Want to know how much exercise your golden retriever needs?
This is an incredibly important question because getting your golden retriever enough exercise could be the difference between having a wonderful companion or an unmanageable house-destroyer.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How much exercise adult golden retrievers need
- How much exercise golden retriever puppies need
- What happens if your golden retriever doesn’t get enough exercise (yikes!)
- And much more
Keep reading to learn how much exercise you should give your golden.
How Much Exercise Does Your Adult Golden Retriever Need?
Since they were bred to hunt in the fields and marshes for hours at a time, golden retrievers are high energy dogs that need about an hour of hard exercise each day.
If they don’t get enough exercise, they may become destructive and hard to manage.
Younger adults might need more than an hour, and older adults might need less than an hour.
Of course, it also depends on the individual dog and the type of exercise.
Some goldens naturally have more energy than others, so they would need more exercise than others.
And an hour of fetch is not equal to an hour of leisurely walking through the neighborhood.
Sample Golden Retriever Exercise Schedule
Our golden retriever, Oliver, is definitely one of those goldens that naturally has a ton of energy.
In fact, as I’m writing this, we just got in from playing fetch in the backyard and after laying down for five minutes, he’s now sitting next to me, looking up at me, hoping to play again.
So how much exericse does Oliver get?
Here’s an example of his day:
6 am: 15 minute walk
11 am: 15 minute walk
11:15 am: 15 minute training/play session
5 pm: 20 minute play session
5:30 pm: 20 minute walk/training session
8 pm: 15 minute walk
8:15 pm: 10-20 minute play session (usually fetch or tug in the house)
At a year and a half old, Oliver is in his “teenage” phase, so he’s got tons of energy.
This averages out to about two hours of physical activity per day, but if he doesn’t get enough, he’s sure to let us know.
Your golden’s exercise needs might be different than Oliver’s, so don’t take this schedule as a hard rule that every golden needs to follow.
And if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the amount of exercise your golden needs, don’t worry.
They slow down when they’re about two to four years old and need much less exercise than in their wild puppy years.
How Much Exercise Do Golden Retriever Puppies Need?
Golden retriever puppies need about 5 minutes of exercise per day per their age in months, twice a day.
So a two-month-old golden would need about 10 minutes of exercise twice a day.
But this is a very general rule.
Is your puppy going crazy, nipping everyone, and having zoomies around the apartment?
Then they probably need more exercise!
If you’re trying to exercise with them at the park and they’re laying down in the middle of the grass, then maybe you need to scale it back.
How Much Exercise Is Too Much For Your Golden Retriever Puppy?
Have you ever been around a toddler that’s overdue for their nap?
When kids (and adults, for that matter) get overtired, they get cranky, and it’s the same thing with puppies.
So young puppies require shorter, more frequent play sessions, with lots of naps in between.
As puppies get older, they can play for longer durations, and require less nap time during the day.
With golden retrievers, since they’re larger dogs, you also want to be careful of their growing joints, especially their hips and elbows.
Be sure to talk to your vet about appropriate types and duration of exercise for them.
What Happens If Your Golden Retriever Doesn’t Get Enough Exercise
Whenever Oliver doesn’t get enough exercise, he lets us know by standing by his toy bin and staring at us, or sitting in front of us panting when we’re trying to relax.
Then, as we get up to go somewhere, he usually thinks we’re getting up to go play fetch with him, so he’ll run in circles or leap up in the air.
So if your golden isn’t getting enough exercise, they will let you know!
Here are some other signs that your golden has extra energy:
- Biting more than normal (especially puppies)
- Running around the house or having zoomies
- Destructively chewing things like shoes or furniture
- Barking at you
You probably noticed that all of the things above are unwanted behaviors.
“Cuddle with mom” or, “take a nap and look cute” aren’t on this list, which supports the old saying that “a tired dog is a good dog.”
So if you want your golden to stop doing some of the bad behaviors above, then exercise them!
In addition to unwanted behaviors, golden retrievers are very prone to obesity, which is another potential problem if you don’t exercise them enough.
This can lead to heart problems, joint problems, and other potential health problems.
So if you don’t want your golden to become overweight and suffer through potential health problems, exercise them!
Which leads us into the next section…
13 Ways To Exercise Your Golden Retriever
Now that you have a good idea of how much exercise your golden retriever needs, and what happens if they don’t get enough exercise, here are 13 ways to exercise your golden.
But before we dive into this list, know that exercising your golden isn’t just about physically getting them tired.
Since they’re such smart dogs, mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise.
These following suggestions for exercising your pup will cover both mental and physical exercises.
1. Play fetch with your golden
Don’t forget that golden retrievers are retrievers, and most of them love to chase around a tennis ball or a frisbee.
2. Play tug with your golden
Another good game to play with your pup is tug.
3. Play chase
This is a great game to play, especially with puppies, since most puppies love nothing more than to chase or be chased.
I would definitely advise you being the one who’s being chased more, as it will get your dog used to running towards you, which will help when you teach them to come to you.
4. Get your dog hooked on chew toys
Teaching your dog to love to chew on chew toys is one of the best things you can do for your puppy.
Chewing releases feel-good endorphins and channels their chewing energy into an appropriate toy, instead of something in appropriate, like your household items.
It can also help them relax, and put overtired puppies to sleep.
See Oliver’s favorite chew toys here.
5. Play with a flirt pole
6. Give your golden puzzle toys
Puzzle toys are some of my favorite ways to get out Oliver’s endless energy.
Oliver loves it, plus it takes a ton of mental energy to figure out how to get all of his kibble out of it.
Since Oliver has so much energy, we don’t feed him from a bowl, but instead put his food in a puzzle toy and make him earn it.
This is a win-win since he loves the puzzle toys and it takes more energy to work for his food than to just gobble it up from a food bowl.
7. Take your golden for walks
Of course, walks aren’t exactly intense, but letting your golden sniff their heart out on a walk will definitely help use up some of their physical and mental energy.
8. Train your golden
When you train your golden retriever, you’re mentally challenging them.
They’re trying to figure out what you’re asking them to do, trying to please you, and trying to earn a treat, so their brains are working extra hard.
9. Play hide and seek
This is a great game that combines training and a little bit of exercise, but it does require that your golden knows how to stay.
To play hide and seek I’ll ask Oliver to sit and stay, then I’ll go to another room and call his name.
He loves finding me, and it’s a great game to practice recall.
10. Take your golden retriever swimming
Swimming will definitely wear your golden out, and it’s great on their joints because there’s no impact.
Just be sure to fully dry them off because goldens are susceptible to hot spots.
11. Take your golden to doggy daycare
After a day of daycare, Oliver is usually wiped out for the night, as well as half of the next day.
He loves it there and one of the workers told me he even has a girlfriend named Grace, who’s an English Cream golden retriever.
12. Set up a doggy playdate
If you have any friends that have nice dogs, or if you meet anyone in a local Facebook group, try to set up a doggy playdate.
Your golden will love it!
This is especially good for young puppies, since they need to be socialized with other dogs and you can make sure the other dog is up to date on their vaccines.
13. Take your golden to the dog park
Taking your pup to the dog park is another way to get your dog lots of exercise, but just make sure it’s a nice dog park.
We’ve had some bad experiences at dog parks, and I’ve heard some horror stories, so we actually don’t go to dog parks unless it’s for a golden retriever meetup, or the park is empty and we want to run around with Oliver ourselves.
Since golden retrievers were bred to hunt out in the fields and marshes all day, they need a lot of exercise.
The exact amount of exercise will depend on how old your golden is, how much energy they naturally have, and what type of exercise they’re doing, but shoot for about an hour per day.
How much exercise does your golden need per day?
Have any questions about exercising your golden retriever?
Let me know in the comments below.
And if you know someone who’s about to get a golden retriever, please share this with them!
P.S. If you liked this article, you’ll love our guide to training your golden retriever puppy.