How long of a walk should I take my new six-month-old puppy?

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#1 Edited by NTM (11852 posts) -

So a little bit before what the title question asks. I didn't really want to make this kind of thread so soon after because I knew I'd cry as I typed, so now I'm making it. Unfortunately, we (my family and I) lost our nine-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel at the end of June. It was one of the hardest, most emotionally (and physically) draining months and single days of my life. I've never seen my dad and mom cry as much, especially my dad. It was heartbreaking. We still think and talk about him so much. My mom and I were hesitant to get a new dog because as much as we loved having a dog, we didn't know if we wanted to live through that pain again, but my dad was adamant that we get one because, despite the terrible pain from losing them, the happiness they bring is so strong. I only stopped getting emotional every time I thought about him because I thought about the happy times I've had with him rather than the final moments of when we had to witness him put down...

We got him cremated and now he's back with us and his toys and favorite treats. We knew we'd never be able to replace him, but considering that we found it very hard to live without a dog, my parents decided to keep checking online and we'd go places to see if we could adopt one. On Sunday, I woke up and the family was gone. I knew where they had gone but I didn't really expect they'd come home so soon with a pup. We now have an awesome 'Chiwoxy'. He's super energetic and loving. I've never had a puppy, so we have to potty train him amongst other things and socialize him with other dogs. When he sees other dogs around the house he growls a bit and barks some, sometimes whines when they get too far away. I think he just wants to socialize as opposed to biting them. His birthday is on Christmas, which is really cool too. The only thing I'm not so sure about is his name which we decided not to change, which is Doodle. He was with his sister who's name was Snicker. So, you know, Snickerdoodle. I don't hate the name, but it's so much of a nickname that I sometimes find it hard to remember it. Our Cavalier's name was Benny (he's the one I often have as my avatar).

We couldn't take her as we just don't have the money, so I hope she gets a great home of her own. Anyways, to the title question: how long of a walk do you think the six-month-old pup should go on? We've only gone for about a twenty to thirty-minute walk at most, but most of the time we're just taking him in the yard to get him used to going outside as opposed to inside. What's your experience with puppies? I hope we do right by him and keep him healthy to live to an old age. We already love him so much and I'm really excited to gain great memories with him as I had with my Cavalier. There's not a whole lot of info on Wire Chiwoxy's; they're a relatively new breed from what I understand. A mix of Chihuahua and Wire Hair Fox Terrier. I would post a picture, but I haven't really taken any. Just one. Maybe some other time.

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#2 Edited by nutter (2207 posts) -

Sorry for your loss. Pets are rough like that. I try to look at it like you’re giving these animals 10, maybe 20 years of love and comfort, so even though the loss is hard on us, we’re doing a good thing by giving them a good home. It still hurts, end of life, but I think the perspective helps...

Our Chihuahua (now 17) went on pretty brief walks as a puppy; maybe a handful of blocks. He never really walked more than that.

Our Goldendoodle (now 8 months) was a Christmas puppy. Up until about six months, he probably walked 8-10 miles at a time. Around six months or so, it turned into more like 5-8 miles every other day.

We just sort of walk him until he’s not feeling it and/or behaves better indoors....

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#3 Posted by Rahf (517 posts) -

Walk until his bouncy puppy energy diminishes and you're left with a floppy tongue as well as a dog focused and interested in the world. Getting rid of some distracting battery juice is also a great ramp-up into training.

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#4 Edited by RalphMoustaccio (302 posts) -

As previously stated, I, too, am sorry for your loss. I've dealt with that myself, and it sucks. I can confidently say, it does get better, though, and the happy memories are almost always what you are left with. I have found comfort in the loss of my dogs by reminding myself that I made their lives better, and they passed on as part of a loving family. That definitely sounds like the case with yours, too.

Also, congrats on the new addition! Puppies are both amazing and so extraordinarily frustrating. The best way to train them is lots of positive reinforcement with praise and treats when they do something they're supposed to do. Specifically regarding potty training, absolutely make sure that you take treats outside with you and give him one immediately when he pees/poops, along with lots of verbal praise, pets, etc. Waiting until he comes back inside to give him praise/treats will be interpreted as being praised for coming back in rather than going to the bathroom where he should. And take him out way more than you think is likely to be needed.

As for walks, I asked my vet that very question when I adopted a new puppy recently, and his response was to walk the dog as far as it wants to go, as long as it is still walking with energy at the end. If you find that you have to really encourage him to keep moving, or even have to pick him up and carry him back home, the walk was too long. You'll get a sense of that distance/time as you continue to walk him. This will change with weather conditions, of course. My young dude gets at least two walks daily, usually at least two miles at a time. It really makes him a more well-behaved dog at home. My old girl sometimes skips a walk completely, just based on how she's feeling on any given day.

Good luck, and enjoy your new puppy! I'm sure he'll be a great dog.

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#5 Posted by TheFlamingo352 (364 posts) -

Six months is probably old enough not to worry, but really young dogs have to be careful not to go for long runs on pavement if their footpads aren't full developed. Heat is the only thing I'd keep in mind for limiting walks.

I'd say start with a mile or two walk and see how you both are feeling/looking from there.

Also, consider looking for local dog parks: they're a great way to get outside air, exercise, and socialisation at the same time. Good luck!

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#6 Edited by Barrock (4146 posts) -

Socialization is incredibly important in my experience. We adopted two 7 year old dogs that were bonded and I don't think they were socialized at all which can be a nightmare on walks. Imagine what your puppy does now but two 12 to 14 pound dogs.

Also I really recommend a type of toy. It's a clear plastic ball with a hole in it so treats can come out when they roll it. It has a mechanism inside so you can make it harder for them to do. It's a big hit and gets energy out as well.

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#7 Edited by NTM (11852 posts) -

A quick update. He's doing great. I'm not sure if he's fully trained, obviously, but he hasn't peed or pooped in the house in a week and shows us when he wants to go outside. I think due to someone always being home and always with him, he goes outside when needed. We take him on many walks and he doesn't seem to lose energy but does crash in the evening around eight or nine. The thing I wanted to really say though is that I am now not actually sure about his breed and he may not actually be part Chihuahua. In fact, he may be part Australian Terrier. The shelter we got him from gave us the info on him which merely says terrier/mix, and on another paper, it says wire hair fox terrier. Looking it up though, he has a lot in common with the Australian terrier.

The only thing that doesn't entirely match is the length of the hair (although the style of hair is similar) and he doesn't have short stubby legs. We're going to do a DNA test to see, that way we're aware of any potential health problems that could crop up, but also give us more insight into... well, who he is, how his breed generally acts. So far though, he's freaking awesome. I don't really go for jogs, but he's sure making me do it and that's great for both of us. I love how he stays in position as I pick him up where he lays; he's like a cinnamon roll and stays that way, pushing his head into my chest. Or his like a ragdoll cat and stays limp. He's goofy. He's a cuddler for sure. Alright, going to go hang with him. I'm just kind of shocked because Chihuahua seemed like that's what he was, but now that doesn't really seem to be the case, but I don't know! I'm excited to find out.

Edit - Actually, come to think of it, he may be part Chihuahua and not the wire hair fox terrier, but Chihuahua/Australian Terrier. Very curious.