Getting a new puppy is a fun and exciting time for most dog owners. You may need to think about many things when getting a new puppy and questions about walking puppies are common for new owners.
If you’ve just brought your first puppy home and are wondering how often they will need walking, there are a few things you may consider before you consider taking them out and about.
Considerations Before You Start Walking Your Puppy
You could think about a few different factors before you start walking your puppy. One of these things is the age of your puppy. While no set age could be considered right or wrong for walking your puppy, it is recommended that they have had all of their vaccinations completed before you take them out.
Vaccinations in puppies tend to be carried out up to around eight to ten weeks of age, so after this could be a good starting point for when you might start walking your puppy. Vaccinations can help to protect your puppy against health problems like parvovirus, which can impact puppies more severely than older dogs.
You may also consider having pet insurance for your puppy before taking them on walks, as dog insurance plans can help cover any accidents that may occur while out walking. If you don’t have pet insurance yet, you could look at insurance for dogs with Everypaw. For dogs, they offer several different levels of Lifetime dog insurance so you can see what kinds of plans are available.
Socializing Your Puppy
It can be helpful to start socializing your puppy before you take them for walks. Socializing them can help puppies to learn about the world around them, and could help prevent any stress from new experiences that can occur when walking a puppy for the first time. Similarly, you should ensure your puppy is vaccinated before you introduce them to any other dogs.
You could socialize your puppy by introducing them to dogs that you know are healthy, and by letting them get used to your home and the people, smells and sounds inside it. It can also be a good idea to socialize them with children and babies if you plan to have a family in the future.
You could consider taking your puppy to socialization classes for puppies, though your puppy usually won’t be able to attend these until their vaccinations are effective.
Dog Walking Equipment
You may need a few items before taking your puppy on their first walk. A collar, harness and lead could be a good place to start (don’t forget the poo bags!). You may end up trying a few different types before you find the right one for your puppy.
It could also be a good idea to get your puppy used to their collar and harness before taking them on their first walk. Letting your puppy wear their collar or harness around the home could help them familiarise themselves with it, and this way you may help prevent any feelings of worry or stress in your puppy by not introducing too much change all at once.
It may also help to get your puppy to use positive reinforcement. This is where you teach your puppy to associate their lead, collar and harness with good experiences. This could be done by giving them treats when you first put them on by playing with your puppy or just a good fuss session.
Your Puppy’s First Walk
Different dog breeds can have different needs when it comes to walking so it may be a good idea to take the first walk slowly and let your puppy have plenty of time to investigate the new sounds and smells around them.
You may wish to take it slowly, to begin with, and get a feel for how long your dog enjoys walks. The Kennel Club recommends five minutes of walking for each month of age. You could consider this as a possible starting point when deciding how long you will walk your puppy.
How Often To Walk Your Puppy
How often you walk your puppy can depend on a number of different factors including their age, size, weight and breed. For example, if you have high-energy breeds like Belgian Malinois puppies, more frequent and longer walks may be required. For many dog breeds, they may be unlikely to need much walking during their puppy months, as many puppies tend to use up a lot of energy at home playing.
Puppies will likely need to go to the toilet frequently, so taking them outside for bathroom breaks could be one way to help them get some fresh air and new experiences. You could take them out into your garden or for a few very short walks per day. This may often be down to your puppy’s preference and your schedule.
Starting with two short walks per day can be a good first step, once your puppy is getting older they may need more exercise. It may be a good idea to monitor your puppy to see if they are getting enough or too much exercise.
Being Aware Of Over-Exercising
During the first year of your puppy’s life, their bones and muscles are growing and strengthening. This can mean that during their puppy months, there may be a risk of over-exercising, which can cause damage to a puppy’s bones and joints. So it may be a good idea to leave any long walks until your puppy is older.
If in doubt, you could consider consulting a vet on how to avoid over-exercising and get advice tailored to your dog’s specific needs.
It may be a good idea to supplement your puppy’s walks with playing as exercise. If you are getting a puppy that is leaving their littermates, you could take over the role that your puppy’s siblings would have played – playing and working off some of that boundless puppy energy.
You may also wish to get your puppy some toys to help develop his brain and keep them entertained.
Getting a puppy can be a truly joyous time. Preparation could be beneficial when it comes to getting a puppy and giving them the best life possible. You may often need to proceed using trial and error when looking for the best walking routine for your new puppy.