A new enforcement team will target dog owners walking their pooches off-lead, as new laws come into effect in the ACT.
Dog owners could be slapped with a $150 on-the-spot fine or a penalty of up to $2400 for not keeping their dog on a lead outside of designated areas such as dog parks and select ovals when sport was taking place.
The six-member team will specifically target off-lead dogs and has been operational since June.
The new laws will also ban dogs from being within 10 metres of playgrounds and public barbecues in use, and will apply to street verges and footpaths.
City Services Minister Chris Steel said the enforcement team had already handed down warnings and fines to dog owners since being formed last month.
"These changes are about improving public safety for people and families walking in our community," Mr Steel said.
"The simple principle is if you're walking on the street or footpath, you shouldn't be harassed by a dog."
The roll out of the new laws comes as part of the ACT government's Canberra dog strategy, which has been considering a suite of changes for pet ownership.
Mr Steel said the changes were designed to encourage pet owners to be responsible.
"We wanted to release the changes to designated on and off-lead areas to educate the community to where they can exercise their animals," he said.
"The new changes are restricting off-lead areas to certain dog parks and ovals. For all other areas there's a clear message: keep your dog on a lead, it's the law."
Domestic Animals Services last month said members of the public had complained they didn't feel safe at sports fields when dogs were around, even if they were on a lead.
Notices had been sent to sporting groups urging them to remind spectators of dog legislation.
The new legislation also applies to lakes and ponds unless otherwise signposted.
Mr Steel said a review is under way of where dogs can swim during the summer months.
For Red Hill resident Mac Sumner, the new dog laws are a welcome move.
She said she often takes her 11-year-old Jack Russell Ralph to off-lead dog parks for exercise, such as the one in Yarralumla.
"We walk the dog around the neighbourhood on a lead and take him to the dog park and let him off lead," Ms Sumner said.
"I think the new laws are a good idea."
She said while most dog owners walk their four-legged friend responsibly, there was a minority who didn't.
"I hate it when you're walking your dog and another one off-lead comes at you, and you don't know if they're friendly or not, so you're already at a disadvantage," Ms Sumner said.
"I don't take Ralph off-lead outside of dog parks because he's a very placid fellow but you don't know what will set him of and you have to be careful."