Making sure your golden gets plenty of exercise is very important. Golden retrievers are usually a large breed of dog and they have a very high level of energy. Not to mention, you want to make sure your furry companion stays healthy. Here is part one of my exercise suggestions.
Walking or Running
The most obvious way to exercise with your golden retriever is to simply take them for a daily walk. Your pooch will gladly walk alongside you for an hour or more a day since this breed is very athletic. If you enjoy jogging or running, take your dog with you next time. Because of their build, goldens have no issue keeping up with human runners, even those who go running regularly. As a bonus, walking or running with your retriever will help you stay active as well.
A fun way to give your golden retriever exercise is to play fetch. Go to your backyard or the local park and throw their favorite toy. Wait for them to bring it back and throw the toy again. Remember to give your dog breaks and think about their personality.
If, for example, your golden tends to get easily distracted, try playing fetch in an enclosed area to keep them concentrated on you.
If you want to plan a more exciting trip, take your golden retriever hiking. Always be sure to check whether the trail or park you plan on hiking is dog friendly and whether your canine needs to be on a leash while there.
Remember that hiking requires a great deal of athleticism and can be very tiring. If your golden retriever is sick, young, or old, ask your vet whether they are up to the task.
Be sure to bring plenty of water and a bowl with you and let your golden pause to drink at regular intervals.
During the hike, try to aim for soft terrain and stay clear of dense underbrush and sharp rocks since these can damage paws.
When you get home, give your retriever a thorough bath or brush and check for fleas and ticks.
Here is something my dad would love. If you take a look at the history of the golden retriever, you’ll see they were bred to be hunting dogs. Although they are now frequently family pets with humans who have no intention of hunting, this is still part of their genes.
You can take advantage of this to get outside and try something new. Let your retriever do what they were bred to do. They will truly enjoy field retrieving and hunting with you and this will ensure they stay in great physical shape.
Hunting with your golden will also promote bonding. It’s not the easiest of things to get into, your dog will have to be trained to a fairly high standard first. But if you can find a local hunt willing to allow you and your dog to take part, it’s a great way to be out in nature and for your dog to do what it was born to do.
Golden retrievers tend to enjoy doing dog agility training. It is a good way to keep your pooch in shape, mentally and physically. It also helps you build a bond with your golden as you work together towards a common goal. Depending on where you live, it should be easy to find an agility group. If there isn’t one in your area, you can do a bit of research and set up your own mini-agility course in your backyard or take a portable one with you to the local park for more space.
You can even modify this activity for inside play on rainy days. Set up items like tables and hula hoops and get your retriever to go around, under, or over them. You can even work on balancing on top of smaller items.
More to come in part 2!