Top Tips for walking your Puppy

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

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 grow up to be healthy adults. Like children, a lot of what happens during their puppy years can affect their wellbeing 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 a great area for dog owners as it offers lots of different walking opportunities.

Below are some of my Top Tips for Walking Your Puppy

Vaccinations

It is important to make sure that your dog is fully vaccinated before taking him on his adventure proper 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 important to check this with the rescue centre. It is worth contacting your local vet for a puppy package in any event.

As a general rule, 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.

Whilst you are 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 a visit to friends and family or maybe to 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, it is vital that they are slowly introduced to things like traffic going past and other things we tend to take for granted as to 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, it is important before letting your dog off the lead to make sure they respond to basic commands but especially “Sit” “Come.” And “leave it.”

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 that walking on a lead comes naturally, but unfortunately, this is not the vase. And 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, and 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 got 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 the favourite dog toy at home.

Walking at the puppy’s pace.

When it is time to start going out for short walks, it is important to remember that it is his walk, and you need to 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, it is important that you provide lots of encouragement and reassurance as the outside world can sometimes be overwhelming for so imagine what a small puppy must be feeling. If it does start getting too much, then provide lots of reassurance and head for home. Going for a walk should be fun and one f the highlights of the day as well as an opportunity to socialise.

Finally, when you go for your first walk, make sure you have plenty of treats, poo bags to pick 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 gently build up muscles and tissue etc. As this can vary from breed to breed, I would.

I would always recommend checking with your vet as to 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, and so it is important to ensure this is a positive experience.

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

As long as 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 that have a yellow jumper or coat, which is part of the “give me space” campaign and so 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 sone 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 tangles 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 (and usually works for me)  is to run quickly in the other direction to your, and it is almost guaranteed that your puppy will be curious by 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, so 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

It is a good idea to keep a grab bag prepared for walking your dog, and this should contain the important items you will need.

  • Poo bags – it is important to remember to take poo bags with you whenever you go with the dog so that you can pick them up after our dog.  Once picked up, please do not leave the bag on the floor or lying around but ensure it is disposed of in a safe manner in a bin.
  • Take plenty f treats with you for rewarding your dog and to help with the 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 t is important that you keep to the country code to keep everybody safe.
  • Make sure your dog has a name tag – Under UK law, it is your responsibility to make sure that your dog is wearing a collar (or harness) with 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 then please check out my pet care services