To all nature lovers, the idea of ​​walking with their loose dogs in the countryside sounds very attractive, especially when warmer days arrive. Although we love seeing our pets enjoy their freedom, we must consider that, in practice, there are certain rules for walking with a can without a leash through public spaces.

Most countries have specific regulations that establish certain limits and conditions for walking with loose dogs on public roads. However, when it comes to rural areas further away from urban environments, there are still many questions from tutors about the possibility of walking freely with their best friends.

Logically, each country has the autonomy to publish its own laws in this area, for which the specificities and specific needs of its population are considered. Next, we will focus on the regulations in force in Spain and the differences that we can find in each autonomous community.

Loose dogs: what does the law say in Spain?

In general, the laws in Spain on the rights and obligations of dog tutors are stated. In principle, this would mean that its regulations should be valid throughout the national territory. But the autonomous communities can also approve their own regulations to guide the permanence of pets on public roads.

Currently, Spanish laws determine that dogs should wear the leash and always be accompanied by their tutors when walking through public spaces. The exception to this rule is in public parks for properly fenced dogs, which are precisely designed so that pets can freely explore and entertain.

Likewise, some autonomous communities have published municipal ordinances on this matter, detailing the places and times where dogs can remain loose as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult.

Following the different regulations at the local level, in some Spanish municipalities, it is possible to walk with loose dogs in public spaces, even when the national law expresses the opposite.

In the city of Madrid, for example, the schedules for walking with a loose dog vary according to the summertime. During the winter, our dogs can walk freely in public spaces from 19:00 to 10:00. But in summer, this time slot starts at 20:00 and runs until 10:00.

So, can you walk with loose dogs in fields and rural areas?

Unfortunately, Spanish legislation is not very precise when it comes to the permanence of companion dogs in rural areas. General regulations at the national level would lead us to believe that dogs should always walk with the leash on open spaces since they are also in common or public use.

However, the so-called Hunting Law can also be applied in rural areas. Although its text may vary slightly in each autonomous community, it is fundamentally determined that dogs can walk freely in the fields, provided they obey the orders of their guardian, especially the call.

Risk of economic sanctions

Likewise, the regulations provide that owners can receive financial penalties of up to 300 euros when loose dogs behave inappropriately.

In general, behaviors considered inappropriate in the fields include chasing other animals, disturbing working dogs – mainly shepherds – and causing damage to other people or their property.  

On the other hand, the presence of dogs is usually prohibited in the vast majority of national parks and environmental reserves. Although this impossibility may seem unfair, these limitations seek to preserve the native fauna and flora that are precisely protected in these environments.