The regulations on dog leashing vary from canton to canton. Many cantons have established strict provisions regarding dog leashing to protect wildlife during the spring months, when many wild animals breed. Each canton can determine its own rules regarding dog leashing during the breeding season
For example, in the cantons of Aargau, Basel-Land, Solothurn and, since 2014, in Lucerne as well, dogs must be kept on a leash from April 1 to July 31 in forests and along the forest edges..
Neuchâtel and Geneva have introduced a slightly shorter mandatory leashing period. In Neuchâtel, mandatory leashing in forests applies form April 15 to June 30 and from April 1 to July 15 in Geneva. The dog law of Schaffhausen requires dog leashing in forests and along the forest edges during the breeding season. Glarus even goes as far as to impose mandatory leashing in forests and along forest edges all year round, exempting hunting and working dogs from this regulation.
In Obwalden and Nidwalden, the mandatory leashing period is from December 1 (in Obwalden) and 15 (in Nidwalden) to April 30. In certain areas, this period extends through the summer months: In Nidwalden, the leashing period extends until June 15 in the nature reserves Lauelenegg-Nätschen, Arven-Scheligsee, and Scheidegg. In Obwalden, the nature reserves Schlierengrat, Nüwenalpwald, Schattenberg, Rosalp/Gerlisalp/Gemsgrube, Bärengraben, Teufimatt, and Ross-/Dälenboden are protected by a mandatory leashing period extending until July 15. In the canton of Zurich, compulsory leashing applies to certain areas with specific signposting. In forests and at forest edges, as well as in darkness, dogs must be kept at a short distance. However, there is no rule requiring general dog leashing. Are there any rules regarding the leash itself?
There are no rules regarding the length or nature of the leash because the laws aim to protect wildlife. It is therefore permitted to use long dog leashes as long as the dog owner can control it. This gives dogs a certain amount of freedom despite the leashing requirementWhat happens if I do not comply with the leashing requirement?
Violating this statutory obligation is a criminal offense punishable by a fine, irrespective of whether the dog was actually hunting. If the dog bites a deer or another animal, the dog owner or keeper is liable for the damage caused by the dog. In case of negligence (for example, someone lets a notoriously uncontrollable dog run freely on breeding grounds), there may be an additional punishment for cruelty to animals.