About Raising Goldens

Hey, fellow Golden Retriever owners or those interested in learning about the breed. Thanks for popping by.

I’m Ralph (Rafe) Schafer, and my Golden Retriever sidekick is BAR (Bailey Adam Ruzek), and yes, I’m a Chicago PD fan for those who get the reference. Bailey is our first Golden Retriever, and I fondly refer to him as my Gold BAR.

Although BAR is our first Golden, our family has had a few pups along the way. Family members included a black Lab (a great babysitter), a mixed mutt with a lot of Chihuahua (he would dance for Dorito’s), a Lab/Pointer mix who was a rescue, and two Rough Collies who loved to play. Our last dog before Bailey was a Sheltie princess, a.k.a. Pretty McPretty.

All were terrific dogs and a big part of the family.

What is Your Experience With Golden Retrievers?

I got my first experience with Goldens by being the “official” dog sitter for one of my best friends. She has always had Goldens for almost as long as I can remember. My friend and I lived in the same town, and for over 20+ years, I was fortunate to become the go-to person to watch her Goldens while the family was away.

I enjoyed sitting for their Goldens so much that I’d often coordinate my vacations with their family so I could watch their pooches full-time, even after I had to move away.

I quickly grew to love Goldens (who doesn’t) and became familiar with some of their quirks and what makes them so unique. It’s also where I learned how intelligent the breed was and how easy to train they were. I was fortunate that my friend was very skilled at training dogs and was a professional dog walker and sitter for a long time. So she taught me a lot.

What Training Method Do You Use For Your Golden Retriever?

I use positive reward-based training based on science, which I have for all my dogs. I honestly believe the days of alpha rolls and dominance-based training, i.e., using physical punishment or corrections, are coming to an end, thankfully.

Training using positive reward-based methods is like being a good teacher. It takes work, and I learn more each day. But the rewards are worth it. I love it when my dog “gets it” – that light bulb moment or when a friend or stranger is amazed at how seamlessly the dog responds to a hand signal or command.

I especially enjoy it when my dog looks me in the eyes because we’ve established a bond, and they’re looking to me for what to do next. It’s then that you see the depth of their intelligence and what amazing creatures they are.

At the end of the day, they are a member of the family. So why not build their confidence by rewarding them with love and positive attention, right?

What Trainers Do You Follow and Why?

I’m a big fan of the Dunbar family (Ian, Kelly, Jamie), Ian Stone, Zak George, and Adrienne Farricelli.

I enjoy their science-first, reward-based training methods and the fact that they are passionate about advancing dog training responsibly and compassionately.

How Was RaisingGoldens Started?

RaisingGoldens.com was born from watching the two Goldens I used to sit for and now Bailey and the questions that arose through my experiences with each.

It’s those questions I’m sure that most Golden Retriever owners at some point wonder about too, and I hope to share some insights from my research and observations about what I learn.

My goal for this site is a simple one. To share my journey and everything I can learn about the Golden Retriever. My sincere hope is that my articles offer you some good info that is helpful, informative, and entertaining too.  

Just a heads up. As the site grows, you may see that ads will begin to appear. I know that can be a pain at times, but it’s how I support this site and BAR while writing about all things Golden Retriever. I very much appreciate your understanding and support.

BAR and I thank you for stopping by and taking the time to check us out!