Taking your puppy out for their first walk can be absolutely delightful, but it isn't without its potential perils and pitfalls. You can avoid them by taking the following four steps before your pup's first outside walk.
1. Get the Shots
This one isn't optional: You really need to make sure your puppy has had their full round of vaccinations before you take them outside to explore. Puppies are supplied with a natural immunity through their mother's milk; unfortunately, they will begin to lose that immunity when the milk is no longer available. When you take your dog out walking, they can encounter other dogs, as well as the waste of those other dogs, and common conditions, such as parvovirus, can be passed on. Visit your vet to get all the necessary dog vaccinations; don't take your dog outside before you get their go-ahead.
2. Test the Leash
Your puppy doesn't necessarily have to learn how to heel, play dead or fetch your slippers before you head outside. However, you should ensure that they feel safe walking around on a leash. It can be quite unnerving for a dog to wear a leash if they haven't worn one before, especially if you haven't had them wear a collar, so try walking about the house with a leash on until they're used to it. You can also take this opportunity to try curbing any problem behaviours, such as excessive pulling.
3. Pick Up an Identification Collar
Puppies will naturally get a little excited the first time you take them outside, and they might even escape the confines of your leash. With this is mind, you really need to make sure you provide them with an identification collar, especially since they are unlikely to be able to find their way home if this is their first time outside. Providing your name and phone number should be fine.
4. Plan Your Walk
Finally, make sure you take time to plan out your walk before you leave the house. In general, it's best to keep the first outside jaunt on the shorter side, preferably keeping away from busier roads that might pose hazards or alarm your four-legged friend. However, you might also want to walk your dog away from popular dog parks and at times when other dogs aren't as likely to be around. There'll be plenty of time to get your puppy used to other dogs, but it's nice for them to enjoy their first trip outside without those added stresses.