If there’s one thing my dog absolutely loves, it’s to run! As a whippet, he definitely sees a wide-open space as heaven! Leash-free parks provide a safe place for me to be able to let him run until his heart’s content, with enough space for him to get up to his “zoomie” speed. For other dogs they provide a perfect meeting place, a social hub, a place to make new friends.
For a list of year-round leash free areas on the Mornington Peninsula click here.
With the use of these wonderful areas does come responsibility. To help keep these areas running effectively and safely, it’s important to show courtesy by following these simple guidelines;
- Pick up after your dog – Respect other owners and their pets by cleaning up after your own. Designated bins exist around the areas so there is no reason not to pick up after your dog. On the spot fines can occur for not cleaning up after your dog!
- Respect other users – Remember that not everyone is comfortable with all breeds and temperaments. Especially in public areas it’s important to remember that not everyone will appreciate a big slobbery lick from your Saint Bernard, just like some people might not want your Miniature Poodle to jump up on their lap.
- Know what to expect – In designated fenced areas there is a high chance that you will encounter bouncy, playful dogs so if you are fearful or wearing nice clothes it may not be an ideal place to hang. Freed from leads it’s common for dogs to want to run and play, when in a group they will also play off each other so things can sometimes get a bit rough. Small children at ground level may be knocked over or intimidated. So to avoid an accident keep them above and away from the play.
- Watch your dog – Just like a young child at play or in the pool, watch your dog! You may not need to worry about them running onto a road (in fenced areas) but when other people and animals are involved it is important to always watch your dog, know where they are and what they are doing.
- Know your pet – As an owner you’ll know best your pets behavioural cues, when they are getting a bit too excited, scared or even showing signs of aggression. If your dog is getting to a point where you think they may lose control or become scared, remove them. By being pro-active you can help avoid those situations altogether.
- Be Responsible – If you are worried your pet may not be on their best behaviour when left to their own devices, don’t let them off their lead when there are a lot of pets and people. Take them at a quieter time and let them run free then, use your discretion. In these settings you are responsible for your pet and their behaviour.
- Take a sick day – If your pet has been diagnosed with or is exhibiting signs of a contagious infection, it’s probably best to skip walking in a high pooch traffic area. Things like Gastroenteritis and Canine Cough can be very contagious, so taking your dog, whilst sick to an area where you know other dogs will be puts all the other pets at risk of contracting the illness. While your pet may not know they want a day off, like us, resting while sick is beneficial, so just give them love at home.
Consideration and Responsibility are the two key ingredients in maintaining the effectiveness of these leash free areas. Let’s all enjoy these areas together!