Families with dogs move in increasing numbers to built-up areas, where many expectations on neat and proper behaviour are set on dogs and dog owners. Not even on the countryside can dogs behave or wander around however they please.
The Public Order Act aims to ensure a harmonious co-existence of dog-owning and dogless citizens in towns. A dog – no matter how kind it is– must always be kept on leash in built-up areas to avoid public disturbances. There are also places in towns where dogs cannot be taken, not even on a leash.
Dogs cannot run around freely even outside town areas. You must always have permission of the landowner or holder of hunting rights to keep your dog loose. During the leashing period between 1 March and 19 August, dogs must not be kept off leash, apart from a few exceptions. The leashing period derives from the Hunting Act which aims to ensure a peaceful breeding period for wild animals.
More information on decrees about keeping dogs on leash can be found here.
It is worthwhile to get your dog used to different sounds, vehicles, and other animals already as a puppy. A dog must tolerate many passers-by, including people on roller skaters, cyclists, and people in wheelchairs. Make sure your dog does not approach people without permission. Not everyone likes dogs, and some might be afraid of them.
Your dog must be able to calmly pass by other dogs and animals, such as cats and horses. Since all dogs do not necessarily like other dogs, it is not appropriate to let your dog greet unfamiliar dogs, at least not without permission.
A dog walker is required to pay attention to surroundings as well as to be able to control the dog, even in surprising situations. Control is especially important if the dog is walked in a retractable leash. If a cyclist or a person on roller skaters trips on the dog’s leash, the person walking the dog is liable for damages. Make sure that the equipment used to walk your dog is durable and fits it to prevent the dog from coming loose by accident and causing damage to itself, other dogs, or people.
Most part of the year is dark in Finland. Using reflectors is essential for the safety of those walking on dark roads.
In order to keep living and outdoor spaces tidy, dog waste must be picked up, especially from built-up areas. Neither should a dog be allowed to mark car tires, walls, statues, gateposts, or flowering plants as its territory.
If you travel with your dog, it should know basic obedience. A dog that travels calmly makes it easier for you to move from one place to another. Transporting a dog in public vehicles is allowed in most Finnish municipalities.
When planning your itinerary, it is worthwhile to check whether a local bus company, for instance, allows canine passengers or not and if a separate fee is charged for a dog. Other passengers should also be taken into consideration when travelling with a dog.
Etiquette for dog owners outdoors