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Riley's Mum
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

For the past few months I have been running around 4km everyday with my best friend, my golden retriever, Riley. It is something we both look forward to everyday and we have a great time.

I am posting this due to recent comments that have been made to me about whether this is too much for him, and would like to hear other owner's thoughts. Whilst we are running, he does not appear to be struggling to keep up, and in fact he often runs ahead encouraging me to keep up with him! He is, understandably, quite exhausted by the time we get home, but this tiredness doesn't hit him until we are settled in the house. I feel like he wants to and could run further than we do already.

We often slow down long enough for Riley to jump in the streams/do his business/find a stick, so it is not a continuous run from start to finish.

We go on a 15 minute morning walk where he runs around with his friend at the park, and we do play a lot in the garden at home.

I would really appreciate it if i could get some opinions on whether this is too much for him or not? As I said, i really wasn't concerned at all before I had some people make a few comments to me. If I felt like Riley was struggling to keep up or was really slowing down on our runs I would absolutely reduce the distance.

Thank you!
 

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Yes, I think it depends on the age of your golden.

I run 3x a week with my 9 year old golden. He's in better shape than me! We usually do 3-3.5 miles and if it's too warm, I don't take him.

I have a 5 month old lab puppy that I will be running with in the future, but I have to wait until she's at least 18 months old. Since she's black, I'll have to be careful about the temperature when I run with her, too.

My other two goldens are much lower energy and don't have any interest in running with me. Matter of fact, before we got my youngest golden, I took my running buddy and my other (now older) golden along. We were only running 2 miles with lots of breaks because I was just building up back then. After a mile, he looked at me like I was nuts and refused to run any further. I guess he told me!
 

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Riley's Mum
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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Sorry, I thought I had mentioned that. He is 1 year old, he had his birthday 28th Nov.

I have always tried to be very careful about overexercising him within his 1st year, and it is only recently we have been running such a distance together. We were only doing walks around the park previously, following the '5 minute rule', because I am very concerned about causing damage whilst he grows.

At the same time, all I have read and been told is that goldens need a lot of exercise! He seems perfectly content with the amount he is getting at the moment, but obviously don't want to push him more than he is capable of for his age.
 

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Kristy
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The problem with relying on Riley to tell you if it's too much is that his drive and enthusiasm to have fun with you would far outweigh any minor discomfort he might feel. His heart and lung capacity are quickly built up and he was bred to be a sporting dog, to go all day long.

Until he's over 18 months, he has growth plates that still aren't closed. Repetitive high impact exercise like jogging is a risk to long term damage to his joints. He is not guaranteed to have damage, but you're increasing the risk. Without xrays you have no way of knowing if your puppy's plates have finished closing and if he appears to have structural issues that put him at higher risk of hip or elbow dysplasia. "Another factor that may influence the development of hip dysplasia in dogs is exercise. Many breeders will advise against exercising a pup to prevent the development of orthopedic conditions. Nonetheless, veterinarians believe that gentle, low impact exercise can be beneficial for pups, but that all forced exercise beyond what a puppy would normally do should be avoided." (https://www.usdaa.com/article.cfm?newsID=2288)

You're crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. I'm personally not as much of a risk taker and only do off leash hiking (I go at a brisk walk and the dogs run back and forth around me as they wish, we walk in the woods and are not on concrete.) Maybe it would make you feel better to cut your distance back some and stick to softer surfaces, no asphalt. Keep the length of time you're moving the same, but change it up and do some sprinting and walking, give him a chance to swim, throw in some obedience exercises, long down/stays and then recalls. Teach him a formal retrieve to heel and have him wait until you release him to fetch. There are tons of other things you could do so that you can feel better about your exercise routine. Then step it up again in another 6 months.

I've attached some links so you can see a couple opinions (there are varying degrees of care recommended - but most seem to agree that for large breed dogs, 18 months is a good rule of thumb for growth plate closure being complete) you can google search canine sports and Dr. Chris Zink, canine orthopedic etc. to find more reading for yourself if you want to find more.

https://www.puppyculture.com/exercise-chart.html

https://gordonsetterexpert.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/growth-rate-closure-diagram.jpg

Exercising Puppies: Too Much vs. Too Little | Thriving Canine

Exercise in Puppies-Are there rules? | The SkeptVet
 

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Riley's Mum
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it.

We run through the woods and around fields and Riley is off the lead so he can determine his own pace and dilly-dally around or race off ahead a bit. I just want to make it clear that I don't run the entire distance - I walk and jog interchangeably throughout, and Riley does not stay glued to my side running next to me.

This is primarily why I was not too concerned as he is not going through an intense 40 minute run, but instead will run ahead and sniff around and wait for me to catch up with him, or hang back and then run to catch up and trot along beside me until he stops again. More often than not he is way ahead of me and will stand and wait until I reach him before he continues.

I experimented walking the distance instead of jogging, and his behaviour and activity level was very much the same - running ahead or waiting behind and running to catch up.

However, I value you your comments and having read the links you have provided I am now really concerned I have forced him into doing too much exercise. Everything I have read until now suggests not running with your golden until they are 12 months old, which contradicts the information you've provided me and so I'm definitely going to ease up a bit and make our trips out a little more gentler.

Thank you so much for your help
 

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Kate
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Based on google you are running for 2.5 miles.... which in my opinion, if you are walking is nothing for a 1 year old golden retriever. Running isn't anything either - but there's a few factors that are an issue with a young dog.

1. The growth plate thing.

2. How conditioned your dog is... just like people, when dogs are run when out of condition - there's an increased chance of injury.

3. Type of surface you are running on.

^^^^ One thing to add is that I'm not convinced that golden retrievers (or other retrievers) were made for major league running. I think even with a conditioned dog who's not a puppy - you still have a bigger chance of injury. Which can be very expensive.

I have a friend who was training for a marathon with her 5 year old lab. Very athletic and energetic dog... he wound up blowing his knees one after another. It was extremely expensive.

So me personally - that is motivation to really not overdo jogging.
 

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Lisa
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I will add... I started running with my dog when he was about 20 months old and the temps were cool enough for him. When he got too hot or tired, he would simply stop and lay down on the trail. He would refuse to budge. Mind you, he spent the entire summer retrieving swim sticks out of Lake Michigan, so he was in top shape -- he just knew his limits. :)

Sometimes, we would be two miles from home. The return trip home with a reluctant dog would take forever.

We gave up running together by mutual consent. :bowl:
 

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Mine get a 1 to 2 hour off lead hike every day for sure, and then different training sessions and outings depending on the schedule
 
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Chloe just turned one. On most days she gets a two mile walk. Then lots of playtime during the day. Thursday she got two seperate two mile walks for a total of four miles. We are home all day everyday so she gets lots of playtime during the day. We are lucky the winter so far has been very warm.

Forgot to mention where they walk is a lot of up and down hills.
 

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We walk an hour to an hour and 15 minutes every day in the winter. In the summer, Luke swims about an hour every day. He's five and a half. We also have a puppy who is giving him a lot of extra exercise in the last couple of weeks. :)
 

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My boys go to daycare during the week and get to run off their energy that way. On the weekends we do one 3 mile walk a day at their pace and then wrestle in the yard with one another.
 
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Not concerned at all about the 2.5 mile run. The growth plate issue is mildly concerning but I feel it is mitigated somewhat by the fact that you are running him on soft ground as opposed to pavement. I always interpreted that to be more about jumping than running anyway.

They are very much individuals with different energy levels and tolerance to vigorous exercise. My just turned 8 year old, Axl, was from day 1, (and continues to be), the energizer bunny with seemingly limitless energy and endurance. He routinely runs, jumps, and swims circles around even lean, fit dogs a quarter his age. Of course he is given at least 45 minutes a day maximum intensity exercise per day. My 3.5 year old has a fraction of his energy.

The original intent of the breed was to be athletic, energetic, agile, sporting dogs with plenty of endurance.
 
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Riley's Mum
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Not concerned at all about the 2.5 mile run. The growth plate issue is mildly concerning but I feel it is mitigated somewhat by the fact that you are running him on soft ground as opposed to pavement. I always interpreted that to be more about jumping than running anyway.

They are very much individuals with different energy levels and tolerance to vigorous exercise. My just turned 8 year old, Axl, was from day 1, (and continues to be), the energizer bunny with seemingly limitless energy and endurance. He routinely runs, jumps, and swims circles around even lean, fit dogs a quarter his age. Of course he is given at least 45 minutes a day maximum intensity exercise per day. My 3.5 year old has a fraction of his energy.

The original intent of the breed was to be athletic, energetic, agile, sporting dogs with plenty of endurance.
Thanks a lot for your comments, that really eases my concerns !
 

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Duke & Nala's Mom 🐾
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My Golden is almost 12 weeks.

He gets a large amount of exercise or "puppy playing" is what it should be called, as he plays with my parents dog all day long then runs outside with her in the yard.

I consider that exercise!

Later on, we will be hiking with him. But for now we keep it minimal!

I heard, if you over exercise it can cause fractures in the legs and can also harm the hips. Why others are saying at a 2.5 mile is not bad at all. I would be concerned at 5 miles.
 

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Crosby gets a 3.5 mile walk in the morning, throughout which we play fetch. Then another short (10 minute) game of intense fetch in the afternoon, then a leisurely 1.5 mile walk at night. He's 16 months old.

I've never taken him running, since he seems to do bursts really well instead of distance. The vet told me they're "wind sprinter" dogs. Every dog is different though! :)
 

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My dogs go for off leash runs for 1 to 1-1/2 hours a day. The puppy when he gets tired I pick him up and carry him while the big dogs run around. I don't have any problem with what you are doing. If anything I think the average dog doesn't get nearly enough exercise and should get more. Dogs need to run and jump and climb over stuff. That makes their balance better and their muscles strong.
 
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