Dogs in the forest

Visiting the forest with your dog

There is nothing nicer than a brisk walk in the woods with your four-legged friend.

To avoid dogs causing disturbance or conflict, a number of agreements are necessary.

Basic rule

Aan de leiband

In the Sonian Forest, your dog must always be on a leash. Unless otherwise stated. The forestry staff can impose a sanction in the event of violation.


Dog walking areas

In these demarcated or enclosed areas, dogs can run around and romp with other dogs under the supervision of their owners.


Dogs under control

In some parts of the forest, the leash can be released as long as the owner keeps the dog under control and provid that:

– the dog stays near and in sight of the owner at all times.
– the dog is obedient.
– the owner can assess the negative consequences for other users and wildlife.

Total dog ban

In some circumstances dogs are not allowed, even on a leash. This is the case, for example, in the grazing areas.

Map with different dog zones

A map shows the exception zones to the rule. The pictograms on the ground always have priority!

Why on a leash?

Out of respect for nature…

A large part of life in nature takes place in the shrub and herb layer. This is where nesting birds, small mammals, amphibians, reptiles and even deer hide.

Your dog’s hunting instinct can make him chase these animals and thus disturb their peace.

Some animals literally run over, get injured or even killed.

Waterfowl, especially during migration, like to rest on a nice pond to regain their strength. If your dog disturbs them, they will fly away in large groups and lose a lot of energy unnecessarily.

Both small and larger animals, such as roe deer, are vulnerable and can be bitten to death by dogs.

… and for other visitors as well

Not only wild animals enjoy peace and quiet. Walkers, joggers and cyclists also do not always appreciate it when a stray dog approaches or follows them uninvited. Moreover, many people do not know how to deal with dogs and are afraid of them. And you may not always appreciate it when a stray dog approaches your dog.

Even for owners, it is not always possible to assess risks with dogs. There are regular incidents with dogs that have never bitten anyone before. That is why respecting the rules is necessary.

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