Walkies! The first walk for a puppy

Puppy’s first walk – what to expect

The big day is finally here, your puppy is allowed to go for a walk!  It’s what you’ve been waiting for so eagerly.  However, be prepared to be underwhelmed; your puppy will probably hate it!  Even if you have managed to spend time around the house getting your pup familiar with your collar and lead, they still won’t want to go anywhere.  If they don’t spend the whole time sitting down and refusing to move, they will just sniff the ground and take no notice of you.

Patience is the key when training a puppy

It takes time to train a puppy – remember that every day.  Try not to expect very much at all, then everything will be a bonus.  Did you notice and admire Ounce’s bespoke lead?  Unfortunately the glitter tag and lead both weigh a ton, so she spent most of the work complaining that she couldn’t move :p

Length of Walk?

Five minutes per month of puppy’s age: An 11-week old puppy should only be out for up to 15 minutes.  That’s why we started and ended our first walk with her in the Pet Sling.

What did I do first?  Let her off the lead of course!  My sister rather anxiously asked if I wasn’t worried about her running off.  I wasn’t worried then, which isn’t to say I won’t be worried in a few weeks’ time.  I need to let her off the lead and work hard to get her paying attention to me, thinking I am really exciting and wanting to come back to me.  I will then be able to cope when she does start to realise that the world is exciting and there are other things to do.

What else did we do?

At this age, you want all your puppy’s attention on you, for some of the time.  So we practice retrieve and down.  These video clips show the initial stages of both of these activities.  With the retrieve, we want the puppy to go to the toy and sniff it.  When she does this, I make sure she knows by saying “YES!”  Then we do it again until she picks it up and brings it back to me.

Finally, we practised a bit of going into a ‘down’.  Not to be confused with ‘get down’ when they are jumping up, for which I say “off!”  Just like teaching a child to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ this is one exercise that needs to be done a million times.  To start with we use food to bring the puppy down into position, with the hand as a strong cue.  When I’ve done this a few hundred times I start to say the command at the same time.

Of course it’s not all hard work!  There must be time for play and cuddles as well.

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