The walk dilemma

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Hi, I have a medium-high energy 12 weeks old Nova Scotia puppy. He's very smart and cute. He brought us so much joy.

There's one thing I'm having hard times figuring out. So, I'm not supposed to walk him more than 15 minutes at a time. And I follow that rule. Some days he walks perfectly but mostly the walk becomes a torture for him for 2 reasons. He gets overmonitored because he likes to pick up stuff from the ground. And he gets very excited seeing other dogs and whole point of walking him is to socialize but most people have small dogs here and they're not really friendly, they get annoyed by his high energy so I can't let him socialize as much as he wants during the walks. (I already contacted puppy classes etc.)

So, I always come home with a overstimulated and restricted puppy while sometimes I'm trying to use the walks to burn energy off. But they make him hyper for hours to follow.

Since I'm with him until 4pm, it's fine during the day. But after I come back home at 7:30 and take him for a walk, he can't settle down until 11pm with a hyper mood. I usually end up having to wait for my husband to come from work to occupy him so I can prepare a meal and we struggle with his energy all night while we want to wind down.

Last night I experimented with not giving him a walk after coming back home. We have a large fenced outdoor area he can go potty so I came home, took him for potty then cuddled with him for 30 mins. He was super calm. Then he played by himself while I prepared the dinner and I threw his ball until he didn't want it anymore. Then my husband came home and they played a bit, did a training session. He took a short nap while we had dinner then we had another play/cuddle session. At one point he got zoomies but it lasted way shorter than the zoomies he gets on the evenings he walks. His temperament was much better and we were able to enjoy playing with him rather than trying to manage him.

So, is there a way to walk him and avoid the energy spur or manage the walk better? Or should I just give him extra walks during the day and keep the no walk after work going until he's a bit older?

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