Dogs and the Outdoors


Help make your dog’s trip to the great outdoors a fun and safe experience for everyone. Many dogs enjoy visiting public open spaces; however, the excitement of being in wildland habitat and the smell of nearby wildlife can make even the most obedient dog overly excited and difficult to control. Using a leash while hiking with your dog will give you the ability to direct your pet and keep it safe.

Reasons to keep your dog on leash:

Protect Your Dog

  • Nose-to-nose rattlesnake encounters. Unleashed dogs tend to wander nose first on the edge of the trail and off trails. This behavior can put your dog nose-to-nose with a rattlesnake. Depending on how much venom the snake injects into your dog, it could lead to the loss of your pet or, if you’re lucky it could cost $1,000 for the anti-venom vaccination.
  • Getting kicked by a frightened horse on the trail
  • Getting sprayed by a skunk (your dog may not mind but you will)
  • Falling off a cliff or caught in a sink hole
  • Picking up ticks and fleas
  • Collecting poison oak oils on fur and spreading it to you and the family
  • Negative wildlife encounters
  • Aggressive dog encounters

Protect Others

  • Other trail users, including small children, being approached, scared, or even tripped by an unleashed dog
  • Bicyclists being chased by unleashed dogs
  • Negative encounters between horses and dogs, which can lead to significant injuries
  • Frightening outdoor experiences for people and children, who are afraid of dogs

Protect the Park

  • Keeping your dog on leash will help protect sensitive habitat and keep wildlife such as rabbits, squirrels, birds, and lizards safe!
  • A dog on leash is less likely to chase or get chased by predator species such as coyotes and mountain lion. It’s important to beware that if a predator is cornered by a dog it will fight back potentially injuring or killing you’re pet.

Parks your dog can be off leash:

Conejo Creek Dog Park
Oak Canyon Dog Park
LA Mountains Off-Leash Dog Parks
City of Los Angeles Off-Leash Dog Park Facilities


Unleashed Dog Attacks Deer

Further Reading

  • Young, J.K., K.A. Olson, R.P. Reading, S.Amgalanbaatar, and J. Berger. 2011. Is wildlife going to the dogs? Impacts of feral and free-roaming dogs on wildlife populations. BioScience, Feb. 2011/ vol.61 No.2.

Last updated: July 12, 2016

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Mailing Address:

26876 Mulholland Highway
Calabasas, CA 91302


805 370-2301

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