At three months of age, Golden Retriever puppies get a little more confident, mischievous, and, of course, bigger!
They’ve usually been in their new homes for several weeks and, although they’re still a baby, they’re figuring things out and getting the lay of the land with their forever family.
As a puppy parent, you might have lots of questions about your three-month-old Golden.
Is this normal? Am I handling this the right way? Should I be doing something differently?
In this article, you’ll learn:
- What to expect from a three-month-old Golden Retriever puppy
- How big a three-month-old Golden should be
- How much sleep a puppy needs at this age
- What kind of exercise a three-month-old Golden Retriever needs
- How to train your three-month-old pup
- How much a three-month-old Golden Retriever should eat
- How to deal with puppy biting
Raising a Golden Retriever puppy can be a roller coaster, but this will help you know what to expect.
Three Month Old Golden Retrievers: Look Out World!
At three months old, a puppy is feeling more settled in their new home.
They are experts at identifying patterns and routines, and are understanding how things work around the house.
You may notice increased confidence and curiosity around the house, as exploration can be fun for sixteen-week-old Golden Retrievers.
This confidence boost may also come with more antics, like shredding the toilet paper in the bathroom and pulling down your nice throw pillows to wrestle with.
You might observe that your three-month-old puppy has more energy than they did last month, as well.
At this age, they also have better control of their bodies and are more coordinated, as opposed to when they were a two-month-old puppy.
You may notice that they are running faster, jumping higher, and tackling obstacles like stairs.
Puppies at this age may also “find their voice” and you may hear more barking when excited or frustrated.
It’s all normal behavior for this developmental stage.
At three months old, a pup is still in the critical socialization window.
What your puppy learns and experiences between three and sixteen weeks of age helps set a precedent for the rest of their life.
Providing them with positive educational experiences with the sights, sounds, and experiences they will encounter as an adult dog is extremely important during this time.
Golden Retrievers are known to have very friendly, social personalities, so it’s important to balance interactions with people and other dogs with simply observing people and dogs going by.
When you think about it, the majority of the dogs and people your Golden sees as an adult dog will not be opportunities for interaction, so it’s a good idea for your puppy to learn this lesson early on.
Remember that a pup at this age is still so young and needs lots of patient guidance as they grow into their adult self.
P.S. If you want more help raising your Golden Retriever puppy, check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!
Three-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppy Size
Most three-month-old Goldens will weigh between 15 and 35 pounds, but each puppy is a unique individual so there could be some that fall outside that range.
Female puppies tend to be smaller than males, but there are exceptions to that rule.
They will be growing a lot this month, so you may notice those legs getting longer by the day!
Their cute little snout may also get a little longer as they develop.
It’s important to keep puppies at a healthy weight, to avoid putting any unnecessary stress on their growing joints.
Golden Retrievers can have a variety of builds and sizes, so your vet can help you make sure that your puppy is at an appropriate weight if you have any concerns.
How Much Sleep Do Three-Month-Old Golden Retrievers Need?
With all that growing comes the need for a lot of sleep.
Sixteen-week-old Golden Retrievers need about 18 hours of sleep a day.
You may find that some days they take really long naps — it’s likely that they are having a growth spurt, whether physically or mentally, and need extra rest.
As much as possible, let your puppy sleep as much as they choose.
At this age, they may not always be the best at settling themselves down for a nap even though they really need rest.
Sometimes puppies can get overly tired and become super wild and bitey — puppy tornado mode!
This is when your puppy needs you to step in and help them get the sleep they need.
Set up the crate or pen so it has a comfy place for them to snooze.
Many three-month-old puppies do well when the crate is covered, which cuts down on visual stimulation.
You can also drape an old bed sheet over the panels of a pen to give the same effect.
If your puppy struggles to settle, you can sit near their crate or pen, as your presence is a comfort to them.
As they get older, they won’t need this much support, but remember that they are still babies at this age.
If you notice your pup curling up for a nap, you can pick them up and put them in their pen or crate.
And if they’ve been awake and active for an hour or so, they are likely due for some sleepy time.
You don’t have to wait until they’re overly tired and ricocheting off the couch for a driveby bite to your ankle before you put them down for a nap.
Ensuring that your puppy gets enough uninterrupted sleep is very important for their physical, mental, and behavioral wellbeing.
What Kind of Exercise Do Three-Month-Old Golden Retrievers Need?
If you got your puppy when they were two months of age, you may now notice that your three-month-old Golden seems to have more energy.
Though they’re still floppy little puppies, their bodies are a bit more coordinated and less clumsy than the prior month.
With all that puppy energy, you might think that you need to wear your puppy out with exercise.
While puppies certainly do need exercise, be careful not to overdo it.
Exercise should be guided by the puppy.
That means letting them set the pace and duration of exercise.
Three-month-old Golden Retrievers do not yet have the physical and mental stamina for structured exercise like long leashed walks.
Additionally, their bones and joints are still growing and you don’t want to put too much stress on them, as that can potentially cause lasting damage.
Instead, short, easygoing walks are great at this stage.
If your puppy wants to plop down for a little rest, that’s totally fine and normal.
Think of walks more as adventures!
Instead of trying to walk a certain route or distance, set an amount of time for the walk.
Ten to twenty minutes is probably sufficient at this age.
If you only get halfway down the block because your curious puppy wanted to stop and smell every tree and pick up sticks, that’s okay!
Free play is also a great outlet for exercise for three-month-old Golden Retrievers.
If you have a fenced yard, that’s a great way to let your puppy freely move their bodies.
Indoor playtime with toys is also a fun way for active pups to burn some of that puppy energy.
Avoid long games of fetch, as the repetitive nature of the game can be hard on their growing bodies.
A few repetitions should be fine, but don’t overdo it.
Finally, getting your puppy out in nature is a great way to get them some exercise while also providing lots of mental stimulation.
Historically, Golden Retrievers were bred to spend a lot of time outdoors in the fields with their owners.
Our modern-day Goldens still absolutely adore getting outside in nature, and puppies are no exception.
This longer leash allows your puppy to explore more freely and makes pulling the leash less likely.
It’s a way to give them some freedom without letting them off-leash.
Keep these outings short, and let your puppy take breaks as needed.
Training A Three-Month-Old Golden Retriever
Training is very important to raising a pleasant, well-behaved Golden Retriever.
It sounds a bit silly, but it can be easy to forget that a puppy is not a human!
They can’t read your mind and they don’t automatically know that stealing your lunch from the coffee table while you grab a napkin is a no-no.
Keeping this in mind helps you stay patient as you teach your new best friend the ways of the world.
One of the most important things for a puppy to learn is how to be alone.
As much as you’d like to spend 24/7 with your companion, that’s just not real life.
Even if you work from home, you have to run errands, hang out with friends and family, and go to doctor appointments.
It’s best to start training your puppy how to be home alone and feel okay about it from an early age.
Using a crate or pen, or gating off a small space, is invaluable, as leaving a three-month-old Golden Retriever loose in your house would likely be a disaster!
This e-book walks you through all the steps to teach your puppy how to be comfortable with confinement and being left home alone.
Potty training will also be an ongoing process, so keep at it with your puppy this month.
Golden Retrievers respond very well to positive-reinforcement based training, and it’s best to avoid training methods that utilize punishment.
You’ll be surprised by how much a three-month-old Golden can learn.
As you work on training you’ll need lots of treats, so check out this article to help you choose the best training treats for Golden Retriever puppies.
Besides teaching your puppy how to be home alone, you can also work on training:
- Polite greeting skills with guests at your home and in public
- Manners around food
- Trading “stolen goods” like socks and shoes for a treat
- Beginning leash skills
- Coming when called
- Body handling and grooming
Remember that training takes consistency, but doesn’t need to be time-consuming.
Just a few minutes every day is enough to start building some great skills with your puppy.
You may also notice that some days your puppy has more energy, and on other days they are more relaxed.
That’s totally normal as they go through physical and mental growth spurts.
How Much Should a Three-Month-Old Golden Retriever Eat?
With their growing bodies comes a bigger appetite!
Most three-month-old Golden Retrievers eat about two cups of food a day, split over three meals.
As always, each puppy is a unique individual and so some puppies may eat more or less than that amount each day.
Some days your puppy may eat all their food, and some days they may leave a little in the bowl, though Goldens are known to be chowhounds so your puppy might scarf down each and every meal.
It can be really fun for both you and your puppy to feed meals in more creative ways.
There are lots of toys available that make mealtime more mentally and physically enriching.
You have to feed your puppy, so why not burn some puppy energy in the process!
Here are some favorites:
Additionally, there are lots of DIY ideas for making meals more enriching for your three-month-old puppy.
You can sprinkle their kibble on an old towel or bedsheet, roll it up and then let your puppy forage for their meal.
If you have a yard, you can toss the kibble into the grass and let them sniff it out.
You can cut holes in an empty oatmeal canister, pour in your puppy’s meal, put on the lid and then let them roll it around to get the food out.
If you’re struggling with your wild puppy’s endless energy, these ideas will help!
How to Deal with Puppy Biting in Three-Month-Old Golden Retrievers
It’s part of how puppies play, but with those sharp teeth, it can get really painful for owners.
Your puppy may start losing some baby teeth this month, which can cause discomfort.
This can cause them to be even more bitey.
Make sure you’re giving your puppy lots of appropriate things to gnaw on like bully sticks and frozen kongs.
Even though nipping can be really frustrating, it’s best to remain calm and patient.
Amping up your energy in response to a bite from your puppy usually just fuels the puppy, and they may come back with even more intensity.
Redirect your puppy onto a toy or something to chew.
It can help to let your puppy drag a lightweight leash around, so you can redirect them more easily.
You can also step on the other side of a baby gate, or put your puppy in a short time out in a pen to let them calm down a bit.
Remember to stay cool and calm as you do this.
Sometimes people worry that their puppy is being aggressive with them, but true aggression is very rare in a three-month-old puppy.
What’s more likely is that your puppy has painful gums, is overexcited, or is overly tired.
Ensuring that your puppy is getting sufficient sleep can reduce the amount of nipping.
A flirt pole toy can also be a great outlet to channel puppy biting that doesn’t put your skin or clothes in danger of puppy teeth.
You can drag this toy along the ground, and the puppy chases and then bites the toy.
It puts distance between you and your puppy, making it less likely that your puppy nips you during play.
When you play with this toy, think like a squirrel: always move it away from the puppy, and if they drop the toy, it tries to escape.
This will make the toy more enticing to your puppy.
Make sure you don’t make it too hard by never letting the puppy catch it or they may give up.
Remember that your puppy’s joints are still developing, so it’s best to drag the toy in gentle circles, and not whip it around too fast to prevent too much impact on their joints.
Your puppy can bite and shake the toy to their heart’s content!
Growing Up Golden
Three months is such a fun stage in the life of a Golden Retriever puppy.
They’re feeling more sure of themselves and their environment, and they’re eager to interact with their humans.
A three-month-old puppy is still very young and in need of your support and guidance as they mature into an adult dog.
Commit to socialization, training, and bonding with your puppy as you go through this month with your furry companion.
You can help them grow into a confident, well-adjusted dog who can be at your side for all of life’s adventures.
Have any questions about raising three-month-old golden retrievers?
Let me know down in the comments!
Read the rest of our Golden Retriever puppy series here:
- 8-Week-Old Golden Retriever Puppies
- 4-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppies
- 6-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppies
And if you want more help raising your Golden Retriever puppy, then check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!
- The Complete Guide To Raising A Golden Retriever Puppy
- How To Potty Train Your Golden Retriever Puppy (In Just 2 Weeks)
- Golden Retriever Puppy Supplies: 17 Essentials For Your New Puppy
About the author:
Alisa Healy is a professional dog trainer in the Chicago suburbs, with a wide range of training experience from shelters to in-home training to dog sports. She is a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner and is passionate about helping people and dogs live fulfilling, harmonious lives together.