We love our new puppies and want to keep them happy and healthy. We also love to show them off and what better way than to take them for walks. But how much exercise is ok for our puppy and how do I get them used to going for walks? This question came up the other day from one of my new Frenchie parents and I thought it was important to address.
Too much exercise can be just as damaging to a puppy as not enough. It really is about finding the right balance. We know that puppies need exercise but we also need to keep in mind that their bones, joints and ligaments are still in development and too much activity can negatively effect that growth or cause injury. This is especially true with French and English Bulldogs. This breed needs to refrain from jumping off sofas and running stairs, even as adults.
It is recommended that a puppy gets no more than five minutes of exercise for each month of age. So if a puppy is three months old, then a 15 minute walk should be max. With that being said, I also tell puppy parents to adjust this to their puppy. If your puppy is not cooperating or has put on the breaks because they are tired or for whatever reason, then listen to them. Don’t push it. Puppies get a lot of exercise as well in the home just playing with their toys and running around.
I recommend having your puppy get used to wearing their harness, collar or leash first. (Frenchie and English bullies should be in harnesses…but that’s another blog post!) This is a new adjustment for the puppy in itself! Take it slow. Take them to a quiet area outside first. Taking a young puppy down a busy, car and pedestrian-filled road can be very intimidating to the little one. We need to remember what it must be like from their angle! We usually start in front of our home (we are lucky to be in a quiet subdivision) and just try and walk a block. We give a lot of praise and once I see their little legs are getting tired, I usually just carry them the rest of the way with me. There is no rush. I just want to get them comfortable with being on their leash and being outdoors.
Personally, I wouldn’t start this process until they are at least 5 months old and well after their last immunizations. Honestly, we don’t expect human babies to do large physical feats. Why would we demand it from our puppies?