I live in a neighborhood with dozens of walking and hiking trails. My puppy is 11 weeks old and every weekend we explore a new walking trail. We unintentionally took a trail that was 3 miles long (paved in asphalt). He never stopped or slowed down at any point and I watched him closely for signs of tiring. Needless to say he was really tired when we got home, but I didn't think about the impact it might have on his growing joints. Is 3 miles too much once a week? How old does he have to be before I can walk him long distances safely?

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Way too young for that kind of walk. I would wait at least one year before that long of a walk to avoid any chance of injury to his still growing bones. Also, don't discount the danger of Parvo...my cousin's beautiful 11 week old Golden Retriever puppy just succumbed to it last night. After several thousand dollars, they were unable to save him. He came from a very good breeder to a nice clean environment and still contracted it. Very scary illness!

At this point I would keep his walks to no more than half hour ones but you can make them frequent. Just avoid heavily trafficked areas until his shots are complete/

Thanks. We will keep our walks to 30 minutes from now on.

 I am just so impressed he would DO that! Pepper (14 weeks) will hardly go around the block without sitting down on me at least three times and splaying herself spread eagle, refusing to go any further. I can't imagine her walking three miles.ever. lol.

Nugget doesn't like walking around our neighborhood. I think it has something to do about being on his territory, but he's a perfect angel anywhere else, even the next street up. When he doesn't want to walk he does the same spread eagle thing, which is why I would expect him to do the same if he didn't want to walk on a trail. Technically there are less dogs on the trails that we go on then in our neighborhood, so I was a little surprised at all of the vaccine concerns. We used to go on a mile walk every night, but I stopped because I was concerned, and now he runs around the yard like a mad man.

I started leash training my puppy the day we got him when he was 11 weeks old, but did not take him for an actual walk with my other corgi until he was 17 weeks (after the last round of shots).  I am working slowing to build his stamina each week.  I add a block each week.  I live in a neighborhood and usually walk my older corgi about 2 miles a day.  She now gets two walks a day, one with me and one with her new brother.  I hope to have Luke walking at least 1 1/2 miles by the time he is one.  I am also trying to take it slow to be easy on his growing joints and bones.  Then, I will work both dogs up to about 3 miles per day after Luke is a year old.  Hope that helps!

Yeah that does. I just thought that he would give me a sign or something if he was tired. He certainly tells me when it's too hot to walk. I got to see corgi stubbornness first hand on a 90 degree day, when he refused to leave the front porch. That was a bad potty training day.

I didn't read all the replies, but at this age puppies have a very strong drive to follow the pack/pack leader. He will keep following you without showing any signs of being tired.

Regarding the parvo risk, it really depends on where you live and you can't just go by advice from people who live in a different area with different risks.

Someone here on this site had a pup get parvo when the pup never left the yard. An oppossum could walk through an infected area, track it into your yard, and you can pick it up on your front sidewalk.

If there are more dogs in your neighborhood than on the trails, it hardly makes sense (honestly) to advise you to avoid the trails and stick to your own yard where there are more passing dogs.

Ask your vet and your breeder. I had my own breeder, another breeder, and my vet say that it was safe to start going out and about one week after the SECOND set of shots. If you wait til 16 weeks the socialization window has closed. The risks of parvo are uncertain, the risks of a poorly socialized pup are well-documented and almost guaranteed.

I don't know how prevalent parvo is in your area. We have it here, but the local emergency clinic says they see two or three cases a MONTH. So, when we had our pup, I followed the advice of my vet and breeder and took him out and about one week after second set of shots, being careful to avoid areas heavily traficked by unknown dogs, such as the dog park.

But like I said, wild animals can carry it too and you can pick it up in your own back yard. Breeders have. Pet owners have. There are no 100% safe places but the risks vary by region.

I would be more comfortable walking on a trail than in a busy neighborhood. I will post links about vaccinations later from home (don't have it here) but the 16 week protocol is outdated.

However, I agree 3 miles is too long. :-) For parvo, talk to your vet and use your judgement.

Good luck!

Thanks for the encouragement. One of the people who lives with me is a veterinarian's assistant and she and the vet said I was fine. He's got his 3rd set of vaccinations yesterday and the risk of parvo is extremely low in my area. They did say not to take him to doggie parks, and to avoid boarding him, but encouraged me to take him on the local trails. I won't do the 3 miles again, that really was an accident, but I think I might take him on another trail this weekend.

Yay :) I'm sorry if I sounded paranoid about parvo! It's just that we don't know what your individual area is like, and SO many puppies every year succumb to a disease they could have potentially avoided entirely.

Best of luck! :D

Here's the best info I could find; the top q&a talks about the time frame for vaccines.  I went looking when my (very good) vet gave last shot at 14 weeks, when I had heard they had to have the last shot at 16 weeks or later.  Since my vet went to Cornell and keeps up on continuing ed, I was curious about the discrepancy and found this:

http://www.vetinfo.com/dparvo.html#b

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