When Can My Puppy Go On Walks?

One of the joys of dog ownership is taking them for walks around your neighborhood. Daily walks are part of an enjoyable routine for many people and their lucky dogs, something both look forward to every day. You could even go so far as to say that walking the dog is an American tradition.

Of course, a new puppy might not be able to walk around the block, at least not yet. Puppies, like children, are vulnerable to all sorts of risks in the outside world. Glass, germs, insects, and other dogs pose a significant risk for a small puppy, all of which are typically encountered on the average walk.

I was walking my furry friend the other day, thinking about what it was like when they first arrived in my home, all small and vulnerable (and ridiculously cute). That reminded me of a question I hear from many of my readers and clients, one that resounds deeply for millions of dog owners; when can my puppy go on walks?

The answer that I’ve seen most often is that you should wait until at least two weeks after your puppy’s final vaccination booster. Once they’ve had that shot, they should be well protected and ready to explore the neighborhood with you. Generally, that’s between 16 to 18 weeks of age, although it can vary depending on your puppy and your vaccinations schedule.

Now that you know your puppy can go on walks after their final vaccination booster, it’s a sure bet you have other questions as well. For example, how far can you go for a walk when they first start. When to start leash training is also a great question.

For the answers to those questions and several more, please keep reading! I’ve collected all sorts of real-world, actionable info for you below on when and where to walk your precious pup! If going for walks with your fur baby makes you feel good all over, the information below will help you make it happen.

When to Start Leash Training Your Puppy

Although it might seem surprising, many puppies can start leash training as early as four to six weeks old! They might not completely understand what’s happening, but they will still be game for the challenge. Of course, some puppies and dog breeds need more time to mature than others and will need more time before you can start walking them.

Also, many folks don’t adopt their puppy until they’re 8 weeks of age or older. That’s not a problem, per se; it just means that you won’t be able to start leash training until then. (It’s hard to leash train a puppy that’s not in your home and under your care, I think you’ll agree.)

Some of the things you can start doing with your puppy to get them used to their leash include the following:

  • Use a small, lightweight collar and a very light leash. Heavy, rigid collars and heavy leashes could cause them stress and frustration.
  • Put on their new collar and attach the leash. Then, let your puppy drag it around the house. While they do so, praise them and give them a treat or two for positive reinforcement. 
  • If your pup becomes tired or bothered by the leash, take it off. You can try again later the same day or the next day. That way, they won’t have a negative connection with their leash.
  • Take your time and be patient. Puppies, like children, need time to get accustomed to new things and know what’s happening. Rushing them can cause them to become frightened and frustrated (and it’s not much fun for you as their puppy parent, either).

How Far Can My Puppy Walk?

The thing about puppies is that being very young, somewhat fragile, and easy to tire, you don’t want to walk them too far, at least not in the first days and weeks after you’ve adopted them. One of the best rules-of-thumb that I’ve seen for walking puppies is that they can walk for about 5 minutes for every month of their current age. 

However, one caveat is that you need to start this rule of thumb once your puppy has reached 8 weeks of age. Luckily, this coincides with the age at which many puppies are adopted. Using this rule, you can walk an 8-week old puppy every day for about 10 minutes. 

You can undoubtedly walk your puppy longer if they are up for the challenge, but you shouldn’t push them to go much further if they’re showing signs of boredom, frustration, or fatigue. Once they do, it’s time to put the brakes on, as it were, and stop walking them for that day.  

How Far Can My Puppy Walk at 12 Weeks?

Using the rule of thumb I discussed earlier, you can walk a 12-week old puppy for approximately 15 minutes. 

How Far Can My Puppy Walk at 4 Months?

A 4-month-old puppy can be walked for about 20 minutes, more or less, before they become tired, frustrated, or bored.  As they get older, you’ll find that your puppy will naturally want to go on longer and longer walks.

How Far Can My Puppy Walk at 6 Months?

At six months, your precocious puppy should be able to walk for 30 minutes. Like I mentioned earlier, you’ll notice that they like walking and want to walk further the older they get. If they do, go for it! Puppies, like kids, need exercise, and it’s a great way to help them sleep through the night.

How Far Can My Puppy Walk at 1 Year?

Once your puppy has reached one year of age, you should easily be able to take them out for an hour’s walk without any problems. At this point, if they’ve had all their vaccinations, you can walk them to your local dog park and then let them off the leash to have some fun with other dogs.

How Often Should I Walk my Puppy?

Determining how often to walk your puppy isn’t rocket science, but it isn’t exactly easy, either. One of the best ways is to base their walks on their toilet training schedule. For example, every time they go out for a potty break, you can treat that as a little walk. 

Put on your pup’s leash and take them for a stroll around your yard, garden, or to the end of your driveway and back.  As they get older and learn to go potty more quickly, your walks can become longer each time.

Once they are near adulthood, a good rule of thumb is to take your puppy out for a walk once a day at least. However, more intelligent, active breeds like retrievers will benefit from two or three walks a day, so keep that in mind when you’re adopting a new puppy.

Final Thoughts

In answer to the question “when can my puppy go on walks?” you can start walking them at about 16 to 18 weeks of age. Some puppies might need a little bit more time and some less, but 16 to 18 weeks is just about right. (It also should coincide with their vaccination schedule.)

At that point, they should be eager to go outside with you, and training them with a leash should be less complicated. You should take them on walks every time you let them out for potty training, also, although those walks will be relatively short.

Did you enjoy today’s blog about when to start walking your puppy? I hope you did and that it gave you the answers you are seeking today. If you have more or want to learn more about raising your precious new puppy, please see my other blogs. They’re filled with real-world information that can be invaluable when raising a puppy and help ensure that your precious puppy becomes a healthy, well-adjusted, and happy adult dog.