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Hello all!

First time posting, although I’ve been a huge fan of the forum for a while because it has been very helpful on other topics! I wanted to get some opinions...my husband and I have a 11 month old male Golden Retriever named Tucker. We have had him since he was 8 weeks old. I grew up with dogs but never had a Golden before so I’m trying to determine what is normal for the breed!

Overall he’s a pretty good dog...he doesn’t bark, is extremely friendly with people and other dogs, and has been easy to train (so far). But I feel like we are having issues with him constantly pacing the house and never “settling”, even after walks, training, toys and even doggy daycare.


Our routine is:
- 30 minute walk each weekday morning before work
- Once we are home from work we play fetch and do some training for around 20-30 minutes solid
- He gets quite a bit of attention throughout the night while inside (pets and cuddles, more fetch, puzzles, etc)
- He is given a marrow bone for a bit to chew on each night before bed to release some energy
- He gets one full day of doggy daycare once a week for socialization
- On the weekends we make it a point to take him with us places (Breakfast, parks, Lowe’s, etc)

After the above he still paces the house at night like we didn’t spend any time with him.

We don’t have kids or other dogs, so I understand they can help with entertaining. I feel like we spend the majority of our time with him since we have brought him home, but are we still not doing enough to keep him happy? I’ll admit I’m getting pretty exhausted and discouraged feeling like we aren’t enough for him 😞

He has not been neutered yet (our vet wants to wait until he is a year and a half at least), is this a possible factor? Is it hormonal? I do notice when he is trying to hump pillows or his toys that he is more restless. This behavior seems to come in waves.

He has been crate trained from the beginning and is in there while we are at work and to sleep at night. We have started letting him free roam while doing quick trips and he seems ok, but when we have tried to let him free roam at night he paces the bedroom and jumps up and down repeatedly on the bed so it definitely disrupts our sleep.

Is this normal Golden behavior? Does he happen to just be an active one? Is this an age thing and he will grow out of it? Are we not doing enough for him?

We have not done obedience classes yet because we have been consistent at home and he has responded well to us in terms of the normal commands (sit, stay, heel, wait, spin, lay down, shake, etc). But do classes really help with this type of issue?

Any advice from some experienced Golden owners are appreciated 🙂
 

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They're a working breed meant to run in fields and into ponds all day. Walks just don't require that much energy. He needs more aerobic exercise.

How big is the daycare's play area? Is it an indoor only one? Luna is down to two days of daycare now (she's a year and a half) and it helps enormously with her exercise and play needs. But that daycare has four very large outside play areas and two large indoor areas for when it's too hot/cold. If his daycare doesn't have a large play area I'd consider looking for a different one. And I'd up his daycare to two days per week.

For weekdays when he's at home all day I'd bring him for another walk in the evening (if either of you jog that's even better - you just want to train him to run on the grass beside you if there's grass) and increase his fetch time to at least 30-45 minutes and then do another 20 minutes of training. If you can't do another walk in the evening can you hire a dog walker for a midday walk?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They're a working breed meant to run in fields and into ponds all day. Walks just don't require that much energy. He needs more aerobic exercise.

How big is the daycare's play area? Is it an indoor only one? Luna is down to two days of daycare now (she's a year and a half) and it helps enormously with her exercise and play needs. But that daycare has four very large outside play areas and two large indoor areas for when it's too hot/cold. If his daycare doesn't have a large play area I'd consider looking for a different one. And I'd up his daycare to two days per week.

For weekdays when he's at home all day I'd bring him for another walk in the evening (if either of you jog that's even better - you just want to train him to run on the grass beside you if there's grass) and increase his fetch time to at least 30-45 minutes and then do another 20 minutes of training. If you can't do another walk in the evening can you hire a dog walker for a midday walk?
His daycare has a large outdoor play area with obstacles as well as an indoor area for swimming. We can try upping it to two days a week to see if that helps.

We try to squeeze in some evening walks when it isn’t raining or too hot, we live in Florida so the weather isn’t always cooperative. Thankfully the rainy season will slow down soon. He does seem to tire easily outside because of the humidity so maybe upping his training inside is an option.

Thank you for your feedback!
 

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I would turn the 30 minute leash walk every morning into a 60 minute outing with off leash, playing ball, running around. At his age, he needs at least two good hours of exercise a day - the second session sounds better (unless the fetch is just a few feet of running after the ball in a small yard), especially with the training, too. Chewing a bone is not giving him aerobic exercise to burn off energy - he's lying there chewing a bone.

High heat and humidity is a good reason not to overdo it outdoors. Rain is not :smile2: Get some good rain gear and get out there with him! Not saying you have to take him and get him all muddy. If it's raining, maybe don't go to the park, but he would still need a good 60 minute walk. Plus a good towelling off when you get home.
 

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I would turn the 30 minute leash walk every morning into a 60 minute outing with off leash, playing ball, running around. At his age, he needs at least two good hours of exercise a day - the second session sounds better (unless the fetch is just a few feet of running after the ball in a small yard), especially with the training, too. Chewing a bone is not giving him aerobic exercise to burn off energy - he's lying there chewing a bone.

High heat and humidity is a good reason not to overdo it outdoors. Rain is not /images/GoldenretrieverForum_2016/smilies/tango_face_smile.png Get some good rain gear and get out there with him! Not saying you have to take him and get him all muddy. If it's raining, maybe don't go to the park, but he would still need a good 60 minute walk. Plus a good towelling off when you get home.
We have a mid-sized yard but enough room for zoomies and a good length for fetch 🙂 He seems to wear out easily but recovers just as fast so we’ve noticed the shorter sessions seem to work better, but we will try to get more creative with engagement. And I should’ve worded that a little better, I meant it helps him to kind of wind down vs release energy! He just seems more content after a good session of chewing.

The lightning is more so the concern than getting wet😂 But it’s a good reminder, we have played in the rain in the yard before and he enjoyed that! I appreciate your insight!
 

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Kristy
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A walk around the block is good exercise for your grandmother. You have a retriever who was bred to go on and off all day and is now hitting his physical prime and going to be needing aerobic exercise that leaves him tired and panting.

Purchase a good 30 foot longline and fasten a clip from the hardware store on one end. This will enable you to work on getting a solid recall in public. Take him places and use it to call him back and forth between you and your husband. Reward him with high value treats. Work up to being able to play this game in public places with distractions. It will tire him and help build the foundation that will make it easier to exercise him. Play this game with him hungry if he isn't enthusiastic.

Network with people from training class (are you enrolled in obedience classes?) to try to set up a puppy play date with another nice young dog of a similar size. A 20 minute session of tag and wrestling with a nice dog twice a week is a huge help in taking the edge off.

If you're not enrolled in a class, start looking for one. A club where you could take nosework, agility or dock diving or train for retrieving would be a good resource. Doing classes and practicing for the next year or two will really help with managing and get him out of the house. These will typically help tire him out mentally too.

It is totally understandable that he has to be home alone while you work and run errands and sleep. But if you add up the hours over a 24 hour period, it will help you understand why he won't setttle. He's laying down 15 hours a day sometimes and it's going to take a lot of effort on your part to work him during your free time.

If you can find a safe place to have him swim (not easy, I know) it helps a lot. Teaching a formal retrieve, (Jackie Mertens DVD - Sound Beginnings is a great tool) can help a lot with exercising. Good luck, it's a lot of work, but all the time you put into him over the next couple of years will result in stronger bonds and 10-12 (hopefully) years of awesome.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A walk around the block is good exercise for your grandmother. You have a retriever who was bred to go on and off all day and is now hitting his physical prime and going to be needing aerobic exercise that leaves him tired and panting.

Purchase a good 30 foot longline and fasten a clip from the hardware store on one end. This will enable you to work on getting a solid recall in public. Take him places and use it to call him back and forth between you and your husband. Reward him with high value treats. Work up to being able to play this game in public places with distractions. It will tire him and help build the foundation that will make it easier to exercise him. Play this game with him hungry if he isn't enthusiastic.

Network with people from training class (are you enrolled in obedience classes?) to try to set up a puppy play date with another nice young dog of a similar size. A 20 minute session of tag and wrestling with a nice dog twice a week is a huge help in taking the edge off.

If you're not enrolled in a class, start looking for one. A club where you could take nosework, agility or dock diving or train for retrieving would be a good resource. Doing classes and practicing for the next year or two will really help with managing and get him out of the house. These will typically help tire him out mentally too.

It is totally understandable that he has to be home alone while you work and run errands and sleep. But if you add up the hours over a 24 hour period, it will help you understand why he won't setttle. He's laying down 15 hours a day sometimes and it's going to take a lot of effort on your part to work him during your free time.

If you can find a safe place to have him swim (not easy, I know) it helps a lot. Teaching a formal retrieve, (Jackie Mertens DVD - Sound Beginnings is a great tool) can help a lot with exercising. Good luck, it's a lot of work, but all the time you put into him over the next couple of years will result in stronger bonds and 10-12 (hopefully) years of awesome.
We have not done obedience classes yet since he’s been doing so well at home, but it is something we have talked about recently and I will reach out to some this week. We do get some play dates in with fellow pups though!

I like the longline idea, we will start that soon. I do wish we had better options for swimming, it’s been hard with all the flesh eating bacteria and amoeba scares lately!

Thank you for your advice!
 

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His daycare has a large outdoor play area with obstacles as well as an indoor area for swimming. We can try upping it to two days a week to see if that helps.

We try to squeeze in some evening walks when it isn’t raining or too hot, we live in Florida so the weather isn’t always cooperative. Thankfully the rainy season will slow down soon. He does seem to tire easily outside because of the humidity so maybe upping his training inside is an option.

Thank you for your feedback!
Sounds like the daycare has a good set up. We use to do 3 or 4 days of daycare per week. She'd still have energy after the first day but by the second not so much. By the 3rd or 4th she would come home plop down on the cool kitchen tile and sleep, just getting up long enough for dinner. I'm home with her on Fridays now so we do a lot of hiking, swimming and ball playing and we've been able to reduce her daycare to just Mondays and Wednesdays.

When it's really hot and humid do short sessions of fetch like you are now but do two more sessions. Consider using small treats if you're having trouble keeping him engaged.
 

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We have not done obedience classes yet since he’s been doing so well at home, but it is something we have talked about recently and I will reach out to some this week. We do get some play dates in with fellow pups though!
Training sessions can also help drain energy. Look up training games or exercises that challenge him to figure out what you want him to do. Kikopup on YouTube is one source. Maybe someone else will have others
 

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Kristy
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Golden Retrievers are typically overachievers in anything you will train them for. Getting into classes will keep you honest about daily practice and help challenge him with new concepts and it will hands down make you a better trainer. And classes will help with socializing and meeting new people and keep you from slacking off on things. Dogs continue to go through development stages and are still puppies much longer than most people realize - 18 months to 2 years of age (some people say 3 years for retrievers). Investing your time and money in training will pay off in the long run.
 

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Don
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This is the mrs here, my dog had the same problem she had plenty of exercise during the day but still paced at night.When I stopped work during my first pregnancy I notice she settled down more when I had been home all day.I asked my vet and they said she probably had separation anxiety and she was more comfortable since she know she would not be left.When I went back to work I started giving her some natural calming bites, and she hasn't had a problem since.I hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter #12
His daycare has a large outdoor play area with obstacles as well as an indoor area for swimming. We can try upping it to two days a week to see if that helps.

We try to squeeze in some evening walks when it isn’t raining or too hot, we live in Florida so the weather isn’t always cooperative. Thankfully the rainy season will slow down soon. He does seem to tire easily outside because of the humidity so maybe upping his training inside is an option.

Thank you for your feedback!
Sounds like the daycare has a good set up. We use to do 3 or 4 days of daycare per week. She'd still have energy after the first day but by the second not so much. By the 3rd or 4th she would come home plop down on the cool kitchen tile and sleep, just getting up long enough for dinner. I'm home with her on Fridays now so we do a lot of hiking, swimming and ball playing and we've been able to reduce her daycare to just Mondays and Wednesdays.

When it's really hot and humid do short sessions of fetch like you are now but do two more sessions. Consider using small treats if you're having trouble keeping him engaged.
Sometimes daycare helps and other times he seems more energetic after! That’s why I thought maybe his behavior could be hormonal. But consistency is key so we will give it a shot.

He does lose interest in treats, even high value, when it’s hot but he will work for praise too which is good.
 

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We have not done obedience classes yet since he’s been doing so well at home, but it is something we have talked about recently and I will reach out to some this week. We do get some play dates in with fellow pups though!
Training sessions can also help drain energy. Look up training games or exercises that challenge him to figure out what you want him to do. Kikopup on YouTube is one source. Maybe someone else will have others
I will check that out, thank you!
 

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Golden Retrievers are typically overachievers in anything you will train them for. Getting into classes will keep you honest about daily practice and help challenge him with new concepts and it will hands down make you a better trainer. And classes will help with socializing and meeting new people and keep you from slacking off on things. Dogs continue to go through development stages and are still puppies much longer than most people realize - 18 months to 2 years of age (some people say 3 years for retrievers). Investing your time and money in training will pay off in the long run.
I will reach out to a few and look at options this week. Thank you!
 

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This is the mrs here, my dog had the same problem she had plenty of exercise during the day but still paced at night.When I stopped work during my first pregnancy I notice she settled down more when I had been home all day.I asked my vet and they said she probably had separation anxiety and she was more comfortable since she know she would not be left.When I went back to work I started giving her some natural calming bites, and she hasn't had a problem since.I hope this helps
I do wish I had the ability to be home more during the week! We thought it could be separation anxiety but he really doesn’t seem to be in distress, and he will do this even on weekends when we are with him a lot. Happy to hear that is working for you!
 

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If it's in the budget I would consider getting him day care 2-3 days a week and a pet sitter for a mid-day let out/walk/play session for the days he's not in daycare. He's pretty young to be asked to stay in his crate for a full work day (to be honest, I don't think any dog of any age should be in a crate for that long without a break/let out). You might be able to pull back on the day care and pet sitters once he's reliable loose in the house and at least has the ability to get up and move around throughout the day, but right now I think you're asking a lot of him, given the amount of formal exercise you can offer him when you are home.

I doubt any of what you are seeing is hormonal... he's a typical adolescent and simply doesn't need as much sleep as he did as a younger puppy. To be honest, his exercise needs are likely to increase over the next year or so, so better to start figuring out how to meet those needs now. I think he'll eventually "level out" and you'll all settle into a reasonable routine, but right now he just really needs to MOVE more.

I also second the idea of getting him into a class. If his manners are solid, then take a look for something like Rally, competitive obedience, nose work, CGC or tricks. It's not so much about exercise but about using his mind and tiring him out by thinking. It will also give you some "homework" to use during those nights when you're stuck inside. When he's a bit older, agility would also be a great option to try.

Another thought to keep in mind is that some dogs just need to be taught how to settle. I know my dogs get a burst of energy at about 8:00 every night, just as we're settling to chill for an hour or so before bed. We often have to just say "no, go lay down." They don't like that answer, but we're entitled to some down time too! If you get to the point where you're pretty confident that you are providing adequate exercise and your dog is still kinda pacey at night, then giving them a bone to chew on or a puzzle to figure out or just teaching them to settle on their bed is a reasonable response.
 

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Don't put this on yourself, it sounds like you're doing a great job.
Obviously he can't handle being loose at night so just go back to crating him.
Teach him an essential life skill : the command GO LAY DOWN
It should be insulting. It means get out of here you're being obnoxious and I don't want to deal with you anymore. No praise or treats for doing this. If he doesn't comply, go put your hands on him and MAKE him GO LAY DOWN. He should do this out of obligation not because he gets something out of it. If I say GO LAY DOWN my dogs immediately disperse and hit the deck. Done. So yell at him to go lay down when he's wandering around. I'm the same as you, even if we're just up and about during daytime hours I don't like the dogs just wandering around aimlessly. It's one thing to follow the humans around or play or whatever but no pacing around.
 

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Don't put this on yourself, it sounds like you're doing a great job.
Obviously he can't handle being loose at night so just go back to crating him.
Teach him an essential life skill : the command GO LAY DOWN
It should be insulting. It means get out of here you're being obnoxious and I don't want to deal with you anymore. No praise or treats for doing this. If he doesn't comply, go put your hands on him and MAKE him GO LAY DOWN. He should do this out of obligation not because he gets something out of it. If I say GO LAY DOWN my dogs immediately disperse and hit the deck. Done. So yell at him to go lay down when he's wandering around. I'm the same as you, even if we're just up and about during daytime hours I don't like the dogs just wandering around aimlessly. It's one thing to follow the humans around or play or whatever but no pacing around.
Oh good I'm not a bad owner then for telling Zelda to go lay down when she's in one of her pacing moods. Her pacing can be anywhere from anxiety to excitement, gauged by how fast her tail and butt are wiggling and whether or not she has a toy in her mouth (happy tail/butt + toy gets called a "parade"). She always shoots me this look like I'm the killer of fun but does go lay down begrudgingly, usually in her crate since it's next to that sweet sweet AC unit. Sometimes I'll let it go on for a few minutes and she settles on her own, but there have been times where it's been constant and I have to use the stern voice to get her to chill.
 

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I have found that nose work and puzzle toys help too. If you don't have a nose work class nearby, you can hide treats around your house.

I have my dog do a down/stay somewhere where they can't see you ( also good practice) then hide one smelly treat somewhere. Release the dog (i.e. ok) and say find it. They will love trying to locate it. You might need to start really easy to start.

I also have a food dispensing ball that I use to feed most of his dinner. That keeps them busy trying to figure out how to get the food out. Good luck!
 

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I agree with posts above. Retrievers are working dogs who must use their natural instincts and nose. Playing isn't doing this. Walking in wild areas, scenting the air and ground and sniffing out mice etc is what they love to do for their very active brains. They're such intelligent dogs, and that intelligence is filtered through their primary sense, their nose. That's how they see the world so they simply must use it, off-lead.
 
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