The golden retriever is a large, kind and very loving dog breed that is perhaps best known for it’s long, glossy and golden-coloured coat. They’re also one of the most popular dog breeds in the UK, being ranked 23rd out of a total of over 240 different dog breeds and types. Even though their large size and tendency to shed heavily means that they’re not the right dog for everyone, their versatility and intelligence still makes them popular picks.
Golden retrievers are very outgoing, lively dogs that need plenty of exercise; but their high intelligence also means that it is important to provide plenty of mental stimulation for them too. Their willingness to please, ability to learn lots of commands, and stamina to work all day mean that they’re a great fit for a wide range of different working roles, such as assistance dogs, sniffer dogs and therapy dogs.
Having a working role like this is where golden retrievers really excel – and they’re also a good choice of dog breed for canine sports, such as agility, heelwork and flyball. However, golden retrievers that are kept as pets need a significant amount of exercise and entertainment to be provided for them in order to keep them on their toes, and ensure that they don’t become hard to manage.
Providing for these things as part of suburban family life can be a challenge, and so if you’re looking for ways to entertain your golden retriever or want to find something new to do with them, we’ll provide five suggestions within this article. Read on to learn more.
Golden retrievers are great at retrieving things – the clue is in the name! this is one dog breed that can play fetch like nobody’s business, and they also tend to love searching out toys and carrying things around in their mouths.
You can provide some great full-body aerobic exercise for a golden retriever by taking them swimming – something that most dogs of the breed love. Buy a special water toy that will float and that can be thrown a reasonable distance, and start off by practicing on land.
When you’re ready to move onto water, it is important to find somewhere safe – which may not always be easy. Outdoor swimming can come with risks, such as currents, obstructions, pollution, and cold – even on warm days. There is also the risk of blue-green algae blooms and of course, being able to ensure that your dog can get out of the water safely once they’ve got in, so take care with where you allow them to swim.
Teaching your dog to find and put away their toys doesn’t just keep them occupied, it also makes your life easier too! Dedicate a special toy box to your dog that is theirs and theirs alone, and teach them to hunt down and bring back their toys to put them in the box. You can also fine-tune your dog’s bite inhibition by using delicate and soft toys – and the golden retriever has a soft mouth that can usually hold and carry even fragile things without harming them.
All dogs have a highly sensitive sense of smell, and an innate ability to sniff things out under even challenging circumstances. Put your golden retriever’s scenting abilities to the test by hiding treats and toys for your dog to sniff out – and move on to allowing them to smell something and then find the person or object that it belongs to, either inside or outside of the home.
Training your dog and teaching them new skills is a lifelong process, and it can also be great fun and very rewarding for both dog and owner. When your golden retriever has a full vocabulary of basic skills, you might want to think about pushing them further and teaching them some cool tricks.
The sky is the limit, and most golden retrievers are clever enough to pick up new skills with just a few repetitions, and can often learn complex chain commands too.
Decide on some new skills you want to teach your dog, and get to work.
As mentioned, golden retrievers are very intelligent and like having things to do that make them think and have to work. You can utilise their talents by setting them puzzles and challenges to overcome – such as working out how to get a ball out of a maze, or having to navigate their way around obstacles by following commands to find one of their favourite people.
You can also integrate puzzles and challenges into your dog’s feeding times – by making them work to find their bowl, or by following a trail of treats that may twist and turn, and require your dog to retrace their steps away from dead ends!
If you incorporate games and activities of these types into your golden retriever’s day to day life, you might find that they have particular skills in a certain area – which you might want to think about expanding upon, or putting to use in some form of canine sport.
Even if you just want to have fun, playing games and thinking up activities like these will help to provide your golden retriever with an interesting, varied life – which will make them happy and help to avoid boredom or destructive tendencies.