Many people find running with a friend more enjoyable than running alone, and for many, there is no better friend to run with than their dog. But not every dog makes for the best running partner. For example, it is unlikely that anyone can successfully run with a pug. But one dog that is usually a very good running partner is a golden retriever.
A Little About Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers are a large, active breed with a double coat of rust-colored fur. The AKC puts them in the sporting group with other retrievers as well as spaniels, pointers, and setters. Traditionally, they are gun dogs and in hunting situations, they are often called on to retrieve game and provide companionship.
They are a high-energy breed that requires a lot of exercise, and they should have an owner that enjoys an active life. Without enough activity, this dog can become bored and hyperactive. Golden retrievers are also intelligent and loyal and are frequently trained to be guide dogs.
Working Out a Running Routine With Your Golden Retriever
Any time you run with a partner it is important to consider your partner’s needs as well as your own. This is no different if your partner is a golden retriever. If you already have a strong relationship with your dog, he will likely already be dedicated to your well being and will do his best to help you.
In most cases a healthy golden retriever will not have any trouble keeping up with you, as it is possible for some golden to reach speeds up to 35 miles an hour. It’s more likely that he’ll have to scale back for you in order to keep a good pace. Golden retrievers can also run for long distances, and if they are conditioned gradually, they can even run marathons.
Consider the Health and Maturity of Your Dog
Even young golden retriever puppies will likely be more than willing to run with you, but a young pup may have some trouble staying in his ane. If you intend on running with your golden retriever puppy eventually, it is best to start with regular walks and work in short bursts of running or jogging with your puppy on his leash.
As he gets older, he will get used to the routine and it is likely he will even learn to run beside you, off leash, by the time he is two years old.
Regardless of the age of your golden retriever, there is always the possibility that he will develop health problems. Three possible health issues could potentially affect your dog’s ability to run with you; epilepsy, cancer, and hip/elbow dysplasia.
When a golden retriever has epilepsy, it will show itself as seizures. If this happens to your dog, clear a space around them to keep them safe and have their condition evaluated by a veterinarian and follow their recommendations.
Depending on the severity of their condition, they may be able to go on short runs with you that are close to your home or vehicle. If they do have a seizure, they will likely need to rest afterward. They will also appreciate you staying close by, so be prepared to cut your run a bit short if they need you.
Unfortunately, cancer is more common in golden retrievers than in many other breeds of dogs, Because of this, their average life span has declined over the years. The breed was once expected to live nearly 16 years, and now it is more typical for them to pass around age 12.
It is important to pay attention to your dog’s attitude and body language as they run with you. Do they seem to be slowing down? Are they less enthusiastic about heading out the door? Are they more apt to whimper and mope during their relaxing time? Are there changes in their eating patterns?
If any of these things happen, cancer may be a possibility. Cancer can spread either slowly or rapidly, and it is always best to treat as soon as possible in order to give the best chance of remission. Review your running routine with your dog’s veterinarian so you can learn to work within your dog’s limitations.
Golden retrievers love to be active and it is likely they will do their best to keep up, even if they are hurting, so it is important to pay attention and look for signs of hip or elbow dysplasia.
If you notice your dog is favoring one leg over another, or seems stiff or slowed down, they should be evaluated by their veterinarian. The vet will be able to review options with you on how much you will need to limit your dog’s activity as well as treatment options that may be available to you.
If your dog is a senior, it doesn’t necessarily mean he has any of these conditions, but it is always good to pay attention to any clues that your dog needs a break and be flexible in your routine.
Staying Safe on Your Run
Last, but not least, it is always important that you and your golden retriever stay safe on your runs. Before taking your buddy along, review the path to assure that it goes through a safe neighborhood that isn’t likely to be littered with broken glass or other things that are potentially dangerous.
The double coat of a golden retriever makes him relatively resistant to the elements, but overheating or frostbite are not unheard of. Be sure to carry a small bag with you that has water for you both, and possibly a few treats.
A small first aid kit that will allow you to tend to any potential scrapes or wounds is also a good idea, and of course, carry plenty of bags for cleaning up any messes your golden retriever might make along the way.