Walkies! The magic word that will make your pup’s head whip around in excitement. Enjoying walks together will be one of the top memories you’ll have – bet you can’t wait to start.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – it might not be as soon as you think. Sorry to be party poopers, but your long walks on the beach might have to wait a little longer! The best things come to those who wait anyway, right?
In this article, we’re going to tell you all about when you can take your puppy for a walk and how best to go about it. The big wide world is, well, big and wide carrying all sorts of new and pretty daunting things for your young pup. Taking things steady will be a great way to take on the world on a high note.
Let’s get started!
So…when can you take your puppy for a walk?
When can puppies go for walks, is there something that’s stopping them? Yep – vaccinations! New puppies need to be protected from infections and vaccinations build up their immunity. There are a couple of core puppy vaccinations you’ll need to bug your pup with which you can find in our article here. Your vet will also know about them, we’re sure…hopefully.
Generally, your pup will have had their first shot with the breeder, and will need their second dose usually at 12 weeks old. After that, you’ll have to wait another 2 weeks before your pup is safe to go out into the world. Make sure to double check all this with your breeder and vet since different vaccines are used in different regions.
Vaccinations protect against all sorts of illnesses; some sadly fatal (like Parvovirus),so it’s really not worth taking any chances. We know you’re dying to show off your puppy to your neighbours, but only safety first will help make it happen – oops, were we too blunt?
What age can I walk my puppy
If your puppy’s second vaccine was at 12 weeks, you’ve then (very patiently, we know) waited a further 2 weeks for the protection to really kick in. Then, in theory, you should be able to walk your puppy from around 14 weeks old. Again, let your vet confirm this since it depends on the particular shots your pup has had.
If your puppy is still missing some core vaccines, you can opt to take your pup out in a carrier, stroller or simply carry them (if your arms allow you to) to show them the outside world. It will make those first walks much less daunting for them for when they’re finally able to get their paws on the street.
So. Now that your puppy is vaccinated and you’ve treated yourself to brand new walking boots and enough outdoor gear to make you look like a yeti, you’re ready and raring to go on those long walks you’ve been dreaming of. But…sorry to dampen your mood, you now need to consider your puppies joints!
Puppies’ joints are soft and underdeveloped; you know how they’re sort of bound around all floppy? That’s because of their soft unfused joints. For now, let’s keep long walks a while away yet as these joints develop. One of the best rules to follow is 5 minutes of walking per month of age (maximum of twice a day), so a 3 month old pup 15 minutes twice a day, 4 months old 20 minutes twice a day, and so on until they reach adulthood.
Don’t worry, long hikes will come soon enough; just got to wait a little longer.
Tips for your puppies first walk
Now that questions about when to take your puppy for a walk are covered, we’ll hop over to good tips about getting started on walks for the first time. There’s a whole world to explore after all, so let’s get cracking.
Short and Sweet
Keep the early walks short – they’ll be sweeter. Don’t expect to get very far at all by the way, you might not even make it to the end of your drive or the bottom of your street. There’s just so much for your pup to take in, so to make everyone happy, go at their pace not yours.
Treats and Praise
Take plenty of treats and give your pup loads of praise along the way. With so much out there to discover, it will take time to get pups used to walking peacefully without yanking stops or sprints to the prettiest squirrel – If you didn’t know it yet, treats will be your safest bet for puppy training – no doubt.
Stop, Start, Stop, Start
This is pretty much how the first few walks will look like. Your pup might sit down, plod along, go back to a sit and observe, and look at you for support. Try to encourage them along with treats and praise to help them through their first moments in the world! Oh, and don’t try and pull them along with the lead, it simply won’t do anything useful.
Practice makes perfect
Practicing loose lead walking at home or in your garden loads will be a great way to look forward to peaceful, long walks. They won’t happen overnight – that’s for sure! While you wait for those all important vaccinations, practicing will make perfect. It’s never too early to start cracking on with that. If you need extra help, our training guides in the app are a fabulous resources you can use.
Ah, yes – it all starts with your mind. If you’re feeling relaxed and positive, you’ll already be helping to make all the experiences your puppy will encounter like other dogs, friendly people and novel sights and sounds in their early days feel positive – memories which will stay with them till they’re adults.
Use a long lead to practice recall and to prepare for off lead walks (ooh, exciting!). By long lead, we mean a training line that is, not a retractable lead, since puppies can injure themselves on those.
Was that too many words to explain when you can walk your puppy? Nah, you’ll be fine. Don’t forget to pair it with puppy socialisation training! Best thing is that you don’t have to wait until they’ve had all their shots to start the socialisation process. If you already want to prepare even further, you might want to read our article on puppy loose lead training…also, kudos to you for being an active puppy parent.
In our app, our team of Puppy experts will love to help you get on the road (or pavement) with your pup as quickly as possible. Once you’re both the kings and queens of the streets, you might want to consider off-lead walking – don’t worry, our experts will guide you along that one… we know the thought of loosening those apron strings can be a daunting one. For more information see our Zigzag app.