When you begin taking your pup out for walks aim to educate rather than strenuously exercise him — getting out will allow you to begin to introduce more new sights and sounds.
Long walks aren’t a good idea and can stress growing joints and muscles leading to future health problems; a 10 or 15-minute stroll two or three times a day will be plenty for most dogs until at least six months old (older for large breeds), when you can gradually increase the length of time you’re out for.
Some leads have poo bag dispensers built into them. If not, tie a couple of bags to the puppy’s lead each time you go out, or wear a waist bag with some in so they are always handy when needed.
Walk within the law
When you acquire a puppy, you will not only be taking on a new pet but certain legal responsibilities too. The main points to be aware of include:
- Every dog in a public place must wear a collar bearing the owner’s name and address.
- Dog fouling is illegal in many places — as well as causing a lot of antidog feeling. Don’t forget to carry poo bags when out and about so you can clean up after your pet, otherwise if you get caught you could end up with a fixed penalty fine.
- When out for walks, bear in mind that although you and your dog have a right to walk along public footpaths, this right does not extend to allowing him to wander on to adjoining land — it’s up to you to keep him on the path.
- When on any enclosed land containing livestock your dog should be kept under close control and as to what constitutes close control can be something of a grey area, it’s best to keep him on a lead. There can be severe penalties if he worries livestock — and the term covers not just inflicting actual physical injury but also chasing. Remember you shouldn’t allow him to chase wildlife either.
- Insurance is not legally necessary, but if your dog causes an accident or injury and you don’t have third party insurance cover you could find yourself personally liable.
- Since April 2016, legally all dogs in England (March 2015 in Wales) must be microchipped; failure to chip your dog could incur a fine.