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Control your dog

The Dog Control Act

The Dog Control Act 1996 requires dog owners to keep their dogs under control at all times.

You need to make sure that your dog does not:

  • cause a nuisance (barking or fouling)
  • cause damage to property
  • injure, endanger or cause distress to any person, livestock, poultry or domestic animal, or protected wildlife.    

Control your dog on your property

You must ensure that your dog is:

  • under the direct control of a person
  • confined in such a way that it cannot freely leave the property.

Ways to confine your dog

  • Fencing – without holes or gaps and tall enough so your dog cannot jump over it.
  • Sonic barrier – invisible fencing that emits a sound when your dog gets close to the boundary.
  • Attaching your dog’s collar to a running wire - allows dog to run within a limited area.

Check that there is nothing your dog can climb on, like a compost bin or wood pile, to jump over a fence.

Menacing and dangerous dogs have to be inside a securely fenced area so visitors can safely enter your property.

Control your dog in public

Make sure your dog is under control in public places at all times.

  • Closely supervise your dog.
  • Muzzle your dog in situations that might be stressful.
  • Keep your dog on a leash at on-leash areas. Find places where you can walk your dog.   
  • Train your dog to respond immediately to voice commands, hand signals, whistles or other effective means.

Control your dog around other people

What some see as playful but harmless behaviour, others may see as out of control behaviour.

If your dog jumps on someone, some people might not mind but others might get frightened.

As a dog owner, you need to ensure your dog does not cause anyone distress.

  • Prevent your dog from running up to and jumping up on people.
  • Supervise your dog closely around children.

Things you can do to manage your dog’s behaviour 

  • De-sex your dog.
  • Go to dog obedience classes - see the Yellow Pages.
  • Talk to your vet, an animal management officer or an animal behaviour specialist.
  • Talk to experienced dog owners.
  • Read about dog behaviour.

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