All dogs need exercise to live a fit, healthy, and fulfilling life. No matter the breed, no matter how large or small, no matter their age ---- they all need exercise. However, some breeds do need more than others. So the question begs ---- How much exercise does your Golden Retriever need to be healthy and happy?
As the name suggests, the Golden Retriever is a sporting breed originally bred to retrieve fallen game for 19th century hunters in the Scottish Highlands. Retrieving in the mountainous terrain with its wooded landscapes and pot-holed ponds was very physically demanding work back then. The hunters needed a very special dog that could travel far distances as well as swim in large lakes and streams for the better part of a day.
And with the Golden Retriever, that is exactly what they got.
Although the Golden Retriever as a family pet obviously isn’t required to perform such hard work, the breed inherently still has the genetics tailored for those specific roles. They have a body and mind made for physical activity and if they aren’t given sufficient exercise then, unfortunately, they often tend to not be very happy dogs.
Golden Retrievers crave physical activity. And if they don’t get enough of it, they store up so much unused energy that their minds become bored to the point that they simply have to find a release. They can tend to become very destructive with fits of chewing, digging, and running around your home or garden destroying everything in their path.
Some will even try to escape their backyards at any given opportunity if they are too full of pent-up energy to be able to concentrate and behave themselves. A lot of people who complain that their Golden is "out of control" simply might not be exercising them enough.
Golden Retrievers are sadly prone to obesity as well. Usually, this is a combination of their owners doing two things: Giving in too often to those expertly-crafted begging routines as well as keeping Fido stuck at home and not taking him out enough. Your dog will still have that voracious appetite ---- but now all of that food will just turn into fat and lead to poor health and weight issues.
It’s simple math that if calories going in are greater than the calories burnt, then weight will be gained. If a Golden receives lots of treats and table scraps and exercises very little, the pounds are going to pile on and fast. Excess weight leads to a variety of problems such as heart disease, increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, and damage to their hip and elbow joints.
Here is the general rule ---- If you have an adolescent or adult Golden Retriever who is literally bouncing off the walls, chewing all your belongings, or is simply too hard to train, there is a very high possibility you aren’t exercising them enough. Or if your Golden is piling on the pounds even though you’re feeding them according to the instructions with their food and not giving them lots of extra treats, then it’s highly likely you aren’t exercising them enough.
But if your Golden looks strong and athletic, is able to relax, pays attention to you, and will respond to proven commands they’ve been trained to follow ---- it’s a fairly safe bet that they are receiving enough exercise.
Golden Retrievers as a breed are a high energy sporting dog and require exercise. A lack of it can lead to a variety of health problems, hyperactivity, and behavioral issues. So, for a healthy and happy dog ---- and owner ---- exercise your Golden just as much as they need and deserve to. This will in turn help everyone stay active and happy together as a family.
Do you have any exercise tips or stories about your Golden Retriever that have helped with their overall wellness and health? Any positive changes you've seen from an uptick in physical activity that has made your Golden a much calmer and happier dog? Please share them with us at GRRA. We'd love to hear from you. Here's to Golden Health, everyone!