For dogs that are eight to 12 weeks old, walking a range of 50 to 200 feet at a time is ideal. You can consider breaking up the walk by allowing the puppy to sniff and noodle around as they take an interest in exploring and getting to know their surroundings. Those who want to perform formal heeling and leash walking training should limit it to two minutes. Once the puppy reaches 12 to 16 weeks of age, you can gradually increase the duration and length of walks now that it’s older. You can begin to walk 100 to 200 feet once the dog reaches 16 weeks of age and work up gradually to the new distance. Allow the puppy to decide when they want to walk further. Stop the walk once they begin to show a bit of resistance and don’t seem interested in moving forward on the trek. All formal training you perform should be kept under two minutes due to the attention span of the puppy.
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By four to six months of age, your puppy is now ready to take longer walks up to 200 to 400 feet at a time as they’ve grown more and have increased endurance. You’ll need to let the puppy communicate when they’re ready to walk farther or if they want to stop due to any resistance they may show. Continue to keep all formal training that you practice with your pet under two minutes for each session for this stage of their development.
By six to 12 months of age, your puppy has now become accustomed to taking walks outdoors. All walks that are performed on the pavement should be kept short because the hard surface can cause excess wear and damage to the dog’s paws. Pavement can also have a high temperature on warm days, which can be uncomfortable for your pooch. If you walk on dirt or turf with your pet, you can have the freedom to walk a farther distance due to the soft surface that is more gentle and cool. This is also the perfect time to begin introducing more hiking-related activities to your dog as they increase their endurance levels and abilities. We recommend sticking to “sniff and strolls” by their first birthday, but you can also try sustained walking for 20 to 30 minutes on a surface that is level and soft if you find your puppy wanting to walk longer distances. Wait for your puppy to volunteer to go that far to ensure they have enough energy and stamina.
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At 12 to 18 months of age, all walks on the pavement still need to be kept short, but you can continue to walk longer distances if you’re hiking on turf or dirt with your pet. Continue to introduce hiking activities that help your dog get proper exercise and allow you to bond together. Keep the walks to “sniff and strolls,” but remember that now is the time to increase the exercise to sustained walking of 20 to 30 minutes. This exercise should be performed on a soft surface that doesn’t have much of an incline and only if the puppy shows that it wants to walk farther.
Once your puppy reaches 18 months to two years, you have the freedom to increase the walks to be as rigorous as you and your dog prefer. Keep in mind that their tissue is still developing until they’re three years of age, so don’t push them too hard and make it a point to plan for breaks where they can rest. All changes in physical activity should be gradual and adjusted if your pup looks tired or ever appears reluctant to walk further.