Recreation with my Dog
On this page:
- Canberra is renowned for being a dog friendly city
- In public spaces, there are a few simple rules to remember when exercising your dog
- Keep your dog on-leash when walking on a path or cycleway
- Cyclists and walkers remember to keep left
- All major parks are dog on-leash areas
- Dogs must stay 10 metres away from playgrounds and barbecues
- Sports grounds are a great place to exercise your dog off-leash when they’re not being used for formal sport.
- Dogs can also be off-leash at man-made wetland areas
- Just make sure they don’t harass others, including the wildlife. It’s just good petiquette
- And of course, clean up after your dog
- Always abide by signage, and if in doubt, keep your dog on-leash
- Dog exercise area maps are available online
- And remember, you can also let your pooch frolic at one of the six fenced dog parks in Canberra
Wondering where in the ACT to take your furry best friend? There are lots of places to take your dog on leash and off leash to ensure they get regular exercise and socialisation.
Remember, when in a public place with your dog, you must have effective control of the dog at all times, whether it is on or off leash.
Off leash areas
Fenced dog parks are available at the following 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, Springbank Rise
- O'Connor, Park land, Fairfax Street
- Duffy, Park land, Warragamba Avenue.
For more information including dog park etiquette please visit Fenced Dog Parks Rules and Responsibilities.
Gibraltar Forest Regeneration Area formerly known as Gibraltar Pines east of Corin Road, is now closed as a dog off leash exercise area and dogs are now prohibited. This change is to safeguard domestic dogs from 1080 poison baits for wild dogs and foxes laid in this area. Dogs are permitted on leash at Woods Reserve.
Off leash area maps
The Off Leash Dog Exercise Areas Map can be viewed online. Please keep in mind that these open space areas are used for other recreational purposes too, so it is important dogs remain under the control of their carers while exercising off leash.
These maps are detailed and delivered through ACTMAPi, the ACT Government's interactive mapping service.
These maps are currently being updated and the onus is on the individual to follow the designations displayed on signage.
On leash areas
You can take your dog to all major parks as long as it is on a leash. Dogs must also be kept on leash on all paths and cycleways for the safety of walkers and cyclists. As a general rule, if you are ever in doubt you should keep your dog on a leash.
Dogs must be on leash on shared pathways outside off leash exercise areas. Please be mindful of passing pedestrians and cyclists and keep to the left.
Dog swimming areas
- Lakes - Dogs are permitted to swim in most of Canberra's lakes provided they are not within 10 metres of a signposted public swimming area. For information on the location of public swimming areas in Canberra contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
- Rivers - On the Murrumbidgee River dogs are allowed to swim at Uriarra Crossing East, Uriarra Crossing West, Swamp Creek and the western riverbank of Point Hut Crossing recreational area. Please note that on the eastern riverbank of Point Hut Crossing dogs must remain on leash.
Dogs and Horses
There are a large number of horses in the ACT which use Canberra's equestrian connections through public open spaces, some shared paths and underpasses. Horses can be startled by unrestrained or aggressive dogs, especially in confined spaces. They have a significant reach with their hind legs when they feel threatened. For the safety of all it is recommended that you keep your dog on a leash around horses even in off-leash areas.
Dog prohibited areas
Dogs, except for assistance dogs with permits, are not to be taken:
- onto the grounds of a child-care centre, preschool or primary school
- onto the grounds of a high school or secondary college during school hours or when school sports or training is being conducted, including after hours training
- onto a field or playing area where formal sport is being played
- within 10 metres of a designated play space (if children are playing on it) or a fireplace (or heating appliance) designated for cooking
- to the Gibraltar Forest Regeneration Area formerly known as Gibraltar Pines, Black Mountain Nature Reserve, Mulligans Flat sanctuary, Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Gungahlin Hill Nature Reserve, Rob Roy Nature Reserve and Dunlop, Gungaderra, Mullanggari, Jerrabomberra and Crace grasslands.
The fine for taking dogs into prohibited areas is $150, or $350 for taking them onto the grounds of a child-care centre, preschool or primary school.
All dog droppings in public places must be removed by the dog owner. It is an offence not to remove your dog's droppings in a public place and not to carry appropriate equipment to pick up your dog's droppings. An on-the-spot fine of $150.00 can be issued by authorising officers if you do not pick up and dispose of your dog's droppings. An on-the-spot fine of $75.00 can also be issued if you are not carrying appropriate equipment to collect your dog's droppings.
For more information on dog laws and pet ownership in the ACT, please refer to Domestic Animal Services.