Known for being exceptionally friendly and energetic, Golden Retrievers are the perfect pet! Incredibly active dogs, the best way to keep a golden happy and healthy is to take them on regular walks and outings. But how long should a Golden Retriever be walked?
A Golden Retriever should be walked at least 1 hour every day. 60 minutes of walking or exercise will burn off a lot of a Golden Retriever’s energy leaving him relaxed and happy. If easier for the dog owner, walks and exercise time for goldens can be broken up into two 30-minute sessions daily.
This, of course, is the recommended walking time for a healthy adult Golden Retriever. Puppies and senior dogs have different walking length requirements which we’ll discuss below. I’ll also cover the overall exercise and mental stimulation needs of golden retrievers, a few areas to avoid when walking, and some ways to tire out an overly energetic dog. Keep reading to find out more!
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Why Golden Retrievers Are Such High Energy Dogs
Golden Retrievers are such energetic dogs due to their breeding. Golden’s were bred to be hunting dogs. Their job was to retrieve downed waterfowl, such as ducks and upland game birds during outings with their owners. These hunting excursions could last hours or even days, and golden retrievers were created to be able to last out in the field for long periods of time.
These hunts included regular amounts of walking, running, climbing, and swimming. Even though most golden retrievers today are usually domesticated house dogs, they still have the genetic profile of a working dog and have been bred to be high-energy and very active.
If you’re going to own this breed, you’ll need to place “golden retriever exercise” at the top of your to-do list.
How Long You Should Walk Your Golden Retriever
Regular walking is crucial for the health of the golden retriever. A long walk helps a retriever to relax its energetic mind and take in all the sights, sounds and smells they experience along the way.
A golden retriever could literally walk all day long and cover dozens of miles. Fortunately for us, that much walking is not required. Ideally, a good walk for a golden can be 30 to 60 minutes in length. The daily walk with your golden retriever can be done all at once, or it can be done for shorter periods of time, multiple times a day.
The speed of the walk should be pretty fast. A brisk walk is necessary because golden retrievers are difficult to fully tire out. If you’re a runner, you’re in luck, because there is no better jogging partner than a golden retriever. Running with your golden, however, is not a requirement.
How Long to Walk A Golden Retriever Puppy
Golden Retriever puppies require daily walks as well, but you will want to reduce the duration and length, depending on their age.
Golden retriever puppies require short 10 to 15 minute walks or no more than about 5 minutes per month of age. As a golden retriever puppy grows you can add an extra few minutes each month to your regular walking routine. Doing so will guarantee your puppy grows into a strong and healthy dog.
Providing the proper amount of puppy exercise is also a great opportunity to introduce your young pup to other people and dogs. A regular shorter walk gives them a chance to become better socialized, which will make for a happier adult dog in the long run.
Walking a Senior Golden Retriever
For senior dogs, try walking approximately 30 to 45 minutes daily. As golden retrievers age, their bodies go through physical changes and begin to slow down. However, their joints need to remain mobile and their weight still needs to be monitored. So, they need to be walked, but not too much or it could be detrimental for their health and cause hip dysplasia. Your older dog will let you know if she’s had enough or is still raring to go!
Dogs love routine. Try to plan a walk at the same time each day. Consistent walking throughout the week is considered healthier than one long weekend stroll.
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!
What Kind Of Exercises Do Golden Retrievers Need?
Besides walking regularly, it is also important to have some high-intensity exercise and play to help exhaust your golden retriever and retain their muscle tone. Keeping the muscles toned and strong can protect a golden retriever’s joints and tendons, as well as avoiding damage to other parts of the body.
Golden Retrievers need three types of regular exercise to thrive and be happy.
1. Long walks – The longer the better (within reason).
2. Purposeful high-intensity activity and play – Activities such as playing fetch, swimming, or running off-leash.
3. Mental exercise – Mental stimulation is a form of exercise as well and is absolutely necessary for a healthy golden. Find out which toys golden retrievers love to keep them mentally stimulated in our article here.
The average adult Golden retriever needs at least 1 hour of exercise a day, ideally more. Their genetic bloodlines can also influence how much exercise a golden retriever requires. Golden retrievers coming from a working stock would need much more exercise than golden retrievers bred to be lap dogs.
Failure to provide ample physical exercise and mental stimulation to a golden retriever can contribute to loneliness and behavioral problems. This can include aggressive actions, digging, constant barking, and even running away to have their own fun.
Golden Retrievers are very food-driven breeds. Not exercising enough to burn off the calories they eat can eventually lead to them being overweight. Obesity can lead to extreme tension on the joints, possible injury to internal organs (for example, the heart), and diabetes.
Exercise is the pill that cures most golden retriever mental and behavioral issues, and a good long walk is at the top of the list.
Exercising Your Golden Retriever Off-Leash & Other Ways To Wear Them Out
If a golden retriever has a strong recall and returns quickly when you call them, wandering off the leash at the dog park is a perfect way to wear out your golden. Generally, golden retrievers are obedient and typically have a strong recall if they are trained correctly. Proper dog training is the key to being able to successfully let your golden run off-leash.
Alternatively, you can use a retractable dog leash to allow more flexibility while still retaining control during walks. For a golden retriever, you’ll need to make sure you have a strong retractable leash like the Tug 360 Heavy Duty Leash (Amazon). A leash like this will give your golden plenty of room to run and explore, while staying in your control.
If you have a golden retriever you just can’t seem to wear out, you can try adding some resistance to the walk by using a weighted jacket or dog harness like this one on Amazon. To be safe, make sure the added weight is no more than 10 percent of their total body weight. Doing this is more than enough to fatigue a dog with endless energy, and it will help to strengthen their muscles without overworking them.
Another option to increase resistance and wear your dog out (and you too!) is by walking on sand or adding an uphill route on the walk. Choosing a walking route with some challenges will increase the amount of exercise your dog gets from an outing.
What To Avoid When Walking Your Golden Retriever
Golden retrievers paws and joints are prone to injuries, so you’ll want to either avoid walking them in certain environments or take precautions. Try to avoid walking/running them regularly on cement or pavement. Hard surfaces such as these can be jarring on both the joints and paws.
Instead, walk your retriever on a lush lawn or playground. Many major cities have dog walking areas or dog parks that are deemed safe. Walking on soft grass is the best option for exercise because it is gentle on a retriever’s paws and joints.
If it is exceptionally hot or cold outside, consider a set of QUMY Dog Boots (Amazon). These waterproof booties will protect your dogs feet from the hot pavement, as well as ice and snow.
Also, you’ll want to take care when walking your pooch in areas with sticker bushes, thorns or cactus. For obvious reasons, these things can do a lot of damage to a dog’s soft paws.
If you live in a dry area, your golden retriever’s paws may become dry and cracked from walking outdoors. In this case, be sure to have some type of balm like Pet Head Oatmeal Paw Butter (Amazon) on hand. Spread a little bit of this on their paws and it will take care of any cracking pads on their feet.
And finally when walking your golden retriever you’ll want to look out for any areas that tend to have broken glass. This can be an issue on some trails and beaches, as well as sidewalks in the city.
How Long Should a Golden Retriever Be Walked – The Bottom Line
The golden retriever is an energetic dog breed and with a high level of endurance. They are also incredibly smart, meaning they need to keep their minds busy as well as their bodies. To avoid boredom, it is imperative to have sufficient physical and mental activity. A daily walk or two is an ideal way to provide for your golden’s activity needs.
A minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per day, including walks and purposeful play, for muscle building and mental relaxation is required for a happy and healthy golden retriever. Not doing so can result in an anxious and frustrated dog, which creates behavioral problems such as barking, digging, escaping, and overall aggressive behavior.
Because golden retrievers are also vulnerable to being overweight, regular walking and a balanced diet can help regulate their weight and reduce their risk of obesity.
Walk your golden retriever daily, and he’ll thank you for it!
Other Golden Retriever Articles You’ll Enjoy!
- Is Your Golden Retriever Too Small? (Let’s Find Out!)
- Why Golden Retrievers’ Faces Turn White (And at What Age)
- Golden Retrievers With Blue Eyes (Are They True Goldens?)
- Do Golden Retrievers Have a Favorite Person? (Explained)
- Cambridge University – Overweight dogs and exercise
- GRRMF – Exercise
- AKC – Mental stimulation