Every dog should have a daily walk, these walks should start as soon as you bring your puppy home. These outings will give your puppy opportunities for socialisation and training to prepare them for all the things life has to offer. Daily walks also have the added benefit of redirecting energy in to more appropriate avenues which will make your puppy easier to manage at home. You should make an informed decision regarding socialisation and puppy immunity before walking your puppy.
You may find that as soon as you start walking with your puppy on lead they stop walking and refuse to come with you. This is normal puppy behaviour, all you should do is allow your puppy the time to absorb their surroundings, remember that all of this is new to your puppy and they need time to adjust to all of the sights, sounds and smells of the real word. Walking your puppy in these early stages is all about time rather than distance covered.
During your walks when your puppy comes across anything that may be noisy or frightening you should begin feeding them to create a positive association with the object, person or animal. This is called classical conditioning and should continue at least until your puppy reaches social maturity at three years of age. Allow your puppy to observe people, objects and animals from a far to allow them to get comfortable with unfamiliar things. By the time your puppy is five months old they will be a master at approaching new things and will have developed confidence in many situations.
Too many people go about puppy walking the wrong way around. They keep their puppy quarantined for several weeks then when it is time to begin walking they flood their puppy with unfamiliar things creating anxiety and undesirable behaviour. You should take your puppy out early but take it slowly, only progressing to busier areas when you see confidence in your puppy.
During your walks you will come across other dogs, this is a great opportunity for some dog-to-dog socialisation. Ask the approaching person if their dog is friendly enough to say hello to your puppy. Allow your puppy to approach at their own pace, you might even like to walk with the person and their dog for a little while, this is a great way to build confidence in your puppy because the other dog will be distracted during the walk allowing your puppy to spend some low intensity time with another dog. The best dogs to get your puppy around are older calmer dogs who will not get in your puppy’s space too much which can be overwhelming for a new puppy.
Take your time walking your new puppy, sit down with them and enjoy all of the things that pass you by. Walking at this stage with your puppy is all about their development and creating positive experiences with the world around them.