Dog Ownership
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Dog Ownership

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Having a dog is great fun, but there are a few things you should follow.

The most important is that all dogs in NSW must be microchipped and registered on the NSW Companion Animals Register.  You’ll find information on our microchipping and pet registration page.

Wearing a Collar and Tag

Did you know Council can fine dog owners if they do not put a collar and tag on their pet?

Wearing a collar and tag, along with microchipping and registering your pet, are the best ways to ensure lost animals can be reunited with their owners. Lost dogs wearing a collar and tag are more easily reunited with their owners. Especially since people often forget to update their pet’s registration and microchipping details when they move house or change phone numbers.

The Companion Animals Act 1998 sets out the rules for collar and tags. These include the fact the tag must show your dog’s name and your phone number or address. Council is currently carrying out an education program to remind owners of one their legal requirements as a dog owner is that it wears a collar and tag. After July 2013, Council’s Regulation and Enforcement Division will be enforcing this requirement.

Purchasing Your New Puppy

Buying a puppy is exciting. They're cute and a bundle of energy. However, as well as feeding and exercising them, there are a few legal requirements that must be followed.

  • By the time they're 12 weeks old puppies need to be microchipped. It's an offence to sell or give away a puppy that hasn't been identified with a microchip number.
  • After six months of age, they must be registered with Council. Discounts apply to this one-off lifetime registration fee​ depending on whether you are a registered breeder, your animal has been desexed, or you are an eligible pensioner.

Remember, microchipping makes your dog easier to identify if it's lost. Be sure to keep your pet’s microchipping details up to date, and contact Council if you change your address or contact phone numbers. You'll also need to notify Council if your pet dies.

Training Your Dog

Dogs need to know who is boss. It’s important for them to see you as the ‘pack leader’, and this makes it easier to control your dog at home, and when in a public place.

  • Teach basic commands such as sit, stay, come, down and heel. Training your dog will also fulfil its desire to please you. Pet treats are a good way to aid learning.
  • Socialise your dog from a young age. Expose your dog to different people and settings. Take it to the park, local shops or a Council off-leash area.
  • Praise it for accepting a pat from friendly strangers and for behaving calmly around other animals.
  • Many vets run preschools for puppies as young as eight weeks of age. This is a safe way to socialise your puppy that is still only partly vaccinated.
  • Use positive, rather than negative, reinforcement to help your dog enjoy learning.

Remember dogs have acute hearing, and yelling loudly at your new pup can be counterproductive.


Barking, in addition to whining, howling and growling, is a dog's way to communicate. Occasional barking is a normal way to get your attention. However, dogs shouldn’t bark excessively and disturb your neighbours. Constant barking can be a sign of boredom, loneliness, illness or disease or pent-up energy. There’s no easy solution to problem barking.

If your dog begins to bark excessively, try at least an hour of daily playtime and exercise.
Determine the cause of behaviour i.e. does your dog have enough shelter, chew toys, is it bored, or is it near a busy pedestrian thoroughfare?

Then try different tactics to help fix the cause. You could also take your dog to a recognised animal trainer if the problem persists or for professional advice in training methods to discourage the excessive behaviour.

Excessive barking can be serious and cause strained relations with surrounding neighbours. Council can also issue a Nuisance Order if your dog is found to be a continual barker.

Walking your dog

Dogs need regular exercise. When walking your dog in a public place it must be controlled on a leash. Don’t let your dog roam free as the consequences can be severe. These can might include your dog getting injured or injuring another animal or person, your dog causing a traffic accident, or even the receipt of an on the spot penalty fine.

Off-leash areas in Wollongong

Council has many off-leash areas around our city. These include beaches and parks, where dogs can exercise and play while off the leash.

Please take a look at Council’s Dogs on Beaches & Parks Policy or off-leash brochure for more detail about specific off-leash areas.

Prohibited Places

There are certain places where dogs are not permitted. These places are...

  • Selected beaches and rock pools – please refer to Councils dogs on Beaches & Parks Policy for further details
  • Public Bathing Areas
  • Children’s play areas
  • Within 10 metres of any food preparation/consumption area or near change rooms
  • School grounds and shopping complexes
  • Recreation areas where dogs are prohibited

Please respect these restrictions as they are in place for the safety and enjoyment of the whole community.

Lost Dogs

Make sure your dog is securely contained within your property at all times. Council is legally obliged to pick up any stray dogs roaming in a public place.

If your dog has gone missing, please report your missing animal to the RSPCA Shelter, Ph: 4271 3410, as your dog may have been taken to this shelter by either a Council Ranger or a concerned member of the public.


It's an offence not to immediately remove your dog faeces from a public place.  You must pick up and appropriately dispose of all their dog droppings.

Council has installed dog dispensers containing plastic bags on garbage bins at all our off-leash areas. There are also dog dispensers located at Towradgi Point, southern end of Sea Cliff Bridge Coalcliff and two along the bike and walking track between Bulli SLSC and Sandon Point SLSC. Council also has bins located at regular intervals within our bike tracks and public places that are all suitable for the disposal of dog faeces. 

We're also looking into installing more dog dispensers at locations along the coast.

For more information, give Council a call on Ph: 42 27 7111.


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