Seal of Dane County County of Dane
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Dane County Parks

Dogs in Parks

We welcome dogs in the Dane County Park System at our off-leash dog parks and throughout the Dane County Park System. A dog permit is required for all dogs, including service animals. Please note that campsite reservations in a campground include a complimentary daily dog permit good for the duration of the stay. A complimentary dog permit is not included in group camp reservations. Owners/handlers are responsible for the actions of their dog and are liable under Wisconsin State Statute 174.02 (1) for injuries caused by their dog. 

Purchase a Dog Permit     Dog Park Rules     Frequently Asked Questions


1. Dane County Dog Parks

Dane County Parks is a national leader in the development of off-leash dog parks. We now have seven off-leash dog parks, totaling 229 acres, each with its own unique features and terrain. A permit is required in order to bring your dog to a dog park within the Cooperative Dog Park Program which includes: Dane County Parks, City of Madison Parks, City of Sun Prairie Parks and City of Middleton Parks. You must have a dog license from your municipality to purchase a Dane County Dog Permit. An Annual Dog Park Cleanup is held on the 1st Saturday in April each year. 

Credit Steve Dalhlgren - Dog Grin PhotographySteve Dahlgren (Dog Grin Photography)

2. Dane County Park System

A dog permit also allows you to access all Dane County Park System lands for on-leash hikes with your pup with the following requirements and exceptions:

  • Dogs must have a valid dog permit.
  • Dogs must be leashed and restrained by a 6-foot static leash. E-Collars are not allowed as leash alternatives in Dane County Parks and park users may be fined $169.00 for having their dog off-leash if not in an off-leash dog park.  
  • Dogs are not allowed in designated beach areas at Goodland, Mendota, or Stewart Lake County Parks.
  • Dogs are not allowed on groomed cross-country ski or snowmobile trails.
  • Dogs are not allowed on the boardwalk portion of the Lower Yahara River Trail.
  • During hunting season (on select properties) you and your dog should wear blaze orange. Visit our Park Use During Hunting Season webpage for more information.
Find a Park

3. Dane County Wildlife Areas

Dogs are welcome in Dane County Wildlife Areas with the following requirements:

  • Dogs must have a valid dog permit, unless they are hunting during a designated Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Department (WDNR) hunting season.
  • Dogs may be off-leash in a wildlife area if being used for hunting.
  • If not being used for hunting, dogs must be leashed and restrained by a 6-foot static leash.
  • During hunting season you and your dog should wear blaze orange. Visit our Park Use During Hunting Season webpage for more information.
Find a Wildlife Area