Fun and exercise for your puppy
Ten days after your puppy is vaccinated, you can start taking him outside for exercise. Here’s a handy guide to collars and leashes, walks, and great dog toys.
In their first few months, puppies will get all the exercise they need from their naturally energetic play in the home, so you don’t need to give them any extra exercise.
Please keep in mind that you should never allow puppies out of the home-unless they’re carried–until they’ve had all their vaccinations. This is because they need to be isolated from infections they can pick up from other dogs. On the other hand, you can allow them to meet other dogs and puppies who are healthy and have been fully vaccinated. Wait for at least 10 days from the final vaccinations before you take your puppy outside.
Collars and leashes
To minimize any feeling of discomfort for your puppy, you can buy him a special lightweight puppy leash and collar set. Introduce the collar to him gradually, first for just several minutes, and then building up over a few weeks. You can actually start getting him used to the collar once he’s settled into your home.
Make sure you regularly test the fit, since your puppy will be growing rapidly. You should be able to get two fingers easily beneath the collar. Of course, you’ll need to buy stronger collars and longer leashes when your puppy grows up.
Take your dog outside only when he’s wearing his collar and he’s attached to the leash. It’s also a good idea, and a legal requirement in some countries, for him to wear an identity tag with a contact phone number, just in case he gets lost.
Some breeds, such as Pekinese, are also better suited to wearing a harness. The amount of exercise dogs need as they grow depends on the breed as well as the age. Some breeds love active walks, while certain small breeds get tired very quickly.
Choosing a collar for adult dogs
Dogs come in different size and shape—which makes it especially important to choose a properly fitted collar. Your dog’s collar is where you attach vital information: ID tag, phone contacts, pertinent health info, etc. That’s why fit is so crucial for comfort and to ensure that the collar stays on, whether he’s running through the woods or crawling into tight spaces. To measure for fit, place a tape around your dog’s neck halfway between the back of his head and top of his shoulders. Then add at least one inch for correct sizing. When the collar is fitted properly, you should be able to slip two fingers between his neck and collar.
- Choke Collar: Commonly used for temporary correction, it tightens around the dog’s neck when the lead is pulled, getting his attention, then slipping loose. A choke collar can be dangerous if left on an unsupervised dog. Prong or pinch collars should only e used under the guidance of a trainer.
- Head Collar: Also called “gentle leaders” or “halters,” these attach around the head and behind the ears. Currently popular, they allow gentle correction by pulling at your dog’s weakest point, the muzzle, while allowing him to pant, drink, and bark.
- Harness: Consider this option if your dog has a respiratory or throat problem that makes wearing a conventional collar uncomfortable. Just remember that harnesses were designed to give working dogs more pulling power. That means you’ll have less control when walking your strong German Shepherd. You can also try a No-Pull Harness, which puts gentle pressure against the chest and discourages pulling.
Playing with your dog
Playing with your dog is a fun part of your relationship with him. In fact, play helps build the relationship. But be careful. Never let play become too rough, since you could be giving permission for your dog to behave in a way that people he encounters later on may not appreciate.
In order to maintain discipline, you must be the leader of the “pack,” deciding when games start and finish.
Don’t play with sticks; your puppy could get a splinter or damage his mouth. Don’t play with stones, either, because dogs, particularly young dogs, could break a tooth.
Dogs love toys
Most dogs love dog toys and find them really fun. You’ll be happy to see that they can hold your dog’s attention for hours. Playing usually requires two participants, but with some toys, your dog can play on his own.
Your dog should play with toys made from firm, elastic materials that aren’t dangerous to him. Never leave a dog unattended with toys, though.