OFF LEASH DOG etiquette in MRWA

I will preface this rant by pointing out the fact I love my dog, he is very active in the woods and I love all animals.


The overall dog handling etiquette in MRWA as of late is disgusting.

I have fully come to grips with the fact I cant go in on level 11 on a Sunday and expect to not encounter anyone. I love seeing families, people learning, groups of new Canadians enjoying how beautiful this province is. I love all of that.

I have also come to peace with the fact not many understand how to navigate multi use trails and give climbers the right of way etc.

What I cant tolerate or get behind though, is coming across off leash dogs with either no owner to be seen, or someone chasing the trophies being led by their animals with zero situational awareness of any living thing in their 360 degree space other then themselves.

I came across 3 instances yesterday alone where my experience was the only thing that didn’t cause an injury to all parties. 2 were from hikers, the last one a mtber who for sure should know better. If your a mtber who has been riding that system for over a decade and cant see the new need to have your dog leashed or even left at home during peak hours, choke yourself.

Not sure what others experiences are, and maybe I am just a disgruntle dude who seeks solace through online rambling but something needs to change, signage, old school dog catchers or by law enforcement.

Happy Shredding

CN - out.


Longtime MRWA rider and supporter here - couldn’t agree more. I don’t even necessarily mind an off leash dog (and IIRC this is technically permitted on the portion that’s crown land) but I’m running into more and more owners who are blatantly irresponsible. The worst examples are always encountering an off leash dog with the owner nowhere in sight (sometimes quickly when coming around a corner), or a pack of 10+ off leash dogs being walked by a “professional” dog walker taking over the trail - completely goes against the principle of sharing. And I’m surely biased here but I find this behavior particularly hard to take when cyclists are restricted from several other trail systems in HRM.

In the few times I’ve spoken up to such owners about leash requirements in the HRM parkland section of the system, there’s the predictable indignation in response so I don’t bother saying anything anymore.


I get the complaints and frustration, but unless the dog is aggressive, it doesn’t bother me too much. I basically come to a stop whenever I encounter dogs and let them navigate getting around me. I equate it to a problem of living in society with other humans in shared spaces. It definitely isn’t ideal trail etiquette, but once you throw a pile of humans into a shared space, you’ll end up with questionable behaviour that you just have to shrug off, or risk going insane with frustration.

People are going to do things that irritate you; you can get worked up about it, or shrug it off and go on enjoying your ride after the thirty second interuption (I’m not a dog owner either, but have plenty of kids that i guarantee annoy people more than any dog does - my five year old should probably be on a leash!).



Solid Points for sure.

I am more concerned about the potential for senseless injury to be honest.

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I agree with the safety concern as it relates to potential collisions etc for sure, but off leash dogs are also not great for interactions with other dogs on narrow trails, unleashed or otherwise. Letting your dog run loose because “they’re friendly” is naive and irresponsible. We make a point of getting out for walks extra early to avoid the issue because we have an older dog who can be reactive to other dogs getting in her space, and even with that we’ve had multiple instances of trying to keep off-leash dogs away and trying to get their owners to leash them while being told their dog is “friendly and just wants to play!”

There are definitely great trail dogs out there who have incredible recall and better trail manners than lots of hikers or even bikers, but they’re very much in the minority.


I bike with my pooch at Empire trails. Awesome spot. Not crowed at all.

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I was there today, and came across a few dogs with no issue at all. All dogs and humans were perfectly well behaved.

The times I do remember were about 2 years ago and I kept running into the same guy walking about 5 dogs at the same time. I’m assuming they weren’t all his. They were all on a leash, but he had no control of them whatsoever. Barking, chasing, aggressively trying to get at me.

Can’t blame the dogs, though. It’s all on owners who don’t train/control their dog.

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This is a massive problem in the Annapolis Valley as well, so I echo the frustration. There are too many off leash dogs with horrible recall, and just as many oblivious & irresponsible owners (some of whom are entitled, rude, and defensive when politely called out on their shit, which makes it even worse). I see a lot of this on the rail trail, where there is very obvious signage that off leash dogs are prohibited (with references to relevant legislation as to why this is prohibited).
I’ve had too many close calls with dogs who have chased me on my bike for several metres, dogs who have come barreling out of the woods towards me, and dogs who have charged at me (barking and bearing teeth) while the owner yells ahead to me “don’t worry, he’s friendly!”
If your dog has any issue with bikes and does not have perfect recall, they should not be off leash. As someone who enjoys the trails as a cyclist, and a hiker, and who often takes small children on those trails, poorly trained off leash dogs are a real piss off to me.


Off leash dogs are a problem everywhere. Recently I witnessed someone playing fetch with a tennis ball launcher on the BLT rails to trails which is unsafe for multiple reasons.
I’ve come across off leash dogs walking through downtown Halifax, various baseball fields and the commons is apparently now considered an off leash dog park. There are dogs running everywhere down there. All of this in spite of clear signage saying dogs must be on a leash. Worst of all people give ME judgemental looks and make snide comments because my well behaved dog is under control and on a leash.

I think the only thing that would work is enforcement, but I imagine that Animal control is probably underfunded and understaffed. Maybe the best thing to do is call 311 and complain, at least they could tally statistics.


I’ll tell you what, saying “Put your fucking dog on a leash” to these ignorant morons who let their dogs off leash on the COLTA, BLT, or the Common doesn’t generally get the reaction you’d hope for.

Bunch of entitled twats. Should avoid running into the dogs and smoke the owners instead. But then I’m the asshole somehow.


I seen one on clark kent last year, and the dog was on a leash but was going crazy barking and jumping and going on and guy just looked at me when i went by and said “oh sorry my dog doesn’t like bikes” and i thought to myself then why are you walking your dog on trails mainly used by bikes🤦


@Dak You can’t fix stupid.

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@Goose no you can not

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