So I thought I'd post my failures at learning how to.
First, something I sketched after looking at google images, without having an image in sight as I sketched. The chest floof was intentionally left out.
The second, something I do often but NEVER SHOW because it never looks good - DIRECT reference using a photo. That is my attempt at drawing THAT DOG in THAT PHOTO, and so you can see here why my art teachers subtly hinted I should probably choose another career. They look nothing alike, mostly because I am not patient, and I draw quickly while only trying to learn the basic shapes. If I legitimately tried to draw that dog exactly as it is in the photo, it would look like a child's drawing. BUT, I do learn from doing this, so I do this, often. For over 15 years. And yes, that is still the result I come out of it with.
The last one is a "freehand" sketch after having drawn from direct reference, where I think I am starting to understand what makes a golden retriever a golden retriever.
All of these sketches are awful, and miles behind my freehand stuff, probably because I have a hard time focusing on more than one image at a time (looking at one image, then looking at my drawing). But I DO learn from these for future freehand sketches, and thought also that a peek at how terrible my works are "in the raw" might help you guys feel better about yourselves. xD