Working/Livestock Guardian Dogs

Updated Standards of Care for Outdoor Dogs come into effect July 1st, 2022 

On January 21, 2022, the Ministry of the Solicitor General (ministry) posted a consultation summary of the proposed updated standards on the Ontario Regulatory Registry (ORR). The posting was open for public comment until March 7, 2022. OSF played a key role in advocating for these changes with a representative at the table during the updates to the standard of care.
The updated standards of care for outdoor dogs were filed as an amendment to Ontario Regulation 444/19 (Standards of Care and Administrative Requirements) on April 19, 2022. The amending regulation can be read by visiting Ontario e-Laws. The updates will also appear on the Ontario e-Laws page for Ontario Regulation 444/19 shortly.

The updated standards will come into force on July 1, 2022.

The updated standards are based on stakeholder and public feedback, jurisdictional reviews, academic literature and other published information as well as expert technical advice from veterinarian care, animal sheltering, industry, animal advocacy, enforcement and subject matter experts.

The updated standards replace the previous standards of care for dogs that live outdoors under the PAWS Act and create more comprehensive requirements related to:

  • General care – including access to shade, food and water, grooming and nail care, and health and welfare maintenance.
  • Outdoor dog shelter – including when an outdoor dog shelter is required (with exceptions for livestock guardian dogs and dogs that have access to a structure housing livestock), as well as design features and size-related specifications for an outdoor dog shelter.
  • Use of tethering – including when dogs cannot be tethered, the safe usage of tethers, minimum space requirements when a dog is tethered, and maximum time a dog can spend on a tether (with limited exceptions).
  • Use of housing pens – including the use of housing pens, minimum housing pen size and restrictions on outdoor dogs that can be penned together (with limited exceptions).
  • Tethering and housing pen containment area – including adequate cleaning and sanitation, as well as features to support the physical comfort and welfare of a dog while they are contained outdoors.


Please see the fact sheet as well as the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more information.  The ministry develop a guidance document that will help impacted owners and custodians understand the updated standards and set out additional, recommended best practices to assist in meeting the new requirements.

  • Info Graph Fact Sheet click here
  • To view the May 18th OSF/OFA webinar on the Standards of Care for Out Door Dogs click here or visit the Ontario Sheep Farmers YouTube Channel.