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Worried Walks

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

Being mindful on dog walks so everyone can enjoy the great outdoors

Walking our dogs is great mental and physical exercise, the act of walking and exercising releases happy endorphins for both owner and dog. But for some the experience can be very different. Walks can be overwhelming for dogs, the noise, traffic, people, other animals. This can lead to anxiety, fear and reactivity if dogs are put in an uncomfortable situation where they feel unable to escape.

Here is a whistle-stop tour on a few things to consider when out and about with your dogs to try and make it a pleasant experience for everyone involved.

Is your dog anxious?

If your dog is anxious or dog reactive then try not to think that putting them in the middle of a situation will make them get over this fear. It will likely make things worse. What we want is:

  • Positive experiences

  • Positive socialisation

  • Desensitisation

  • Calm environment

  • Giving them plenty of time: do not rush

  • Use ' No Dogs', 'Anxious', 'Nervous' dog coats or leads to warn other dog walkers

  • Find quiet places to walk were you can manage situations calmly

  • Find a local rented doggy field so they can have some fun without the fear of interruption

Is your dog boisterous or over friendly?

Your dog might be friendly, but often their company is not wanted by other dogs and owners. Here are a few top tips:

  • Have excellent recall or get them on lead when you see dogs approaching until you know if these dogs are happy to play

  • Do not let your dogs run up to on lead dogs

  • If they are getting too boisterous they may accidentally harm other dogs, recall and get them calmer before proceeding

  • Find other like minded dogs and owners and arrange fun play sessions at quiet areas or in rented dog fields where they can burn off that energy safely!


  • Keep dogs on lead around live stock

  • Keep your dogs in view in dog walking areas surrounded by livestock fields

  • Do not allow your dog to chase livestock

  • Pick up your dogs poo!

Other footpath users

  • Be cautious of other users in public places

  • Bikes should pass slowly but keep dogs under control so that they don't run our in front of bikes

  • Don't allow your dogs to jump up at other walkers

  • Do not allow your dog to approach children unless invited to

  • Alternatively, don't allow your children to pet dogs without express agreement from the owner first

  • Be cautious of retractable lead in busy public spaces, they are a trip and tangle hazard

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