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How Far Should You Walk Your Puppy?

Updated on February 10, 2012
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When Rachael isn't in her studio dyeing yarn (her real job), she's called to her passion for writing, and so here she is : )

The Walk

For most people bringing a new puppy into their home, part of the motivation and excitement is about having a wonderful new friend to go on walks with.

It's easy to imagine strolls in the sun with your new pup happily walking beside you.

Although all puppies must have all of their puppy vaccinations done and have had a 10 day incubation period, once this time is up, your puppy is ready to go for it's first walk.

So How Far Can You Walk Puppy?

You can walk a puppy a reasonable distance.

But the question really is, should you?

Puppies who are walked too far, too early, can develop joint, muscle and tendon problems if walked too far, too soon.

Their little bodies are still developing, their bones are still hardening and if you imagine your puppy to basically be 1 year old for each month of age, you could be trying to attempt the equivalent of walking a 3 year old for 45 minutes!

That's a long way!

Rule Of Thumb

A recommended rule of thumb for walking new puppies is to walk them for 5 minutes for every month of age.

If possible, walk them on soft, smooth and flat surfaces.

Slowly increase their walking time by 5 minutes as they tick over into another month of age.

For example, at 4 months walk them for 20 minutes.

When they turn 5 months, add another 5 minutes and walk them for 25 minutes.

Different breeds will have different energy levels but don't ever walk a puppy to the point where it is panting, slowing right down or stopping and sitting or lying down. It is telling you it is exhausted and while this might mean a peaceful few hours for you when you get home, it's not good for the puppy.

Other Exercise Options

If you have a puppy who has a high energy level and is still incredibly active even after a walk, engaging it in other play activities will help to burn some of the excess off.

While you can always go for the trusty fetch and chew toys, mental stimulation will often wear a puppy out just as much as physical activity.

Enjoy engaging your puppy in hide and seek games or games that require periods of concentration and attention, like trying to get a treat out of a hard to access spot (kong toys etc).

Walking your puppy is not the only way to keep them balanced and at a suitable energy level but you with some time, effort, thought and patience you can happily wear a puppy out with pure love.

Beyond 9-12 Months

Once your puppy has more fully developed and it's bones, joints and muscles have strengthened up, you can start to go for longer walks.

Generally this can start between 9 and 12 months, and then beyond.

Larger dogs will be able to walk for longer periods of time (some dogs will happily walk for hours in the right conditions) while smaller dogs are often better off with two shorter walks in a day.

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