I am worried about the amount of steps we have to get outside and in the garden
We are getting our pedigree golden retreiver at the end of July.
Our house is quite large and is over three floors. To get outside via the kitchen the puppy would have to go down 5 stone steps and then the garden is in terraces until you reach the bottom part of the garden which is a sloping field. Each section has either some stone steps (from 3 to 8) or the area slopes.
We are both concerned about this and have been told by the breeder the dog should not use stairs at all in his life. The vet's receptionist said to carry the puppy. Have you any suggestions?
We were also having an outside dog kennel made (only to be used on very rare occasions) which will be undercover and have a raised area for sleeping and an area for toileting etc and a grille for him to see out of. Is there a minimum size? Many thanks.
That many steps will definitely make it more challenging to housebreak your puppy, but it shouldn't be a deal-breaker.
Puppies do need time to learn to deal with steps, and large breeds (particularly those who have a genetic pre-dispostition to hip/joint problems) will have to be very carefully monitored especially while growing, to prevent them climbing or jumping etc. which can cause damage.
Personally, I think to say that a dog should never have to climb steps is extreme, and impractical. But, I don't own Goldens and am not personally experienced with them, so that's just my opinion. If you are buying a puppy from genetically screened parents who don't have any hip problems in three generations (and preferably have OFA certification or similar), normal activities (which I would say include steps) shouldn't be an issue.
I do own Rottweilers though, which are a breed with similar concerns. I've never prevented my dogs from using steps, or stairs and they jump in and out of my car without problems. BUT, for the first 18 months to 2 years while they are growing, although steps are allowed one at a time, but jumping is not allowed!
While your pup is young, carrying him down to his 'potty spot' shouldn't be a problem, but how long you can do that for depends on how quickly your little guy grows. I know from experience that carrying a 40lb puppy very far is a bit taxing!
Luckily, puppies are creatures of habit and once he gets used to going to a particular area to eliminate it will become a habit and he will be in a hurry to get there. Once he needs to get there 'under his own steam', I would recommend putting a leash on him and encouraging him to move briskly, not stopping until you reach the designated area. However, I'd recommend choosing a spot as close to the back door as is possible to make the trip more manageable.
As for the outdoor kennel, I'm not sure about minimum requirements, but for my dogs the smallest outdoor kennel I've ever used was 10' x 10'. I think 10' x 6' would be okay as long as it's for short periods.
I hope this helps you a bit, best of luck with your new puppy!