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Old 28.05.2011, 20:25
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Etiquette of Socializing Dogs in Public

Dear fellow dog-lovers...

When taking our dog out on lovely walks or day trips around Switzerland, we often come across other small dog owners who feel notably "compelled" to socialize their dog with ours... As we are not sure what the etiquette is, since in North America people can get sued for dogs biting each other or otherwise, we have been pulling back while receiving a surprising yet notable sense of disgust and shock from the other owners.

What is rather "disturbing" about this, is that most of them are small dogs, and ours being rather large and over-powering, the outcome of an introduction with a little barking yapping dog can be... well... devastating. However, the surprising, and confusing part, is that these pet owners seem to think this exciting and usually chaotic introduction is natural and normal... Similarly to when our dog got humped multiple times at the park and other dog owners watched this "orgy" take place as if it were simply, well ... "natural" and ok!

So our question is, before we assume that it is accepted etiquette in Switzerland for dog owners to introduce their dogs and take no mind if they end up in a brawl... Is it standard dog-owner etiquette? If so, we will gladly unleash our dog to sniff other little yappers and potentially annihilate them (although we don't enjoy the experience at all), and also let the humping take place freely...

Thoughts? Suggestions? Complaints? Personal experiences?

Cheers!

P.S. Similarly to the above, on passing small dogs that yap insanely at ours, while our dog remains heeled and silent, owners look at us with disgust and disdain... Like, WTF is up with that?! It's their dog that is barking mad... Help, we are so confused!

P.P.S. Our dog is trained, chipped, and super loving, and NO we have no interest to allow or watch a disastrous event unfold... However, it seems like we keep getting the evil eye no matter what... Double confusion!
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Old 28.05.2011, 20:32
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Re: Etiquette of Socializing Dogs in Public

Loyalizer, have a read through these threads - the topic is one of perennial interest:

Dog etiquette

Am I wrong to be cross or am I missing the point?

Dogs off Leash in the Forest (Kt. AG)



And, here are the rules for Vaud:

http://www.tierimrecht.org/de/tiersc...echt/waadt.php
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Old 28.05.2011, 20:43
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Re: Etiquette of Socializing Dogs in Public

according to my personal experience I would say that yes, it's normal in Switzerland to let the dogs greet and sniff each other. Play-humping, (unless your dog is in heat of course) is harmless and quite natural to show who's the boss. Our dogs, even though they have met many, many others, have never been in any fights.

Can't explain the evil eye when the small dogs are yapping at yours though - maybe they're just jealous of your well-behaved one?
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Old 28.05.2011, 20:51
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Re: Etiquette of Socializing Dogs in Public

This link might be easier to understand as it's in English,

http://www.veterinaireonline.com/expat/dogs.html

Everyone in Switzerland shpuld have a 3rd party liability insurance, which might cover attacks by the other owner's pet, if you can get their name and address before they leave...

I don't know why the other owners are giving you funny looks. Do you have one of the "fighting dog" breeds? Quoted from above link,
Pit Bulls, American Staffordshires, and Rottweilers are considered by Canton Vaud to have the potential to pose threats to humans and other animals.

Maybe you should muzzle / mask your dog when she is "Socialising" and if she is big she can always run away from an agression. If she gets the hump demand a payment from the other party!

Last edited by Ittigen; 28.05.2011 at 21:04.
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Old 29.05.2011, 10:22
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Re: Etiquette of Socializing Dogs in Public

It's how they deal with children too. With less of the humping.
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Old 29.05.2011, 11:52
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Re: Etiquette of Socializing Dogs in Public

Quote:
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Dear fellow dog-lovers...

When taking our dog out on lovely walks or day trips around Switzerland, we often come across other small dog owners who feel notably "compelled" to socialize their dog with ours...
yes. letting dogs sniff and greet each other is a GOOD thing. Not allowing your dog to do this, regardless of size relationships, is not allowing them to socialize with others. Imagine if you were a pet human being walked by a dog, and you see another human, you'd desperately want to say hello. Wouldn't you?

Quote:
As we are not sure what the etiquette is, since in North America people can get sued for dogs biting each other or otherwise, we have been pulling back while receiving a surprising yet notable sense of disgust and shock from the other owners.
I don't think it's a "Swiss" versus "American" habit. Even if you don't want your dog to socialize, it's advisable from most dog trainers to let your dog at least get a short sniff and then to continue on. This way they can say "hello" without becoming more difficult to pull away if they decide to play or to fight. I've also noticed that many pet dog owners aren't quite familiar with dog behaviors, and play invitations are often misinterpreted by owners as aggressiveness. Again... it's not a "Swiss" thing... it's an uninformed owner thing.


Quote:
What is rather "disturbing" about this, is that most of them are small dogs, and ours being rather large and over-powering, the outcome of an introduction with a little barking yapping dog can be... well... devastating.
That's a.k.a. "Small dog syndrome". It has nothing to do with the size of the dog, but that it was allowed to get away with so many bad manners during puppyhood. If a big dog 'yaps' or jumps on a person, it is immediately reprimanded. If a small dog does it, there's a level of tolerance from people, because it doesn't hurt as much. Therefore small dogs learn that being obnoxious is acceptable. I also think you give your dog too much credit and the small dog not enough credit. Even my big schnauzer plays gently with puppies and small dogs.

Quote:
However, the surprising, and confusing part, is that these pet owners seem to think this exciting and usually chaotic introduction is natural and normal...
small dog misbehavior can be nerve wracking.... true.

Quote:
Similarly to when our dog got humped multiple times at the park and other dog owners watched this "orgy" take place as if it were simply, well ... "natural" and ok!
that's your American bias coming out. American pet owners view all dog humping as sexual, and intolerable. The fact is that it is a form of establishing dominance. I'm actually relieved to see that the Swiss let the dogs sort it out under owner supervision. The best way for a dog to learn to stop humping is to be told by another dog that it's not nice!

Quote:
So our question is, before we assume that it is accepted etiquette in Switzerland for dog owners to introduce their dogs and take no mind if they end up in a brawl... Is it standard dog-owner etiquette?
My own personal opinion is that you are overreacting, and not allowing your dogs to behave like dogs.

Quote:
If so, we will gladly unleash our dog to sniff other little yappers and potentially annihilate them (although we don't enjoy the experience at all), and also let the humping take place freely...

Thoughts? Suggestions? Complaints? Personal experiences?
You still have a responsibility to maintain and control your dog On-leash or off-leash. You also have to communicate to the other dog owners if their ownership responsibilities cross any of your personal boundaries.

Have you taken your SKN courses?

Quote:

P.S. Similarly to the above, on passing small dogs that yap insanely at ours, while our dog remains heeled and silent, owners look at us with disgust and disdain... Like, WTF is up with that?! It's their dog that is barking mad... Help, we are so confused!
You're doing the right thing in that situation. The other owner should be walking away from you though in that type of circumstance.

Quote:
P.P.S. Our dog is trained, chipped, and super loving, and NO we have no interest to allow or watch a disastrous event unfold... However, it seems like we keep getting the evil eye no matter what... Double confusion!
If your dog is so well behaved, then why are you concerned that he/she will annihilate the small dogs?
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Old 29.05.2011, 12:33
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Re: Etiquette of Socializing Dogs in Public

While I certainly agree that it is desireable and necessary to socialize one's dogs to others, interaction between dogs must be done with the consent of both owners. In many places dogs have the right to run free, but they never - at any time - have the right to bother other people or critters.

In fact, the federal and cantonal dog laws clearly state that you are required to keep your dog under control at all times. Control can mean voice or lead, depending on a dog's training - but a dog owner must always be able to recall his dog from any situation. So even the dog who 'just wants to play' should be interruptable and recallable at any time.

The standard etiquette is that one should always ask before allowing one's dog to approach another dog, or to approach a person. It is simple common courtesy, and common sense. Even if others fail to do so, please always ask before allowing your dog to approach.

Most people are happy for their dogs to meet and greet, to play together. Everyone has a great time, which is as it should be. But... be aware that some owners do not want that contact, and please respect their wishes.

There are many good reasons why an owner might not want to interact with your dog. It's not only a matter of keeping away from dogs who do not like others - some perfectly friendly dogs also need to be given space or left alone. Some may have a contagous illness, some may be elderly, infirm, handicapped, etc. Owners who do not want contact with other dogs keep their dogs on lead as a signal.

(My elderly, arthritic, very friendly collie had his spine almost broken when a boistrous young dog who 'just wanted to play', whose owner couldn't be *rsed to keep his dog under control, jumped on his back. A long stay in the Tierspital, thousands of franks later... An example of why one should always take the 2 seconds necessary to ask before allowing a dog to approach another.)

If you see a dog on lead, recall yours and keep him by your side, under control, until the on-lead dog passes by. If necessary re-leash your dog, but if your dog is trained to stay by your side under voice control, that is good enough.

There are, unfortunately, irresponsible dog owners here as there are everywhere. And unfortunately those numpties ruin it for the rest of us.

A heads-up: The same inconsiderate people who allow there dogs to run riot, allow them to provoke another, are usually the ones who will not hesitate to go to the police if your dog, pushed to the limit by their little darling, also responds 'naturally' and tried to defend himself. Such folks, while insisting that their dog has a right to do as he pleases can rarely see the other side, rarely acknowledge that other dogs also have instincts. There are a few owners around here who are notorious for that.

Be aware that in law, it does not matter what the provokation is. If there is a scuffle, if your dog bites, you will likely be forced to pay all costs - and your dog will probably pay the price, possibly even the ultimate one.

The best thing to do - for your dog's sake - is to avoid contact with such folks. You can't control other people's actions, only your own and your dog's. Be a responsible, polite, respectful owner yourself - and lead by example.


---

FYI, all dog bites must be reported - whether the victim was an animal or human. Medical personnel including vets, and dog professionals including trainers and behaviorists are mandatory reporters. If you, your dog or the other dog need treatment for a bit wound, you will be reported.

.

Last edited by meloncollie; 29.05.2011 at 12:56.
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Old 30.05.2011, 09:51
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Re: Etiquette of Socializing Dogs in Public

Also don't forget that many - certainly not all but many - owners of small dogs are a bit afraid of big dogs and that tension and nervousness will communicate itself to their dog. With a deerhound and a giant schnauzer I see that a *lot*
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Old 30.05.2011, 10:38
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Re: Etiquette of Socializing Dogs in Public

oh purlease, lets not generalise.

As a owner of a smaller dog, I have ill behaved bigger dogs coming up to mine trying to hump the poor fella. One bigger dog on our usual walking trail, is very fond of rushing up to me and trying to grab my dog's toy out of my hands. Imagine a 40 pounds staff-lab mix bounding up to you to engage in a tug of war, growling, whilst the owner is about 20m away strolling without a care in the world.

Fact of the matter is, there are irresponsible dog owners out there, regardless of the dog's size. I always say that the problem always is with the owner, never the dog. The dogs only act and react based on what they've learnt (or didnt).

My general rule of thumb is to be alert on off-leash walks and make sure that your dog is 100% reliable on recall. If you sense potential trouble, recall your dog, leash him up till that ill behaving canine is out of the way. Thats the best we dog owners can do. If you arent comfortable with any dog approaching yours, simply tell the owner no (usually in Switzerland, dog owners are very respectful of other dogs on leads and tend to call their canine to move on), or if the owner is too far away, step in as the human (and the pack leader), and send the message to the other dog to move on. If your dog is what you've described as well behaved, he/she will simply ignore and calmly move on. No harm done.

As for playfighting, humping, etc, its all part and parcel of doggy behaviour. They work themselves out, its a circle and hierachy with age. I tend to get worried but I've observed that as he grows older to become a more self assured young man, he has learnt to tell other dogs (especially the younger ones) that their behaviour is too excessive - same way as he was told off when he was a wee pup.
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