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Hello Everyone,

New puppy owner here. I've been trying to answer myself, why do I walk my new puppy? Well, for me, the primary motivation is for stimulation, smell, noises, seeing other dogs, etc. So, I am teaching him good walking best practices, but I do let him stop and smell things and explore spaces that he takes interest in. I'm curious what seasoned GSD owners do or how they feel about it? Thank you!
 

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I agree 100%. Letting a puppy explore and interact with the world is tremendous mental stumulation. I do not incorporate training into a walk but I may incorporate a walk into training. When I walk my dogs, the walk is for them to engage with the environment. It is fun times for us. When I train, I train. Training may include walks to teach and practice distance, duration and distractions. Those walks start with Ready? And end with Done. People forget to sometimes just relax and enjoy your puppy. A GSD puppy should not be all work.
 

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There's a hundred reasons to walk you GSD, not just a few.

Exercise, socialization, mental health (there's and yours), physical health, just pure JOY.
I'm fortunate to have miles of wood and trails outside my back door and there's nothing like off leash walks with cool shade, giant trees, squirrels, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, birds, a creek and each other. On-leash walks offer their own advantages but I prefer the former freedom
 

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I have a dog with some health issues, so walks are her primary source of exercise. With my patrol dogs walks were good for interaction with the general public outside of work. With puppies walk are very limited, used for exposure and controlled but not structured, meaning I let them dictate the duration and they are free to explore the environment but I manage interaction with people and their dogs.
I may incorporate small bits of training into a walk, but usually walks are free time and as long as there is no blatant disrespect they do as they please.
 

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my dog walks for the same purposes i do... exercise, fresh air, sight see, to go places. i don’t potty on walks, lol, but you get the gist. training happens if it makes sense and an opportunity presents itself, but otherwise he’s free to do whatever he wants, including walk ahead of me... i don’t even mind light tension in the leash. although i should clarify, i only allow this once a dog can reliably return to walking in a heel if needed/asked.
 

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As long as a dog is not pulling, I am OK with that. But if I walk both I want them next to me and with a pup as second dog that will only be for short training sessions though. Other than that they are off leash.
 

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Thank you all. The advice is great and makes a lot of sense. I imagine as my puppy grows, the walks will be longer and less exploring as he will have a better grasp of "his environments". I guess at that point, both he and I will be getting more excercise.
 

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I’m at the point with my 8 month old WL pup that we walk between 3 and 8 miles a day, as measured by a phone app, and spend about 30 minutes a day playing fetch with a chuck it launcher, where he can run full-out off leash. We routinely come home from a 3 mile walk, and he wants to play frisbee as soon as we’re in our backyard. He doesn’t seem to tire out, but if I skip a walk he starts becoming bratty and rebellious.
I try to train as we’re walking most of the time, getting him to place on benches and retaining walls, heeling, automatic sits, that kind of thing, and the exercise and stimulation seems to make him a much more agreeable and obedient puppy.
 

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Thank you all. The advice is great and makes a lot of sense. I imagine as my puppy grows, the walks will be longer and less exploring as he will have a better grasp of "his environments". I guess at that point, both he and I will be getting more excercise.
With most dogs I do not think of walks as exercise. Exercise is fetch, tag, hiking, running, off leash play. I walk really fast, and I still run a bit, I can keep Shadow at a trot if I want to. Prior to her latest injury we walked somewhere between 15 and 20 kms a day and as per the treadmill I used in physio I walk at a rate of just over 7kms an hour without exerting myself. I need to walk that far or I get sore so it's no big deal.
The more you exercise your pup the more he will need. One of the most common mistakes I see people making is that they create super athletes and then become unable to keep up. Work your pups brain, make him search for things or teach him tricks. Find stuff that makes him think and use his nose.
 

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Dogs can't stay in top physical condition indefinitely. The body will begin to break down. All living creatures have a maximum point of peak physical condition that can be maintained only for a short period of time. Look at it this way, a marathon runner generally runs a few miles a day to maintain good physical condition. If a runner is going to run a marathon race, they create a plan to slowly build up to peak condition for the day of the race. After the race, they generally take time off to recuperate and then return to running a few maintenance miles again. No marathon runner can run a marathon every day regardless of their physical condition. The body just can't take it.
 

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Another aspect of the daily walk for my dog and I is it's part of the structure and routine for each day. Get up, go out with the dog for 60 to 90 minutes, then breakfast and the rest of the day. Structure and routine keep us both happy and contented.
 

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To occupy the mind and reduce stress. The time is more important than the distance. Each walk is 15-30 minutes a few times a day (whatever I have time for between meetings and work stuff)... sometimes we only get to the end of the block if it’s garbage day and there are lots of new things to sniff but that’s worth more than running a km in a straight line. Brain work is important. Most of the “exercise” is done at home in the back yard.
 

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Another aspect of the daily walk for my dog and I is it's part of the structure and routine for each day. Get up, go out with the dog for 60 to 90 minutes, then breakfast and the rest of the day. Structure and routine keep us both happy and contented.
That's true, I haven't missed minimum 3X a week walk with my dog(s) in 40 years. Dogs love structure and some routine.

They may not all be long walks, may not all be huge exercise but they get them out and interested, all off my property and all off leash. Even if we cover the same area most walks, there's always new rabbit, squirrel and coyote smells.
 

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To occupy the mind and reduce stress. The time is more important than the distance. Each walk is 15-30 minutes a few times a day (whatever I have time for between meetings and work stuff)... sometimes we only get to the end of the block if it’s garbage day and there are lots of new things to sniff but that’s worth more than running a km in a straight line. Brain work is important. Most of the “exercise” is done at home in the back yard.
Fantastic! You get it! Garbage day is a smorgasboard of mental stimulation!
 
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Fantastic! You get it! Garbage day is a smorgasboard of mental stimulation!
I think it’s a misconception that GSDs require SO much exercise and SO much training and SO much time... not really... I have an exceptionally high drive 5m old WL puppy (yes an import 😂) that SLEEPS most of the day 😂... GSDs were bred to be working dogs, not a miserable burden an owner has to commit to three 5 mile hikes a day with rain or shine.
 

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I think it’s a misconception that GSDs require SO much exercise and SO much training and SO much time... not really... I have an exceptionally high drive 5m old WL puppy (yes an import 😂) that SLEEPS most of the day 😂... GSDs were bred to be working dogs, not a miserable burden an owner has to commit to three 5 mile hikes a day with rain or shine.
Lol. Lots easier to let the dog inhale the smorgasboard at his feet and be content at the end of the walk then to struggle making him heel past it and then have to find something to fulfill his instincts. That's double the work and time.
 
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I think it’s a misconception that GSDs require SO much exercise and SO much training and SO much time... not really... I have an exceptionally high drive 5m old WL puppy (yes an import 😂) that SLEEPS most of the day 😂... GSDs were bred to be working dogs, not a miserable burden an owner has to commit to three 5 mile hikes a day with rain or shine.
Well, I'd counter that the VAST majority of dogs don't get enough exercise. Bored dogs can sleep most of the day too :)
 

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German Shepherds are sprinters not milers. The reason for off leash exercise is partly for the freedom and partly so they can self regulate how much they need.
 
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