Golden Retriever Puppy Exercise Limits (Need To Know)

Golden Retrievers are an obedient breed that enjoys being active.

That is why they became great companions when retrieving the waterfowl their owners had killed.

These dogs are also great for playing with children.

When given the proper training, a Golden Retriever puppy can grow up to be the perfect house dog.

What are the Golden Retriever puppy exercise limits? A good rule of thumb is that puppies require 5 minutes of exercise per month they are alive, twice a day. So, a three-month-old puppy should get 15 minutes of exercise twice a day This is in addition to their regular play and not in place of it. Too much exercise can damage the puppy’s growth plates. 

With Golden Retrievers being a high energy breed, when they don’t get the proper exercise they need, it can lead to a variety of health issues, hyperactivity, and behavioral problems.

Here is what you need to know to make sure your puppy has the proper exercise to become a strong adult.

Benefits of Exercise for Your Golden Retriever Puppy

Exercise isn’t just essential for your puppy’s mental and physical well-being.

Exercise also helps you build a strong bond with them.

It helps teach obedience and builds a puppy’s trust.

Here are the benefits of giving your pup exercise:

  • Prevents obesity which can cause other health risks
  • Strengthens cardiovascular health and muscles
  • Promotes house training
  • Helps to reduce digestive problems
  • Reduces behavioral problems
  • Builds confidence and trust
  • Increases agility.

If Your Puppy Doesn’t Get Enough Exercise

A healthy amount of proper activity can help your puppy avoid behavioral problems.

Golden retrievers are active dogs.

They were born to retrieve game, so they crave a good run and active play.

If they don’t have the proper outlet, it may manifest destructive behaviors like:

  • Excessive barking and whining
  • Chewing, digging, and scratching
  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness at night
  • Rough play and biting
  • Jumping on people.

Proper Amount of Exercise for a Puppy

Puppies are extremely energetic compared to adult dogs, but they require less exercise.

Too much exercise for a puppy can lead to exhaustion and joint damage.

They should get at least one or two walks per day, for five minutes per month of age. Any more than that can be doing more harm than good.

How an Excessive Amount of Exercise Can Affect Your Puppy

When training your puppy and giving him exercise, make sure you are not giving him an excessive amount as this can cause a lifetime of health problems. 

Forced exercise can include:

  • Excessive running while leashed
  • Excessive bicycling while leashed
  • Skating while leashed
  • Excessive fetching
  • Fast-paced, long walks.

Puppy exercise limits must be applied to avoid damaging the puppy’s developing skeletal system, in particular, the puppy’s growth plates.

What Are Puppy’s Growth Plates?

Growth plates are the soft areas of developing cartilage tissue found by the ends of the dog’s long bones.

When the puppy is born, growth plates are made of cartilage but gradually calcify and transform into denser bone as the puppy grows into an adult.

Instead of the long bones developing from the center outward, the growth occurs right by the growth plate at the end of the long bones.

As the puppy grows, the growth plates close and harden into solid bone

Before the growth plates harden into bone, they are vulnerable to being injured and potentially fractured because they are the last portion of bone to harden.

How Can Exercise Damage Growth Plates?

An injury to the puppy’s leg during a time of exercise can result in a lot of damage and potentially deformity.

Injury to a growth plate may result in damaged cells that will actually stop growing on one side.

While the cells on one side stop growing, the healthy undamaged cells on the other side will continue to grow, which will result in the bone developing a deformity.

The most common deformity happens in the forearm area, compromising the radius and ulna.

If the growth plate of the ulna is injured, it will stop growing while the other bone continues to grow, resulting in bowing of that leg. 

If a puppy gets an injury, it is important to see a vet immediately to help prevent these problems from occurring.

The best way to avoid developmental problems is to prevent them from happening.

This can be done by giving the proper puppy exercise and not causing excess strain.

When do Growth Plates close?

Most developmental growth happens between four months and eight months.

After the age of eight months, there is minimal longitudinal growth of bones happening.

By the age of one, most growth plates are fused or closed

Exercise Limits for Your Golden Retriever Puppy

Trainers who run agility classes won’t let puppies compete until they are at the age of at least one-year-old.

But they will let puppies get familiar with the equipment and start some basics in foundation classes, like learning to walk through an agility tunnel.

Training a puppy to walk through an agility tunnel will help them instill confidence and provides some basic skills. 

Any type of high-impact exercise like jumping for frisbee or jogging on a solid surface can cause a puppy’s bone to stop growing or grow incorrectly

Puppies shouldn’t be forced to exercise, and the amount of time spent exercising should be limited to the required amount per puppy’s age.

Puppy Exercise Safety Tips

A few tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association that can help keep your puppy safe during exercise are:

  • Teach your puppy to walk with a leash.
  • Begin with short walks, taking frequent breaks.
  • Increase the length of the walk gradually. 
  • Avoid walks during the hottest and coldest part of the day.
  • Walk on softer ground, avoid rocky or sharp surfaces.

Things to Avoid When Exercising Your Puppy

It is common for people to assume that puppies can run nonstop without any issue, but that isn’t the case.

It is important to give them the proper training in order to grow into strong, healthy adults. Some things to avoid are:

  • Running or jogging with a puppy on a leash.
  • Frisbee catching.
  • Excessive ball throwing and catching.
  • Fast-paced walks.
  • Walking on hot days.
  • Running a puppy alongside a bike.

Dogs and puppies should not be exercised immediately before or after eating, as this can cause problems such as bloating. 

How to Exercise A Golden Retriever Puppy

Providing puppies with the opportunity to exercise is a very important aspect of their healthy life. Not only does exercise have multiple health benefits, but it also gives them a good opportunity to socialize and bond with their owner.

Before exercise 

Prior to exercising your puppy, you should:

  • Figure out how much exercise is required for your puppy’s age.
  • Check the temperature outside to avoid overheating. Hot pavement can also burn your puppy’s paws.
  • Make sure to time feedings so that they don’t eat immediately before or after exercise.
  • Make sure they wear a proper collar and tag. 
  • Make sure they are comfortable with their collar and leash.
  • Puppies under three months old probably don’t have their vaccinations, so exercise in public should be avoided.
how much exercise does a golden retriever need

During Eeercise

One way to help your puppy get exercise is by having them on a leash with you and following these tips:

  • Walk at a normal pace.
  • Walk the amount of time required for the puppy’s age.
  • Stop to rest if your puppy keeps sitting down and continue when they get back up.
  • Don’t go too far from home in case your puppy becomes too tired to continue.
  • Avoid over-exercising.

You can also allow your puppy to exercise without a leash.

Allow your pet to run freely in a safe environment, such as a backyard or designated dog park.

Having them off the leash is a good way for them to regulate their own pace and exercise they want but do watch for: 

  • Watch out for signs of fatigue, including panting, slowing their pace, and lagging behind you.
  • Watch for overheating signs such as excessive panting, drooling, vomiting or agitation.
  • In snow areas, avoid patches of ice-melt or salt as these can sting your puppy’s paws.
  • Keep your puppy hydrated.
Signs that your dog is overheating and what you can do to help

After exercise

After your puppy has finished his exercise, make sure to offer them plenty of fresh, clean water and allow them to rest.

After they have calmed down and rested, you can offer them a healthy treat or feed them. 

Exercise For Your Puppy

In addition to giving your puppy short, daily walks, here are some other options of exercise that your pup will enjoy.


Swimming is a great exercise for all dogs as it helps strengthen and tone muscles.

It’s a low impact exercise that doesn’t put strain on joints.

Get your puppy familiar with water first after they are 3 months old.

Let them wade into the water in a small pond, by the water’s edge, or a dog paddling pool.

But it’s not safe to let them loose into deep water.


Golden Retrievers are meant for retrieving, so a good game of fetch will come naturally to them.

Just make sure to watch for any signs of tiring.

Dog toys that move

There is a wide variety of interactive toys for puppies that are highly stimulating and can help with exercise.

Play with other dogs

Having your puppy be around other dogs is a good way to give them an exercise buddy while they work on important social skills.


If you’ve heard that Golden Retrievers can’t catch, we’re here to provide a different opinion.

Whist Golden Retrievers instinctively know how to retrieve, they need to be trained from a very young age to catch.

Signs Your Puppy is Getting Too Much Exercise

Exercise keeps joints limber, promotes good range of motion, maintains muscle mass, and can help prevent injury.

But too much of it can actually cause injury.

That’s why it is important to make sure you are giving your puppy the proper amount of exercise and not over-exercising them.

Watch out for signs of over-exercise like sore muscles, behavioral changes, and joint injury.

Sore Muscles

Sore muscles are a sign that your pup is getting too much exercise.

Signs your puppy’s muscles are sore include:

  • Struggling to stand back up after lying down.
  • Refusing or struggling to go up and down the stairs.
  • Refusing to eat because it hurts to lower down.

If you notice signs of soreness, give them time to rest and lower the amount of exercise they are getting. Continuing to exercise, at this point, can lead to injury.

Behavioral changes

If your puppy usually enjoys going for walks with you but starts to shy away from walking or whimpers when you begin the walk, this is showing you that something is not right. 

Inconsistent conditioning can lead to changes in behavior as well as injury.

When you let your puppy play off-leash, sometimes they don’t get the proper exercise because they will run in bursts but then rest and repeat.

So, when they are used to taking these breaks, going for a long walk may be harder for them, and they won’t enjoy it.

Joint injury

Dogs carry about 60% of their weight on their front legs, which can put a lot of stress on those joints.

The impact associated with extreme exercise can cause strain and even sprain your puppy’s joints.

If there is a joint injury, your puppy will begin to limp or favor one leg over the other. 

Another sign that is said to be a sign of joint injury is if you notice your dog putting its head down while walking on the good leg but lifting its head when walking on the bad leg. 

Heat sickness

Heat exhaustion is a concern during the warmer months. Younger dogs have difficulty regulating body temperatures, so too much exercise can cause them to overheat.

Signs of heat exhaustion are excessive panting, disinterest in eating, and drooling.

Wear and tear on paws

Walking for a long period of time on concrete can work like sandpaper on your puppy’s feet.

Stopping suddenly can also scrape the bottom of the paws, causing the outer layer of the pad to wear off.

It is good not to drag your dog while they are leashed, instead, be patient with them and listen to their cues.

If you look at the bottom of your puppy’s paws and notice tears, visible skin flaps, redness, thinning, then that’s a sign that their paws have been overworked.

To active puppies like Golden Retrievers, play is more important than painful feet, so they’ll often run around even if their paws hurt. 

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Author - Jacqueline

Jacqueline is surrounded by outdoor dogs. Her dog Riley, a Doberman mix, is 80+ pounds of muscle. Riley is very active and they both love to walk in the woods. They love camping too. Jacqueline's son is a dog dad to Cooper, a 95-pound Golden Retriever. Cooper swims and retrieves from land or water. Jacqueline's sister owns Tank, a 140-pound Great Pyrenees. Tank is a star along the San Antonio River. Tourists actually stop to take pics of him. Tank has his own Instagram page, thank you very much!

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