Bringing home a new puppy is one of the most exciting experiences a pet parent can have and it’s natural to want to show them off to the world. While exercise and socialization are very important for a growing pup, there are a few precautions you should take before going on any outdoor adventures with your new furry family member:
Before you take your pup anywhere, it is important for you to visit your vet and get their immunizations underway. Vaccinations will help protect your pup against harmful, highly contagious and transmissible diseases that can pose a risk to your health, too. Many of these illnesses can be potentially fatal to your pup and very expensive to treat if contracted, so ensure your pup is well-protected before they venture outside.
Start socializing your pup early
Before you take your new furry family member on their first walk, they can start experiencing the world through smaller social interactions like having friends over or toting them around in a doggie carrier. Pups are most adaptable between the ages of 4-12 weeks, so early interactions can introduce them to new sights and sounds and teach them new things. This will ultimately build their confidence for when you start going on walks.
Keep in mind that if your pup meets other dogs during these experiences, make sure they are positive experiences. Beware of older, injured or non-friendly dogs, as they can pose a threat to your little furry friend. Always ask other pet parents before letting your pup approach!
Get your walking supplies
You want to be fully equipped for your puppy’s first walk to ensure everything runs smoothly. Be sure to have all of these essentials ready:
- treats to reward your puppy
- dog waste bags
- a phone for emergencies
- a bottle of water and pop-up doggie bowl
- any doggie apparel if needed
At first, a leash and collar can feel very strange for a pup and the first time you put it on, you may notice that they won’t walk. Slowly introduce a leash and collar by putting it on your dog a few days before your walk for them to get used to the feel of it and become more comfortable walking and moving around with them on.
Focus on positive experiences
With every walk, your puppy is learning and trying to make sense of everything around them. Ensure they experience these things in a positive way through tons of play and treats!
When you notice any undesirable behavior or signs that your pup may be stressed, remove them from the situation. You don’t want to overwhelm your puppy or have them associate walks with anxiety.
Know your pup’s limits
You may be giddy with anticipation at the thought of taking your puppy on their first grand adventure but remember that your puppy needs to start off small and gradually grow into longer walks. At about 4 months after your puppy’s vaccinations, your doggie walks should be about 20 minutes long, twice a day and you can increase it by 5 minutes every month as they grow older. This can help protect their joints and prevent them from overly exerting themselves.
It is essential that you allow your pup to walk at their own pace. Take them somewhere quiet and secluded and let them initially guide the walk, allowing them to them stop, sniff and explore as they please. Soon, they will look forward to walks and bonding time as much as you do!
Can’t get out to walk your pup? Let Dogtopia help! Our state-of-the-art facilities offer exercise and safe socialization for all the pups in our care. Find a location nearest you!