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Time flies when you’re having fun, and no one has more fun than a Golden Retriever puppy!
A five-month-old Golden is approaching the end of the puppy stage and is about to enter the next developmental phase: canine adolescence.
Around six months of age is when puppies typically hit the teenage phase.
It’s hard to believe that your sweet pup is about to be a teenager, but it’s all part of the process of raising a Golden Retriever from a tiny pup to a mature adult dog.
At five months, you might see some evidence of adolescence, but they’re still a puppy.
So to help you navigate your puppy’s drastic changes, in this article you’ll learn:
- What to expect from a five-month-old Golden Retriever puppy
- How big a five-month-old Golden is
- How much sleep a puppy needs at this age
- What kind of exercise a five-month-old Golden Retriever needs
- How to train your five-month-old pup
- How much a five-month-old Golden Retriever should eat
- And much more
Let’s dive in!
Five Month Old Golden Retrievers: The Tween Phase
Sometimes this age is known as the “angel stage” because by now your puppy is well-versed in the routines that make up their day.
Life has gotten so much easier than when they were a two-month or three-month-old pup.
They’re crushing the potty training game and sleeping through the night.
Your hard work training your puppy has paid off and you may even be surprised by how well they listen to you.
They’re sweet and happy, and they have big heart eyes for you.
But you might also see some hints of adolescent behavior creeping in.
Your perfect puppy suddenly decided to shred a pillow from the couch when you weren’t looking, even though they’ve never done such a thing before.
Or maybe they’ve started grabbing things off the counter.
Perhaps they didn’t respond when you asked them to do something even though they’ve been doing so well with it up until now.
Maybe it seems like they’re starting to get their own ideas and don’t think yours are quite as cool as they did when they were a bit younger.
The bad news: Canine adolescence typically starts around six months of age, so you may be seeing some of the changes this stage brings with your five-month-old.
The good news: It’s totally normal and it won’t last forever!
Just like humans, puppies become teenagers as they undergo the process of growing up into an adult.
These changes are physical, behavioral, and social, but every pup is unique so it’s impossible to say exactly when you’ll start noticing them or how long adolescence will last for your specific puppy.
Whether you’re on cloud nine with your perfect angel five-month-old, or you’re starting to wonder if aliens abducted your sweet puppy and replaced them with a naughty lookalike, just know that it’s all normal.
Like every other age, your puppy needs patient guidance and support, consistent management to set them up for success, and positive training to educate them on how to behave.
Physical Changes In Your 5-Month-Old Golden
Your little fluff ball is now a gangly creature that’s mostly legs, and their adult coat is growing in.
You might even notice their color change a bit as they lose that puppy coat.
Plus, they might look like a kindergartener with some of their teeth missing!
(More on teething later.)
Socializing Your 5-Month-Old Golden
The critical window for socialization closes around 4 months of age, but it’s still a good idea to keep getting your puppy out and about.
Continue giving them positive experiences with the things, environments, and situations that they will be in as an adult dog.
Most Goldens tend to be highly social, and need help learning that not every person and dog is their next best friend.
5-Month-Old Golden Retriever’s Energy & Exercise
As they are now nearing the end of the puppy stage, you’ll likely see an increase in energy.
When puppies are young, they don’t have much endurance and tend to tire out quickly.
At five months, your pup might need more exercise before they feel satisfied, so don’t be surprised if they need more playtime and games before they are ready for a nap.
Five-month-old puppies are the canine equivalent of tweens – in between the puppy and teenager phases – so you’ll likely see a mix of puppy and teen behavior at this age.
(More about exercising your pup later.)
- Click here to download the potty training cheat sheet to make potty training faster & easier!
Five-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppy Size
Most five-month-old Goldens will weigh between 25 and 50 pounds.
Each puppy is unique though, so there might be some that are above or below that range.
The most important thing is that your puppy is a healthy weight for their size.
A more petite Golden might weigh less and be perfectly healthy, just like a tall and heavy-boned Golden might weigh more but still be at an appropriate weight.
Always consult your vet to make sure your puppy is developing properly.
Because joint issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia are common within this breed, it’s a good idea to keep your puppy lean and not chunky, as excess weight can put unnecessary stress on their joints.
How Much Sleep Do Five-Month-Old Golden Retrievers Need?
Even though your puppy is getting bigger, they still need lots of sleep.
Adequate sleep is so important to ensuring that your puppy is physically and behaviorally healthy.
It’s recommended that five-month-old puppies get about 18 hours of sleep and rest per day.
This means that they don’t actually have to be asleep for 18 hours, but that they do need some quiet downtime between more active parts of the day even if they’re not zonked out cold.
Puppies can sometimes seem like energizer bunnies and it can be tempting to try to wear them out to the point of exhaustion, but too much excitement and activity can actually push them over the edge where they’re barking, biting and zooming around.
It can seem like they’re out of control, and well, they kind of are!
Overly tired puppies can act like unhinged hooligans who are really unpleasant to be around.
And it can be a bit of a challenge to bring them back down to a calmer mental state once they’re pushed into that overly tired place.
It’s best to avoid putting your puppy in that situation in the first place and help them settle down for a nap before things get out of hand.
If your pup has been up for a couple of hours, it’s probably time for some rest.
Crates and gates can help ensure that your puppy is getting enough uninterrupted sleep, as Goldens typically love to involve themselves in whatever you’re doing.
If your pup is curled up under the coffee table asleep, and you get up to grab something from the garage, they might jump up to follow you, and then they’re not getting the best quality of sleep.
Helping them stay asleep by confining them in a quiet location is a good idea.
You might find that giving your puppy something to chew, such as a frozen kong or toppl, can help transition them from awake to asleep, as chewing and licking are naturally soothing behaviors for dogs.
Also, keep in mind the environment you’ve set up for your pup to sleep in.
Since it’s likely been a few months since they came home, the temperature might have changed with the season, and your puppy might need a cooler or warmer space in order to feel comfortable.
It’s not uncommon for a pup to seem restless, when they in fact just need more bedding, less bedding, a cooling pad, or maybe a space heater to be able to sleep comfortably.
Setting up a fan or white noise machine nearby can help drown out other sounds from around the house so your pup isn’t disturbed while napping.
What Kind of Exercise Do Five-Month-Old Golden Retrievers Need?
As mentioned previously, you likely will see an increase in energy around this time.
Your puppy has developed more stamina and won’t tire out so easily.
That leisurely stroll in the neighborhood that used to wipe your puppy out is now just putting a dent in their energy reserves.
One of the absolute best ways to exercise a five-month-old Golden Retriever is to hit a local trail or natural space with your puppy in a harness and 15 or 20-foot leash.
They were originally bred to hunt in the wilderness and this taps into the heart and soul of a Golden much more than a typical neighborhood walk on a 6-foot leash ever could.
They love being in nature, getting to sniff around and move their bodies with more freedom.
The longer leash gives them more space to explore, while still keeping them safe.
Letting your puppy enjoy time in nature in a relatively unstructured way will help them feel content, which means they’ll be better able to follow your house rules.
If you don’t have a nearby nature trail, perhaps you could hit up a business park on a weekend when no one is around, or even shopping mall parking lots are relatively empty these days.
While it’s not quite the same as a hiking trail, these types of places still have some landscaping where your pup can sniff and explore in an unstructured way.
If you have a yard, there are some fun ways you can utilize that space to offer your pup some exercise.
Most Goldens love playing with a flirt pole toy, where they can chase and grab the toy on the end of the bungee.
Because they are still growing and the growth plates in their bones have not yet closed, it’s important not to jerk the toy around at sharp angles that will put a lot of stress on their bones.
Keep it light and fun by dragging the flirt pole in a circle or gentle curves to protect their growing body.
Hide and seek can also be a super fun game to burn some of that puppy energy, while also making them use their brain to find their human.
One person can hold onto the pup, another person can hide, and then release them to go on a search and rescue mission.
Some pups are better at this than others, so the hidden person can also make some noise to help the puppy out.
Playing some of these games before you attempt a walk in your neighborhood can help set your five-month-old Golden up for more success on the leash.
Walking on a leash is actually pretty unnatural for dogs.
For one thing, their typical gait is usually a trot, which is faster than our walking gait.
Dogs also naturally zig-zag around and do not move in long straight lines, which is what we usually are asking them to do when walking in our neighborhoods.
Additionally, a dog’s primary sense is smell, which means they like to pause and read pee-mails frequently while on a walk, which can be annoying to the human on the other end of the leash.
Keep this in mind when you’re walking your puppy – this skill is hard for them!
Burning off some energy before you take them out on leash can help them walk without pulling or tying you up in the leash.
All exercise should be at the puppy’s pace.
While your five-month-old Golden is more energetic than when you first got them, they still don’t have the stamina of an adult dog, and so all exercise should be guided by the puppy.
If they need a break, let them take one.
- If you’re getting a puppy, grab the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook here!
Training a Five-Month-Old Golden Retriever
Puppies do not come pre-programmed with all the skills and knowledge they need to live alongside humans peacefully.
This is why training is so important!
Training is an ongoing process, but so worth the commitment.
You cannot expect to have a well-mannered, pleasant pup if you don’t invest time into their education.
The great thing is that training is super fun and an amazing way to build a positive bond with your puppy.
Golden Retrievers thrive with positive reinforcement training, so it’s best to avoid methods that are based on punishment, fear, or coercion.
As you raise your puppy, there are two principles to keep in mind:
1 – Reward behavior you want to see more of.
2 – Prevent behavior you’re not a fan of.
What gets rewarded gets repeated, so keep your eyes open for all the good behavior your puppy does and reinforce them for it!
Keeping treats easily accessible in little ramekins around the house makes it easier for you to reward your pup when they make good choices.
Puppy kept their feet on the ground while you were carrying plates full of human food to the table?
Give your puppy a treat!
Puppy laid calmly as the cat sauntered by?
Give your puppy a treat!
The simple act of rewarding behavior you like can go a long way to build good behavior that develops into lifelong habits.
On the flipside, your puppy will likely make some poor choices if you let them.
Rather than reacting once they’ve done the naughty thing, set up the environment so they can’t practice the unwanted behavior.
If your puppy is going to jump on guests, as Golden Retrievers are prone to doing, put them in their crate or behind a baby gate while you answer the door so they can’t rehearse jumping.
If your puppy is going to bowl over your kid’s friends while they’re playing in the yard, keep them inside with a bully stick to chew.
Thinking proactively helps your puppy be successful and prevents them from developing frustrating habits.
Then work on training skills your puppy needs to handle those exciting situations, such as keeping feet on the ground while greeting guests and settling on a mat while you watch the kids play outside.
Continue to give your puppy plenty of opportunities to potty outside.
Don’t rely on your puppy to tell you when they need to go outside for a potty break, as at five months, they’re just not trustworthy yet.
It’s better to offer them a potty break when you suspect they need to relieve themselves than to wait for them to tell you and then have an accident.
You should also keep working on your puppy’s home alone skills so that they learn how to be by themselves without stress.
Separation anxiety is not uncommon for Golden Retrievers, so it’s important to help them build the skills they need to be alone comfortably.
It’s best to take a gradual approach with this, slowly extending the length of time that they’re home alone.
In addition, you can also work on:
- Loose leash walking, especially around distractions
- Relaxing on a mat
- Polite greetings, both dogs and humans
- Sit, down and stay
- Drop it
Keep training sessions short so that your puppy doesn’t get mentally fatigued.
If things aren’t going well, it’s totally okay to just end the session.
There’s an idea out there that you should always end on a good repetition when training, but if things are going south, it’s fine to just call it.
Give your puppy some love, tell them they’re the cutest puppy ever, and then evaluate what was going wrong.
Was the environment too distracting?
Was the puppy tired?
Do you need to split things down into simpler pieces so your puppy isn’t confused?
Try to answer those questions, then try again later.
Remember that training is a journey, so try to enjoy the process as you teach your companion what they need to know to thrive in the modern world.
How Much Should a Five-Month-Old Golden Retriever Eat?
Most four-month-old Golden Retrievers eat about three to five cups of food a day.
The exact amount will depend on your specific puppy and what you’re feeding them.
As your puppy grows, you may notice that they get “hangry”, so an increase in the amount of food might be in order.
Ask your vet if you’re uncertain about how much your puppy should be eating in a day.
What goes in, must come out, and it’s a good idea to pay attention to your puppy’s poop.
If you notice that your pup’s stool is chronically soft, they may need a different food.
Sometimes Golden Retrievers can have food sensitivities, so monitoring their poop can give you some information on whether or not your puppy’s diet needs a tweak.
Again, consult your vet if you feel like your puppy might need to switch foods.
How to Deal with Chewing in Five-Month-Old Golden Retrievers
At five months, your puppy is likely smack dab in the middle of the teething phase.
This can be painful and irritating for your puppy, which causes them to seek out things to chew and bite.
Unfortunately, those things often include your limbs, furniture, rugs, shoes, and children’s toys.
Try to remember that they’re not trying to hurt you or ruin your favorite pair of shoes, they’re simply doing what they need to do to seek relief while teething.
Keep calm and provide your pup with lots of things to chew and bite.
Seriously, do not skimp on the chewing options — Goldens were literally bred to use their mouths.
It can help to just keep toys and bones out on the floor at all times so you can conveniently redirect your puppy to something more appropriate if they decide that your jeans need some holes or that your coffee table really should have rounded edges instead of square ones.
A lot of Goldens love carrying around really big stuffed toys and this stuffed hedgehog is a crowd favorite among Golden Retriever pups.
For pups that love crunching on crinkly water bottles, this rubber toy can also be a fun way to make them last longer.
Bully sticks and yak chews are long-lasting options that most puppies find very enticing.
Frozen stuffed kongs are also great outlets for your land shark.
Additionally, try to keep your own belongings put away or up high so that your puppy only makes appropriate chewing decisions.
This might also mean moving house plants to a closed-off room, or using pens or gates to protect stuff you don’t want damaged by your puppy’s piranha teeth.
A five-month-old teething puppy cannot be trusted to be loose in the house without supervision.
If you can’t be actively monitoring your puppy, find a way to safely contain them, such as a pen, crate, gated off area, or a tether.
Teething won’t last forever, but it’s worth taking some precautions while your puppy is in this stage.
Consistency is Key
Real talk: puppies are a lot of work!
Even though you love them with your whole heart, and they’re so dang cute, they’re still kind of exhausting — both physically and mentally.
Keep on keeping on, and you’ll be rewarded with an amazing adult dog who is an awesome sidekick to life’s adventures.
Being consistent with your routine and training will help your puppy understand how things work and how to act in all the various situations they find themselves in.
And don’t forget to have fun!
Showing your puppy you know how to have fun helps them trust you even more.
Have any questions about five-month-old Golden Retrievers?
Let us know down in the comments!
Read the rest of our Golden Retriever puppy series here:
- 6-Week-Old Golden Retriever Puppies
- 8-Week-Old Golden Retriever Puppies
- 3-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppies
- 4-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppies
- 6-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppies
- 8-Month-Old Golden Retriever Puppies
And if you’re about to bring home a Golden Retriever puppy, check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!
- 5 Best Vacuums For Golden Retriever Hair
- How To Groom Your Golden Retriever (Step By Step)
- The Complete Guide To Raising A Golden Retriever 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.