3 reasons you don’t need to be walking your puppy

On a walk I saw a runner, with a young pup, no older than 5 months, trailing behind. I know from the direction he came that it would have been at least a 3 mile run. Physical exercise plays an important role in a dog’s life, but here are 3 reasons why your puppy doesn’t need intense exercise and what the pup could be doing instead. 

1 – Theres the popular 5 minutes of physical exercise for every month of the pups life (20 mins walk 4 months, 25 minutes walk 5 months etc). This is so the puppy doesn’t put too much pressure on their developing joints.

Intense exercise such as running off lead is best to be limited to short bursts during the first year (at least) of the pups life. Stair climbing and strenuous activities are better to be avoided during this time too. This is so the dogs body isn’t exposed to too much physical stress which can cause health problems further on in the dogs life. Once the dog has fully developed (it feels like forever when you just wanna get out there enjoying long walks with the dog!) you are free to challenge the dog physically. 

2 – Instead of walking continuously for 20 minutes, you could use these shorter walks as an opportunity to stop regularly to let the puppy sniff around or introduce them to a new object/place/person/dog etc. Letting the pup watch the world go by and practising how to settle in different environments adds a mental challenge and breaks up your walk. Plus it also means you can spend longer than 20 minutes out of the house together!

Or breaking the walks up into smaller walks instead helps encourage toilet training as they then have regular opportunities to do it outside. 

3 – Restricting the dogs amount of time walking doesn’t mean that you can’t play games with your growing pup. Games are a perfect way to teach your dog new behaviours and helps tire them out so they aren’t destructive or hyper active. 

Using a tug toy or something that you can hold on to keeps the dog engaged with you. Playing fetch with a dog at a young age can cause damage to joints because of the high intensity of the run and landing on the ball. Using a toy that you and your dog can interact with limits any intense exercise, and is also a good way of introducing games like finding the toy! 

Although your new dog may seem up for lots of fun, restricting them to begin with will ensure that you have a healthy dog ready to join in on adventures.