When is it okay to start taking my puppy for walks?
He is 8 weeks old and has had his first two shots. Should I wait until after he receives the third shot, or is it safe to take him out now?
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It's safe to start with very short walks, with precautions (watch what goes in the mouth; be alert to dogs in the area; keep puppy safe). Approx 10 minutes 3 times a day at his age. You could have puppy play dates at your house or go to a home where you know a very friendly tolerant older dog or another puppy the same size without walking.
You are in the prime time socialization period. You want to try to meet as many different kinds of people, meaning different races, genders, size and age. Socialization includes supervised puppy interactions, walking on different surfaces, seeing people in different outfits (with hats, backpacks, glasses, purses, etc), traveling in a car, seeing different moving vehicles (cars, trucks, bikes, motorcycles, kids on scooters, etc) and any other new experiences.
We learned a ton from puppy kindergarten classes, and loved the book My Smart Puppy by Brian Kilcommons & Sarah Wilson. More books recommended on my Dogster page.
Time flies, enjoy!
MACH ADCH Lilliana TQX answered on Jan 17th.
Its safe to take him out now as long as you use common sense and don't take him to really "doggie" places like pet stores, dog parks, groomers, doggie daycares, etc.
You need to get him out NOW to socialize, to socialize with other dogs, take him to see dogs you know, like friends dogs, are friendly and healthy and vaccinated.
Don't let him play with or even greet strange dogs until he's had his shots, and don't let him come in contact with other dogs "leavings" if you know what I mean.
Be careful when you take him to the vet too, as thats a good place to pick up diseases in a young pup!
Zackintosh CJ answered on 1/17/09. Helpful? / 3
Socialization is very important at this age, but there is still a risk of disease even if he goes on walks where he doesn't encounter other dogs.
I would wait to take him on walks until one week after his last round of shots.
I've known of too many puppies and dogs who have become sick with parvo or distemper or kennel cough since these virulent bacterias can stay on grass, dirt and even concrete for up to a few days in certain condtions. It's best not to risk it, in my opinion.
However, I would definitely make playdates with other puppies and dogs whom you know for sure are up to date on their vaccinations and friendly towards puppies. Have them come to your house, which is great for getting him used to "strangers" both human and canine in his home and also take him to their houses if their backyards are safe from potential contamination from non-vaccinated dogs.
I'd play this one as better safe than sorry. Yes, again, socialization is key at his age, but so is safety.
Jack answered on 1/18/09. Helpful? / 5