How to have a safe, enjoyable walk

Now that lockdown is easing we have many more walks on offer to us. We are all looking forward to those perfect warm days where we can walk the dog and enjoy a picnic or even a meal at a dog friendly pub.

Whether you’re going out for a quick walk or out for the day preparation is key! Dog trainer Rosie from Paw Skills Dog Training talks to us about the most important things to consider…

Walking dog on lead

What can your dog enjoy?

If our dogs are happy we are happy! So we need to think about what they can enjoy. 

Does your dog have solid recall? If so then you can look for off lead options but if not then look for good footpaths where you can enjoy your walk.

Can your dog manage stiles? I’ve been there where I have walked for over an hour and have had to lift a 30kg dog over a stile! 

How old is your dog? Puppies and senior dogs can’t manage longer walks and may need breaks or a smaller route.

Is your dog nervous or reactive? If your dog is nervous of people and/or other dogs then think about when you walk. Peak times are often mid mornings, lunchtimes and after school. Be an advocate for your dog and if people try and approach your dog or let their dog approach yours, please tell them your dog requires space. 

Is it safe?

Consider the time of year and livestock. At the moment there are lots of sheep lambing and so there are lots of footpaths surrounded by sheep who are protecting their young so dogs must stay on lead and not spook or hassle the sheep. Lots of dogs can slip their collars so make sure your walking equipment is safe. 

Local restrictions 

Lots of places are still staying closed to help in the fight against Covid-19 - always check to see whether they are currently open.

Is there someone safe you can park? Often surrounding parking can be residents only. 

Sniffing grass on a walk


Poo bags - Lots more than you think you need! Dogs will often do an extra poo when they’re playing/excited. Remember you might have to carry your filled bag for some time so you may want to double bag. 

Water - natural water isn’t always safe for dogs such as dirty puddles and algae covered lakes. Even if it doesn’t feel hot your dog (and you!) need to stay hydrated. There are fantastic gadgets sold now where the water bottle has a bowl attached. 

Treats - Always take treats to reward your dog along the way. Whether you are incorporating training into the walk or your dog is just being well behaved, rewards are key throughout a dog’s life! 

Lead - pick the right lead for the walk! A short lead for around livestock, a long line for more freedom in safe places. If a dog is running at speed please remember to attach a long line to a harness and not their collar so to prevent neck injury. 

Phone memory - This may seem like a silly one but memories are important. Take lots of photos, lots of videos, capture those wonderful moments. 

Phone battery - now for the serious phone memo! Make sure you have your phone fully charged for long walks / days out so that in case you get lost or injured you can call for help! 

Top tips for a great walk! 

Pin/send yourself your location of your car/where you started your walk so if you get lost you have a target to get back to as maps can often look the same and be a struggle to know where you parked.

Pick the right footwear for the route.

Make sure your dog’s walking equipment is on safely and properly with ID tags attached.

Plan for your dog and what they can do. Remember dogs feel heat differently to us so keep an eye on the weather and don’t risk your dog’s health or risk paw injury by walking on hot concrete.