When do I start exercising my puppy?
For the first 3-4 months of your puppies life it will get most of its exercise from playing around the house and walks are not strictly necessary. However short daily walks are very useful to help socialize your pup to other dogs, people, animals, traffic and other sights and sounds encountered outside.
What sort of collar & lead do I need?
You will first need to choose a suitable collar. Adjustable leather or nylon collars work well and remember to check the adjustment regularly as pups grow fast. You should always be able to insert two fingers easily beneath the collar. Choke collars are not recommended as with proper training it should not be necessary to 'choke' your pet. Under no circumstances use a choke collar on a pup less than six months old as you could damage its throat. If you do have a pup that pulls strongly on the lead a halti collar that fits like a horses halter is a gentle and safe alternative to choke collars.
A young pup will need to become accustomed to wearing a collar and lead. You can attach the lead to the collar and let the pup drag it around the house. Once it is used to this you can then take hold of the lead and follow the pup around the house.
How much exercise do they need?
Once venturing outside the house you should keep your puppy under control at all times and you must be sure you can call your pup back to you before letting off the lead in public places. The use of a long retractable lead allows the pup some freedom whilst it is still in training.
It is important not to overdo a young dogs exercise. Growing bones have delicate growth plates at each end that are responsible for the growth of the bone. Excessive exercise or repetitive jarring such as regularly jumping down from a high step or jogging on a hard surface can damage these growth plates causing the bones to prematurely stop growing or become deformed. When a dog reaches its full size all the growth plates ‘close’ naturally and the bones stop growing. At this stage the amount of exercise can be safely increased. The age at which the growths plates ‘close’ varies between the different breeds and types of bone but on average most should have closed by the age of one year. As a general suggestion, limit your pups walks to no more than 15-30 mins for the first 6 months and no more than 30-60 mins until a year old.
Adult dogs need an absolute minimum of one walk a day for at least half an hour and this should include some time off the lead so that they can run free. The more athletic the breed the more exercise they will require. Try to vary the walks so that the dog does not become bored.