Puppy Walking: a Beginner’s Guide

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Just like training your pet to obey simple commands, taking your puppy walking early in their life will make them easier to control once they’re fully grown. It’s also beneficial to their physical and mental wellbeing; exercise and socialising are perfect skills to practice straight away, setting your pet up for a healthy and fulfilled life. Despite all these benefits there are considerable risks. Do you want to walk your puppy but you’re not sure when to start or even where to go? Are you worried about disease or over-exercising your little pooch? If so, keep on reading for our introduction to the risks and benefits of puppy walking.


Your vet will likely tell you not to take your puppy walking until they’ve received their core vaccinations. Depending on when they had their first inoculation, they’ll typically receive their last booster when they’re roughly 16 weeks old. The four main infectious diseases these prevent are:

  • Canine Distemper.
  • Hepatitis.
  • Parvovirus.
  • Leptospirosis.

All these diseases can be fatal, so it’s essential to receive these core vaccinations. There are an alarming number of unvaccinated dogs in the UK but reputable dog boarding and day care facilities will only admit canines that are fully up to date on their vaccinations. If your puppy is stuck at home and particularly full of beans (as most are), they may well drive you up the wall long before they’ve received their final booster. Although we cannot recommend it (and you do so at your own risk), if you desperately want to take your puppy walking then stick to fields and woodlands where they’re less likely to meet other dogs. Likewise, avoid parks and popular paths that are known hotspots with dog walkers.

Collars and Leads

If you’re taking your puppy walking, they’ll obviously need a collar and lead. The best time to introduce these is during positive moments such as playing and feeding. This creates a positive association with the strange new ornament around their neck and makes them less likely to reject it. Slipping on the collar while they’re eating is especially effective; they’ll be so focused on stuffing their faces that they’ll barely even notice. Once they’re happy with their collar, you can also start using the lead. Practice walking your puppy around the house and garden. It’s a great idea to start this as soon as you can; by the time you take them out for their first walk, they’ll be perfectly comfortable with being led around.

Puppy Walking Length

There’s a handy formula for working out how long to take your puppy walking: five minutes per month of age. Therefore, if you take your puppy for a walk after their final booster at 16 weeks of age, twenty minutes is as long as you can safely walk them in one journey. Although their enthusiasm may seem limitless, over-exercise is a real and dangerous risk. At this age, their bones are soft and vulnerable. Their muscles are also not fully developed and can be severely damaged by too much exertion. Remember this formula is not exact and all puppies are different. Think of it more as a limit than a target. Thankfully, no matter the excitement, puppies will generally listen to their bodies and become visibly tired when they’ve had enough. Never push them beyond this; simply carry them home.

Whether you’re taking your puppy walking to the local park or just around your living room, it’s one of the most rewarding ways to bond with your new pet. Looking after a puppy is a full time responsibility but sometimes you’ll find yourself busy at short notice. Here at Doggy Day Care Cornwall, we are experienced in handling dogs of all ages and breeds. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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