12 Things Golden Retrievers Like To Do (Fun for Goldens!)

Golden Retrievers love to play, and there are many ways to spend a day keeping both you and your Golden happy and entertained. So, what do Golden Retrievers like to do for fun?

Golden Retrievers like to play fetch, spend time in the water, and listen to music. In addition, Golden’s like to snuggle, go to the dog park, or have a grooming session. But a Golden Retrievers favorite thing to do is any form of exercise, which isn’t unusual given the breed’s high energy levels.

Read on to learn more about how you can have fun with your Golden while keeping them healthy.

What do Golden Retrievers like to do?

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Things Golden Retrievers Like To Do

Golden Retrievers love to be active! Games or activities that involve a lot of running or jumping are good for most retrievers, as long as you make sure that your Golden is getting the appropriate amount of exercise for their age and current level of health.

These are the top 12 things a Golden Retriever likes to do:

Chasing a Ball

One of the all-time favorite things that Golden Retrievers like to do is play fetch. This dog breed was originally developed to retrieve fallen game, then bring it back to their owner, so this kind of game comes naturally to retrievers. It’s also a great way to get plenty of running time in, which is beneficial for their health.

Fetch is an ideal way to spend time with your Golden Retriever! All you need is a bit of space to run, and a tennis ball or a stick.

Going For a Swim

Golden Retrievers love the water, whether it be a lake, a pool, or the beach! Goldens were bred to be excellent swimmers. They’re good at it and really enjoy it! Taking your Golden Retriever out for a swim is a great way to give them some fun and excitement. You can even play fetch in the water to combine two of your Golden’s favorite activities.

Did you know that one of the reason Golden Retrievers are such good swimmers is because they have webbed feet?

Watch these Goldens take their first swim in a pool.

Listening To Music

Believe it or not, Golden Retrievers love to listen to music! Soft rock and classical music can relax a Golden Retriever enough to put them to sleep. Some music has even been made or chosen specifically for playing to dogs and can be used to calm a Golden with anxiety. Check out the iCalmDog BlueTooth Speaker (Amazon), a device with several hours of music stored, all geared towards making your Golden feel safe and at ease.

Snuggling On The Couch

One of the few things that Golden Retrievers like to do that doesn’t include some form of exercise is snuggling up on the couch. A Golden is the ultimate family dog, and they love to spend time with their human pack. Not only will your pooch enjoy a good cuddle session, it’s a great way for a Golden Retriever owner to spend time with their loving dog without working up a sweat. It’s one of the best parts about being a dog owner.

Grooming and Cleaning

Golden Retrievers love getting attention from their favorite people! A great way to give them attention and take care of them at the same time is by grooming them. A good brushing of their coat will not only keep your house clean by removing excess hair before it falls out, your Golden Retriever will love every minute of it!

Golden Retrievers also love to have their ears rubbed and cleaned, as well. This can be done easily with cleaning wipes like the Pet MD Dog Ear Cleaner Wipes (Amazon). As an added benefit, regular cleaning of a Golden’s ears will help prevent an ear infection.

Recommended Reading: How to Care for Golden Retriever Ears (Step-by-Step Guide)

Going For a Drive

Goldens love going for car rides! Long trips or short errands, it’s all good stuff to a Golden Retriever. They get to spend time with you, and like hanging their head outside the car window with the wind blowing in their face. Note: You shouldn’t leave your Golden alone in the car for an extended period of time.

Golden Retrievers and car rides go together like peanut butter and jelly!

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!

Socializing at The Dog Park

A trip to the dog park is a great way for a Golden Retriever to socialize with other dogs. They love meeting new friends and typically get along well with other dogs. A nice thing about going to the dog park, is that you get an opportunity to relax and chat with the other dog owners while the pups in the park keep your Golden Retriever busy, happy and having fun.

Spending Time Outdoors

Golden Retrievers love to hike and run, and can even come with you on a bike ride. Any trip to the great outdoors is an opportunity to take your Golden, where they’ll be excited by all the new smells and the chance to run around and explore a new environment.

Here are a few great outdoor ideas for you and your Golden:

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Biking
  • Jogging

Anywhere in the outdoors you go, that you can safely take your Golden, is a chance for them to do something that they’ll love!

Playing Games

Golden Retrievers really like to play games! A fun way to play with your Golden indoors is to hide a treat underneath a box or other container, then allow them to sniff out the treat and have it as a reward for finding it. After all, Goldens have a very strong sense of smell (45 times stronger than that of humans)!

You can also hide a treat in some toys made for dogs, like the Sniffiz SmellyMatty Snuffle Mat (Amazon). This interactive treat toy is a great way for your Golden to have fun, engage their senses, and get treats. It’s a win, win, win!

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

Being a Therapy Dog

Golden Retrievers really like meeting new people and being pet, which makes them a perfect therapy or service dog. A certified therapy dog gets to spend time every week out interacting with people in the community. They visit nursing homes, schools, libraries, and get to participate in local events.

If you’ve ever been to a ‘read to a dog’ event for kids, you’ll see just how much fun young children have reading a book to a furry friend. Golden Retrievers were made for stuff like that!

Obedience Training

Training your Golden is a good way to spend time together, and your Golden will love the mental stimulation. Goldens are very loyal and live to please their owners. They also like, and are highly motivated by, treats. Use food incentives to teach your Golden how to sit, stay, come, or reinforce any other good behaviors.

If you have the space for it, you can also set up an obstacle course and teach your Golden how to do agility tricks, navigating around sets of cones and poles, like those in the AGORA Hurdle Cone Set (Amazon). You can even use things around the house like broken-down boxes to teach them to crawl through.

Watch what a trained Golden Retriever can do with an agility course!

Chewing Activities

Anyone with a Golden Retriever knows just how much they like to chew. Chewing releases a lot of pent-up energy for a Golden, and heck, it’s just plain fun! Appropriate chew toys like the Benebone Wishbone Dog Chew Toy (Amazon) will keep a Golden Retriever happy and busy for hours. As an added benefit, chewing also helps clean their teeth!

Recommended Reading: How to Care for Golden Retriever’s Teeth: A Step-by-Step Guide

How Energetic Are Golden Retrievers?

Golden Retrievers are a sporting breed, which means that they have a high energy level and need plenty of exercise. A Golden Retrievers absolutely favorite things to do is anything that exercises their body or mind, especially if it’s done with their favorite person.

A Golden Retriever dog was originally bred to collect fallen ducks and other game for hunters in Scotland in the 19th century, explaining why they love to run and play fetch so much. Only a fit and muscular adult dog with lots of stamina can be a retriever.

Recommended Reading: Do Golden Retrievers Have a Favorite Person? (Explained)

What if a Golden Doesn’t Get Enough Exercise?

Exercise is not only fun for Golden Retrievers but also essential. They crave it, and when they don’t get it, they have so much unused energy that they can become destructive. Common destructive behaviors include chewing, digging, and sprinting around the house. Some will even try to escape if left to their own devices.

Golden Retrievers can also very easily gain weight when they don’t get enough exercise. That’s because they eat whatever food is available to them, regardless of whether or not they need it. And when a Golden gains weight, a number of other health issues can develop, like diabetes, high blood pressure, and problems with the elbow and hip joints, including hip dysplasia.

A sunset trail run with a beautiful Golden Retriever.

How Much Exercise Does a Golden Retriever Need?

The amount of exercise that a Golden needs changes with age. A way to gauge the right amount of exercise for a Golden Retriever puppy is to incorporate five minutes of exercise for every month of age. For best effectiveness, this should be moderate to vigorous exercise in the form of brisk walking or games of fetch.

It is possible to over-exercise a Golden puppy, so be sure to abide by the five-minute rule even if your new puppy is excited to exercise even more. Too much exertion can cause problems for the bones and joints.

Adult Golden Retrievers are generally happy to exercise an hour every day, but there are some variations in genetics that will make your Golden more or less energetic. Some dogs can tolerate two hours of exercise, where others prefer closer to 45 minutes. It’s a good idea to break this into two periods of exercise at different times to keep them from becoming bored.

Elderly Golden Retrievers should be monitored for aches, pains, and heavy breathing, but they generally still love long walks and swims. It’s most important to be careful to limit high-impact activities because Goldens often develop arthritis as they get older.


So now you know the top 12 things Golden Retrievers like to do and consider fun. Basically for a Golden, any type of activity that includes hardy exercise is a fun time. This is especially true if they get to do it with you! A Golden is an active dog, so be sure to provide a lot of activity in their lives and you are assured of having one happy dog!


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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