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When Can Puppies Go Outside For the First Time?

↯ Key takeaway points

  • It is safe to bring a puppy outside as soon as you bring him home, as long as you take necessary precautions.
  • Between 8 and 12 weeks of age is the crucial period for puppy socialization, so it's important to expose puppies to new experiences during this time.
  • Puppies should avoid contact with unvaccinated dogs and should be supervised when exploring new areas.
  • Puppies can attend puppy or socialization classes after their first vaccination indoors, as long as the other dogs in attendance are free from illness.
  • After the first vaccination, puppies should still avoid highly trafficked and public areas.
Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Saturday 22 December 2018
Last updated on
Tuesday 6 June 2023
When Can Puppies Go Outside For the First Time?
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Bringing a new puppy home is an exciting experience, but it’s crucial to keep in mind a few things when taking them outside. While it’s generally safe, it’s essential to make sure your puppy has completed their vaccinations to prevent the spread of diseases. Also, keep a close eye on them to avoid them getting into trouble or wandering off.

When You First Bring a Puppy Home

When you first bring your new puppy home, it’s important to let him explore the safety of your yard. Take your puppy outside every few hours to go potty, and be sure to supervise him while he’s playing. If you need to take him for a walk outside, make sure to keep a close eye on your surroundings.

Puppy Socialization

Between 8 and 12 weeks is a crucial socialization time for puppies. According to PetMD, puppies are most accepting of new experiences during this time. As your puppy gets older, it becomes increasingly more difficult for him to accept things he’s afraid of. Therefore, as soon as you bring your puppy home, you want to expose him to as many people, places, and things as you can. If you keep your dog inside, he’ll miss out on this important period of socialization. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB), missing out on this phase can lead to behavior problems as he grows.

You should start by bringing him outside to use the bathroom, play in the yard, and go for walks around the neighborhood. You can also expose him to loud and different objects around the house like suitcases, umbrellas, and vacuum cleaners. Bring in people and pets that you know and trust. Then you can begin to venture to clean public areas like malls and cafes. You can enroll your dog in a puppy class, but he should have had at least one round of vaccines before attending. If you’re walking with your dog in a public area that looks unsafe or unclean, pick your dog up.

Do not let your dog interact dogs you don’t know for an extended period of time until he has had his last round of vaccinations. You also will want to avoid areas frequented by other dogs like dog parks, hiking trails, etc. Until your dog has had his last set of vaccinations (typically 14-16 weeks), he is safe to be outside but at a greater risk of disease. Keep this in mind as you work on his socialization.

puppies vaccines outside
Puppies should go outside and socialize as much as possible. Simply avoid soiled areas and dirty parks.

Can I Take My Puppy Outside After the First Vaccination?

After your puppy’s initial vaccination, you should make sure that he does not have an adverse reaction. If all goes well, it’s still best to wait a few days before letting your dog interact with any other dogs outside. While your puppy will still need to complete his vaccination regimen, even after the first dosage, he should be fine to do some exploring in the outside world.

Nevertheless, it’s best to stick to dogs and areas you know. If you have a backyard, you can let your dog spend as much time there as possible, to let him exercise and experience new stimuli. Keeping your puppy in a controlled area will decrease his risk of catching a disease. According to the AVMA, puppies may freely enroll in a puppy or socialization class after their first vaccination as long as it’s held indoors and the other dogs attending the class are free from illness. Even after the first vaccine, it’s best to avoid highly trafficked and public areas. Your dog is more likely to catch an infection or disease in these areas and his immune system is not fully prepared just yet.


Again, this socialization period is crucial to your puppy’s future. Safely exposing him to as much as possible will prevent the likelihood of behavior issues later in life like separation anxiety and aggression. If you’re unsure of the socialization timeline after your dog’s vaccinations, ask your veterinarian for tips.

Can I Take My Puppy Outside At 8 Weeks?

Generally, puppies should remain with their litter until at least 8 weeks of age. Most puppies go to their forever homes between 8-10 weeks. This is also the crucial period of puppy socialization.

If you receive your puppy at 8 weeks, you can safely take him outside, but with precautions. You should take your puppy outside to use the bathroom and start activities in the home. The AVMA states that activities should be limited to areas that are not used by unvaccinated animals. At this age, your puppy’s vaccinations are not complete and he has very little left of his mother’s immune system.

Furthermore, you should avoid contact with dogs of unknown temperament, health, or vaccination status, as well as areas that could be soiled or harbor diseases like parks or woods. While your puppy is still this young, socialization classes and known dogs are great opportunities for exposure experiences, as long as the playmates are vaccinated. You should continue to take these precautions through your dog’s vaccinations. Once your puppy has had his final round of vaccinations (typically 14-16 weeks), you can extend the areas and dogs that he is exposed to.

Overall, your puppy can go outside as soon as you bring home. You do not have to wait to take your puppy outside. Keep in mind, however, that your puppy is not fully vaccinated and his immune system is not fully functional. Ensure that you take the necessary precautions and your puppy should be fine. This is a period of socialization you do not want to miss out on. Therefore, exposure to new dogs, environments, and experiences should be balanced with caution and care.

Author Bio – James Woller is a long-time dog enthusiast and owner of Release the Hounds, a professional dog walking and boarding company in Vancouver, Canada. On his days off from running his company, he enjoys learning and writing about topics that are of interest to caring pet owners.

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