Plan to feed 3 times a day. I tend to feed at 6am, 12p, and 6pm. You can certainly adjust that to your schedule.
I like to feed them in their crate. It also helps them associate the crate to a den by adding the positive experience such as food. Their den should always be considered their safe space. In case you didn’t know, Goldens are very food motivated. Lol. I will not open the crate to add food until the pup is sitting calmly. In addition, I will place my spread open hand in front of their face saying “wait” until they are calm and then allow them to eat. Frequently, gently touch your puppy, their face and even play with their food while they are eating. If you notice your puppy eating too fast a slow feeder can help.
I use and wholeheartedly recommend Health Extension dog kibble. We use the lamb and rice formula. Chicken is a well known common allergy for Golden Retrievers and can cause itching, skin eruptions, rashes and gastrointestinal upset.
I have previously used Purina ProPlan, Hills Science diet and Eukanuba. Health Extension is a far superior food with much better ingredients.
Start by introducing the puppy to the designated potty area when you first arrive home.
When the puppy squats to potty, click and say “potty” several times in a row. Be prepared to treat as soon as they are finished.
You can hang bells on your door low enough for the puppy to nudge to alert you they need to go out to potty. Have the puppy touch them every time you go outside saying potty.
As a rule of thumb, you should potty the puppy at least every 2 hours unless sleeping, within 15 min of eating, anytime they wake up from a nap, immediately upon coming out of the crate, and also 10-15 min into a play session (even if you were just outside). The increased activity of play triggers them to have to potty and this is where most accidents can occur. I know it may seem like going out to potty is an all day/every day continual loop. It is! Every time you go out together is truly is a bonding experience. You will find that the puppy very much wants to please you when he/she understands how.
Crate training is essential for potty training. Dogs are den animals by nature and a crate can provide the safe secure den for them. Choose a large crate with a divider and start by giving them just enough space to lay down. If their available space is too big they may be inclined to potty in their crate. Gradually increase their space as long as no accidents occur. If an accident occurs then shrink their space back down to where it was last and wait another day or 2.
Night time can cause some stress for your puppy as they are in a completely new house away from their siblings. We send our puppies home with a “Snuggle Puppy”. This is a stuffed animal similar to their siblings and has an internal heartbeat that pulses. It will have the scent of their littermates on it. I like to place the snuggle puppy in their crate at night and for naps. If your puppy is crying and not settling down then go back out to potty. If you know the puppy has relieved themselves and is still crying/barking, drape the crate with a cover help block out everything new in their surroundings. This can help them settle. Be sure they can’t get ahold of it and pull it through to chew on.
NEVER leave a collar on your puppy while crated. The collar can get caught on the crate and could cause detrimental harm.
Provide lots of tough durable toys to chew on. I do not recommend rope toys, plush toys or toys with squeakers as they can be a danger if they are torn apart.
An 8 week old puppy requires at least 20 hours of sleep a day. It may sound excessive but sleep is crucial for their development.
I recommend trimming nails weekly. The puppies nails grow very fast and the weekly trimmings help them understand this is safe and comfortable process. This should be a very positive experience. A frequent misconception is that the toe pad needs to be squeezed to get the nail to protrude. This act is painful and creates a negative experience.
I do not recommend going to a groomer until the vaccinations are complete after 16 weeks of age.
A bath will surely need to happen by then. I love the puppy shampoo and conditioner by Heath Extension. Do not to get the inside of the ears wet. The increased moisture can cause irritation and could possibly lead to an ear infection. Introduce the blow dryer on low speed and always one low heat to dry their coat. Towel dry the inside of the ears well.
Getting your puppy used to teeth cleaning right away is extremely beneficial.
I recommend scheduling your first veterinarian visit within the first 3 days of coming home. This will give your vet a baseline, establish the puppy as a client, and come up with a plan for vaccinations and preventatives.
Vaccinations - Your puppy will have had the first series of vaccinations around 6-7 weeks of age. That will make the next series due around 9-11 weeks.
Preventatives - Heartworm, intestinal worm and flea/tick prevention is imperative for a healthy dog.
Your puppy is already microchipped.