Desperate to take your puppy outside? Find out when it’s safe for you to take them on their first adventure into the big, wide world.

It’s hardly surprising that you want to take your puppy out to experience the wonders that exist beyond the confines of your home – to meet fellow puppies; break in their lead; and be stopped by endless streams of passers-by, all craving the chance of a cuddle with your new best friend. However, it is not safe for young, unvaccinated puppies to go outside.

Why can’t I take my puppy to public places?

Due to the dangers of nasty, and potentially fatal, viruses such as canine parvovirus and canine distemper, lurking anywhere an infected dog may have been, puppies need to be kept safe until their immune system is fully developed.

It might seem overly cautious, but as your puppy’s immune system is still developing, they are highly vulnerable to contracting dangerous illnesses. It’s therefore incredibly important to keep them inside the safety of your property until they are completely vaccinated.

When can I start taking my puppy outside?

Vets recommend waiting until 10-14 days after your dog’s final core puppy vaccines before introducing them to the wonders of local parks, beaches and walking trails.

Don’t resent this time in your puppy’s life – embrace it! Enjoy having your puppy at home all to yourself, and channel your dog’s increasing energy into puppy training and socialisation – which needs to start from around eight weeks of age.

A brown puppy explores outside

How can I introduce my puppy to other dogs before they’re fully vaccinated?

When puppies are 8-16 weeks old, they are in their critical socialisation period. During this period, your puppy should be exposed to unfamiliar situations and people so that they can learn to not be afraid of such things. However, it will not be safe for your young puppy to interact with any dog that is not up to date with their vaccinations, so what’s a puppy parent to do?

Start by introducing your puppy to known ‘safe’ dogs – dogs that you know have a good temperament, have been fully vaccinated, and are up to date with their booster vaccinations. It’s best to do this in a safe environment such as your backyard.

Enrol your puppy in Petbarn’s Puppy School

You can also try socialising your puppy by introducing them to lots of different people and by enrolling them in Petbarn’s puppy school. All puppies in Puppy School will be at the same, or similar stage in their vaccination program.

What your puppy learns now will stay with them for life, so if you want a happy, sociable dog who’s friendly with other canines, kids and adults alike, it’s a great time to establish healthy behaviours in this early stage of their development.

Enrol your puppy in Petbarn's Puppy School

Enrol your puppy in Petbarn's Puppy School

Before you know it, your puppy will be exploring the ceaseless wonders of the great outdoors. Don’t forget it’s not just as puppies that our canine mates need proper care and vaccinating – your pal will need to visit the vet at least once every six months to make sure they’re healthy and happy.

Puppy FAQs

Can you walk a puppy after a second vaccination in Australia?

From two weeks after the final puppy vaccination (usually around 16-18 weeks of age), puppies are no longer restricted in where they may visit and can socialise with any other friendly dogs. This final core vaccine is usually the third vaccination.

Puppies should have had all their core puppy vaccinations before going to public places like the park to reduce their risk of encountering other dogs or an environment that could be a source of infectious diseases.

Before your puppy is fully vaccinated you can take them out with you, but you should carry them and limit their exposure to other dogs and areas where dogs might have been.

When can you first take your puppy outside for a walk?

It’s best to wait 10 to 14 days after your puppy has received their final core puppy vaccine before taking them on outdoor walks and exposing them to environments and other dogs. When you take your puppy on walks before they’re fully vaccinated, they run the risk of contracting diseases and illnesses.

Before that, dogs can be walked around your home and garden, and played with to channel their energy.

Can I take my 12-week-old puppy for a walk?

For a puppy to receive a walk outside, they must be up to 2 week-post their final vaccination. Whilst the timing of vaccines will vary from puppy to puppy, most 12-week-old puppies are unlikely to have received all of their core vaccines.

At 12 weeks, your puppy probably shouldn’t be taken for walks outside of your backyard. Taking your puppy for a walk before their final vaccinations runs the risk of them contracting illnesses or diseases which could be fatal.

How can I teach a puppy to walk on a leash if my puppy can’t walk in public?

Walking on a leash lets you and your dog safely take walks together. It may seem easy but walking your dog with a leash requires a bit of practice and care.

When looking to teach your puppy how to walk on a leash, a collar and harness is the first place to start. By letting your puppy wear their collar and leash for short periods at home so they can adjust to the experience and feel comfortable. From there, patience and positivity can help your puppy adjust to walk on the leash in your backyard.

Consistent practice and working on their walking will help your dog get used to leash walking before you venture out into public spaces together.

Timeline from first vaccine to first walk outside

  • 6-8 weeks old – first vaccination
  • 10-12 weeks old – booster vaccination
  • 14-16 weeks old – final puppy vaccination
  • 2 weeks later – able to walk freely outside and socialise


Is your puppy due for their next vaccination? Book them in with your local Greencross Vets.