Dog on lead being walked

Walking your dog: Tips for walking on lead and off lead

  • Your dog may react very differently on lead than they do off lead
  • It helps to give your dog plenty of space passing other dogs when they are on lead
  • When your dog is off lead, you should keep them away from others that are on lead

On lead etiquette

When walking your dog on lead, be mindful of how they interact with other dogs. The restriction of being on a lead can make your dog react in a very different way than they would if they were off-lead in the same situation.

For instance, when dogs approach each other on-lead, they have to meet each other head-to-head which may cause some dogs to become more worried/ frustrated than they would usually be.

It may help to give your dog plenty of space to pass other dogs so that they aren’t forced into greeting a dog that they don’t want to. Bear in mind that if your dog is on-lead, then they may become frustrated with an off-lead dog approaching them as they may feel too restricted.

Off lead etiquette

If you’re comfortable with your pet being off lead and they have good recall training in place, these top tips will help make sure both your dog and other dogs have the best time off the lead.

  • Keep your pooch away from other dogs that are on-lead. Many owners will keep their dog on lead for various reasons such as training, reactive behaviour towards other dogs or people, nervousness or health reasons (including if their dog is post-surgery and is on strict gentle walks).
  • Be sure to keep a close eye on your dog at all times – they may wander into an area that you’re not familiar with when they’re distracted by the other dogs
  • It’s important to monitor dogs playing in a group environment because things can quickly escalate, especially when a new dog is introduced to the group

Seasonal tips

Avoid these seasonal hazards:


A beautiful time of year with an array of colours adorning the trees. But while you’re looking up at the various shades of reds, browns and yellows, be sure to look down at the floor and watch out for conkers. Conkers can cause a serious health risk to your pet if ingested.


Wintertime can be lots of fun for all the family but make sure you’re prepared for the hazards for dogs that come with it. Snow can cause confusion when it’s blanketed over a frozen lake or pond. Be sure to keep your dog on lead if you’re in unfamiliar territory on a snowy day.


This is the perfect time of year to spot spring flowers blooming in the wild. However, flowers such as daffodils are poisonous to dogs if they eat the bulbs or flowers, so try to keep your dog away from these where possible. 


When the summer heat kicks in, we need to remember to keep our pets cool as dogs can very quickly become overheated and dehydrated when out walking. If your dog enjoys swimming, they may enjoy a trip to the seaside or your local dog-friendly lake. Though be sure to check that it’s clear of blue-green algae before letting your dog take a dip!

If you’re unable to walk your dog for whatever reason, then you can do other fun things to keep them entertained indoors.

— Page last updated 30/05/2023