It has come up a few times recently and we think it’s time to set the record straight about why we have rules and why we are so firm on this.

Most of you will be familiar with our black flyers that we try to hand out to new participants at our walks. Recently a new participant said, “I don’t need that,” in which I firmly replied, “You actually do.” We do not aim to embarrass anyone through this post but we repeatedly have the same issues and more than anything, we want ALL our members *humans and dogs, safe. With Doggie Dates NSW being operational for 7 years now, it is essential that we have rules and regulations and an expected code of conduct. It is also essential that members read everything they are given as we don’t pay for printing, “just for fun.” If you have never been given a flyer, please request one.


First and foremost, retractable leashes are banned from our group. We have had a few complaints and comments such as, “but my dog walks fine on a retractable leash,” or “it’s all we have”.

I have never seen a dog actually successfully walk on a retractable leash and on the odd times that members have turned up with one, this has absolutely confirmed it. Walking in a group with one or two members dogs on a retractable leash is a recipe for disaster. We were recently at a walk where the entire group had to walk around the dog on the retractable who was spread across the path and because the owner wasn’t looking, a bike had to come to a skidding stop as he hadn’t seen it until he was right there. The owner was oblivious to the whole thing. On another occasion, a dog on the retractable leash attacked another one of our dogs and two people had to intervene. The owner was completely unaware, she was facing the other way. A participant has been significantly injured by a retractable leash graze. These leashes do a lot more damage than regular leashes. Many of our members are more frail and their skin is like tissue. Dogs on retractable leashes often run up to other members dogs and get into their faces without permission. This is no different than an off leash dog walking with the group. Finally, a year ago we were at an off leash at a beach and a non members dog ran up to one of our slightly reactive members dogs (well controlled with space) and they became tangled up in the retractable leash. The owner had NO idea what to do and just stood there while she watched two dogs tangled up. She is lucky her dog did not end up getting attacked as our members dog was very frightened (normal reaction to leash entanglement).

Even the retractables that are closed are still a danger to other members as they can not be seen and the owners do not have adequate control of them.

We are happy to provide regular leashes to our participants as needed if they are unable to purchase a new one due to finances.

Remember regardless of your dogs behaviour, retractable leashes are not welcome at Doggie Dates.

Harnesses must be securely fitted, preferable with a connection to the collar so that there is no way your dog can slip out. At once event my three dogs were set upon by two dogs at one of our events who both got out of their gear. It was very frightening.

An interesting blog on retractable leashes:

RETRACTABLE LEASH INJURIES – These may be hard to look at – but the only place your leash should be is in the bin. Please do not give away or on sell, you are doing no one a favour.

When the dog gets tangled up in another dogs retractable leash.
The lower leg injury, one of our members experienced this.

Believe it or not, finger amputation is not uncommon,
Children being smaller, are more likely to get wrapped up in a dogs retractable.
Another nasty finger injury.
Here is an example of a harness and leash that attach together, the safest option, A dog should not be able to wriggle backwards out of a leash…ever.

We also ask you to ensure that whatever equipment you do use is safe, that your dogs have well fitted collars, harnesses and tools so we know your dog is not at risk in any way and our other dogs are safe.

Participation is no longer allowed if your dog has a retractable leash.
Example of a sturdy leash.

Your dog must be on leash at all times unless it is an off leash walk (which will always be an off leash area as well). This is not negotiable. Recently a member let her dog run all over the place and then became very angry when asked to leash her dog. We are a club with MANY different dogs including reactive/aggressive dogs. If your prince/princess runs at one of those dogs it could end very badly and it will be your fault.

It is a requirement to participate that you respect the space of ALL members and their dogs. Not everyone likes all dogs, and dogs certainly don’t like all dogs. Please do not come straight up to dogs you don’t know without asking first, may our dogs meet? You are totally responsible for your dogs at all times so if there is an incident, it will be your problem.

Council regulations must be adhered to at all times, including picking up poop and having your dog onleash in onleash areas. You must not allow your dogs to go on play park equipment.

Again, we just want everyone safe so even if you don’t see an issue, remember our group is free and offers you countless opportunities to interact with other amazing people and dogs.

Thank you for your commitment to us.

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