Allow dogs to attend parkrun on hip/waist short leads

Allow dogs to attend parkrun on hip/waist short leads

1 March 2022
Petition to
Parkrun HQ (Parkrun HQ)
Signatures: 833Next goal: 1,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Megan Hayes

I’m starting this petition to request that parkrun Australia reconsider the rule for attending parkrun with your dog. Currently the rule reads "You are welcome to take part with a dog, but please keep the dog on a short lead or short harness and under control throughout the event."

There have been posts made by events in the last week stating that parkrun Australia and international plan on changing this rule and making it that all dogs must be on a hand held lead and that hip/hands free leads will not be allowed.

Parkrun prides itself on being an inclusive event and this is clearly stated on their website as the following “parkrun is a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience where there is no time limit, and no one finishes last. Everyone is welcome to come along, whether you walk, jog, run, volunteer or spectate.”

But adding a rule that you can only bring your dog on a hand-held lead is excluding all runners with dogs that have been specifically trained to run on a hands free/hip harness. 

I feel the issue isn’t on the type of lead that the dog us being run on but on the control the owner has over their dog and the length of the lead used. While parkun do say that leads need to be short this is not policed. I have attended several parkruns with my dog (who runs safely on a hip lead) where dogs are running on long leads and cutting other runners off, or where the parkrunner is running with their dog while pushing a pram. If the rules are enforced, then I would expect that issues with dogs would decrease. I struggle to see how a hip lead is the causative issue.

I have researched and spoken with dog trainers about this issue and why hip/hands free leads are safer for humans and dogs alike:

*As runners to run efficiently we need to use our arms, but holding a handheld lead restricts this which could make runners more prone to injury due to compensating the lack of movement in the arm. 

*Dogs are well known to pull their owners especially when excited, when using a hand-held lead there is more chance of the dog escaping and potentially running away or causing injury to someone or another dog. 

*You are less likely to be pulled over by a dog when secured via a hip harness, It’s a matter of simple physics. You’re more likely to topple when holding the leash in your hand because the force is applied away from your centre of gravity.  Plus, if you’re not paying attention and your dog takes off you’ll feel like your arm’s getting yanked out of your socket. If, however, the leash is around your waist and the dog pulls, because your waist is close to your centre of gravity, you’re more likely to stay on your feet, especially if you bend your legs and lower your body a little

*A hip/hands free harness will prevent a dog escaping as they are secured by the harness to the human’s hip

*One dog trainer also mentioned that running with a dog on a hand-held harness would cause the dog irritation and distraction by the constant pull of the runners hand when they swing their arm


To add to this parkrun Australia will be making the event more exclusive as they will be excluding not only any dog that has been trained (like myself and my dog) to run on a hip harness, but they will also be excluding anyone with a hand injury or disability that prevents them from holding a lead in their hand.  A parkrunner participant reached out to me saying if this rule is put into place, she will no longer be able to attend due to her disability her dog walks on a hip harness as she can not hold a lead in her hand.


Please sign this petition if you agree that parkrun should remain inclusive, and dogs should be allowed at parkrun on hip/hands free leads as long as they are secured and short length (Average Length should be 48 inches or 1.2M).


I will be contacting both parkrun Australia and parkrun international about this issue along with Eukanuba who are a sponsor of parkrun.



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Signatures: 833Next goal: 1,000
Support now