How to keep on lead walks fun for your dog

It’s a misconception that dogs can only enjoy off lead exercise – plenty of dogs need to be kept on lead for health or behaviour reasons and they still get the exercise and mental stimulation they crave.

Covid-19 government guidelines ask dog owners to keep their pets on lead if they are walking them in areas used by other people. If you’re looking to improve your dog’s on lead time because of this guidance, or for health reasons, there are plenty of things you can do to make their walks more fun.

Before you embark on lead walking with your dog, ensure it has a correctly fitting collar or harness, and a proper lead.

Scent games

Our four-legged friends love exploring with their amazing sense of smell and you can use this to your advantage on your outings.

When walking along with your pooch, drop some treats along by the side of you and then stop and ask them to ‘find it’. Finding the treats is a big reward for them and you are enhancing their natural sense of smell, which stimulates their mind.

On lead training

You can use this time to brush up on some lead etiquette.

Sit at the kerb

Training your dog to sit at the kerbside will keep them mentally stimulated and has the added benefit of keeping them safe. Before you begin asking them at the roadside, make sure they know how to sit when they are by your side – most dogs learn at first by ‘sitting’ front of us. 

When they have this mastered, you can take your training to the kerbside. If you do this regularly most dogs quickly learn to sit at the kerb as soon as you approach one, giving you some peace of mind when you’re approaching a road with a lot of traffic.

Lead walks

If your dog pulls on walks, why not teach them to walk nicely on lead? Using treats, reward your dog when they are walking next to you on a loose lead. This helps them to understand that being by your side is a positive and rewarding thing.

Exercise with your dog

Most dogs enjoy running, so if you’re heading out on a jog, why not take your dog along with you? We have plenty of tips on how to train your dog to run with you and it’s a great bonding exercise. Be sure to stop if your dog looks like they’re struggling at any point or, indeed, if you are!

Download PDF on lead walking tips here