Small brown Cockapoo puppy laying down in a field for YuMOVE US.

Puppy walking tips - all you need to know

Bringing a new puppy home and thinking about your first walks together? Read our puppy walking tips for everything you need to know.

The first walks with your new puppy will contribute to their physical and mental well-being as well as their socialization and the beginning of their daily exercise. Happy, healthy pups develop into… well, happy, healthy adult dogs. You can help support your pup’s joint health with our range of YuMOVE supplements especially designed for puppies and young dogs. Here are our ten top tips to help dog walkers on their first puppy walking expeditions.

Small black puppy on leash in a field for YuMOVE US.

1) Ensure your young dog has all their puppy shots before walking

This is less of a top tip, and more of an important reminder/necessity! As soon as you bring your puppy home from your rescue shelter or breeder, you should head to the vet for a check-up and to get their immunizations started.

Puppies are usually vaccinated against parvovirus, distemper, rabies and hepatitis – but check with your vet. These shots are vital – all of these diseases are potentially fatal, and very expensive to treat if your new puppy gets sick.

If your pup will spend time with other dogs – in kennels or at doggy day-care – consider kennel cough and canine parainfluenza immunization too.

However, before your puppy’s vaccinations are complete, you can still use your backyard for potty training and to begin puppy collar and leash training.

Chocolate labrador puppies feeding together for YuMOVE US.

2) Start socializing your puppy early with other dogs & new locations

Your pup can start experiencing the world by being carried around with you in a bag, even before you begin your puppy walks. This is important as puppies are most open to new experiences and learning new things between the ages of 4-12 weeks. You want them to be confident when you eventually start walking.

Be careful not to over-stimulate or overwhelm your puppy at first – and remember that puppy bladders are small!

White puppy with yellow collar sitting on a wooden deck waiting from YuMOVE US.

3) Get puppy leash-training!

Leash training your puppy is an important step and doing some prep can help make that first walk be a little less daunting for a young pup.

Collars and leashes feel strange at first, so introduce them gradually, well in advance of their first walks, around the house, during the day.

Once your pup is happy and used to the collar you'll want to add a short piece of string or ribbon where you would attach the leash. Let your pup run around and get used to the sensation. You can lengthen the string over time and then swap for their first leash when they're comfortable.

Remember to keep it fun and positive, so they see the leash and collar or harness as the start of good things!

4) Puppy walking at puppy’s pace

Go somewhere quiet and let your puppy take their time walking, smelling and exploring. Some puppies will be super-excited to discover the world, while others will be less outgoing. Let your puppy guide the speed and let them stop, sniff and explore.

Remember to give lots of positive encouragement and reassurance. Make sure it’s an enjoyable experience that your puppy wants to repeat!

5) Don’t walk too far!

The temptation is always going to be getting out as often as possible. However, it’s important to remember that your puppy needs to build up slowly to longer walks to protect their growing joints and avoid causing damage later in life.

We've made a table to help with this – it can be a bit confusing! Take a look below at the table for how much walking your pup needs depending on their age:

How far to walk your puppy depending on its age table

6) Protect your puppy’s joints

By avoiding over-exercising, you’ll prevent damaging your puppy’s joints. What’s more, large breeds and breeds prone to joint challenges later life should be discouraged from rough play, running up and down stairs, or jumping on and off furniture to avoid accidental injuries. This also extends to walks – keep things relaxed and not too rough-and-tumble!

7) Focus on positive learning

From buses to babies to men with beards… it’s a big world out there, and your pup needs your help to make sense of it. Think about everything your pup will experience as an adult. And then, make sure your pup experiences these things in a positive way – lots of puppy treats and play.

When it comes to introducing younger members of the family, never leave children and dogs unsupervised. And encourage little ones to only ever touch the dog or puppy with one hand. This stops children from hugging dogs, which is one of the top causes of stress in child/canine interactions.

Puppy Cocker Spaniel sitting down in a field waiting for YuMOVE US.

8) Meet other dogs, but stay in control

It’s important that your puppy meets other dogs, but it’s equally important to make sure experiences are positive ones. Always talk to other dog owners before letting your puppy approach – not all dogs are happy to mix with others, especially if your puppy is very bouncy and playful.

9) Invest in a long line leash while your puppy learns recall

Letting your puppy off-leash is a big step. We'd recommend keeping control using a long line leash while you work on recall (coming back when called), but if your puppy is playing this won't always be practical. A great alternative is finding a safe, enclosed place to play, like a special dog area of the park… or hosting a puppy party in your backyard!

10) Get help early on to tackle any problems

It’s possible that your puppy may have a negative experience when out early on. After all, there’s only so much we can control as dog owners. If something not-so-positive happens, depending on how scary the incident is, you might want to talk to a behaviorist to get some advice.

Now you’ve read all our tips for puppy walking its time for the fun bit – spending time with your new puppy and getting out and about with confidence. One of the best things about sharing your life with a dog is the adventures you go on together. From urban rambles and discovering new routes through your local area, through to playing on the beach and getting out and about in your neighborhood, it’s all up for grabs!