We investigate the flux penetration in Pb films, of different shapes, deposited on top of a periodic array of Co/Pt dots with perpendicular anisotropy by means of magnetization and magneto-optical measurements. A clear dependence of the critical current density on the magnetic state of the dots and their polarity with respect to the direction of the applied magnetic field is observed by both techniques. The magnetic state of the dots changes the flux penetration from smooth to channelling. Additionally, in the fully magnetized state, an anisotropic current distribution is observed in circular-shaped samples. The flux penetration is dominated by avalanches only for configurations which correspond to a high critical current, irrespective of its origin, be it low temperature, magnetization state of the dots, or angle between the lattice of dots and the edge of the sample.