When to take your puppy for their first walk

When to take your puppy for their first walk image

So, you’ve just brought home your new puppy? Congratulations, things are about to get very fun. Bringing home a fluffy bundle of joy is so exciting, and you probably can’t wait to get out and explore the world with your new pup. 

Although it’s great to introduce your puppy to new places and faces, it’s important that you take precautions to keep your puppy safe. 

 

When is it safe to take my puppy outside?  

Before your puppy spends time with dogs they don’t know, they need to be protected with vaccinations. However, it's also important for the development of young dogs that they are able to get out and explore new environments and meet new dogs and people.  

If your puppy is the only pooch in your home, or you live with dog’s that are up to date with their vaccinations, your puppy can go outside in your garden straight away. It’s good to get your new puppy familiar with their outside space, as this is where they can exercise and start their toilet training. 

For the first 3 months of their life, puppies are extremely curious and receptive to new experiences. After this initial developmental stage, they will start to approach new experiences with caution.

Whilst it is important to let your pup experience different scenarios, they must do this at their own pace. Every puppy is different, and some puppies will need more time and space than others.

Until they’ve been fully vaccinated, carry your puppy around with you when you visit friends and family and take them to public places, such as parks, markets and dog friendly shops and cafes. Bring them on car trips, expose them to different sounds and introduce them to livestock from a safe distance. 

Your puppy should only walk in public places when they’ve been fully vaccinated and you’ve been given the green light by your vet. 

 

When can I take my puppy for proper walks?

So, you’ve socialised your pup and safely introduced them to lots of friendly faces and interesting spaces, and they’ve just had their second jab; is it time to put on your wellies and head out into the big wide world? 

Not so fast! It’s always best to speak to your vet and follow their advice, but as a rule of thumb, you’ll be able to take your puppy out for a walk around 2 weeks after their second jab. 

Until the vaccinations have had time to take full effect and protect your pup, they are still susceptible to picking up infectious diseases. Dangerous viruses, such as parvovirus and distemper can be easily picked up by puppies, as they spend lots of time sniffing licking, due to their inquisitive nature.  

After speaking with your vet and following their guidance, you can take your puppy outside for walks in public places. Meeting new dogs and seeing lots of exciting things for the first time can be tiring, so short walks of around 15 minutes will be enough to start with. You can steadily increase the time that they are out for as they get bigger.

 

How often should I take my puppy for walks?

Puppies don’t need as much exercise as you might think. Even though they have bursts of energy throughout the day, they need much less exercise than fully grown dogs. Puppies can develop joint problems if they are over-exercised whilst they are still growing, and their bones are still developing.  

As a rough guide, you should allow five minutes of exercise for every month old they are, so if your pup is 3 months old, take them out for 15 minutes. However, this can vary depending on the breed. They can go out up to twice a day, and once they are fully grown, they will be able to go for much longer walks.

Because everything will be new for your puppy, it’s a good idea to give them some experience of walking with a lead and harness. Practice makes perfect, and you can do some training in the garden. Be patient and give them lots of praise and tasty treats for good behaviour. 
 

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