You might think it’s safe and a good thing to take your puppy out on a walk the day he comes home, but you couldn’t be more wrong. That one walk outdoors can potentially kill him!
When Can You Start Walking Your Puppy Safely?
Veterinarians agree and recommend that puppies are kept away from parks, streets, and sidewalks until they have been completely vaccinated. All core vaccinations and the final rabies booster shot are only complete after the puppy reaches 16 weeks or 4 months. And, this depends on how early the process is started.
Here are a few examples of potentially fatal diseases that core vaccines can prevent. Remember to follow the schedule to ensure your puppy is immunized. If boosters are required, they must be administered accordingly and within the time limitations to avoid the loss of the priming effect. If this is lost, you’ll have to start over.
- DAPP – This vaccine protects dogs from either life-long problems or life-threatening diseases.
2. Rabies – This vaccine protects the central nervous system from a viral disease that’s dangerous to other dogs and humans too! It will take 2 weeks for the booster shot to take effect.
3. Non-Core Vaccines – These vaccines protect against debilitating diseases like Kennel Cough (which can be fatal) and Lyme’s Disease.
Take Advantage of Your Time at Home with Your Puppy — Start Obedience Training
During this time, the puppy can quickly develop bad habits because it has a lot of energy to spend. Of course, your puppy would be safe in a fenced backyard, under supervision, so let him get out there to run and explore.
This is your time to develop a bond with your puppy so that he’ll trust you. It’s also the right time to prepare him for the outdoors and obedience training.
First, introduce the collar and leash. Your puppy will probably chew on it, which is not to be encouraged. So, start with a cheap one. Be sure the puppy is having a fun time when you slip them on, as this will associate these items with positive feelings. If there is a “fight” developing, give him a treat.
Walk Your Puppy Indoors
With his collar on take the initiative and start guiding him around the house. This practice will serve to habituate him into following you around. You lead, he follows. Keep sessions short, because as we all know, puppies have a short attention span.
You will want to encourage your dog to follow. Take a few steps and praise him if he follows. This could take several sessions, but eventually, he’ll get it right.
Obedience Training Tips
During this time where he is limited by the boundaries of your property, start obedience training, which includes “sit, stay, and down,” but also “come and heel.” Consistency is key to training the dog. Otherwise, it will quickly become confused. If you are the only one practicing obedience training with him, do the same thing over and again. If someone else in the family is also helping with obedience training, make sure you’re all using the same gestures, techniques, and cue words.
Give your dog a chance to learn. For example, if you tell the dog to “sit” give it a slight push on the behind, so it understands the command. Use a pleasant voice and repeat the command. Push on the behind each time it fails to obey, and use a more firm tone. Every time it sits, either on its own or through your “encouragement,” give it praise and reward.