How Far Can I Walk My Puppy at 8 Weeks? 12 Weeks? 4 Months?

How far can I walk my puppy?

A slow 20-minute “stroll” once or twice a day is a good rule of thumb for most puppies. Read on for my longer answer on puppy exercise!

There’s a lot of fear right now about walking a puppy or young dog too far and potentially damaging the pup’s developing joints. While it’s good to be cautious, this is too often taken to the extreme.

Before you read on, you should know that my general approach to dog training and puppy exercise is a tired dog is a good dog. I was a professional dog runner for 8 years and I train for ultra marathons with my dog.

I lean towards exercising all dogs as much as I can within reason. I tend to exercise dogs more than the average person would be comfortable doing.

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How long and how far can a puppy walk at:

It’s good to be cautious when walking a puppy, but don’t be afraid to walk your puppy!

The reason it’s good to be cautious when exercising a puppy is because a puppy’s growth plates don’t close until they are around 12 months old (it varies quite a bit, depending on breed), and some vets say puppies that experience heavier exercise are more likely to develop joint issues at some point.

It’s good to lean on the side of caution and not overdo it with a puppy’s exercise. But you should be safe walking your 10 week old Lab puppy for 30 minutes at least once a day, for example. A half-hour is a safe distance for most puppies at 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 16 weeks, etc.

It comes down to common sense. You know your puppy best, and you can always consult with your puppy’s vet or breeder for another opinion because every breed is different. A Jack Russell terrier puppy might be more energetic than a cocker spaniel puppy, for example.

It’s important to consider the benefits of walking your puppy, even at 8 weeks old:

1. 8-week-old puppies that get out for walks are getting socialized.

2. Slow, steady walking helps puppies build strong muscles.

3. Sitting in a kennel/crate all day is not healthy for a little puppy’s developing joints either!

4. Puppies that get more exercise are generally better behaved & easier to train. See my post: Why is my puppy so wild at night?

5. Many of the young dogs in shelters are there for behavioral problems related to poor socialization and too much energy.

6. Genetics and other factors like early spaying/neutering play a strong role in a dog’s likelihood of developing joint issues.

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Weimaraner puppy 12 weeks
My puppy Remy

How much exercise is too much for a 10 week old puppy?

The math equation: Multiply 5 by your pup’s age in months


I’m sure by now you’ve come across this “math equation” about multiplying your puppy’s age in months by 5 to get a magic number. For example, an 8-week-old puppy is 2 months old so you would multiply 2 x 5 to get 10. As in 10 minutes of walking per day! Yikes.

I do not believe in following this equation. It highly underestimates the amount of walking a healthy puppy can safely do.

If you were to follow the above equation, here are some more examples for puppy exercise:

Exercise for 10 week old puppy: 2.5 (months) x 5 = 12.5 minutes of walking per day.

12 week old puppy: 3 (months) X 5 = 15 minutes per day.

16 week old puppy: 4 x 5 = 20 minutes.

6 month old puppy: 6 X 5 = 30 minutes.

Following this “rule” results in puppies not getting enough activity.

Puppy walking schedule

I strongly do NOT believe in following the above puppy walking schedule. Instead, use common sense based on the puppy in front of you. They are all so different depending on breed, size and personality.

My puppy on a walk

I have a Weimaraner puppy, and this dog would be at the humane society by now if I had to follow that silly puppy walking equation. Instead, I believe in using common sense and taking your puppy for short walks 20 to 30 minutes or so, twice per day if he seems comfortable.

*Do you have a puppy? I’d love to email you a copy of this article. Click Here.

What kind of exercise is safe for a puppy?

You shouldn’t be running with your young puppy obviously or dragging him down the street. Generally, I recommend you think about running with your puppy once he’s older than 6 months to a year. 

Walks will naturally be slow with puppies. You’ll probably do a lot of stopping so he can sniff and explore and go potty. We’re not talking about power walks, necessarily.

Visiting the park or going on a slow stroll are both great ideas for exercising a puppy. Using a long leash is also a great idea in an open area because you can let the puppy sniff and explore at his own pace.

For more ideas: see our post on exercise ideas for puppies.

How far can I walk my puppy?

How far can I walk my puppy at 16 weeks?

Each puppy is unique!

I was comfortable walking my 16-week-old puppy Remy for about 35 minutes at least once a day. Ideally twice. (And let’s just say he was not at all tired after this.)

In addition to that, Remy ideally got the opportunity to run and play at his own pace off leash for 20 minutes or so each day.

I talked with my puppy’s vet and my puppy’s breeder and this is what worked for us. It doesn’t mean it’s right for your puppy. I’ve received some unkind emails warning me I’m doing everything wrong. 🙁

How far can I walk my puppy? My puppy is bred for endurance!

Remy’s parents and grandparents are working, competitive bird dogs. Weimaraners are fit and lean. They run all day in the field. They are designed for endurance!

There’s no way I could live with a working weimaraner puppy if I could only walk him 20 minutes a day.

For me, keeping Remy’s walks to 35 minutes or so (around 1.6 miles for us) is my way of limiting his exercise.

Despite what some people think, I am actually worried about my puppy’s joints and that’s why I limit his exercise to 35-minute walks or so.

I don’t run with my puppy yet, and I don’t encourage him to jump on or off obstacles.

How far should you walk your puppy?

When can your puppy go for a walk?

I’d say right away!

A slow, 20-minute stroll should be safe for most puppies 8 weeks or older. By that I mean you’re letting the puppy set the pace. You’re stopping and letting him sniff, etc.

*Do you have a puppy? I’d love to email you a copy of this article. Click Here.

Your puppy’s vet is the best resource

My weimaraner puppy walking in the neighborhood

I would discuss this issue with your puppy’s vet and with your puppy’s breeder (if you have a breeder pup). They are the experts and can give you the best advice.

It also doesn’t hurt to talk with more than one vet as veterinarians don’t seem to have a clear consensus on this issue. No one really knows. There are no studies that say walking a puppy will damage his joints. I will update this post if that ever changes.

What it comes down to is you know your puppy better than anyone else. Dog owners mean well and sometimes people feel the need to share their very strong opinions about not to walk a puppy too far. I would say, trust your gut and be reasonable. If you are concerned, then back off a bit.

I personally lean on the side of providing as much exercise as possible, within reason. For me, that meant about two 35-min walks a day for my puppy. But as with everything else in the dog world we all have to make our own decisions.

See my post: Exercise ideas for hyper dogs.

How far should I walk my puppy?

My puppy Remy walking
Walking my 4 month old weimaraner puppy

Other factors to consider when exercising your puppy:

1. Puppy shots before walking your puppy.

If your puppy is not fully vaccinated, he has a greater risk of catching parvo or other diseases on walks. Another post all together. The real risk for this depends highly on where you live, so it’s best to get your local vet’s opinion on this.

For example, my puppy grew up in a nice neighborhood near San Diego and our vet said there was very little risk of our puppy getting sick as nearly all dogs in our area were vaccinated and leashed.

So I was comfortable taking my dog for neighborhood walks but I waited on the dog park and dog beach until he was fully vaccinated.

2. Your puppy’s breed matters.

Some breeds are more prone to joint issues than others. For example, we’re planning to get a Lab puppy in 2021, and our breeder recommended we do not run with our Lab until he or she is fully matured. Walks, however, would be OK.

How far to walk a springer spaniel puppy
Sophie the springer spaniel puppy at 8 weeks

My plan is to take it a little more cautious with our Lab vs. our weimaraner because Labs are a bit “bulkier” and prone to joint problems. However, we will still be doing lots of walking and hiking when the puppy is 8 to 12 weeks old.

3. Genetics affect how far a puppy can walk.

Genetics are a factor for predicting whether or not a pup will develop hip dysplasia/elbow dysplasia. It is more important to go through a good breeder that does genetic testing than it is to reduce a puppy’s exercise. Other factors include weight, overall health and diet. Overweight dogs and puppies will struggle more.

4. Early spay/neuter and a puppy’s joints.

It’s common practice for shelters and rescues to spay and neuter puppies at 8 weeks old.

There are many studies now that say puppies that are spayed or neutered that young are much more likely to tear their ACLs down the road and develop all sorts of health problems.

For this reason, I did not have my weimaraner puppy neutered until he was 10 months old. When we get a Lab puppy, I do not plan to have the puppy neutered until he or she is around 12 months old.

Here’s another article on the effects of early spay/neuter. However, if your puppy is already spayed or neutered, do not worry. Rescues and shelters typically spay or neuter puppies as young as 8 weeks old, for example. This is OK. Early spay/neuter is only one factor.

*Get a free copy of this article emailed to you as a pdf. Read it when you have time. Click Here.

Can you walk a puppy too much?

If you took your puppy on a long walk or hike before reading this, don’t worry. Your puppy will most likely be just fine! Even if you took your puppy on a couple of runs, don’t stress too much.

While it’s good to be reasonable, don’t beat yourself up if your puppy was running at the beach all day or if your puppy was able to keep up on a long hike with the adult dogs. Just use common sense from here on out.

Like I’ve said several times, a good rule of thumb is to shoot for about 30 minutes of walking twice a day for most puppies, maybe even a little more for older puppies and active breeds.

How old should puppies be to hike?

If you take your puppy hiking, you should follow the same approach as you would with walking.

Plan on hiking slowly and turning around before you’d like. Carry your puppy if he gets tired! Generally, your puppy should be able to handle a short, 30-min hike once he’s 12 weeks old or so. Even 45 minutes to an hour is great for older puppies. Each puppy is different, though!

My 4 month old puppy on a walk

It’s also a good idea to check with your vet about what vaccinations are a good idea in your area before taking your puppy on trails. Each area is different depending on dog traffic, wildlife, etc.

See our post: Should I walk my puppy before he’s had his vaccinations?

When to start leash training a puppy

Walking your puppy on a leash

It’s OK to start training your puppy to walk on a leash right away from when you bring your puppy home. I recommend you use a light/thin nylon leash so it is not too heavy for your puppy.

Most likely, if you start walking, your puppy will follow you. Reward her with treats and praise.

If your puppy is already starting to pull you, here are my tips for loose-leash walking.

When can I walk my puppy around the neighborhood?

With your vet’s approval, I would begin right away! I took my 8-week-old puppy for a 20-minute walk through our neighborhood right away on the day we brought him home! He did great!

The only reason you might want to wait on walking your puppy in the neighborhood is if your puppy still needs some vaccinations. This is only the case if there is a higher risk of parvo or distemper in your area.

In many parts of the United States, the risk is so small that it’s silly to avoid neighborhood walks. In other areas, the risk is higher so you might decide it’s better to wait until your puppy’s final round of shots around 4 months old.

Again, it’s all about making the best choice for your specific situation!

When can puppies be around other dogs?

This is a good question for your vet. Generally, it’s safe to introduce your puppy to adult dogs that are vaccinated. If you have friends with calm, friendly dogs it’s great to start socializing your puppy right away.

It’s also a great idea to sign your puppy up for a puppy training class or “puppy kindergarten” class. This is a great way to work on training and socialization at the same time.

My puppy with my adult dog

When can my puppy visit the dog park?

As far as dog parks go, I personally prefer to keep my puppies away from dog parks for at least the first 6 months.

Dog parks are not necessarily “bad” for puppies but they can be very overwhelming and you have little control of the other dogs’ behavior. I do not want to scare my puppy during this important socialization window. I would rather set up smaller “playdate” with appropriate dogs.

However, you might think about taking your puppy to a dog park during the middle of the day during the week or late in the morning when it is quieter. Socializing with one or two friendly dogs might be a positive experience for your puppy. Leave if your puppy is scared or overwhelmed.

OK, enough from me! I’d like to hear your take on puppy exercise.

What is your approach to walking and exercising a puppy?

How do you find the right balance for puppy exercise?

Let me know in the comments!

Lindsay Stordahl is the founder of That Mutt. She writes about dog training and behavior, healthy raw food for pets and running with dogs.

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Best Exercise Tools for Puppies:

  1. A Long Leash:
    A 15 or 30-ft long leash allows your puppy to explore, run and play on his own when you don’t have a fenced area.
  2. Treat Pouch:
    A treat pouch allows you to easily carry treats so you can help your puppy focus. This is helpful on walks as well as for short training sessions.
  3. Kong Flier Fetch Toy
    The Kong Flier Frisbee is a durable toy that’s soft on the puppy’s mouth. It’s great for playing fetch in the yard and getting in some much-needed activity!

53 thoughts on “How Far Can I Walk My Puppy at 8 Weeks? 12 Weeks? 4 Months?”

  1. Sandy Weinstein

    i never even thought abt this when i got my 3 girls. i know they loved to play and run around. i would work a little every day on leash training, and other training, but i would just let them play til they tired out. i can see not taking them on very long walks until their legs get stronger. however, i have little girls, mini schnauzers. they are mainly indoor dogs as well. i did not really take them out with other dogs til they got all of their shots as well. i did not let a lot of people pet them til they were older. i did not want them to pick up anything until they had all of their shots and matured a little. however, my girls are very well socialized and wonderful in public. i worked with them at home. my girls never sat in crates all day, only when they were potty training when i left the house. i never left them alone in the crate for more than 1-2 hrs at first, then a little longer. i cant believe people leave their grown dogs or even puppies in crates all day while they are at work. i think it is cruel. i did not even get a puppy while i was working full time, because i was gone over 10 hrs a day. i did not think it would be fair to the dog. and i really wanted a dog. just as soon as i retired, i got a puppy within in a few wks of moving back to my home state to care for my mother. she was the reason i had to take early retirement (to care for my mother). my breeder said not to spay my girls til the were at least 16 wks or so, when i had their ears done. they also needed to be a certain weight. i did not even do the rabies shot til around 16 wks b/c i was advised by the breeder and the vet who did my youngest child’s ears. she was a top mini schnauzer breeder as well. i had many problems with my vet over these issues. she did not want to see my dogs and wanted to charge me extra. i stopped going to this vet many yrs ago due to several problems. i think a lot of these things depends on the breed, weight, size, and development.

  2. I didn’t know this initially, but figured it out as I became a more experienced dog owner. We live on 5 acres, so we walk our puppies on our property for the first month that we have them. When they reach 8 weeks old, we walk them on the trail that borders our property, extending the distance each time. We have four dogs and when Scout and Zoey were puppies, Rodrigo and Sydney were adults. We would make sure that we were able to carry the puppies for most of the walk so that Rodrigo and Sydney received a full walk (3-5 miles).

    It worked well, but required both of us to be on hand. Carrying two puppies and holding two leashes is possible if NO ONE is around, but when has that ever happened?

  3. Heh, I definitely break this rule with my puppy. I think if I didn’t walk him he’d still end up exerting himself at least as much running around the house in boredom (as happens if we skip a walk).

  4. We find that at least one 45 min walk per day works well with our 8month old, though some days he needs a second walk of about 20-30mins.
    But occationally, like today, he Joined us on a 2.5hr leisurely stroll through the woods. And yes, he gets tired so we take long breaks where he lies on the ground and recharges (and eats grass xD). These mega walks are few and far between, but we find its a great way to drain pent up energy, and for the next few days we’ll just play around the yard allowing him to recuperate. He is a mix of lab and a shepherding breed, so he is high energy, and you should see his grin on long walks. Maybe it’s naive, but I don’t see how one mega walk every month or so can be harmful to a puppy of his age. Any thoughts on this?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      At first I thought you said 2.5 miles as a mega walk! I was like, um, that’s a mega walk? But then I realized you said 2.5 hours. At 8 months and being a herding breed, seems fine to me.

  5. I have never heard of the math equation thanks for the new info! BTW Remy is adorable and I love the name!

  6. Luckily the Labs and Goldens I’ve raised don’t have the same amount of energy as Remy. When their 8 weeks old they usually tire out before hitting the 20 minute mark. As they get older they definitely need more exercise. At 11 months old Archer could probably walk and play all day. By the way, I know you’ve written about this before, but what’s your rule of thumb for running with your puppy?

    1. I walked my 16wk old frenchie today for almost an hour, is that too much ? The park is a 10 minute walk there and back and we walked around half of it once, at her pace, Stopping and saying hello to other dogs. she did not seem tired and stayed awake for at least another hour after her walk playing at home.

  7. I’ve heard of the 5minutes per age formula prior to getting my puppy, but I quickly had to ditch that suggestion as my puppy is very high energy and needed longer walks. When she was smaller I made sure not to go longer than a twenty minute walk. Now she looks forward to walking at least a mile to a mile and a half every day. My biggest struggle is actually getting her to slow down at times (she now gets to walk with her doggie backpack on). Sometimes the backpack works and sometimes it doesn’t but on those rare days we walk a little further than 1 1/2 miles.

  8. Maria Josepha

    I looked this up not knowing how far to walk my 2 month old Golden. She has been happily going 2 miles a day. She is tired afterward, takes a power nap, and is up running around the house or our yard soon after. I sometimes take her for a pre-bedtime 1/2 mile walk which helps her tire out once again and sleep well until it is time to potty at 3 am. YUK!

  9. We just got an 8 week old Weim and are super excited to start walks with her. She currently can handle a walk around our neighborhood which takes roughly 10 minutes. Looking forward to taking her hiking with the fam in the summer!

  10. Lindsay, how long do you wait after feeding to take your Weim on a run? I was reading about bloat and definitely want to avoid that at all costs if possible.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I usually feed him right before our morning walk or short run (just a mile or so) and I don’t worry about it. We do our longer walk/run later afternoon and then I feed him afterwards. But Saturday mornings our routine is a little different and we do our long run right away (5 miles) and I wait and feed him his breakfast after we get home.

  11. Karla Baggett

    HELP !!! I have a 5 month old puppy. Chocolate Lab/Pointer Mix, I need to walk her and exercise her. She pulls so much i have read lots of things and I need help.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      What kind of collar are you using? I would try a few options like a Gentle Leader (fits over the nose) or a no-pull harness like the Easy Walk harness. Or if she’s a fairly mild puller (sounds like she isn’t) a martingale style collar. I would also get her into some obedience classes if you haven’t already. That will help tire her out, socialize her, train her and exercise her all at once!

  12. We’ve got 8 weeks old Kaito the Shiba Inu a week ago, so he’s 9 week old now. We didn’t take long walks before yesterday, just some 5-15 minutes long explorations of a neighbourhood and socialisation with other dogs and people. But yesterday, we had a longer tour to a dog park. Kaito was so excited, he walked and ran all the time and this time was like 40 minutes or so. He got tired, we had a 10 minutes rest on a bench and he ran again. Then he ran as crazy doing circles around our back yard when we came home. I never saw him running so fast. My wife said we should name him Turbo instead of Kaito 🙂

    Now, I feel guilty. Couldn’t we damage his joints during yesterday? Should we really limit his walks? He doesn’t look tired and has a lot of energy to burn. He doesn’t want to be carried on hands.

    Our breeder said we should walk Kaito as many minuts at a time as his age in weeks. So it should be 9 minuts at a time now. But it’s so hard to do all the “prescribed” socialisation before he’s 4.5 month old if now going outside. I’d appreciate ny suggestions.

    My another concern is about a sofa. Yes, a sofa. He likes be on the sofa but he needs a possibility to go back to the floor without jumping down. We put the sofa backrest and pillows all around the sofa in order to soften his descend, but still it looks like steps, despite being soft. Could soft steps damage a puppy joints?

  13. I have Brittany pup. He’s 4.5 months old and has endless emu. If I only did a 22 minute stroll a day he and I would go crazy. I took him on 2 longer walks this week(4 miles) and he enjoyed it because I let him explore, although I think we might bump it back to 3 miles. But now I’m hearing on a FB page I follow I’m doing way too much. This is very frustrating. We don’t run. Just leisurely strolls. If I follow the rules we are going to have a long boring year. We like hiking in the Colorado mountains during the summer.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Brittany’s are active dogs. Don’t worry, your pup will be fine. I would probably hold off on running and things like hard fetch with quick stop/start motions on the joints. Walks and hiking are great! Just my opinion. Use common sense.

  14. I have an 11 week old Airedale. We are trying to train her on walks to walk beside us instead of veering off and sniffing everything we pass. What are your thoughts on this? Should I let her explore the first few times on a new route and then train her? Also, do you know if this dog would be a good endurance dog (3-5 miles) in the future? She loves to run and I’ll run with her for maybe 30 seconds at a time.

  15. I have a very high energy 3 and a half month old American Staffordshire Terrier puppy and we started taking him on longer walks every evening about 2 weeks ago. We average anywhere between 2 and a half to 3 miles at a time but we go pretty slowly. I had an admin on a Pitbull Facebook page tell me that our walks would do severe damage to his joints. The problem is if I don’t take him on these walks he is so high energy that he runs circles around the house for hours and gets a bit nippy. I don’t want to hurt him by walking him so far but I can’t manage him if I don’t have some way to burn all of his energy.

  16. Hi, sorry to bother you but I did the faital mistake Googleling when I can walk my puppy. I got my puppy when he was 5.5 weeks. He will be 8 weeks on Monday. He will have his first injection on Tuesday. My question is, He’s a bundle of energy ( bulldog/staffie cross) I’ve been told I can’t put him down outside. But he’s climbing all over me and wants to explore. Will it be safe for me to put him down and walk on his own?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Chances are, he will be fine but it depends a lot on where you live and the risk of parvo and distemper in your area. What does your pup’s vet recommend?

  17. The really great thing about walking on trails is that for every step I take, Ranger takes 10! Back and forth, up and over fallen logs and clumps of grass. Every once in a while we meet some doggie friends and then the fun REALLY starts! Exhaustion is good!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yes, I’m glad I’m able to take Remy on trails as well. He gets the freedom to go at his own pace – sprint, zig-zag, sniff, stop and wait for me, etc.

  18. Had a heck of a row with my wife this evening regarding this topic. We’ve just got a 7-week old Boerboel pup and I’m walking him about 1km (½ a mile) in the mornings. Not speedy walks, taking it easy and letting him sniff things without a leash, takes about 15min. This is a big breed so he still looks like a (sturdy) baby pup. But he manages the walks without a problem. When I read about the 5-min rule I felt guilty, worried I might be damaging his joints, so your article comes as a relief! But Boerboels aren’t Weimaraners, which are slender compared to the Bullmastiff-like proportions my boy one day will have.. So? I’ll compromise. 10min walking per month of puppy age, twice a day if need be.

  19. I’ve got a 14 week old Great Pyr/Anatolian Shepherd mix. If I don’t do a jog/walk of about a mile or a mile and a half she is a lunatic, but now I’m worried about her joints, especially because she is a large breed puppy. What are your thoughts?

    1. I would stick to walking since she is such a large breed. I think walking a mile would be just fine and you can increase that to 2-3 miles pretty soon in my opinion. When in doubt, consult with your vet.

  20. We have a 12 week old Siberian Husky. He can be mellow but thats after exercise. He can walk 2 miles, take a 10-20 minute break at a brisk pace and go for another 2 miles back. After a few hours he can go outside and run circles around the yard. I wasn’t informed that there should be limitations to how much to exercise a pup. Any advise?

  21. I have a 3 year old female Vizsla. We go on a 1 hour walk 5 mornings a week, which generally winds up being about 3.75 miles. Tomorrow we are bringing home another female Vizsla who is 16 weeks old. How long should I let the 16 week old walk with us each morning and when can I increase it and by how much? Thank you!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I would have the 16 week old doing the whole thing pretty quickly. Maybe ease her into it over a month or so. By 5 months I would think 3-4 miles should be just fine.

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        Of course, you would want to let her set the pace. If it seems too far and you have to encourage her along, then it might be too far but I’m guessing she’ll be an active little pup!

  22. We are raising a Dalmatian puppy that is 19 weeks now and the thought of walking her only 25 minutes per day is laughable. I am certainly concerned for her joints and try to limit the walks on a typical day to a total of an hour, but with just an hour of walking she will then spend at least another hour sprinting around the yard. We walked her for nearly three hours on one day last weekend, with some breaks (for us–she continued to sniff and wander) but she still arrived home to run in the garden on her own–there is no end of energy. My wife is worried for her joints but I think that it is in the nature of the breed. Our vet recommends an hour per walk at most without a break, but with this amount she remains hyper. We are also playing mentally taxing games and practicing her staying and waiting but this doesn’t tire her, she needs to run. What do we think? We will not have her spayed until she is at least 18 months, and I think this is much more important for her development, joint formation, and proper closing of the growth plates. I do plan to run her 20 or more miles multiple times per week once she is fully grown.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      You sound a lot like how I was with my weim. Just keep doing what you’re doing – lots of walks with some common sense. I think the worst thing for them is the hard stopping and starting when they chase a ball during fetch or leaping on and off agility obstacles. Playing naturally, running around the yard and walking is just fine. You might consider adding in some short, easy runs when she is at the 6 month or 9 month mark. Slow and steady as she will be trotting as you run, most likely. You might find this post interesting:

  23. We just got our first dog. She’s 13 weeks, a pitbull, and only 16 lbs but so strong! We got her at 8 weeks and I started doing at least a mile a day by the time she was 11 weeks. The most she’s ever done was 4 miles, and that’s why I searched this post – we walked those miles with other dog friends and she kept right up. Running every once in a while to join the adult dogs, but mostly by my side at a leisurely pace. My husband and I are avid hikers and want her to be active so I wanted to get her used to it young. She hasn’t appeared overly tired during the walks and does so much better in the evenings when she gets that regular exercise. It certainly makes crate training quieter. Her paws aren’t tender either. This isn’t too much, right?

  24. Your article makes me feel a little bit better and also a little bit worried at the same time.
    Naively, I thought the rule was 10 min x month, and I’ve been walking my 11 week old lab (working/show mix) for 30 minutes a walk, twice a day, with the intention to keep this same time/distance ratio for the next two months or so. I panicked a little when I read about the 5min x month rule, so this reassures me. However, she’s also nowhere near tired when she comes home from these walks and bolts around the house/garden for hours unless I give her an enforced (crated) nap, and as soon as she wakes up she is exactly the same: a little Duracell lab! Training/mental enrichment doesn’t tire her out either; licking/chewing doesn’t calm her. I really don’t know what to do with her – she only tires when playing with other dogs and then she’s REALLY running/jumping/hurling herself about!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      What you’re doing sounds perfect to me. And sometimes you just need to put them in their crate/kennel for a nap. They need more sleep than you think! Sounds like you are doing a great job with that too. Hang in there, puppies are challenging!

  25. I’m about to pick up my new husky pup and have a husky / golden lab mix who is 9 years old (but still thinks she is 2……….) My husband thinks you cannot walk a puppy which seems odd so I plan to take him out for short spells in the yard. He has his first shots. so reading the comment above about parvo worried me – do I have to worry if we are in my yard for the most part?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      No, you shouldn’t have to worry about parvo in your own yard generally unless you had a sick dog there. I would ask your vet about risk of parvo in general in your area and if it’s not a big risk you should be able to go for walks.

  26. Great article!

    I just brought home an 8 week old lab puppy at the end of March from an ethical breeder. Beforehand, we had copies of her parents genetic tests and used those to formulate an agility course plan that wouldn’t hurt her joints, lined her up for puppy kindergarten, had playmates available, etc. But since my city is now on lockdown due to Covid, all of those experiences we prepared are unavailable. Walks are the only time she can get out of the apartment, and we have a pretty small one. I hadn’t planned on being inside with her much, as I quite enjoy sitting in parks for hours and was planning to take her on short hikes and picnic in the woods to get her used to them. All of those things are closed now, lol. So she is getting four or five walks a day. Our walks only for potty are about 10 minutes, which is how long it takes us to circle around our block. Today, she was quite stir crazy so we went on a walk that ended up being an hour and a half because I lost track of time. I totaled up her daily walks and found she spends about 2-3 hours outside the apartment everyday. However, these are also training walks, where we stop in loud and distracting environments and do some training. In reality, she probably only walks for about 15-20 minutes on a 40 minute walk. Even then, with at least three 30+ minute walks a day, I was worried I was overdoing it, but anytime I cut them down, she gets extremely stir crazy. I was glad to find this article telling me that I don’t have to follow the 5 minute per month rule to the letter. She’s a working breed so she really does need the stimulation as its her only chance to socialize currently. And she is doing amazing on both her listening and training, so the benefits have been great. Thanks for the reassurance and advice in this article!

      1. I have a Golden Retriever/ Lab and she loves her walks. We don’t go fast she sets the pace. She heels, sits on stopping, and loves everyone. She’s great on leash and let’s me know when she’s tired. (She sits in front of me) so I carry her. We’re out at least an hour once a day and everyone loves her and she loves all the attention. She doesn’t get tired until about 3 kilometers now, so we plan our walks to her level of fun. I haven’t let her go near strange dogs yet, not sure if I will allow that yet. I have two other dog’s that she plays with. I won’t go to off leash parks ever. ( the pack mentality is too dangerous) I’ve seen it to many times. Some poor dog gets beaten up at the park.

  27. Thank you for the very helpful article.
    I have a 12 week beaglier (beagle / cavalier) and we take him for a 20 minute “walks” about three times a day. But the first ten minutes involves a lot of sniffing and stopping so isn’t much of a walk. All measured up, the walk would be 800m / 1000m tops.
    He sometimes starts to run, though and goes for a bit of a trot. Should I stop him from doing that?
    Also – is it just the beagle in him – or is there such a thing as too much sniffing. And should I be limiting this?
    Thank you

  28. Thank you so much for this! I had a field trial springer spaniel (working springer spaniel) for 14 years. She was sooo active when she was a puppy as she had loads of energy. All the training and enrichment games weren’t enough for her. She never had problems with her bones or joints in her life. My new puppy is 11 weeks. She is a classic English springer spaniel, but her parents, grandparents and great grandparents were all used for hunting. I have found it so difficult for satisfy her needs with only the 5 minutes pr. month twice a day rule! Let alone train her! I will try to listen more to my intuition.

  29. Victoria Colmenero


    Thank you for the info! I just begun this week taking my 10 week old Cocker Spaniel for 15 min morning walks. We both get tangled up now and again but it’s been rewarding. She’s a ball of energy. It has helped her nap for longer then when I didn’t walk her. I’m having trouble crate training this pup, I’m such a push over. I know not good.

  30. Thanks for being a voice of common sense with this. I have a 15 week old Lab puppy and she is already able to walk for 1-2 hours if we take it slow and she gets plenty of breaks. She’s not even tired after it. Yet the Internet would lead me to think I was the worst dog owner ever. I am not going to increase the distance much for a few months, but ultimately I got her because I spend a lot of time doing long day and multiday hikes in the mountains, like 8h+, and I know she’s gonna love coming with me. From stuff I’d seen online, people say at 1 year old that even 2hrs walking is too much, but that seems ultra conservative to me. Do you think by 1 year an active lab should be capable of safely walking in the hills all day? Still with plenty of breaks of course. Thanks.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I think the reality is we just don’t know for sure. You have to just use your best judgement. Is your puppy from a breeder? The breeder may have some good insight. I think what you’re doing sounds OK. If your dog is off leash or walking at her own pace on trails, that is different than leashed walks or runs on concrete. That’s something people don’t always take into consideration. At 1 year old I think if your dog is properly conditioned to longer distances on trails it’s probably OK. Labs are prone to joint issues, as I’m sure you are well aware. But keeping them fit is very important for the longevity of their joints, too. So basically you know your dog best, use your best judgement.

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