Skip to main content

PawTracks may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

Do these 5 things to safely take a puppy on a walk

Bringing home a new puppy is such an exciting time, so make sure to enjoy every minute of it! The truth is, though, not every minute will be easygoing — you’ll be introducing a young dog to many experiences for the first time, after all.

When can you take a puppy on a walk? Puppies walk well at slightly different ages depending on several factors, but there’s more than age to consider when taking your pup out for his first walk. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about walking a puppy: the best gear, training tips, and more.

Make sure your puppy is vaccinated

Although every dog matures at their own rate, there are a few milestones a puppy should reach before venturing out into the world. Most importantly, are they up to date on all shots? According to Doyalson Animal Hospital, pups should be at least two weeks past their first dose of vaccines, which are generally received at 6–8 weeks old, before going out for a walk.

Until getting their booster shots at 12 and 16 weeks, avoid grasses, wooded areas, and spaces with other dogs (viruses and bacteria all love it here). After all three doses, and at your vet’s discretion, your puppy can start exploring parks and other fun places.

a bichon frise dog wearing a pink harness holds a leaf in their mouth

Have the right gear

Your puppy may be small, but he needs to be kept secured on a leash when out for a walk. You may think you have the upper hand on him, but anything can happen. To be safe, invest in an adjustable harness that can grow with your puppy, as well as a high-quality leash and collar. It’ll take your fur baby a while to get used to wearing anything new, so be patient! Let him try on his harness, collar, etc., for a few minutes while you’re chilling indoors before you graduate to the real thing.

A poop bag holder makes cleaning up after your dog even easier, while a portable water bowl lets your pup stay hydrated anywhere you go. Some puppies need a little extra motivation while out and about, so a treat holder for your dog’s leash will be your best friend.

Don’t overexert your pup

As one can imagine, puppies can’t walk quite as long as their older counterparts can. At the same time, the American Kennel Club notes, no two dogs have the same tolerance for exercise whether or not they’re the same breed or age. When in doubt, shorter bursts of exercise multiple times a day will be less exhausting for your puppy.

Purina reminds pet parents of a good rule of thumb when it comes to walking puppies: The duration of the walk should be five minutes for every month of age your fur baby is. For example, a 3-month-old dog should have 15 minutes of exercise at a time (two times a day is ideal), while a 7-month-old will probably be up for a 35-minute workout.

a shar pei puppy walking on a hot pink leash

Pick the mildest time of day to walk

You wouldn’t want to go for a walk in the blistering heat, would you? Neither would your pup! Keep him in mind when you decide when to go out since the concrete underfoot can be even hotter than the air around you. On the other end of the spectrum, dogs, especially those who have short coats, can be permanently injured by cold exposure.

Although most pet owners don’t live at the North Pole or in the Sahara Desert, it still keeps your dog a lot more comfortable to take walks at the mildest part of the day. If you’re avoiding heat, try walking first thing in the morning or after dinner in the evening, but if you’re trying to stay warm, a midday walk will be your best bet.

Use walks as training

When taking your puppy on his first walk, you won’t have much of a choice but to use the time to train him. One way or another, he’ll need to know you’re in command when the leash is on, but it’s easy to get caught up in his excitement and let him take the lead.

If you’re already training your pup, incorporate obedience commands to help him get in the right mindset. And don’t give in to pulling! Stop where you are when your little one starts to pull, then continue on your way once he has relaxed. Bringing along your pup’s favorite treats is a great way to keep him focused, especially if he’s food motivated for training, too!

Whether or not it’s your first time introducing a puppy to his leash and harness, it can be tricky to know what’s waiting for you. Luckily, now that you have all these insider tips, you can better expect the unexpected. You know what tools you need and what mindset to have — from here on, all it takes is practice, practice, practice!

Editors' Recommendations

Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
How much water should your puppy drink in a day? Here are the factors to consider
Your dog's water intake depends on their age, size, and breed
Labrador puppy drinking from a bowl

Just like with you, drinking water is essential for your dog's good health. You might be surprised to learn that the cuddly bundle of fur you just welcomed into your home is actually made mostly of water. Among other things, water is an essential part of your puppy’s dietary needs. Even a 10% loss of body water can cause serious health complications. So just as it's crucial to observe the frequency of feeding your puppy, it's also important to make sure they are drinking enough. How much water should a puppy drink? It depends on a few factors.

Ideal water intake for a dog
The ideal water intake for a dog depends on their size and activity level. Most experts agree that, on average, a dog should consume 1 ounce of fluid per pound of body weight each day. That means a 45-pound dog should take in about 5.5 cups of fluid on a daily basis. Lactating mothers and puppies need more, as do dogs who are extremely active or live in hot, humid climates.

Read more
This is the ultimate week-by-week puppy training schedule every new pet parent needs
A puppy training schedule to follow
Woman feeds a puppy as the pup gives her his paw

When you first bring home a new puppy, you’ll have so many firsts to look forward to. Some milestones — the first accident, for example — aren’t quite as cute as the others, so that’s why you’ll want to start training with your pup as soon as possible. Understanding puppy training stages will help you break down all your goals into realistic steps, making you and your new best friend more likely to succeed.
Remember, training your pup is just one important aspect of their well-being. Ensure you’re taking care of their diet, health, and happiness, too. Good luck and keep reading to learn about a puppy training schedule.

Here's your ideal puppy training schedule for puppies 8 weeks of age and younger
It’s important to establish a routine as soon as you bring your puppy home. Not only will this ensure that you and your pup have every need met, but it also will let your new dog become more familiar with their environment. As dog trainer Ken McCann said in his YouTube video guide for puppy training, “You’ll be setting them up for success,” especially in potty training. Make sure to supervise while they're outside, too.
Here's another idea: Luring your new pup to you with a delicious treat is a great first step toward bonding and training. At this point, they're working purely on instinct, but they're learning the reward value of treats as well as a praise word — something like “yes” or “good” to let them know they're doing well. Make sure to use this word as you continue training!
This also gets your pup used to working for a treat, which builds motivation and confidence. Negative reinforcement won’t teach anything but a feeling of unease at this age, so it’s a good idea to focus on rewards instead (and always). Now that they know that following you gets that reward, they'll soon be ready to move on to the next stage.

Read more
Are Himalayan dog chews safe for your pet? Know this before you buy
Himalayan dog chews are still trendy, but are they safe for your pup?
A close-up shot of a pug standing in the grass with a bone-shaped treat in his mouth

What do blueberries, kale, and broccoli all have in common? In addition to being delicious, all three are superfoods, labeled by the health food world. Unfortunately, there's no federally regulated definition for the term, but Harvard scientists claim food that "offers high levels of desirable nutrients, is linked to the prevention of a disease, or is believed to offer several simultaneous health benefits beyond its nutritional value" can be labeled superfoods. 

Just like you might add chia seeds to your granola or spirulina powder to your smoothies for additional vitamins and minerals, you also want to make sure your dog's food and treats pack a beneficial wallop. Made famous on Shark Tank, Himalayan dog chews have become one of the most hotly debated treats in the pet food game, which begs the question, "Are Himalayan dog chews as healthy as some people think?"

Read more