You can begin taking your puppy outside and walking them once their vaccination course is complete – somewhere usually between 8 – 12 weeks.
What age can puppies start to go outside?
It is important not to expose vulnerable pups to potentially dangerous diseases, but you can begin taking your puppy outside and walking him once his vaccination course is complete — usually around 8 – 12 weeks.
This will generally be a week or so after your pup has completed his course, but circumstances may vary depending on the individual puppy, so always check with your vet before going ahead.
Until then, your pup can explore your garden, provided it is safe, enclosed, and not visited by unvaccinated dogs.
Can my puppy go outside before vaccinations are completed?
When you first get your puppy, he will probably not have had his second vaccination. However, even though he won’t have finished his course of vaccinations, it’s important to work on socialisation and habituation. You can still take your puppy to a variety of places, such as the school gates, local market, a dog-friendly pub, or a summer fete, so he can experience new sights and sounds and meet new people. Importantly though, when out and about, you should always carry your puppy until after his second vaccination (your vet can tell you when) so that he isn’t exposed to any nasty diseases in areas where unvaccinated dogs may have visited. If you visit friends, who have a private, enclosed garden and whose dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations, you needn’t worry, and can let them socialise for a while.
Preparing your puppy for their first walk
When the time comes to start going out for walks, as well as traffic, your pup will meet all manner of new and odd looking objects; you may take them for granted but he might find some alarming at first. You can begin to prepare him for these while practising your lead walking skills at home by setting up a ‘confidence course’ in the garden. You can use all sorts of objects: dustbins and filled dustbin bags, plastic cones, plastic bottles, ladders, poles, boards, plastic sheeting, trays filled with gravel, door mats, tyres — anything you can think of in fact!
Start with a few different things and move them so they aren’t always in the same place and gradually introduce new ‘obstacles’. If you don’t have much space simply rotate the ones you use. Walking around and over a variety of objects and surfaces will help to boost your pup’s confidence, increase his experience, help improve his balance, and develop his self control. This will make it easier for him to cope with anything out of the ordinary when he starts venturing further afield and also helps keep lead walking lessons at home interesting and stimulating for both of you.
Pups learn things most easily before 12 weeks of age so should be exposed to as many different experiences as possible. Over-exercise at this stage can lead to joint problems. 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.
When can puppies go outside?- Recap
- They can start to go outside once their vaccination course is completed, usually around 8-12 weeks.
- Always check with your vet before taking your puppy out on their first walk.
- Your pup can explore your garden, provided it is safe, enclosed, and not visited by unvaccinated dogs before they have finished their course.
- It’s important to work on socialisation and habituation by taking your puppy to a variety of places, such as the school gates, local market, however, you should always carry your puppy until after his second vaccination.
- You can prepare your puppy for their first walk by practicing lead walking skills in the garden using household objects to set up a confidence course.
- When you go on your first walk make sure it's only a short distance so not to stress your puppy's joint and muscles whilst they are growing.