Fenced Dog Park Rules and Responsibilities

A few helpful etiquette tips to make the most of your dog park visit.

Canberra’s dog parks make exercising your dog easy and enjoyable. Find one near you.

The ACT Government appreciates that dog owners are a substantial section of park users and pets are recognised for their physical and mental health benefits. Whilst encouraging dog walking, it is important to manage dogs in public spaces for the best outcomes for all park users.

Fenced dog park locations

  • Belconnen, Lake Ginninderra, Diddams Close
  • Greenway, Lake Tuggeranong, Mortimer Lewis Drive
  • Yarralumla, Park land, Weston Park
  • Forde, Park land, Amy Ackman Drive
  • Casey, Park land, Yeend Avenue, Springbank Rise
  • O'Connor, Park land, Fairfax Street. 

A map of where to take your dog in the ACT is available at the Dog Exercise Areas Map.

Parks and City Services established a reference group of key community and government stakeholders to ensure that the fenced dog parks were the best fit for Canberra and best practice in dog exercise park design. This reference group included representatives from a number of dog associations and clubs, the RSPCA, Centre for Companion Animals in Society, Australian Veterinary Assocation, Guide Dogs Association and Council on the Aging.

Dog park etiquette

To assist dog owners get the most out of dog parks, the following etiquette tips and Dog Park Etiquette Brochure ( PDF 990Kb) has been developed.

Know your dog

  • The first visit to a dog park can be stressful for both the dog and its owner. First-time visitors should consider visiting the park at non-peak times. Peak times are late afternoon to dark on weekdays and after 9.30 am on weekends. In time both you and your dog will come to enjoy this new experience.
  • Not all dogs are suited to visiting a dog park. Dogs that are aggressive or overly shy should not be taken into the enclosure. If you take an aggressive dog into the enclosure you are risking harm to others and creating a potential liability for yourself.
  • You should have full control of your dog and it should come when called.
  • You should be able to read when your dog is hot, thirsty, aggressive, fearful or happy and act accordingly.
  • If your dog is not well socialised with other dogs you will need to teach your dog how to behave appropriately at the park. Dogs that have not been well socialised will need to be carefully supervised to avoid aggression and inappropriate behaviour.

Enclosure use etiquette

  • Where there are small and large dog enclosures, make sure you use the appropriate enclosure.
  • Don't come into the enclosure if it is already crowded and leave immediately if you feel concerned about anything happening in the enclosure, or your dog's behaviour.
  • When entering or leaving through the double gated transition area make sure there is nobody else already in this space. This will prevent the possibility of dogs escaping or fighting in this confined space.
  • When entering the dog park, quickly move away from the entrance and into the open. This will help disperse dogs that may come to greet your dog so your dog will not feel cornered or threatened.
  • Rather than staying in one place, keep moving around to reduce territorial behaviours.
  • Stay alert and focussed on your dog at all times. Many people like to chat to the other dog owners. However, it is very important to keep an eye on your dog at all times.
  • It is very likely there will be groups of dogs running around the park, which can quickly become a problem if not managed. Call your dog away as soon as you see any signs in any dog that they are no longer happy about the situation.
  • Please bring plenty of bags and clean up after your dog, and clean up after others if you come across them.
  • The drinking bowl has been designed to not retain water. This is to ensure it is not an attractor for snakes. If it is not draining effectively please take a moment to empty it once your dog has taken a drink.

Key things to remember

  • Body language – learn to read and respond to your dog's posture and body language.
  • Packs – several dogs joining together as a pack can lead to problems. Lead your dog away from the group to a neutral area.
  • Possession – dogs can protect their toys, treats and people. Shared toys can also lead to the spread of disease. Toys and food, with the exception of discrete small training treats, should not be brought into the enclosure.
  • Behaviour – if at any time your dog becomes overly anxious, annoying or aggressive leave the park and come back another time.
  • Control – dogs should be under the care of an owner who is at least 16 years old. They must be fully responsible for the actions of their dog at all times.
  • Children – children in the enclosure should be supervised closely. Children under the age of 14 should not enter without an adult.
  • Smoking – smoking is not allowed in the enclosure. Cigarette butts are potentially harmful if ingested by dogs.

Park dos

  • Dogs coming into the dog park must be registered, desexed (unless a permit has been issued), and fully vaccinated
  • Keep your dog under effective control and leave if it becomes aggressive
  • Clean up and place waste in the bins provided
  • Talk to other users before issues arise
  • Children are vulnerable to attack so please supervise them carefully
  • Keep the number of dogs you bring to two per owner preferably

Park don'ts

  • Don't come into the park if your dog is unvaccinated, aggressive or on heat
  • Don't bring puppies that have not completed their vaccinations
  • Don't bring in food or toys
  • Don't bring in children under 14 without an adult
  • Don't let your dog crowd the gate

You may also like to read Meet and Greet, an etiquette guide for off leash dog park behaviour by Gwen McArthur, available through your local library.

The ACT Government appreciates that dog owners are a substantial section of park users and pets are recognised for their physical and mental health benefits. Whilst encouraging dog walking, it is important to manage dogs in public spaces for the best outcomes for all park users.

The ACT Government is committed to improving the accessibility of web content. To provide feedback or request an accessible version of a document please contact us or phone 13 22 81.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the ACT, the Ngunnawal people. We acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region.