppies have on a handler. You can see this by looking at videos of our puppies in training. The very first thing we teach a puppy is to have and to enjoy having eye contact with a person. We don’t even think about training particular behaviors until eye contact is the norm. Many (in fact, almost all other breeders’) training videos show puppies that are barely paying attention to the handler. This type training will at the best produce puppies that reluctantly follow a handler and their food.
The Foundation of Our Training Program
The foundation of our program is teaching puppies to want to look at a handler and focus on them. We train our puppies to think instead of react. They figure out for themselves what they need to do in order to please a handler and get a reward. Our teaching methods are built on marker training and shaping instead of luring and leash pressure.
Minimal Use of Luring
Luring is simply having a puppy to get into a position by following a treat. We will occasionally use luring in the initial phase of training. However, we quickly change from luring to shaping and by far most of our training is done with shaping.
Shaping – Our Primary Training Method
Shaping is a training method that encourages a puppy to want to incrementally figure out on his own the behavior that a handler is wanting to train. It is similar to the hotter/colder guessing game that many children play. We wait until a puppy starts to move in the direction of doing what we want. We reward as he gets closer to the desired behavior expecting more and more from him as he progresses. Shaping takes more time initially to train compared to traditional luring types of methods. However, the results are far better and longer lasting.
We use treats but in a different way from lure-based trainers. Treats are not used as lures and bribes, but rather as rewards. In other words, our puppies are not shown the reward and asked to follow it around to entice them to work. It is only presented after the behavior is done. Puppies are encouraged to actively use their brains in order to engage the handler and to earn the reward.
Our primary goal is to create in our puppies a desire to work and focus on a handler. Having puppies that are primarily focusing on the treats themselves is not enough. We want willing and happy working puppies that desire above all to please the handler. We don’t want puppies that are obsessively food-focused. Even worse are puppies that are focused on avoiding a punishment. Punishment based training is still the case with many of today’s trainers.
Training Starts Early
Even our 7 1/2 to
Our Program includes a start in the following areas:
Listed below is what we work on with these puppies. No puppy can be fully trained and dependable in any area until they are close to a year old. This program is just a start. However, it is a very good start for trained English Golden Retriever puppies who are only 10 1/2 to 11 weeks old.
1. House Training Through a Doggy Door
We take away all indoor litter areas before puppies are 6 weeks old. Starting the week prior, we work heavily with them making sure that all of them are doing all of their business outside. Although most people don’t have a doggy door, what we do in utilizing the door sets puppies up for success when the doggy door is taken away. We’ve found that puppies that are fluent with a doggy door and doing their business outside are highly motivated to get outside when they have to pee or poop. In fact, we believe that initial training done with a doggy door is BETTER. Traditional house training depends on a person’s getting a puppy out often enough. A doggy door is a fantastic tool for initial house training. We don’t keep our puppies dependent on it. Rather, we gradually move toward puppies being house trained without it. See our page on House Training for more information.
Consistency is key to successful house training and allowing a puppy to get himself out during the initial weeks paves the way for success. We wait until bladder control is sufficiently developed, until a love of a crate is sufficiently established, and until consistency in pottying outside has become habit before introducing a puppy to forced confinement without access to outside. We’ve found this method to yield faster and more dependable results.
2. Crate Conditioning
We spend the time between 5 1/2 and 10 weeks conditioning puppies to like the crates before we begin using the crate for containment for extended periods of time. All meals are fed in crates. Favorite bones are only given in crates. Puppies are given treats when they are sitting quietly in crates. We work hard to make sure that puppy crate time is not only tolerable, but that puppies actually like it. It is important that puppies develop a love for a crate before they are forced to spend long periods of time being confined.
We start our crate-conditioning by leaving our puppies in their crates by slowly and incrementally increasing their crate times. This work takes place at meal times. 5 1/2 week old puppies stay for just a few seconds after finishing a meal. 6 to 6 1/2 week old puppies stay in crates for about a minute. After 6 1/2 weeks, the time begins to increase exponentially. By 10 weeks of age, our puppies are used to being crated for over 30 minutes at a time when wide awake. Training a puppy to be happy when awake is the hard part. If puppies are asleep, puppies are happy in there for MUCH longer. By the time puppies are 11 1/2 weeks, they are used to being in crates for up to 2 hours during the day and most are happy in their crates for more than 7 hours overnight.
3. Preliminary Work on elimination of bad Behaviors
We begin working on elimination of bad behaviors such as jumping and mouthing by enforcing good behaviors. We never rewarding the bad ones. Puppies are interacted with in such a way that they physically are unable to get to our hands with their mouths. Instead, we re-direct them. We play with them with toys instead of our hands. We never pet puppies over 8 weeks when they jump on either us or on the side of a pen. Instead we teach them to sit for attention. These bad behaviors take far more time to get rid of than this short training time provides. However, we start the process. Puppies (and dogs) also learn very quickly who will allow them to jump on them and who will not. New families must be consistent and continue the training.
4. Waiting to Eat On a Release Word
Our meal-time routine teaches respect without punishments. It also teaches puppies to make eye contact and to have self-control. We work with each puppy individually on getting in a crate, turning and sitting, and holding eye contact. Then we release them to eat. Puppies then spend increasingly longer periods of time in the crate with bones and random treats. After meal/crate time is over, puppies work on waiting again for a release command in order to exit the crate. This routine is carried out 3 times a day at meal times.
5. Basic Obedience
Building internal qualities in a puppy such as confidence, self-control, resilience, the ability to focus, and a desire to work for and please a person is our main goal.
Teaching a puppy to focus and look at his owner is the one of the foundations of our training. A puppy that is not focused on a person, but instead guided purely by food and leash pressure will have difficulty internalizing what he’s learned so that he will work when the food and leash pressure is no longer present. Our primary goal is to produce puppies that WANT to look to their owners for direction. We teach these puppies to do so out of habit and a desire to please. It is not necessary to have puppies obey out of fear.
Basic obedience includes focus, heeling (both on and off leash), coming when called, the sit and down commands, staying in position, and an introduction to the place command. We also work on good manners such as sitting for attention without jumping, waiting for a verbal release before exiting crates and pens, etc.
6. Desensitization and Socialization
English Golden Retrievers tend toward having softer temperaments and need more socialization than many other breeds. We expose our puppies to the normal sites and sounds of a busy home. Our puppies are exposed to various outdoor areas, to various floor and ground surfaces, and to tight spaces. Our puppies are introduced to small agility equipment. We introduce them to steps, and to a variety of sounds.
Away From Our Home
Field trips away from our home where puppies are put on the ground are not a part of the 11 week program. However, starting at 8 weeks of age, puppies are brought on weekly mule rides. Our mule is not an animal! Rather it is a 4-wheel drive vehicle that provides a tremendous socialization experience. We also take puppies on weekly car rides starting at 7 weeks.
The mule rides are super environmental desensitization experiences. On these mule rides, we expose puppies to a wide variety of roads, neighborhoods, sights, and sounds. In addition, the experience of the mule itself is valuable. The mule is loud and sometimes a little bumpy. It is a great way to acclimate puppies to sounds as well as to the roughest car rides they would likely ever experience.
Our mule rides are super desensitization opportunities. Puppies sit in a lap and enjoy being petted. They stick their noses in the air and smell all kinds of new smells. While they are enjoying the breeze, they hear all kinds of new sounds. They see a whole new world of different sights.
Puppies that stay with us for our 12 Weeks Plus program have 5 field trips to various places that are close enough to our home to get to by the mule. We stop and practice obedience exercises on leash in these distracting environments. An especially challenging place that we take our puppies is alongside a busy highway. See our Socialization page for more details and a video of three 11 1/2 week old puppies heeling beside the highway.
Our puppies are also socialized with a wide variety of people.
Links to Details of Our Trained English Golden Retriever Puppies Program
See our page on Expectations for a Summer Brook trained puppy for information on what you can expect from an 11 week old Summer Brook trained golden retriever puppy and what you could expect if you got a Summer Brook puppy trained to 12 1/2 weeks of age. See our House Training page for further information on this topic. You can gain even more information about how we train if you go to our Training Time Line page.
Trained English Golden Retriever Puppies Options
All of our reservations starting in late 2021 are for those wanting their puppy trained with our 11-week Program or our 12 Weeks Plus program. See our page on The Best Time for Puppies to Leave the Breeder to understand why.
For some litters, we will only offer our 11-week program. This is contingent on our having other litters when a particular litter is in training as well as if our family has other plans. We’ll let you know prior to your getting on our reservation list what our plans are for your particular litter.
No Painful Corrections
We do not use painful corrections with these young puppies. Instead, we divert their attention from undesirable habits. We provide them plenty of exercise. We control their environment so that they have no choice but to behave themselves. They learn quickly that if they want attention, they must behave on our terms. This method of training works far better than punishment based training. However, it takes time for bad behaviors to extinguish themselves. By 10-11 weeks of age, hardly any of our puppies mouth us. Jumping is minimal when one-on-one with individual puppies. However, at this young age, they are still testing the waters. For more information, see our Training Philosophy page.
Controlled Environment to Set Puppies Up For Success
We provide a very controlled environment. This sets these young puppies up for success rather than giving them all sorts of temptations. We don’t want there to be temptations calling for punishments. It’s not fair. Further, it doesn’t work as well as our method. Our philosophy of training embraces the idea of not adding difficulty to an exercise or temptations for bad behavior until habits of good behavior are firmly established.
For example, we keep our shoes off the floor rather than punishing a puppy for chewing them. We provide lots of toys so that there is no need to chew the furniture. When our puppies aren’t in pens, someone watches them very carefully so that they don’t chew anything undesirable. When they do, we simply divert their attention rather than punish them.
A well-timed punishment can have its results in deterring certain behaviors. However, punishments come with a price. Punishments unless very mild and fair and understandable in a dog’s mind will affect a dog’s confidence level and their desire to please a person. We don’t think the benefits of corrections are worth the cost with young puppies so we don’t use them.
Importance of Training Method
The method used by a trainer is more important than what is taught, especially in puppyhood. Any trainer can quickly teach almost any behavior using punishment based or aversive training. However, these quicker training methods come with a cost to a puppy’s confidence, drive, and enthusiasm for work. Though punishment based training can give quicker results for the short-term, positive training gives longer lasting results. Please see our page on our Training Philosophy for more information on how we train.
Families Continuing With the Training
The training that we give our puppies is a fantastic start. However, it is only a start. Families must pick up where we leave off. Our website has plenty of instructional pages to help. In addition, we will spend about 1 1/2 hours going over the training and answering questions.
Pictures and Videos
We do one final set of pictures during these 2 weeks usually around 8 1/2 to 9 weeks of age. We post one video to YouTube.
Pricing and Pick Up Options
The price for the training for our 10 week old puppies is on our puppy questionnaire. Puppies from most litters must be picked up by the time they are 11 weeks old. The price of puppies is due (not including training fees) when puppies are 5 weeks of age (the same policy as for puppies leaving at 8 weeks). Training fees must be received by us at least two weeks before puppies are picked up or they must be paid by cash or certified funds. (We provide a receipt if payment is by cash.)
There will be an additional charge if your puppy needs a health certificate. See our Payments and Policies page for more information. As of the end of February 2019, to our knowledge no airline requires a health certificate for in-cabin flights. Delta required a health certificate for in-cabin travel for a part of 2018. However, they have now reversed that policy and no longer require one. Keep in mind, though, that airline requirements are changing daily. Please consult your own airline. Make sure that whoever you are speaking with understands that you are asking about in-cabin travel. All airlines require health certificates for travel underneath.
Trust the answers you get online. They are the official answers. MANY employees giving out information over the phone are unfamiliar with pet policies. Call and get one answer from one employee. Hang up and call again and chances are good you’ll get a different answer from a different employee.
Who Trains the Puppies?
I (Karen) do the initial obedience training myself (along with our 26 year old daughter Jenna starting with our late 2019 litters). Jenna is a professional dog trainer and shares Karen’s positive reinforcement training philosophy.
We also have a team who help keep things running smoothly. Our team works with puppies on potty training, socializing, and obedience skills already trained. In the past our team has consisted of three high schoolers that all worked for us for over three years. However, starting with our 2020 litters, two of the three have moved off to college.
BUT, we are so happy to have our two daughters who are now in their 20’s working with us again during 2020. One daughter, Jenna, has been an incredible trainer for many years. She will be making Summer Brook puppies her priority.
The other, Elise, is a socialization superstar and will be taking off college for the winter and spring to work full time with Summer Brook.
We also have a good many friends and contacts that visit puppies. Our goal is to make sure that puppies have a wide variety of ages and types of people to interact with.
Karen’s Experience and Expertise
My training experience includes having trained around 100 puppies. This doesn’t count the many raised by us to 8 weeks. I also have experience training at high levels in AKC obedience. I’ve put many obedience titles on several dogs including completing 3 CDX’s, 2 UD’s and numerous rally titles at all levels. I have won well over 2 dozen first places at AKC obedience trials and at least the same number at AKC rally obedience trials.
I’ve also successfully trained at the very highest level in AKC obedience: Utility. It is at the Utility level that dogs do very advanced work. They sniff scented articles out of a pile. These dogs do directed retrieves, directed jumping as well as sits, downs, and recalls with signals alone while on the opposite side of the ring from the handler. Jack and I earned his (and my) first utility leg with a high score of 195 in 2016. We placed him in another home two weeks after he received that first leg. See Jack’s page to see a couple of videos of him and me competing at an obedience trial.
Latest Achievements (2019)
Raising puppies is my priority and competitive obedience takes a back seat when we have puppies. However, in late summer and fall of 2019 we had a break with no puppies. During that short time, I started and finished two dogs in Utility (Tara and Piper) with scores consistently over 195 in their qualifying runs. Tara received her first utility leg the very first time in the utility ring. She finished her Utility title quickly and then in 2 weekends of competing at the Open B/Utility B level, she earned two high in trials, two combined high in trials, 6 first places, and 19 OTCH points along with three UDX legs….a super accomplishment for a dog/handler team where neither dog nor handler had competed at that level prior. Piper did well also. However, Tara consistently beat Piper because Piper’s training was divided between obedience and agility.
The Reason For Our Success
I attribute ALL of this success to the same positive reinforcement program that we use with our 8-week old puppies. It works! Further and most importantly, our training methods produce puppies and dogs that WANT to work. People are impressed with Tara and Piper’s scores in the obedience ring, but what people noticed and commented most often to me about is my dogs’ happy attitudes. Many (more than half) of the dogs you see at obedience competitions have a “do I have to?” attitude. Not Tara and Piper! Our training method builds a desire and love of working in dogs. This desire to please and to work is our primary goal at Summer Brook.
A Good Home is a Must
We are very selective about where our puppies go. Our puppies must go to homes with people who have time for a puppy. We won’t place a puppy in a home where a puppy will be left alone for most of the day. We cannot send a puppy to a home where he or she won’t receive hours of attention every day. Even our trained puppies need a lot of time and love. We don’t just offer “Trained English Cream Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale”. Our goal is to provide companions for families who really want to share their lives with a dog.
For information on how our puppies are raised up until they are 8 weeks, see our Raising Puppies page.
Training Changes – 2021
Starting with Tara’s 2021 litter, we have made a few changes with regard to the stay portion of our training program. Please see the link at Training Changes-2020 for details. After Tara’s puppies are in their new homes, we’ll make the changes throughout the website.