Caring for your dog

Dogs can be highly sociable, companionable pets but they require care and management to live their best lives and not be a nuisance to your neighbourhood or environment.

On this page you will find information about:

You can also find useful tips in our responsible dog ownership(PDF, 1MB) brochure.

Containing your dog safely on your property

All dog owners have a duty to provide proper fencing and enclosures to prevent their dogs from wandering. A roaming dog is in danger of becoming lost, injured or killed, and can be annoying to neighbours.

Some dogs can become overly protective of their property and this may lead to fence aggression – aggressive barking or physically rushing at their fence. Such behaviour can be frightening to people, especially children and elderly. It is an offence for a dog to rush at or approach a person in a manner as to cause or give cause for fear or alarm.

It is important to regularly check your fencing or other measures to prevent your dog escaping or fence rushing.

Learn more with the keeping your dog safely contained(PDF, 173KB) brochure.

Desexing your dog

Desexing has many benefits and will help your dog live a healthier and longer life. Desexing can:

  • prevent unwanted litters
  • protect from injury and disease
  • stop aggressive behaviour in males
  • prevent roaming, spraying and noise nuisance.

Walking your dog on a leash

People have a right to feel safe in the community and it is the responsibility of pet owners to ensure the protection of others and to keep public areas safe for people to enjoy. Pet owners are responsible and legally liable for the actions of their animals.

Dog attacks often occur when dogs are not on a leash or under effective control. For public safety, a dog in a public place must be kept on a leash, unless in a designated off-leash area. It is the dog owner's responsibility to pick up and dispose of waste appropriately.

Learn more about reporting a dog attack on the animal complaints page.

You can also take advantage of the free community programs on offer that will help you and your dog.

Socialising your dog

When getting a dog, choose a breed that is suitable to your lifestyle and home. It's important to socialise your dog to learn good manners and become a well-rounded member of society.

Socialising means exposing your dog to the variety of situations and noises that make up everyday life, so they recognise these as normal and not something to be wary about. Socialising has many benefits for your dog and you, including:

  • increasing the bond between you and your pet
  • meeting new people and playmates
  • physical stimulation and mental satisfaction
  • building confidence so you and your dog feel safe in new situations
  • recognising dog body language to keep your dog safe
  • reducing negative behaviour – aggression, anxiety and stress
  • changing predetermined opinions on breed and size.

To help socialise your dog, find a dog off-leash area near you or take advantage of the free community programs on offer.

Managing barking dogs

Barking is a natural behaviour for dogs and is one of the ways they communicate. However, if the barking becomes excessive – occurs for extended periods of time, whether too frequently or at inappropriate times of the day or night – it can cause distress to neighbours and be determined as a noise nuisance.

As the dog owner, you are responsible for managing your dog's barking to not cause a nuisance. Learn more about the noise nuisance process and why dogs bark – Domestic animal noise nuisance fact sheet(PDF, 214KB)

Fines are in place for those who disregard the regulations. Find our more on our Laws, breaches and fines page.

Take advantage of the free community programs on offer to learn more about how to reduce problem behaviour.

Dog bite prevention and children

Many dog bite incidents on children are unreported to Council and often occur in or around the home, involving a family or friend's dog. 

Children's natural behaviour – yelling, hitting, running and grabbing – can put them at greater risk of injury requiring medical attention. Facial injuries can often be sustained given the height of the child as well as serious mental, physical and emotional trauma.

As a parent and/or dog owner, you can help reduce the risk of a dog bite by teaching your children about how to behave safely around dogs in various situations.

Read our Pat and play safely fact sheet(PDF, 2MB).

Our top 3 safety tips:

  1. Always supervise children around dogs.
  2. Recognise the warning signs.
  3. Educate your family about how to behave around dogs.

This means:

  • be calm, respectful and gentle around dogs
  • always ask an owner if you can pat a strange dog – no owner, no leash, no pat
  • never pat a dog on the head; always pat on the back
  • never approach a dog that is eating, sleeping, tied up, playing with toys or chewing bones
  • if a strange dog approaches you, never scream and run away – instead, stand still, hide your fingers, and look down at the ground and not at the dog's eyes
  • if a dog jumps on you, protect yourself by rolling into a ball on the ground. Try to stay still and quiet until the dog goes away or help arrives.

Learn more about behaviour and body language at our free community programs on offer.