Stepping Out: Top Tips for Teaching Your Pup How to Go for a Walk

Taking your new pup for a walk for the first time?

Believe it or not, this can be an overwhelming experience for your young canine without enough thought and preparation. But it’s worth getting right because walks are so important, not just in puppyhood but throughout the lifecycle. 

A good walk will be the recipe for keeping your dog fit, burning off unspent energy and learning how to behave in social settings with you, other people and other dogs. Getting it wrong can lead to negative experiences that may trigger adverse behaviour like fear, aggression and pulling on a lead. Once developed, these habits can be hard to break.  

My top tips for your pup’s maiden voyage are:

  1. Link putting on a lead to a positive experience, like praise, attention and high reward treats.
  2. Start with five-to-ten minute practice walks in your own garden or a small, enclosed area.
  3. Let your pup set the pace, keep it slow.
  4. Pick a quiet place to walk outside your home, free of lots of distractions like noise & people.
  5. Keep the walk short; 10-15minutes is all they need to begin with.
  6. Be aware of your pup’s body language and return home if they appear tired or anxious.

Finally, remember that like learning any new skill, it takes time, patience and practice to get it right. Enjoy the time bonding and getting to know each other. 

Samia El Hage is an experienced dog walker based in Melbourne. She cares for dogs and pets across the city and offers bespoke dog leads, collars and nutritious treats at www.dogsanddoos.com.

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