What to Consider before Getting a Dog?

There are many things to consider before you get a dog. These include:

  • Does your property have enough space for a dog?
  • Is your property secure?
  • What breed of dog is most suitable for you?
  • How much time can you dedicate to a dog?
  • Will you be able to train a dog or take it to training?
  • Can you afford the ongoing cost of owning a dog including food, housing, vet checks, vaccinations, training, boarding?

Further information to consider before getting a dog and many other frequently asked questions about owning a dog can be found on the NSW Office of Local Government website. 

Animal Welfare Related Responsibilities for Dog Ownership

As a dog owner you have a responsibility to look after your dog's basic welfare needs. These include:

  • Providing a balanced diet and clean cool water
  • Providing adequate shelter for all weather conditions
  • Ensuring your dog is well socialised, trained and exercised
  • Regular vet checks, vaccinations, worming, tick and flea treatments
  • Desexing your dog if not breeding
  • Making sure your dog is looked after when you are away

You can find further information about dog ownership on the NSW Office of Local Government website. 

Walking your Dog

Walking your dog can provide many health and social benefits. These include cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles and bones and decreased stress [1]. It’s also a great way to build social connections with other people in your neighbourhood.  Most dogs love to go for a daily walk too, explore, have fun and socialise with other dogs. This enhances their quality of life and physical health too.

How long and how vigorous your walk should be will depend on the breed of your dog, their age and level of fitness. Walking your dog also helps to strengthen the bond between you both. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise can become bored or destructive.

When talking your dog for a walk place them on-leash before leaving home and ensure they are under your effective control. Whilst some of our public places have dog waste litter bags available it is a good idea to always take some with you on your walks. It is your responsibility to clean up after your dog and dispose of it in a bin. This will stop the waste (poo) getting into our waterways, contaminating the environment, transmitting parasites and diseases to other dogs and humans or ending up on other people’s shoes! Rangers can issue on the spot fines if you don’t pick up your dog’s waste.

Where can’t my dog go?

Your dog is welcome to visit most public places with you on-leash. There are however some places where dogs are not allowed, please look out for the signs. These places include:

  • Some NSW national parks and reserves e.g. Ku-ring-gai Chase and Garigal National Parks
  • The picnic areas and lake at Manly Dam (Manly Warringah War Memorial State Park) and bushland areas (dogs are permitted on-leash on bushland trails at Manly Dam)
  • Synthetic sports fields e.g. Cromer and Forestville War Memorial Playing Fields
  • Most wildlife protection areas (WPAs). Dogs are permitted on-leash at some WPAs.
  • Most ocean and harbour beaches areas.
  • Within 10 metres of children's play areas and other public places as indicated in the Companion Animals Act.

Not everyone is comfortable around dogs and our public spaces should be safe and comfortable for everyone. Always ensure your dog’s behaviour does not disrupt others enjoyment.

Dog Off-leash Areas

The Northern Beaches has 29 dog-off leash areas. They are diverse and range from the shared use of sportsgrounds, to fully fenced dog parks and foreshore reserves. Some have shade and seating, waste bags and bins. We recommend you and your dog test out a number of off-leash dog parks to see what suits you both best.

Off-leash areas are great places for both you and your dog to play, run, socialise, practice training and enjoy the outdoors. Many dogs and owners have become great friends through regularly meeting with others at a dog off-leash area.

If your dog likes to get wet or have a swim, there are several places where your dog can take a dip, these are:

  • Sandy Bay, Clontarf
  • Rowland Reserve, Bayview
  • Curl Curl Lagoon, North Curl Curl
  • Lagoon Park, Manly
  • Progress Park, Narrabeen

View the interactive map to see where our off-leash areas are located.

Dog Off-leash Area Rules and Etiquette

Being a responsible dog owner means you are responsible for your dog’s behaviour at all times, it's important you are in control. When visiting an off-leash area please be mindful that your dog should not cause a nuisance, be aggressive towards other dogs or people or disrupt others enjoyment of the area.

Please consider the following for enjoyment and safety of others:

  • Dogs are to be leashed when entering and exiting an off-leash area.
  • Dogs should be supervised at all times and under your effective control. That means your dog should remain close to you, within your sight at all times and returns to you when you call it.
  • Biting, fighting and other aggressive behaviour is not welcome.
  • Clean up after your dog and dispose of waste in a bin. You’ll find free waste bags at most areas but it’s a good idea to also carry your own.
  • Fill any holes your dog digs.
  • Dogs should be well socialised and able to respond to basic commands such as ‘come, ’sit’, ‘stay’ and ‘drop it’.
  • Understand your dog’s nature and how they interact with other dogs.
  • Dogs should have up to date vaccinations and worming.
  • Dogs must be registered with Council.
  • A maximum of 4 dogs per person.
  • Leave the park if your dog acts inappropriately.
  • Be considerate of other users and nearby residents.
  • Control excessive barking.

Please be aware that not all dogs are suited to or enjoy off-leash areas and interacting with other dogs in this environment. Be aware of canine body language and if your dog is showing signs that it is feeling uncomfortable or over whelmed please put them on-leash, leave the off-leash area and go for a walk instead. You can find out more from the RSPCA’s website, and you can contact one of Council’s Animal Management Officers on 1300 434 434.

[1] www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au