How Much Exercise Does A Golden Retriever Need?

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Written by Teresa Eckert

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How much Exercise does a golden retriever need?

Golden retrievers love physical activity. Exercise is the key to a golden retriever's health. Golden retrievers are a sporting breed, which means they are typically highly active dogs and will require a fair amount of exercise.

The exact amount of exercise your golden retriever will need depends on a couple of things. It will depend mostly on their age but as they get older you will need to look at additional factors like their weight and overall health.

One way to make sure you have a well behaved dog in the house is to ensure they are getting enough exercise during the day. If you are exercising your golden and they are still rambunctious, you may need to increase their daily exercise.

  • Puppy - A general rule of thumb is no more than 5 minutes of exercise for each month your puppy has been alive. A 4 month old puppy needs 20 minutes of exercise and 7 month old puppy needs about 35 minutes of exercise. Exercise should be structured and should be in addition to general play.                                                               
  • Adult - A healthy adult golden will need about an hour of exercise a day.  This may be increased if your dog is a very active dog. If your adult golden has health issues, you will need to find acceptable exercises that they can do. Your vet will be able to help figure out what exercises your pooch can do if they are restricted.                                                                                                                          
  • Senior - A senior golden will require daily exercise just like an adult golden. However, a senior golden may be restricted to the type of exercise that they can do. A senior with hip dysplasia, respiratory or heart issue should not be taken on long hard runs.They may be limited to shorter walks. Any exercise is good for them.

Activities to do with your Golden retriever

Walking or Running

If you love running or walking, a golden retriever would love to do that with you. 


Golden retrievers have no problems keeping up with human runners. Just 1 or 2 hours of walking your golden retriever is great for their health. 

Looking to spice up your walking or running routine with your dog? Here are some ways to add some new fun and unpredictability your walk or run. 


  1. Try unpredictable walking by varying your speed and quickly changing the direction you are going. 
  2. Take a new route. A new environment is a fun way to add new sights and smells for your dog. 
  3. Walk your trained golden retriever off their leash in a safe area. This requires your golden to have self discipline and training to make this work.  
  4. If it is too cold outside to go for a walk, try walking your golden on a treadmill. 

Training


Training exercises on and off their leash are a great way to exercise your golden. This also has the added benefit of getting your pup more solid on basic commands!


  1. Teaching your golden to fetch is a good exercise. They will run off some energy while going to get their favorite toy.
  2. Agility training is another great way to exercise your dog. Besides exercising their body, it will also exercise their their mind. 
  3.  Dock diving training is good exercise as well. They will also be able to cool off on a hot day doing this training.  
  4. Teaching your dog new tricks is an alternative if you live in a place with no back yard. This will wear your dog out physically as well as mentally. 

Tug of war

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Tug of war is a perfect game for any day but especially for rainy days. It can be played inside or outside. Playing tug of war is a pretty easy game to play with your golden. Tug of war is played with a rope or durable tug toy. 


  1. Make sure that it won't hurt your dogs teeth.
  2. Make sure you keep your hands away from the side of the toy that your pooch has. They may mistakenly grab your hand instead of the toy. 
  3. Watch for aggression. If your dog becomes too aggressive while playing tug of war, you might want to stop playing for a while or find an alternative game to play with them. 
  4. Be sure to let your dog win the war sometimes. It's important to give them a win now and then so they don't become bored or frustrated.

Hiking

Want a change of pace from walking or running with your golden, try taking them for a hike. Taking a hike with your golden will give them a new environment with lots of new sights and smells. 


  1. Check to make sure the trail your are going to is dog friendly.
  2. Check to see if your dog needs to be leashed or not.
  3. Bring a bowl and plenty of water for your golden to drink as hiking is more strenuous than walking.
  4. Watch out for sharp rocks and poisonous plants such as poison ivy or oak.
  5. After your hike, check your golden for fleas and ticks. Give them a good brushing as well.

Swimming

Enter yo

Too hot outside to take your dog for a run or a walk, take them for a swim. Most golden retrievers are natural swimmers. They have the necessary double coat to keep them from getting cold and it helps the dry off quickly. 


  1. Remove their collar and leash. This will keep your golden from getting caught on anything (i.e. trees, rocks) that may be in the water. 
  2. If your golden isn't a confident swimmer, you can put a doggy life vest on them.
  3. Places to take your golden swimming: private pool, public pool when allowed, lake, or kiddie pool.
  4. If swimming in a lake or chlorinated pool, give your dog a bath when they are done swimming to remove any chlorine or dirt.

Hunting

Golden retrievers were bred for hunting. While hunting does come naturally, you will need to make sure you train your golden for hunting. Hunting will help build strong muscles in your golden. Your golden will love going out and retrieving your game.


  1. Keep your golden safe while hunting.
  2. Brush and bath your golden after each hunting trip. This is so you can check for fleas/ticks or burrs that may have gotten stuck in their coat. 
  3. Make sure your golden has access to water while hunting. Keep them hydrated especially when it is hot out.

Nose games

Nose games are a good way to exercise your golden's nose and brain. By hiding treats, either in toys or other places, gives your golden a chance to do what they were bred for. 

Getting them to use their nose will also give them a chance to build up their confidence. This can also be a way to keep your golden busy if you are not home. Some great examples of toys are Kongs, lick mats, and treat dispensing balls.


  1. Supervise your pooch when giving them a new toy.
  2. Make sure the treats are appropriate size for your golden. 
  3. When possible, give your golden healthy treats.
  4. Don't use too many treats as this may make them sick and could cause them to gain weight.

About the author

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Teresa Eckert

Teresa is a co-founder of Golden Retriever Love and is the fur-mom to Annie the Golden Retriever and Remi the Chocolate Lab. Teresa enjoys spoiling her pups and occasionally writing some great content for us on this blog!

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