11 Best Games To Play With A Golden Retriever (Very Fun!)

Playing with your dog helps keep him active, entertained, and out of trouble, especially when your dog is a Golden Retriever. Playtime is a perfect opportunity for you and your dog to bond. Luckily, there are several fun games that you can play with a Golden Retriever!

Some of the best games to play with a Golden Retriever are Hide and Seek, and Tug of War. Other ideal games that Golden Retrievers enjoy include Fetch, Cleanup, Stairway Dash, and various water games. Consider your dog’s age and individual preferences when choosing which games to play.

As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to keep your pet active and entertained. Learning some of a Golden Retrievers favorite games will create many memorable moments for you and your furry friend. Read on and learn more about the games that Golden Retrievers like to play!

Young children playing games with a golden retriever.

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Unlock your goldens natural intelligence and see just how quickly problem behaviors disappear.This is the best at home dog training I've ever used!

Golden Retriever Hide and Seek

Hide-and-Seek is a great game that you can play with your Golden Retriever both indoors and outside. There are two ways to play this game. One way is where you hide, and your dog looks for you. Once they find you, make sure you praise and encourage them to do it again. Another way is to hide treats in interesting places and ask your dog to look for them.

Since Golden Retrievers love treats, and they will work hard to ensure that they get them. The challenge of looking for the treats uses up some of the dogs excess energy, gives them a chance to exercise their body, and provides the mental stimulation a Golden needs.

You can also play a version of hide and seek where you hide a dog treat in a puzzle toy like this one by Outward Hound on Amazon. Your Golden Retriever has to figure out how to get to the treat. This interactive toy works great for meal time as well, as your pup will have a blast “hunting” for his food!

Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Dog Brick Interactive Treat Puzzle Dog Toy, Intermediate

Play Hide and Seek with a puzzle toy that dispenses treats.

Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!

Note: Play Hide and Seek with treats in moderation since giving them too many extra treats will end up causing more harm than good. You can also try playing hide and seek with your dogs favorite toy instead.

Tug of War (Golden Retriever Style)

Tug of War is a favorite game for many dogs, and Golden Retrievers are no exception! The game is fun, helps keep your dog active, and is a good way to teach them manners. When playing this game, ensure that you get a rope designed for the dog’s teeth. This is a rope made of special material that will not hurt their teeth or have any harmful chemicals. Try the Mammoth Tug Rope found on Amazon. It’s safe, non-toxic, and even helps clean your dog’s teeth while he’s playing.

When playing tug of war, always remember that the game ends when the dog touches your hand with his mouth, so you should teach them this rule from the beginning. This helps ensure that the game remains safe since some dogs can get carried away when playing tug of war.

Alternatively, a safer (and very fun to watch way) to play tug of war with your pooch is to set up a bungee out in the yard where your Golden Retriever can play the game all by himself. The Outdoor Dog Bungee Toy (Amazon) makes this game extra fun for your dog, and you won’t even have to get your arm pulled out of its socket!

Watch how excited these two Goldens are to play with their new tug of war bungee.

Water Games (Golden Retrievers Love The Water!)

Like humans, dogs enjoy spending time in the water, especially on a hot afternoon. If your Golden Retriever does not know how to swim, you’ll need to learn how to teach them. If you’re a visual learner, here’s a YouTube video that explains what you need to do:

Goldens love to swim but even they may need some instruction the first time or two.

When teaching, use a doggy life jacket (Amazon) for safety. After your dog has learned how to swim, you can then have fun playing other Water Games, such as dock diving or swim racing.

You can also bring along some of their toys and play a game of fetch in the water. Playing in water is not only entertaining and great exercise for your dog, it’s also a wonderful opportunity for bonding.

Fetch (A Golden Retrievers All-Time Favorite)

If you have lived with a Golden Retriever for any length of time, you must have realized that Fetch is one of their favorite all-time games! You can play this game both indoors and outdoors. When playing indoors, it’s essential to make sure that you use toys that do not bounce, as these bouncing toys may break various household items.

Also ensure that your Golden Retriever is running on a carpet. Otherwise, they are at risk of slipping and hurting themselves when running to get the toy, especially if the floor is slippery.

For an outdoor game of fetch, the bouncier the dog toy the better. While a tennis ball will work great, try using the Jolly Ball from Jolly Pets (Amazon). A Jolly Ball is a ball and a rope combined. It’s perfect for bouncing, tugging, throwing, and retrieving.

Jolly Pets Romp-n-Roll Rope and Ball Dog Toy, 6 Inches/Medium, Blueberry, Model Number: 606 BB

Or if your dog prefers a more unpredictable bounce, you’ll want to check out the Titan Busy Bounce (Amazon). This is a durable rubber toy that really bounces! The inside is hollow so it can be filled with peanut butter or dog treats for an added surprise.

Clean Up (Teaching Your Golden to Clean Up)

As its name suggests, Cleanup is where your dog will collect the toys that have scattered on the floor while you were playing. Imagine that! Your Golden Retriever will actually think it’s a fun game cleaning up his mess!

Show your dog where they should put the toys they have retrieved by teaching them to respond to phrases such as “cleanup”. Though this may take time for them to get, Golden Retrievers are smart and will eventually be in a position to pickup and put away anything you ask him to.

Pretty cool! There aren’t many games that end up with the room being cleaner than when you started playing!

DIY Agility (Golden Retriever Agility Games)

You can enjoy the Agility Game with your dog even if you don’t have your own agility course in your backyard (Amazon). You can improvise with items such as blankets, old furniture, or wrapping paper tubs, creating your own obstacle course. Use treats to lead your dog through it. This is a fun and an ideal exercise for your dog, especially if you are trying to help them lose weight.

Here is a YouTube video to guide you on how to play some agility games:

How to play games with agility training. Is it a sport or a game?

Stairway Dash (A Golden Retriever and Stairs is All You Need)

If you have a stairway in your house, this is a perfect place where you can play with your dog. Running up and down the stairs is exciting, especially if there is a treat at the stairway’s end. To ensure safety in the game, make your Golden Retriever sits downstairs while you throw the treat onto the top landing.

You can also make the game more interesting by coming up with a catchy phrase such as “GO!” Have several treats that will keep the dog running for a while, thus exercising them. When your dog is coming downstairs, encourage them to run slowly to reduce the risk of injuries. 

Under, Over, and Through (Golden Retriever Obstacle Course)

Teaching your dog to go under, over, and through objects is not only a good brain game, it is also good exercise for them. Use an item such as a chair and teach them to crawl under the legs of the chair as a response to the command you give them. To ensure that they understand what is expected of them, as well as to make it easier for them to learn, show them how it’s done so that they can observe and follow you.

You are also likely to bond better with your dog when they see you joining them. When they do as you expected them to, don’t forget to praise them or give them treats. You can set up all sorts of obstacles to climb over, go around, and crawl under using items in your home.

This Golden isn’t sure what to make of this indoor obstacle course.

Cardio Twist (Golden Retriever Slalom Game)

This game is often played in dog competitions, but you can play it at home as well. Set up poles using household items such as chairs or stools and have your dog weave between them. If you have other people in the game, they can also serve as poles.

Weave between the poles and instruct your dog to follow you at your pace. Change your pace from fast to slow from time to time. Cardio twist is not only a great workout for you and your dog but it also helps them learn coordination.

Golden Retriever slalom. You can also use pillows, chairs, people, anything really.

Play “Follow Your Nose” With Your Golden Retriever

This is another type of dog puzzle game, and it’s gentle enough to play with a young puppy or an older adult dog. Since dogs have a powerful sense of smell, you can make a game out of it. The follow your nose game is similar to hide-and-seek. You play it by hiding something yummy and smelly in a scent bag and instruct your Golden Retriever to look for it.

Avoid hiding the bag in an obvious place. Hide it somewhere where your dog will have to put in the effort to get it, so as to challenge and stimulate them. This dog game is best played outdoors since there are many hiding spots, including underground.

Bubble Chaser (Golden Retrievers Love This Game)

Pick up a pack of kids blowing bubbles, or better yet a bubble blaster like this one on Amazon. Golden Retrievers, young and old, love to chase bubbles out in the yard. You and your dog can have hours of fun with this one without requiring much effort on your part. An old dog will enjoy this game as much as a young dog will!

This Golden Retriever loves her bubbles!


It is impossible to exhaust the list of games to play with your Golden Retriever. But whenever you have a chance, entertain and bond with them by joining them in the games listed above. And remember that safety comes first, so always ensure that your playing area is safe to avoid any risk of injuries for you and your Golden Retriever.


Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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