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I have not gone through all of the threads related to exercise here, so my apologies if this has already been discussed.

Honey, our energizer bunny golden, has been driving us crazy with her exuberance! (The snow only emphasizes this!!) Currently she probably gets between 2 and 3 miles a day... sometimes more sometimes less. (Also, she is 3 yrs old.) I am beginning to realize that I need to do more scheduling. So, I am wondering: how many miles do you walk your golden(s) a day? Even just a rough estimate would be great.

Honey says thank you. ;) And so do I!!
~Laura
 

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I'd say go out and buy your dog a doggie backpack! They are amazing for helping a dog get the maximum benefit of both physical and mental stimulation on a walk. My dog is way more tired after a 20 minute walk with his backpack than he is with a 20 min walk without it. Even if there's nothing in it. It's all about the mindset of having a job to do! Start off with an empty one, then gradually build up some weight. Make sure the weight is even in both saddlebags. I started with empty 500 ml water bottles, then with water. Now I throw some soup cans if we're not going far or hiking supplies when we go hiking!

I'd also suggest breaking walks down into more frequent, smaller walks as opposed to 1 or 2 long walks. Reason being that dogs are used to exercising, sleeping, then exercising again, and so on. So while a long walk might tire out your dog for an hour or so (if you're lucky!), chances are she'll be up and ready to go again soon. My brother's dog is like that and the frequent shorter walks work great for him. As soon as he starts to get restless, his backpack goes on and we go out the door. Ranger, on the other hand, is quite content with one or two long walks a day and then he'll sleep for the rest of the day!

Since your dog sounds more on par with my brother's dog as opposed to Ranger (who slept in til 11am this morning, went on a 20 minute walk, and hasn't moved much since), I'll give you my brother's dog's schedule.

Morning (before work): 45-60 min walk on leash, approx. 3 miles
Lunch: 20 min walk, approx. .5-1 mile
After work/before supper: 30 min walk, approx. 1.5 miles, and off leash play at the dog park, then 10 min walk back home.
After supper: 20-30 minute walk, approx. 1-1.5 miles

He doesn't always get the after supper walk, but if he's restless after dinner then he does. I always judge by how my dog acts during 'downtime'. If it's after supper and we're watching tv and he's:
1) Restless or Laying Down but quick to jump up if people get up; he hasn't had enough exercise and he gets another walk.
2) Passed out in a deep sleep, twitching or ignoring sounds around him; too much exercise and i'll cut back tomorrow
3) Dozing, laying down quietly, happy to chew a bone and relax; just the right amount of exercise.

I really think the morning walk is the most important for dogs. They've been sleeping for 8 hours and most are going to have a quiet 8 hours ahead of them when their people go off to work. It's a lot to expect a dog to be happy and behave without a big walk in between those 8 hour sessions. It's not always convenient for people to have to wake up early to make sure their dog is out, but the dog will be much happier with a morning walk than being bored and possibly destructive at home while their people are at work.

When I first got Ranger, he was on a schedule similar to the one my brother is doing now. I was waking up at 6am every morning to take him outside for an hour walk before work, another 30 min walk at lunch, and two more after work. Luckily he grew out of the need for all those walks pretty quickly!
 

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I know that Energizer Bunny sub-breed of which you speak... ;)

Until my girl was about 6, she got 3 X 3 hours or so of exercise a day, and at least one of those included off-leash playing ball or walking in the woods or playing with other dogs (which is great exercise when they're pups). Her on-leash walks were very brisk.

At this point, she gets one or two big outs a day, in addition to bathroom breaks. But a big ball-playing is 20-30 minues only. If she doesn't get to run at least once a day, she is jumping out of her skin. I love it :)
 
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Ben really isn't that bad in terms of energy. We walk him 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 miles in the late morning and 3/4 mile before bed - that's it. Once or twice a week we'll take him for a short hike or to the dog park. He gets the zoomies once a day and burns off some energy that way or running up and down the stairs but otherwise he's pretty mellow. He's 4 now. I think with some dogs, like some people, the more exercise they get the more they need.
 

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I just ran the boys for about 4.5 miles on some trails, and they're off leash, so they get a lot more than 4.5 miles in. Some day I'm going to tie a GPS unit to one of their collars just to see what the extra really is. Yesterday they got about 1.5 miles of hiking, and they did so much running in that time I'd guess they got 3 or more hard running miles out of it.

They get something like that maybe three times a week. They're only walked on leash if we're going someplace more human oriented that we want to take them along to (the coffeeshop, the farmer's market, etc.), so I don't really know how much on-leash walking time it would take to equate to their off-leash walking and running time. I do know that all off-leash hiking and running is one of the main reasons they're such good company in the house.
 

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To be perfectly honest a 2 to 3 mile mile walk for an energetic 3 year is not much exercise. If you read Rhonda Hovan's slow growth paper for Goldens, by a the time a puppy is about 4 months old they should be doing 3 miles 4-5 days a week and that doesn't include off leash play etc.

I have an active 4.5 year (by no means an energizer bunny) and he requires 4- 6 miles of walking a day, off leash play, training daily (to exercise his brain - obedience Utility & Open exercises), agility classes and obedience classes during the winter. On top of this during the summer he will swim for about 1 hour a day 2 to 3 times a week and go tracking once a week. On weekends we also now do field training (during the winter it's not every weekend).

Sure there are days we don't do all this and he's content but he's much happier when we are busy. I work from home and get up much earlier to get a long walk (4 miles) in at the start of the my work day. Other activities take up what would be lunch time or happen during the evening.
 

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The off leash hikes provide so much more exercise for your dogs if you're lucky enough to have an area to do this...I haven't tried the back pack Ranger suggested but I think it's a great idea!

Tippykayak if you do the GPS please post the results - they've got to cover at least twice the distance we do...probably more.

Pete
 
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Don't forget that mental exercise is just as important if you're working on having a mellower, better-trained dog. That's another plus to off-leash. They can inspect the entire woods while you're trudging along. It can also be simple find games or fetch.

Obedience/family dog classes can be a lifesaver. They stimulate the dog's mind and teach the skills you want the dog to have at home.
 

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My 9yr old girl gets a total of 2-3 miles of off leash walks every day. Maybe 2 miles in cruddy weather. She covers more ground than I do so probably more for her.

Weather usually never stops us unless it is a major storm. She had fun getting muddy 4 days ago on a 2 mile walk with the rain going sideways. Getting ready for a walk now, it is the coldest so far this year, 15°F. More fun for her than I, that is darn cold.
 

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Our energizer non-stop Golden got about 4 miles per day in walks, broken down throughout the day. That wasn't enough so we did the backpack as Ranger suggests and it works. He enjoyed it because we put his water bottle in it, and some tennis balls, and took him to a nearby enclosed field to chase balls.

We also played a lot of games inside--vertical retrieving, which is taking a ball or soft toy and tossing it over our second floor "bridge" and telling him to go get it. He complied and after about 5 or 6 runs he was ready for a short nap. Other days, if the hubby and I were in different parts of this house we'd tell him to "go see" the other person while the other person called him and he would run back and forth, receiving rewards, pets and praise. This had two benefits--tiring him and also working on his recall.

He will be 8 in 10 days--and it doesn't seem possible because his energy is just now getting to "normal" levels!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow! Thank you so much everyone!

Usually I like to go by my dogs "signals" when deciding how much exercise they need, but this one gives confusing signals. She is a very lovey dog who wants to be involved in everything we do (especially the making dinner/food part...). ;)

I like the idea of breaking up the walks more and using a backpack; I think that might help.

She does get a lot of off-leash time walking on some local trails, which she absolutely loves! It's funny though because she likes being walked — craves the direction. Many times I will let her hold her leash and run off while we are walking, but seven times out of ten she brings herself back and wants me to hold her leash and walk her. If she doesn't do that... she will run 50 ft., turn around and then wait for us to catch up. Goofy! She does get a lot of running during our walks, so I'm sure she doubles the raw mileage. It is nice to have some reassurance that she may just need more. She IS a "more" kind of dog... ;)

As for the mental stimulation... we play a lot of hide and go seek; she loves finding people. She also has a squeaky toy (it's rubber and is basically a ball with feet on it) that she loves. She would retrieve that thing all day if she could! I think I have a video of her playing with it (she likes to hold it upside down between her paws)... I'll have to go find it... Anyhow, she is bored easily, learns quickly, and has very very good retention. She is also very jumpy. Lately, I've been thinking of trying to channel the jumping into agility or some other dog sport? She craves the mental workout, and continuing the theme here: it needs to be a big mental workout! :)

Yesterday, she went on a 6(ish) mile walk, came home, and was ready to go do it again!

I should add: more often than not someone is always around. We also have 2 other dogs. Usually if they are left home alone it is for under 4 hrs.
 
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