Visiting a dog off-leash area


Hello, my name is Jim.

Going to a dog off-leash area is a great way to exercise and socialise your dog. However, just because it's an off-leash area, doesn't mean there aren't any rules. Here's some good advice so you can get the most from your outing to an off-leash area.

There are more than 40 dog off-leash areas in Cairns so there is bound to be one near your home. It might be a fenced area that is exclusively for dogs, or an open area that is shared by people and pets.

You can always tell you're in a dog off-leash area by these signs.

For most people getting to a dog off-leash area means walking or travelling by car. Either way you must have your dog on a leash until you get to the designated dog off-leash area. And the same goes for when you go home.

Playing with your dog is a great way of bonding and helping your dog to feel comfortable in his surroundings.

Dogs will get hours of enjoyment chasing a toy or a ball and you can make cheap throw toys at home out of old socks or t-shirts.

If you have two dogs they will usually happily play together. Or if you only have one dog you can arrange to meet up with a friend and their pooch so both you and the dogs can socialise.

A lot of dog off-leash areas include children's playgrounds and kids love dogs. Unfortunately children don't always know how to approach an unknown dog and may run towards your pet, try to grab its tail or pat it roughly.

Dogs may also get over-excited around kids who are running, giggling and yelling.

Parents and dog owners need to have an eye on their charges at all times to avoid any unpleasantness.

Keep your dog away from playgrounds, outdoor gym equipment and bike and skate parks.

If you are at a dog off-leash area with your own child, make sure they know how to approach other dog - it's good advice for adults too.

  • Ask the owner first if you can pat the dog.
  • Walk calmly and use a low voice.
  • Approach the dog with your fist outstretched and let him sniff it.

Some dogs will feel threatened if you approach them with a flat hand or if you lean over them. Always pat the dog on its side or shoulders - not its the face.

Even though you are in an off-leash area, you need to have your leash handy just so you can react to any situation.

You must also have control of your dog at all times through voice or hand commands.

Running around in the tropics means getting hot. Dog off-leash parks have water taps to help keep you and your furry friend hydrated. Another option is to bring a water bowl and a bottle of water. Any plastic container will do.

And don't forget to scoop your poop. Most dog off-leash areas have a poo-bag dispenser at the entrance but a plastic shopping bag will also do the trick.

When you leave the dog off-leash area, don't forget to put that lead back on, even for the short walk back to the car.

Last updated: 16 June 2020