If you’ve recently adopted a golden retriever, then you’ve invited a very active family member into your home. While getting a new puppy is always an exciting time, you also need to prepare yourself for a significant responsibility. To make sure your new puppy grows up into a healthy, happy golden retriever, you’ll need to learn about how much exercise a golden retriever needs over its lifespan.
How much exercise does a golden retriever need? The activity a golden retriever need depends on the dog’s age. Puppies only need five minutes of exercise for every month it has been alive. For instance, a 2-month-old puppy needs 10 minutes of exercise per day. Adolescent and adult golden retrievers need one full hour of exercise per day. If your golden retriever is elderly and has any aches and pains, you should talk to your vet about recommended activities.
Since there isn’t a lot of information available on the Internet today about how much exercise a golden retriever needs, we created this guide to help you out. We’ll cover why golden retrievers need exercise, how much exercise they need based on age, and some activities you can do with your golden retriever.
Golden Retrievers, Energy, and Exercise
Golden retrievers originated from the Scottish Highlands and were created during the 19th century. These dogs were initially bred to retrieve in the Scottish Highlands, which is full of mountains, hills, ponds, and streams. So, retrieving on that type of terrain is requires a lot of physical activity from a dog.
Since any dog involved with retrieving on the Scottish Highlands needs to be active, capable of traveling long distances, and an avid swimmer, golden retrievers are bred to be very high-energy, have plenty of stamina, and love spending time in the water.
While your typical family-owned golden retriever won’t be expected to perform such demanding tasks, your golden retriever still has all the genes that make it an active, energetic dog that loves to swim. That means these dogs are bred for physical activity. If your golden retriever isn’t allowed to have enough exercise, it can become destructive and depressing.
A Lack of Exercise Can Lead to Destruction
Golden retrievers require plenty of exercise because of their breeding. Their genetics means these dogs need a lot of physical activity. If your golden retriever doesn’t wind up getting the exercise it needs, that unused energy and boredom can drive them to find a release that could be destructive.
When golden retrievers don’t get the physical activity they need, they wind up, destroying just about everything around them. An unhappy golden retriever will dig, run around destructively, and do just about anything to get rid of that pent-up energy. If your golden retriever doesn’t get enough physical activity, it won’t be able to behave because it can’t concentrate. It may even try to escape your house and yard, which means your dog could wind up experiencing an injury, accident, or also get lost if it escapes.
When people complain about their golden retrievers being out of control, those people probably haven’t exercised their dogs enough and are at fault for their dogs’ actions. Golden retrievers have basic needs, and exercise is one of them. So, activity is an integral part of keeping your golden retriever healthy and happy.
A Lack of Exercise Can Harm Your Dog’s Health
Not only will your golden retriever become destructive if it doesn’t get enough exercise, but it will also gain weight if it doesn’t get enough physical activity. Golden retrievers are a breed that loves to munch, and they’ll devour just about anything you offer them. Since golden retrievers are a sporting breed, they use lots of energy daily, and that makes them crave a lot of food.
However, if your golden retriever is stuck inside all day and hardly ever gets the chance to exercise or go for walks, they’ll still have that massive craving for food. For your golden retriever, its genetics drive eating habits. So, if you don’t give your golden retriever enough exercise, your dog won’t balance this out by eating less food.
Instead, your golden retriever will still have a large appetite and wind up eating a lot of food regardless. So, if you aren’t exercising your golden retriever enough, it will continue to eat often. That will lead to weight gain, obesity, and health problems.
Golden Retrievers are Prone to Obesity
Because of their genetics and need for physical activity, golden retrievers tend to eat often, whether they are getting exercise or not. That makes golden retrievers prone to experiencing obesity. When a golden retriever gets obese, it’s very likely that its owner is doing the following:
- Allowing the dog to have too many “extras,” like treats and table scraps when begging. Some owners have difficulty turning down their golden retriever’s big, begging eyes.
- They are not taking their golden retriever outside often enough for exercise.
Just like people, golden retrievers become obese when they consume more calories than they burn, and they’ll continue to gain weight. Golden retrievers aren’t the type of dogs to turn down food. So, if you’re putting food in front of your golden retriever, it’s very likely that it’s going to eat it. If you’re mixing too much food with not enough exercise, your dog might become obese.
When a golden retriever becomes obese, it can experience other health problems. Those health problems include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and elbow joint and hip joint damage. So, be a responsible pet owner and watch what your golden retriever eats. Then, make sure you give your pooch plenty of exercises.
How Much Exercise Does A Golden Retriever Need?
Now that you know exercise is required for a happy and healthy golden retriever, you’re probably wondering about how much exercise a golden retriever needs. The amount of physical activity your golden retriever will require depends a lot on age, genetics, and your dog’s current health and fitness.
While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to figure out how much exercise a golden retriever needs, we can provide you with a generalized guide based on your golden retriever’s age.
Golden Retriever Puppies
When it comes to exercising a puppy, you can use what’s known as the “five-minute rule.” The five-minute rule assumes that a puppy needs five minutes of exercise for every month it’s been alive. That means a two-month-old puppy would need about ten minutes of exercise daily.
For a puppy, you’ll need to make sure you keep your exercising both proper and structured. So, taking your puppy out for a fast walk on a leash or playing a few fun games of fetch daily should help your puppy get the exercise it needs every day.
So, are there any limits on how much physical activity you should give to a puppy? Not really, but you want to make sure you don’t overexert your puppy because they can strain their developing muscles and joints and feel pain from soreness.
Since puppies are growing, their bones and joints can be injured if they are over-exercised. That means you’ll need to be careful playing with your puppy until it grows up. Until then, you’ll need to stick to the five-minute rule with your growing pup until it grows into adolescence and adulthood.
Golden Retriever Adolescents and Adults
Adolescent and adult golden retrievers need about an hour of exercise daily. However, you might need to adjust the amount of activity to fit your dog’s needs. Your dog’s genetics can increase or decrease the amount of exercise your dog needs daily. So, you will sometimes need to experiment and adjust your dog’s daily exercise plan as you see fit.
If your golden retriever is from a working field line, it’s probably a higher energy dog that will need more prolonged periods of exercise. Some golden retrievers need as much as two hours per day of physical activity. However, other golden retrievers do just fine getting forty-five-minutes of training daily.
So, the amount of physical activity your golden retriever needs by adulthood can vary since dogs all have different needs. However, starting at an hour per day with an adolescent or adult golden retriever is an excellent place to start. You can always increase the exercise time later as your dog adapts to the physical activity level if you feel it’s necessary.
It’s also a good idea to try to break your exercise increments down into two times a day for about thirty minutes each. Spreading out the physical activity will help prevent your golden retriever from getting bored. It’s also a good idea to use different forms of exercise with your golden retriever so that the activity doesn’t become boring. Mix things up and enjoy running, playing, swimming, fetch, and any other activities you can think of doing.
If your adolescent or adult golden retriever is a happy and healthy dog, then you don’t need to worry too much about over-exercising your dog at this stage of its life. An adolescent or adult golden retriever is happy to engage in whatever physical activity you are willing to do with it. On top of that, the dog is probably capable of doing even more than you’d imagine. You’ll probably feel exhausted before your golden retriever ever becomes tired.
Elderly Golden Retrievers
If you have an elderly golden retriever, it might experience things like arthritis and joint pain now that it’s older. By the time a golden retriever is eight-years-old, it’s considered elderly. Some golden retrievers start slowing down around this age, while others are still very active when they are as old as thirteen.
Golden retrievers are much like humans because, just like people, individual golden retrievers experience age differently. You should know your dog well at this point and take into consideration any health issues it may have before forming an exercise plan. You don’t want to over-exercise a dog that has arthritis and joint pain.
Remember, golden retrievers are very eager to please, and your elderly dog wants nothing more in the world than to make its owner happy. So, if you ask them to do too much, they will. If you are over-exerting your elderly golden retriever, it can cause more harm than good.
What you’ll need to do with your elderly golden retriever is to monitor it for any aches and pains. Keep an eye on your dog to make sure it isn’t losing its breath quickly or taking more extended periods to recover. Consider doing more leisurely activities with your elderly golden retriever, like walking and swimming instead of hard runs and swims.
Some healthy elderly golden retrievers can still exercise for up to an hour per day. However, if your dog is starting to slow down a bit, adjust that exercise time to thirty or forty-five minutes per day and exercise twice daily with your dog. During your exercises, monitor your dog carefully so you can tell if you need to increase or decrease physical activity.
How Do You Know If Your Golden Retriever Isn’t Getting Enough Exercise?
Luckily, it isn’t hard to tell if your golden retriever isn’t getting enough exercise. If your golden retriever is an adolescent or adult and it seems to be overly active, chewing up your stuff, can’t pay attention, and doesn’t seem to learn, then you probably aren’t exercising your dog enough. When your golden retriever acts like it’s out of control, it needs more physical activity.
Another sign that your dog isn’t getting enough exercise is weight gain. If you are feeding your dog appropriately, not piling on the extra treats and table scraps, and your golden retriever is still adding pounds, then it probably needs more exercise.
On the other hand, if your dog has a healthy appearance, relaxes well, and pays attention to you when you give it commands, then your golden retriever is probably happy and healthy. That means it’s getting enough exercise.
Whenever you feel that your golden retriever is having behavioral problems or is acting like it’s out of control, you should take your dog to your vet to make sure there isn’t an underlying health concern. If you discover that your dog is healthy, then all you’ll need to do to get your dog behaving well again is to increase its daily exercise level.
Now that we’ve covered how often you should exercise your golden retriever depending on its age, we’ll cover some of the best exercises you can do with your golden retriever.
Best Exercises for Your Golden Retriever
Exercising with your golden retriever is essential if you want to keep your dog healthy, happy, and well-behaved. However, if you didn’t already realize it, exercising with your golden retriever provides you with an excellent opportunity to bond successfully with your dog.
Most healthy adult golden retrievers need about an hour of exercise daily. If you’re not sure how to exercise with your golden retriever, then don’t worry. We’ve created a list of the best activities you can do with your golden retriever below.
Walking and Running
One of the most straightforward exercises you can do with your golden retriever is taking your pooch out for a daily walk. Golden retrievers love walking, and your dog will be happy walking beside you for an hour or more daily because of the breed’s athleticism.
If you enjoy going on daily runs or jogs, you can also take your golden retriever with you. Golden retrievers won’t have any problems running alongside a person, so your dog will be able to keep up with you quickly.
If you haven’t started running or walking with your golden retriever yet, then remember that your dog gives you a great reason to stay active, too.
Another way you can exercise your golden retriever is by playing fetch with it. Here’s what you can do:
- In your backyard or at a local park, bring along a dog toy and throw it.
- Next, wait for your dog to bring the toy back to you.
- Throw the toy again and continue.
Remember to allow your dog some break periods for rest as you see fit. If your golden retriever tends to get distracted quickly, you should play fetch in an enclosed yard area. That way, your dog can focus on you. Taking a dog that gets distracted easily to play fetch at a local park might be too overwhelming for some golden retrievers. So, before you plan your fetch game, consider your dog’s personality.
When you play fetch, you also need to get a toy that will work well when you play the game. You don’t want to use a sharp or heavy object that might injure your dog. It’s best to use things like squeak toys, sticks, balls, ropes, and other dog toys.
If you wind up getting stuck inside on a rainy day with your golden retriever, then you’ll have the option of playing fetch indoors, too. That way, your dog can still get exercise even when the weather isn’t great outside.
If you walk and often jog, taking the same routes might feel boring to you after a while. If that’s the case, think about taking a hike with your dog for a more exciting adventure. Remember, before you take your dog hiking, check to make sure the trail or park you are taking your dog to is dog-friendly. You’ll also need to check to see if you need to keep your dog on a leash while you are hiking.
Hiking is a pretty intense activity for a golden retriever, and you’ll need a reasonably athletic dog to go along with you. So, if your golden retriever is a puppy, has health problems, or is elderly, it’s best to talk to your vet about your dog’s exercise plan before you take your dog hiking.
When you go out hiking, don’t forget to take water and a bowl with you so that your pooch can drink water when the two of you take breaks. It’s essential to make sure both you and your golden retriever stay hydrated while you are physically active.
When you are hiking with your golden retriever, it’s a good idea to look for soft ground and avoid underbrush and rocks. Both underbrush and rocks can harm your golden retriever’s paws, leading to potential injury.
Once your hike is over, and you’ve returned home, it’s time to bathe your golden retriever. You should do this after each hike to help maintain your golden retriever’s coat, and also search for fleas and ticks.
Hunting is another fun activity you can do with your golden retriever. Golden retrievers are bred for hunting. While they make great family pets and don’t necessarily have to go hunting to be happy, if you take them hunting, they’ll enjoy the activity thoroughly.
If you take your golden retriever hunting, your dog will get to experience a fun day of getting to do what it was bred to do. Golden retrievers love hunting and retrieving with their owners. Taking your golden retriever with you on a hunting trip will provide you with an excellent bonding opportunity, too.
Another enjoyable activity for you and your golden retriever to experience together is swimming. Retrievers are natural swimmers since they have a unique waterproof coat. That means they don’t get cold easily, and they dry off quickly.
If you don’t have access to a private pool, you can take your dog several places for a day of swimming. Lakes, ponds, and even individual swimming pools allow dogs. However, before you take your dog along with you on a trip, make sure your dog is allowed to swim at the destination.
Another thing you can do for your golden retriever if you don’t have your pool is to buy a small kiddy pool. All you’ll need to do is fill the pool up for your dog, and let it play around in the water. Remember to remove your dog’s collar and anything else it might be wearing before it swims. Also, never leave your dog unattended when it is swimming, even if you are only using a kiddie pool.
Most golden retrievers are great swimmers, but accidents can happen. If you’re worried about something happening to your dog while it swims, you can buy a dog life vest for extra safety.
When swimming with a puppy or recently-adopted golden that isn’t used to the water, take it slow. Also, make sure to give your dog a thorough bath after swimming in a lake or pool to get rid of chlorine, dirt, and other items that can irritate.
While you might think that only cats play with laser pointers, you’ll be surprised to learn that many animals enjoy chasing laser pointers. Many golden retrievers enjoy laser pointers for hours on end, too. Laser pointers are relatively inexpensive and can provide hours of fun exercise. To use your laser pointer for doggie play, do the following:
- Shine the laser pointer around the room on the walls and floor.
- Watch your dog follow the laser pointer.
- Remember, don’t shine the laser pointer directly into your golden retriever’s eyes because you can damage your dog’s retinas.
Tug of War
Tug of war, like fetch, is another game you can play either outside or inside. So, if it’s a rainy or snowy day, a good game of tug of war indoors can give it the exercise it needs. However, if the weather is beautiful outside, then you can take the game into your yard.
Tug of war as a game is pretty self-explanatory. One thing you do need to do is purchase a rope that’s made for dogs. That way, your golden retriever won’t wind up hurting its teeth when it plays with you.
As long as you can stay in control of your dog, tug of war is a great game to play with your golden retriever. Just be careful and make sure you monitor your dog when you play this game. Some dogs get overly aggressive when playing tug of war. If you notice that happens with your golden retriever, then pick a different type of exercise.
Golden retrievers are dogs that need a good deal of daily physical activity to keep them healthy and happy. Since golden retrievers were historically bred to hunt and retrieve, they seem to have boundless amounts of energy and are very active dogs. To help prevent your golden retriever from becoming bored, unhappy, and destructive, you’ll need to make sure you exercise with your dog daily.
Depending on your golden retriever’s age, your dog will need different amounts of exercise. If your golden retriever is a puppy, remember to use the five-minute rule to factor in how much exercise it needs. Most adolescent and adult golden retrievers need about an hour of exercise daily. The amount of activity an elderly golden retriever can handle will vary, but the recommended amount is usually thirty to forty-five minutes per day.
Exercising with your golden retriever is not only a great bonding activity, but it will also get you motivated to stay in shape, too. That way, both you and your golden retriever can live happy and healthy lives.