Dog sports are great to exercise and have fun at the same time with your pooch. For high-energy breeds such as Golden Retrievers, vigorous physical activity is even more important.
If you don’t provide your dog with appropriate workouts, he won’t be healthy nor happy. So let see what sports might help you spend his pent-up energy and keep him in good shape!
As an active and intelligent sporting breed, most Golden Retrievers excel at dog sports. Their versatility and athleticism make them good candidates for pretty much any physical activity. But here are some of the best dog sports you should try with your Golden Retriever!
- Dog Agility.
- Urban Mushing.
- Dock Diving.
- Frisbee. (Dog Disc)
An Introduction To Dog Sports For Golden Retrievers!
Before getting into any canine activity, you have to know more information about how to start. There’s generally a lot of preparation and equipment required to practice sports with your dog. However, all the time, money, and effort you will put in is worth the fun you can have working out together.
Golden Retrievers Are Sporting Dogs!
Bred as hunting partners to retrieve shot waterfowl, they are natural athletes. That’s why they are well-suited to participate in dog sports. Their origin makes them require a great deal of exercise.
Golden Retrievers are also smart and loving companions. Therefore, they make excellent therapy and service dogs. As you can see, this is not one of the most popular breeds in the US for no reason.
If you have or consider adopting a Golden Retriever, be ready to exercise a lot. Physical activity and mental stimulation are essential to care for your dog’s well-being. Thus, getting into sports can be an efficient way to stimulate his body and mind.
5 Best Dog Sports To Exercise Your Golden Retriever!
Even if this dog breed is versatile and athletic, you still have to choose the right activity for their conditions. Some sports are much more appropriate for them than others. Here are some great ways to exercise for Golden Retrievers!
Agility is a sport in which your Golden Retriever has to go through an obstacle course as fast as possible. You can either train him for plain fun or improve his skills to compete in official events. As the handler, you will mainly have to train your dog to jump over hurdles, run through tunnels, and weave across poles.
Are Golden Retrievers Good Agility Dogs?
They are usually active, easy to train, and agile, so running through an obstacle course should be too difficult. Agility training is, therefore, an excellent sport for Golden Retrievers. It’s also an excellent activity to provide them with both mental and physical stimulation.
How To Get Started?
If you want to get into dog agility, you only need some free time and the right equipment. A complete obstacle course should at least have a tunnel, hurdles, and weave poles.
For beginners, I highly recommend this starter kit made by CHEERING PET. It’s the perfect set to introduce your dog to agility training!
Originally meant to keep sled dogs active in the off-season, urban mushing (or joring) sports are ideal for you to exercise with your Golden Retriever. The concept is the same as dog sledding but without the sled. It’s also generally practiced on dryland.
Different Joring Sports For Golden Retrievers!
Urban mushing can be done on multiple means of transport. Whether you’re into skiing, biking, or running, there’s a way to enjoy it with your dog.
The main joring sports are canicross, bikejoring, and skijoring. However, your Golden Retriever can also pull you while you’re scootering, skateboarding, or rollerblading.
How To Get Started?
Joring sports require an obedient dog, some specific training, and the right pulling equipment. Your buddy should be well-trained to get into urban mushing. It’s also highly recommended to teach him commands such as “Stop”, “Go”, “Right”, “Left”, etc.
For the joring gear, you must have an appropriate harness, tow-line, and belt/attachment. You will also need to choose one means of transport (running, biking, skiing, etc.) and get the equipment necessary to practice it.
Here are some other of my articles with more information about each dryland mushing sport!
- Skijoring. (No Article Yet)
This canine sport consists of dogs running on a dock and jumping as far as possible from it into a body of water. You can enjoy dock diving for fun in your pool, but there are also competitions.
Here an excellent video to show you how much fun you can have while teaching your Golden Retriever puppy to jump off your duck!
Golden Retrievers Excel At Water Sports!
Bred for waterfowl retrieval, they are natural swimmers and usually love the water. Their high-energy level and good physical conditions also make them good candidates for dock diving. Running at full speed, jumping from a dock, and swimming is an excellent way to exercise your dog.
How To Get Started?
Dock diving is a simple sport to get in. You should not have any problem as long as your Golden Retriever is relatively obedient, comfortable in the water, and toy motivated. You merely have to find a safe dock for him to jump from and invest in a floating throw toy for dogs.
I highly recommend you check out the Ruffwear Lunker or the ChuckIt Amphibious. They will both help you motivate your Golden to jump in the water. You might also consider buying a dog-friendly life jacket such as this one made by Outward Hound for his safety!
Frisbee. (Dog Disc)
As hunting partners, Golden Retrievers were used to chase, catch, and retrieve prey. Thus, your dog is certainly well-suited to play Frisbee with you.
Whether you want to throw him a disc in your backyard for plain fun or train him for competition, this sport is excellent to keep him in good shape.
Step Up Your Fetch Game With Frisbee!
Playing fetch is one of the most popular ways to exercise dogs. However, chasing and retrieving balls can become too repetitive and boring in the long run.
That’s where Frisbee comes into play. Throwing and catching discs is much more challenging for you and your Golden Retriever.
How To Get Started?
With an appropriate toy such as the Kong Flying Disc, you should be all set for introducing your dog to Frisbee. Then, you only have to put in some time for teaching him how to catch his first disc and bring it back to you. He will slowly improve his skills and eventually impress all of your friends.
My last suggestion of sport for Golden Retrievers is flyball. It’s a race in which two teams of dogs are running and jumping over a line of hurdles.
At the end of the course, each participant has to catch a tennis ball on a box to carry it back to their handler. The fastest team wins.
Is Your Golden Retriever Suitable For Flyball Racing?
Pretty much any dog breed (or mixed-breed) can compete in flyball. Golden Retrievers are not sprinters, but they can still run fast and are generally agile. As long as your dog is obedient and healthy, he’s all set to get into this racing sport.
How To Get Started?
With all the setup required, this competitive sport is rarely practiced for fun. It also takes a lot of training for your dog to perform well on a flyball course. Then, you will have to build your team and find an event where to compete.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Dog Sport For Your Golden!
Apart from your dog’s breed, other factors will influence what type of activity he can do. Not all Golden Retrievers are suitable for all the sports mentioned in this article. Each one has different conditions and limits you have to consider.
Your Dog’s Age.
Puppies are generally not accepted in sports events for good reasons. They are too fragile for high-impact workouts such as running and jumping. Thus, you have to wait until your dog is fully grown before introducing him to agility, flyball, etc.
It’s the same thing with old Golden Retrievers. They will have less energy and are more likely to get injured. That’s why you should always adjust the exercise your buddy gets according to his age.
Your Dog’s Health.
Even if Golden Retrievers are generally in good shape, they are still prone to many health problems. Before getting started with any sport up there, you should make sure it’s safe for your dog’s conditions. Talking with a veterinarian can be an excellent idea to understand what type of exercise is appropriate for him.
If you want to choose the right dog sport, you also have your word to say. Don’t strictly opt for something based on your Golden Retriever’s needs. In other words, make sure it’s fun (but still safe) for everyone.
Last Thoughts About Dog Sports For Golden Retrievers!
In conclusion, there are several ways to exercise your dog. My ultimate recommendation would be to try as many sports as possible to find the right one to enjoy together. Whether you choose agility, urban mushing, dock diving, frisbee, or flyball, I’m sure you will have a lot of fun.
I hope my article has helped you find what are the best dog sports for your Golden Retriever. Don’t forget that such an active and intelligent breed must get a lot of physical and mental activity to stay healthy and happy.
Now it’s time to take action and try new things with your buddy!