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

A brown puppy explores outside

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 just yet.

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 at home until they are fully protected. 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 puppy’s last vaccination booster – usually at around 14–16 weeks of age – before introducing them to the wonders of local parks, beaches and walking trails.

Don’t resist 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 happening from around eight weeks of age.

Introducing your puppy to other dogs before 16 weeks of age

When puppies are 8-16 weeks old, they are in their critical socialisation period where it is very important for them to 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 and that have been fully vaccinated. It’s best to do this in a safe environment such as your backyard. 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 at Puppy School will be at the same, or similar stage in their vaccination program. What your dog 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

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 frequent the vet once every six months to stay healthy.

Enrol your puppy in Petbarn's Puppy School

Enrol your puppy in Petbarn's Puppy School

Puppy FAQs

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

From 1 week after the final puppy C5 vaccination (at 16-18 weeks old) – puppies are now un-restricted in where they may visit and can socialise with any other friendly dogs.

Puppies should have had all their routine puppy vaccinations before going to public places like the park, to reduce their risk of coming into contact with other dogs or an environment that could be a source of infectious disease

Before your puppy is fully vaccinated you can take them out 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 vaccinations before taking them on outdoor walks and exposing them to environments and other dogs. This will be around the age of 2 months old. Your vet will be able to confirm the timeline for your specific dog breed and their needs. 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 timeline of all puppy’s vaccinations will vary puppy to puppy, most 12-weeks-old puppies are unlikely to be 2 weeks-post their final vaccination.

At 12 weeks it is unlikely you will be able to take your puppy out and about for a walk, however, they can be walked and played within the safe space of their own home. Taking your puppy for a walk before their final vaccinations runs the risk of them contracting illnesses or diseases which could be fatal.

How often should I walk my puppy?

How often you should walk your puppy will depend upon the specific breed and their energy levels. We recommend walking your dog as often as they need. As puppies, it’s likely they will need numerous outings to release themselves.

At around 3 months, fully vaccinated puppies should be walked for 15 minutes a day and that should increase to 30 minutes once they reach 6 months old.

It’s important to remember that over exercise can overtire your puppy and possibly affect their growing joints. Once your puppies become adults, you’ll be able to take them for longer walks together.

How can I teach a puppy to walk on a leash?

Walking on a leash lets you dog and you take walks together and for your dog to safely come out with you. 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, their collar and harness is the first place to start. By letting your puppy wear their collar and leash for short periods so they can adjust to the experience and feel comfortable. From that, patience and positivity can help your puppy adjust to walk on the leash. Consistent practice and working on their walking will help your dog get used to leash walking.

Puppy Timeline to First Walk Outside

  • 6-8 weeks – first vaccination
  • 10-12 weeks – booster vaccination
  • 14-16 weeks – final puppy vaccination
  • Up to 2 Weeks after – able to walk freely outside and socialise
  • Every 12 months after – annual booster vaccinations