As an avid hiker, getting a new puppy can be a moral dilemma of wanting to do that 20mile 10k ft incline hike, and doing what your new best friend can handle. Treat them like you would and new friend that you’re taking out for a hike and it’s there first time. Don’t push them too far and make it about THEM not you. Starting slow for your pup will have major rewards later. If your pup knows how to behave and eventually can handle 20mile 10k feet of incline it means you will never have to hike alone again. It’s just like training for your pup. If you put the hard work in at the beginning, the rest of your pups life you will reap the reward of an awesome best friend that listens well and you can take anywhere with out looking like “that bad pup parent”.
Exercise is great for energetic young dogs, but just like children they get energy in spurts. Don’t over due it with the young pup. Take them out for short intervals and let them rest.
It’s been proven that puppies actually don’t need as much exercise as fully-grown dogs. If you over-exercise a growing puppy you can damage it’s developing joints, causing early arthritis. The bones of an eight-week old puppy are about as mature as those of a one year-old human. you really have to be careful about your pups growth plates – areas at each end of the bones where the cells are replicating to make the bones grow longer. There is no calcium at these areas yet, so they are softer than the surrounding calcified bone, making it easier to cause serious damage at this time in a puppies life. If a growth plate is injured, it can stop making new bone, resulting in a shortening or malformation of the bone. Repetitive stresses to this area can cause damage and mildly abnormal bone growth. Over time this stresses the muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. In most dogs the growth plates close around 12 months. That means around 12-15 months your pup will have a solid skeletal development and you can begin longer more intense hiking!
Also, be mindful of your dogs breed or ask your vet if they may have any predisposition to Osteochondritis dessicans or hip dysplasia. If they do you may have to restrict the level of exercise. These issues are more common in larger dog breeds but check with your vet to see if it should be a concern for your pup.