The big day is here! You’ve come home with your puppy, he has explored your home and enjoyed his first meal from his brand new feeding bowls. Now let’s get out into the country. I’m taking my puppy for a walk.
Stop! Don’t be in such a hurry. Here are some of the important ground rules that will help you raise a happy puppy.
When can you Start Taking your Puppy for a Walk?
Your puppy is only at the beginning of his growth period at 8 weeks. Smaller breeds (such as dachshunds and Jack Russell Terriers) are fully grown at around 12 months.
Larger breeds such as German Shepherd, Labrador, Doberman still grow until they are about 18 months old. Their joints, bones, and muscles are not yet fully developed at this stage.
Time to Spend Taking your Puppy for a Walk
To keep your puppy healthy and alert, here is a simple rule: Limit your walk to 1 minute per week of your dog’s life.
For a growing puppy, it is better to walk your little friend more often than too long. 4 to 5 times a day of short walks is good. Maybe, in the morning, after meals, and late in the evening.
The longer you know your puppy and the better you observe him, the easier it will be to find out the best times and duration for taking your puppy for a walk.
Sometimes, your puppy needs to walk before he poops. In this instance, it is best to establish a regular time to accommodate him and convenient for you too.
At the start, praise him in a friendly voice. Stroking him and other positive reinforcement help too. Over time, this activity will build a good and regular schedule for both of you.
Once your puppy has grown, you can spend longer time with him outdoors on walks in the neighborhood or dog parks.
But, the question now is how often do you walk your dog?
There is actually no definite answer to this question as it would depend on your dog’s breed, size, age and health condition. as a general rule though, a short walk of 15 minutes for 2-4 times a day is good enough.
A visit to the vet would prove helpful as he would be able to check on your dog and advice you on how long and how often to walk your dog.
Leash, Collar or Harness
In order to get your puppy used to his leash from a very young age, it is recommended that he be walked from “puppy legs” with a collar or harness and lead only. Since a walk is considered by almost every dog as an attraction, you combine these necessities with the positive, which makes it easier for your dog to wear a leash and collar with pride!
Your puppy’s follow-on instinct often makes it very easy to teach him to walk on a lead at this young age.
Please do not use the leash to pull him behind you or to pull him towards you when he sits down stubbornly or pulls on the leash like crazy. Just stand still, wait until he makes eye contact. Then run in the other direction. This way he learns not to pull or sit and is not rewarded.
My Puppy is Afraid in the Open
He’s not alone in this! Your puppy is in a completely new environment and has just left his family behind. Give him time to get used to all this! Let him explore, on his own, little by little.
Do not force him to go outside if he is scared. Maybe you could show that it is safe to go outside by going there yourself and letting him see you. Play outside and allow him to watch you while you are having fun. Eventually, he will try to venture out when he sees that there seems to be no danger on the outside.
Inter Dog Relationships
Puppy protection is, unfortunately, only valid in your own pack. They would have to learn to socialize with other dogs in the neighborhood.
If your neighbor’s dog is on a leash, keep your puppy on a leash as well. If he is free, give both the freedom to greet and sniff each other.
Don’t take your little companion in your arms as soon as you see another dog. This makes him insecure and prevents him from developing a healthy social behavior.
Take note though that the vaccination protection of your puppy is completed in the 12th week. Before that, when taking your puppy for a walk, please limit the contact to other dogs until then to protect him from infectious diseases!
Once you and your puppy are ready, go and explore the outside world!