Most of the parks in Melbourne are dog-friendly. For an unforgettable and more freewheeling adventure with your dog, you may want to take your dog to an off-leash dog park or beach. Your dog will be in a position to run around and sniff along the eucalypt-lined walking trail.
If you and your dog are tired of making laps on the pavements in your neighbourhood, you can try any of these dog parks and beaches for a change. Give your dog a chance to sniff new smells, let the grass between their paw or even make new human and fur friends.
While there are many benefits of taking your dog to off-leash walks, it’s also important to consider the safety of the environment you are about to walk your dog.
If you want your dog to enjoy the benefits of walking off-leash, you need to choose a safe and controlled environment. You could perhaps take your dog to a park or in a fenced yard for exploration time.
When to Choose an Off-Leash Dog Park
If your dog is not trained to walk off the leash, please don’t take any risks. Your dog’s safety comes first! It might look effortless when you see a dog parent walking their dog off the leash. What a disciplined and well-behaved fur baby, you think!
However, this is not the ideal situation for all dog parents. It’s important to understand and be aware of all the potential issues and risks beforehand.
Before considering an off-leash walk with your fur baby, you need to understand its pros and cons.
Advantages of Off-leash Dog Walking
Gives your dog more time to explore
Dogs love to go on adventures and to sniff nearly everything they come into contact with. Going off-leash definitely gives them time to do so! This will make your dog enjoy their walks more than when they are on the leash.
Your dog gets exercise physically and mentally
Taking dogs for walks helps them stretch their legs and get fresh air. This is a perfect way to exercise them. When they are off-leash, they use their brains to decide where to go rather than being restricted by a leash.
Helps promote good behaviour
Before taking your dog for a walk-off the leash, it is important to first make sure they are properly trained for their safety. Proper training will help your do to be well disciplined and obey you when you call them.
Disadvantages of Off-leash Dog Walking
Uncertainty of your dog’s safety
Unfortunately, you cannot control your dog when they are off the leash. The best you can do is train them to come when you call them.
Your dog might eat something that might be poisonous
When walking your dog off the leash, they can easily wander off and eat something that can cause health problems. You might not be fast enough to stop them from eating the poisonous substance.
Not everyone is a fan of dogs
It takes a lot of training and discipline for a dog to hide their excitement when they meet a new person. People who are not a fan of dogs may not like it when dogs try to say hi or interact with them.
Dogs can have issues with other dogs
Sadly, some dogs do not play well with other dogs. While walking your dog off the leash, it is important to make sure your dog stays away from unfriendly dogs that might try to act aggressively.
Altona Dog Beach, Altona
Swimmers will not enjoy a swim in ankle-deep water, but dogs will enjoy romping around the tidal flat. At low tide, the off-show beach is next to Burns Reserve where you and your furry friend can take long walks along the sand and maybe enjoy some sprinting.
Off-leash dog walking is only allowed during winter. You and your dog can enjoy exploring heaps of weather rocks and an old shipwreck and afterward wash the sandy feet and paws in the nearby showers.
During summer, your dog must be kept on a leash to protect conservation efforts for migratory birds.
At the entrance, there are bins, dog bags, showers and a water bowl for your thirsty pooch. However, always check the tide times before visiting.
Ruffey Lake Park, Templestowe
Lying on about 168-acre piece of land, two-thirds of it is an off-leash space dotted with native treed. When taking your dog to Ruffey Lake Park, you will need to leash your dog near playgrounds and barbeques. You also cannot take your pooch into the revegetation.
For you to enjoy a longer trek with your fur friend, follow the off-leash trail along Ruffey Creek to Wombat Bend on the Yarra River. It is about eight kilometers or about a two-hour round trip.
Fritsch Holzer Park, Hawthorn East
You can enjoy beautiful sunsets with your pooch at this spacious off-leash park. However, if you love morning strolls you can still enjoy your walks with your fur baby. The trails lead through a wooded area which opens up to a large grassy area.
At the end of Rose Street, there are unshaded tables, bins, water taps, BBQs and toilets. There is plenty of space for you and your dog to run around.
Victoria Park, Abbotsford
Victoria Park is the former home of Collingwood Football Club and has been transformed into a relaxing community recreation center. Dogs and their parents are welcome to run laps and have fun.
The park is fenced and there are picnic tables, bins, and water bowls placed strategically. It’s only a five-minute walk to Admiral Cheng-ho for coffee and Richmond’s Citizens Park for a beer.
The park does not allow off-leash dog walking when it is in use for approved sporting events.
Brighton Dog Beach, Brighton
Also known as Sandown Street Beach, this sandy beach permits off-leash dog walking any time from April and October. In warm months, the park allows off-leash dog walking for night time and early in the morning (7:30 pm to 10 am).
You can extend your walk with your pooch along the Scenic Bay Trail. Also, you can head to the Schoolhouse for a cup of coffee or smoothie.
Green Gully Reserve, Keilor Downs
If you want your dog to have focused training, Green Gully Reserve is the place for you thanks to open-air agility training equipment.
The fenced area is about 80m squared, is free from trees and has a dry and barren feeling. The fenced dog park features training equipment like ramps, platforms, tunnels and poles arranged for a course.
The area that is not fenced is also an off-leash dog walking area. You will find water taps for dogs and humans, bins and dog bags.
Gardiners Reserve, Burwood
Gardiners Reserve is leafy bushland located behind the Deakin University Burwood Campus. The park is open with grassy spaces, walking paths and a creek for dogs to splash in.
The park is not fenced but completely safe to walk your dog. The lawns are wide with shady gum trees and a trail that extends your walking time with your dog. In this park, you are sure to interact with other dogs and their dog parents.
Egan Reserve, Thornbury
You and your fur friend will have a great time waking on the gravel tracks that lead the areas of grass and trees. There might be no water fountains in the park, but your dog will enjoy a good splash on Merri Creek.
You can enjoy following the trail up to the Harding Street Bridge or enjoy exploring tracks of native grass and stringy barks eucalypts.
In this park, you are sure to meet and interact with some friendly dogs and people.
Mentone Dog Beach, Mentone
Mentone beach is a perfect spot for dogs to run and get a swim. The beach has shallow water and is clean which is perfect for swimming. Better yet, there are bins and water fountains for clean drinking water outside the Mentone Life Saving Club.
There is much of a shade so when visiting the beach on a sunny day, don’t forget to carry an umbrella and some sunscreen lotion.
Dog Off-leash Walking Etiquette
When walking your dog off-leash in the park or on the beach, make sure to keep the environment clean for everyone to have the best experience. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Don’t forget to pick up
Seriously. Don’t be that person who forgets to pick up your dog’s poop after they go. Always carry a poop bag with you and pick it up after your dog no matter the situation.
Your off-leash dog should be under your control at all times
Your dog should not run around if he is not obedient enough to come back when you call. Practice your recall before you let your dog walk off-leash.
Have fun and communicate effectively
We live in a beautiful world, and we get to visit amazing parks and beaches together with our dogs. Make sure you enjoy your time, be friendly to people and other dogs, and always stay calm when the unexpected happens.
You are welcome to join our Petsforever community through the Petsforever app available on both Playstore and Applestore. You will get the chance to interact with other pet parents. Here, you will get advice from pet experts and other pet parents on how to take care of your pets.
Are Off-Leash Experiences Good For You and Your Dog? https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/dog-spies/are-off-leash-experiences-good-for-you-and-your-dog/#
The best off-leash dog areas in Melbourne https://www.timeout.com/melbourne/attractions/the-best-off-leash-dog-areas-in-melbourne