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EXERCISE It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that these playful, family dogs need up to at least 2 hours of exercise every day. Not only are they highly energetic, but they are also highly intelligent. They are historically a working dog, they were worked over all terrains retrieving game, and they love water!  Despite all their seemingly endless energy, whilst they’re very young, keep their walks very short. Maybe just a 20 minute walk a day for the first few weeks. This is to protect their growing joints from the shock absorption of walking across hard ground. Another concern about puppies and exercise is that even in the house, try to limit them jumping on and off things from a height. For example, encouraging them to jump up and down from the sofa significantly heightens their chance of creating hairline fractures in their joints! Any damage to a Goldens joints at a young age will become an issue in their later years. Just because you should limit the time your puppy charges about, doesn’t mean they have to be bored at home. Socialisation is a great way to exercise your puppy mentally without risking them risking injury. Take them out to dog-friendly coffee shops, teach them manners in a public place, let people come to visit your puppy, and again, teach them suitable manners even at home.  As they mature, you can obviously extend walks and playtime accordingly. Now, because of their high levels of intelligence, you’ll want to incorporate a lot of different activities into their exercise regimes. Some good examples would be training them to retrieve game dummies, and because of their natural buoyancy and love for water, you can even get them to retrieve their dummies from the local lakes. Walks for miles along pavement in a city will give your dog decent exercise but they wont benefit from this on a daily basis. They love to explore and so walks through forests, nature parks and even a bit of light hiking will satisfy their love of exploring.  And lastly, just playing as a family unit will be incredibly beneficial, for both you and your Golden. They love being around people and will form a strong bond with their families, playtime will only strengthen that bond and tire them out in the process. It’s a win/win!  When your Golden gets to the ‘golden years’, you’ll want to tone down their daily exercise. They are prone to joint issues, especially concerning their hips and elbows. Noticing any stiffness after a particularly long walk means it’s time for them to take it easy. Now this is important, do not ask too much of your elderly Golden Retriever. They aim to please. Meaning that they will go along for miles with you if they think that is what will please you. They will be reluctant to stop mid-walk so it is up to you to recognise when they are ready to go home. Please know your dog, and if you notice debilitating stiffness, get in touch with you vet about what you can do to ease that for them. A couple of things to mention as well. Firstly, Golden Retrievers are prone to weight gain, if you take your dog our for two hours of quality exercise every day but notice them slowly gaining weight, you will need to look into their diet. You may be overdoing it on the treats! You need to keep them at a healthy weight for the obvious reasons but also to keep the strain on their joints to a minimum. And secondly, they can become destructive when they’re bored. If you get to those teenage years and find that your dog is ‘unmanageable’, you may want to look at how much mental stimulation they’re getting. It won’t be enough to let your 2 year old Golden run around a park for 2 hours, they will need some training along with that. Teaching them commands, tricks ect will help tire their minds out, giving you a docile, relaxed dog in the evenings.  SUMMARY So, let us recap today’s video. Once your Golden Retriever matures, make sure they get at least 2 hours of quality, varied exercise every day. They require a mixture of interesting places to visit and mental stimulation. A puppy will need shorter walks but still take them out to be socialised appropriately. At a young age, it’s key to teach them manners in different environments. As a teen, they may test your patience, but you may just need to get creative in their mental stimulation. And as they get older, let them get old graciously. Keep an eye on their joints and just give them leisurely strolls around the local park when you see that they need to slow down.  All in all, a Golden Retriever will be an active, playful member of your family that will be eager to explore and learn new things. Be sure to keep them at a healthy weight and allow them to slow down at their own pace. They will be thankful for it. 

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