Four ways to be a responsible dog owner

Last Updated : 02 May 2024
Gettyimages 1418164172

There's a lot to learn when you first get a dog, like what their favourite food is and what games they enjoy playing. Owning a dog is a lot of fun, but it also comes with responsibilities. There are essential ownership obligations and rules you need to learn, too.

Here are the four top responsibilities for dog owners in Auckland. Are you up to date with everything?

1. Register your dog

One of the most important things to do as a new dog owner is to register your dog. You can do this online or at one of Auckland Council’s service centres.

You need to register your puppy for the first time before they reach three months old. If you change your address or rehome your dog, you need to let Auckland Council know within 14 days.

Registration isn’t a one-off – you need to renew your dog’s registration annually. The registration period runs from 1 July to 30 June the following year.

Registering your pooch is an important part of being a responsible dog owner. This helps keep our community and dogs safe and allows us to reunite lost dogs with their owners.

If you don’t register your dog you can get a fine, which will limit your budget for puppy treats.

2. Find dog-friendly exercise spots

As a responsible dog owner, you need to provide the right care and attention. Yes, that means lots of pats! It also means making sure they’re getting enough food, water and exercise.

It's important to find out where you can take your dog for a good run around. There are many parks and reserves in Auckland where you can let your dog off-leash to play, and they might even make new dog friends.

3. Learn where you can and can’t take your dog

Now you’ve got a dog in tow, you need to learn a new set of rules for moving around Auckland. You might not have noticed before, but there are dog access rules on footpaths, playgrounds, shared driveways and public transport.

Make sure you know where you can let your dog off-leash and where they need to stay on the lead.

Then there are areas where dogs are prohibited altogether. For example, council playgrounds, camping grounds and cemeteries, as well as public places like schools and malls.

It’s important to know and follow the rules for dogs in public places.

4. Make sure they really are a good dog

As a dog owner, it’s essential to make sure your dog doesn’t injure, intimidate or distress people or other animals. This means you have to keep them under control at all times.

Even though you may think your bundle of fur is an angel, dogs can easily become overstimulated by children and, unfortunately, this is when most dog bites on children occur. Always supervise your pet around tamariki or remove it to a safe place where it won’t feel overwhelmed.  

Dogs can also pose a threat to protected wildlife and can cause a nuisance if they aren’t under control.

Preventing nuisance and harm isn’t just about having a well-behaved dog – these obligations are outlined in the Dog Control Act 1996.

To stay up to date with your obligations as a dog owner, sign up for Auckland Council’s Paw Post newsletter here.

Back to News