Top Tips for walking your Puppy

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dog-785193_640 Top Tips for walking your Puppy

Many people who have not had a dog before ask me about dog-proofing their home and what tips I can give them to keep their puppies safe and ensure they become healthy adults. Like children, a lot of what happens during their puppy years can affect their well-being when they get older.

One of the best things about owning a dog is not only the love and affection they will bring you but also going out and enjoying walks and the great outdoors together – Finchley is an excellent area for dog owners as it offers lots of different walking opportunities.

Below are some of my Top Tips for Walking Your Puppy


It is important to ensure your dog is fully vaccinated before taking him on his adventure. If you got your puppy from a rescue centre, the chances are they would have had their vaccinations and be microchipped, but it is essential to check this with the rescue centre. It is worth contacting your local vet for a puppy package.

Generally, dogs are vaccinated against parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis and adenovirus 1 and 2. Whilst you may think it is an unnecessary expense, it is not. These are vital jabs, and any of these diseases can be fatal.

It is also worth considering kennel cough.

While waiting for your dogs to complete their vaccinations, it is still possible to start your lead training.     Why not  introduce a light  collar and some string and walk around the house and garden

Early socialising is beneficial.

Although you cannot take your new friend out for a walk on a collar/harness and lead, you can still help socialise them and experience the great outdoors and get used to new noises, etc. by carrying him around outside or simply just sitting in your front garden watching the world go pass.

It is important to remember that puppies are like sponges, so simple things like this will help him be more confident when you start his adventures.

However, it is important to ensure you don’t overwhelm your puppy. Start with short trips, ideally after mealtimes, so they can also combine it with a toilet trip.

Some suggested trips could be visiting friends and family or maybe the café whilst you sit outside with a coffee.

As with babies, puppies need to learn how to communicate with you and about day-to-day life. Therefore, they must be slowly introduced to things like traffic going past, and other things we tend to take for granted as a puppy will be scary.

If you require help with this, we can help with puppy socialising walks here at Finchley Dog Walker.

Training Your Puppy

 Dog Training is especially important. After all, you will hopefully have many happy years together. Therefore, before letting your dog off the lead, it is important to make sure they respond to basic commands, especially “Sit” and “Come.” And “leave it.”. Training needn’t be a tedious task and can be fun. There are lots of 3-minute games you can play with your dog that will teach key things such as proximity. These include “Love My Name”, “Leash off, Party On”, “Magic Hand”, and “Middle to name a few. As a dog walker and h=games-based trainer, I can devise a game package and take you through them.

Collar and lead

Getting your dog used to his collar and lead is a very important step and does not come naturally to your puppy.   You may think walking on a lead comes naturally, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Preparing early can make that first walk with your puppy far less daunting for a young puppy.

It is important to remember that when you first put a collar on your new dog, it will feel strange. It is, therefore, important to slowly introduce a small light collar (or harness). This is best done by making it a positive experience.

When you first put the collar on, feed treats to your pup so it is a positive experience. Take the collar off and repeat once you get to the stage where your dog happily comes up when he sees the collar or harness. Don’t expect this to happen overnight, so patience is required.

After a while, you can add a tiny bit of wool or something similar to the collar as if you are attaching a lead, so they get used to having a lead attached.

Once your puppy has gotten used to the short piece of wool attached to its collar, it’s time to add a longer piece of string to the collar. Once your dog has got used to walking around the house and exploring with the string attached to his collar, gently pick it up and follow them around the house and garden, holding the string, rewarding them as you go.

After doing this for a couple of days, it is time to swap the string for a lightweight lead. Leave your favourite dog toy at home.

Walking at the puppy’s pace.

When it is time to start going out for short walks, it is essential to remember that it is his walk, and you need to be at his speed. As mentioned in our article, providing quality walks let your puppy explore the world and be allowed to sniff all the new and exciting smells.

When out on walks with your dog, you must provide lots of encouragement and reassurance as the outside world can sometimes be overwhelming, so imagine what a small puppy must be feeling. If it gets too much, provide lots of reassurance and head home. Going for a walk should be fun and one of the highlights of the day, as well as an opportunity to socialise.

Finally, when you go for your first walk, ensure you have plenty of treats, poo bags to pick up his toilet, and patience.

Start of gently

As with any new exercise routine that humans start, it is important to start slowly. Although the temptation of going out for lots of walks with your puppy. DON’T.

In order to protect their joints later in life, they need to build up muscles and tissue, etc., gently. As this can vary from breed to breed, I would.

I would always recommend checking with your vet how much exercise they can have, but as a general rule, the Kennel Club’s recommendations and guidance are as follows.

“A good rule of thumb is a ratio of five minutes exercise per month of age (up to twice a day) until the puppy is fully grown, i.e. 15 minutes (up to twice a day) when three months old, 20 minutes when four months old etc. Once they are fully grown, they can go out for much longer.”

Meet and greet in a controlled manner.

One of the biggest rewards a dog can get is the chance to be able to run off lead and explore. Part of this will involve meeting and greeting other dogs, so ensuring this is a positive experience is important.

Before approaching any dog with your excitable puppy, it is best to ask the owners to ensure it is okay. Not all dogs like an excited and bouncy puppy coming up to them – especially older dogs.

If it is fine to approach, do so for a short time so it is a positive experience for your puppy.

When out on walks, you may come across dogs with a yellow jumper or coat, which is part of the “Give me space” campaign and should be respected and allowed to have space. And you may find that your puppy gets growled out, which will be scary for the pup.

Using a long line during training.

Letting your puppy off-lead is a big step. The chances are your puppy probably won’t have the best recall, and as a result, we would suggest that you use some kind of long line until your dog comes back when you call their name or whistle. Sometimes, this is not practical, especially when your dog is playing, as there is a high danger of getting tangled and hurt. If your dog wants to play, then try and make sure you find a safe place, like an enclosed place for dogs in the park.

Sometimes, our dog will be too excited to come back to you, especially when playing. One thing to try (which usually works for me)  is to run quickly in the other direction, and it is almost guaranteed that your puppy will be curious about the strange game you are playing and come running after you.

The trick with recall is to be the most exciting thing in the park. As a result, they want to return to you.

Join a dog training school.

When you get your new puppy, I recommend signing up for a puppy class to help with positive experiences of socialising and training.

A dog walkers checklist

Keeping a grab bag prepared for walking your dog is a good idea. This should contain the important items you will need.

  • Poo bags – it is important to remember to take poo bags with you wherever you go with the dog.   Once picked up, please do not leave the bag on the floor or lying around in trees. Please make sure it is disposed of in a safe manner in a bin.
  • Take plenty of treats to reward your dog and help with positive enforcement.
  • Water – it is important to carry water both for you and your dog.
  • Emergency numbers

Other important things to remember.

  • Remember the Country code – when out enjoying the countryside with your dog. You must keep to the country code to keep everybody safe.
  • Make sure your dog has a name tag. Under UK law, you are responsible for ensuring your dog wears a collar (or harness). This must have an ID tag containing your name, address and phone number.
  • Take a look at the Dog Walking Etiquette.
  • We also recommend doing the Good Guardianship online course.

You may also like to read our other puppy-related articles

If you require help with puppy care or dog walking, please check out my pet care services or get in touch via WhatsApp.

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