There are multiple reasons why people love Golden Retrievers. Among them is their happy-go-lucky nature. These friendly animals are suitable for both the working and family environments because they are balls of energy. Before adopting a golden retriever, you need to consider a few factors to confirm that the dog is suitable for your lifestyle.
One of the most common questions from prospective Golden Retriever owners is, do Golden Retrievers need a lot of exercise? The answer is yes; Golden Retrievers need regular exercise to remain in tip-top condition. Read on to understand why this breed needs frequent exercise and some of the exercises that can keep your pet healthy.
Why do Golden Retrievers need frequent exercise?
Golden Retrievers are high-energy dogs with a lot of stamina. People in the Scottish highlands bred these cute canines to retrieve the small animals they shot during hunting. Not only was the breed active on dry land, but they could swim very well, making them versatile for different tasks.
Owing to their stamina, Golden Retrievers need regular exercise to release the pent-up energy. If they go without it, they direct this energy into destructive habits that usually end up costing you some money or peace.
Golden Retrievers are also susceptible to obesity because they have a large appetite. They are medium-large-sized dogs; therefore, they need a lot of food to maintain their metabolism. They can easily pack on the pounds when idle. Excessive weight comes with various problems, such as heart disease, damage to the limb joints, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
How much exercise?
Every dog requires a good diet and exercise to keep healthy, but different breeds have varied exercise needs. The amount of exercise Golden Retrievers require depends on the dog’s age and overall health.
Puppies generally operate under the ‘5-minute’ daily exercise guideline for each month of their lives. A five-month-old puppy, for instance, needs 25 minutes’ exercise daily. However, puppies do not need too much exercise because they play a lot; hence, it is easy to dispel their excess energies. Furthermore, excessive vigorous exercise can cause damage to their developing joints and bones.
Adult Golden Retrievers have more energy and can withstand extended periods of exercise. It is essential to give adult dogs, especially family pets, at least an hour of exercise daily to keep them well-behaved. You can split the hour into two exercise sessions at different times of the day to match your daily schedule.
Elderly dogs suffer from different illnesses; therefore, it is not good to put them through rigorous exercise. If your dog has arthritis or other joint conditions, consult your vet for a suitable exercise regimen to avoid exacerbating the situation. While Golden Retrievers love to please, don’t push them too much in their old age even if they seem fit—it may prove disastrous.
Ideal exercises for Golden Retrievers
Now that we have tackled the question, do Golden Retrievers need a lot of exercise? What would be the suitable exercises for this breed? There is no need to pay for a dog gym; the simple ideas below can do just fine:
1. Walking daily
Taking your Golden Retriever for a walk is free, and you can get some fresh air too. The open space, new sights, and sounds can help stimulate the dog’s mind and offer relaxation. These daily walks prevent energy build-up, thus presenting a well-behaved animal throughout the week.
The walk does not have to be fast-paced for sick dogs; you can slow down to allow your canine to keep up. A healthy Golden retriever can handle some pace, so you can choose to jog or trot briskly.
If your schedule is too hectic, entrust this job to a family member or the neighborhood dog walker. Most dog walkers don’t charge much; at the end of the day, your dog will be healthy and well-behaved, despite your busy schedule.
Golden Retrievers have a water-repellent outer coat, so it is easy for them to swim and remain unaffected by the water temperature. Swimming is an excellent exercise for promoting strong muscles and healthy joints. Since these pups are natural swimmers, you can incorporate some water toys or play “fetch.” Swimming is also convenient for elderly or recuperating dogs because it has a low impact and is less strenuous compared to exercise on hard ground.
3. Introduce toys
Dogs love their toys, and the marketplace offers a wide variety. Buy your golden retriever toys that they can nibble, tug at or kick around. These toys come in handy, especially on days where the weather forces everyone to be indoors. In cooperation with treats, you can use toys to play games with the dog and keep them active indoors. It is even easier if you have young children because they can play together.
Identifying a Golden Retriever in need of more exercise
Symptoms of a Golden Retriever that needs regular exercise include restlessness at night, excessive whining or barking, destroying property, hyperactivity, and jumping on people. The dogs might even become aggressive towards strangers and other animals, thus needing retraining. To avoid the cost of retraining, it is best to ensure your Golden Retriever gets the exercise they need.
Golden Retriever exercise limits
Pet owners should understand their canine’s exercise limits so that they don’t end up causing harm to the dog. An over-exercised Golden Retriever will have sore muscles, joint injuries, or they may develop fractures on their growth plates. Growth plates are soft spots of developing cartilage tissue on the end of long bones in dogs that normally calcify into a denser bone as the dog grows.
These growth plates are susceptible to injury. Experts recommend following the 5-minute exercise rule for puppies until they turn a year old. Once the puppies transition into adults and the growth plates turn to hard bone, you can increase the exercise intensity.
An injured growth plate is hard to miss because the dog will possess a stiff or swollen limb and have difficulties walking. Some dogs will lose appetite, get depressed, or present abnormal bone formation. If you notice that the puppy is injured, visit the vet for treatment to prevent further damage.
Exercise safety tips
Because Growth plates harden by the time the dog turns a year old, it is essential to limit Frisbee or jogging activities on hard surfaces. Growth plates develop primarily between 4-8months, so you should avoid any vigorous exercise for puppies. Even expert trainers do not carry out intense agility classes or let puppies compete until they hit the one-year mark.
Forcing your dog to withstand intense exercise activity may result in deformed bones, or the bones may stop growing altogether. As a dog owner, I am sure you wouldn’t want to see your pet go through that kind of pain.
When taking your young Golden Retriever for a walk, avoid areas with sharp or rocky surfaces to reduce the wear and tear to the animal’s paws. If you notice that your dog is tired, take short breaks between exercises to give room for recovery. Avoid walking the dog when it is too hot as they risk dehydration and overexertion.
When most people ask, do Golden Retrievers need a lot of exercise? They may expect the breed to be ridiculously high maintenance and hard to keep, but Golden Retrievers are pretty manageable. If their maintenance were too high, the world would not love this breed as much. They do shed a lot, but apart from that, Golden Retrievers are generally friendly dogs with a good disposition.
With healthy food, a clean environment, and regular exercise, they may not give you much trouble, if any. If your Golden Retriever is acting out due to less exercise, consult with a trainer the fastest way to redirect the dog’s energy to avoid irreparable behavior issues.