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Old 01.11.2017, 15:55
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Do I really have to keep my dogs on a leash?

Hello,

I can understand that the dogs must be good in the city but here in Switzerland, if I take them for a walk in the fields or along the river, do they also have to be attached at all times?

Thanks!
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Old 01.11.2017, 16:01
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Re: Do I really have to keep my dogs on a leash?

It depends, a canton by canton guide to dogs can be read here and note that it can vary from commune to commune too:
https://www.eda.admin.ch/missions/mi...nual-pets.html
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Old 01.11.2017, 16:10
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Re: Do I really have to keep my dogs on a leash?

And also down to commune level as well so check with your commune's admin office. For example in the spring when there are young animals about then dogs may need to be kept on a lead at all times.

Also think about taking the SKN course for dog owners. While no longer mandatory, it's still a good idea to help you understand what Switzerland expects from people who own dogs.
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Old 01.11.2017, 16:20
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Re: Do I really have to keep my dogs on a leash?

If the field or the river is in the municipality of Vaud, then yes it must be on a leash. (unless there's a sign that tell's you that a specific field allows free walking)
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Old 01.11.2017, 16:21
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Re: Do I really have to keep my dogs on a leash?

Dog control regulations are set at the canton and Gemeinde levels. You can read a summary of the Vaud laws here, courtesy of the good folks at Tier Im Recht:

https://www.tierimrecht.org/de/recht/hunderecht/waadt/

TIR only provides the summary in German, for French go to the cantonal law text linked under 'geltendes Hundrecht'.

Generally speaking, there is only one canton with a leash requirement at all times in public, Schwyz. But other cantons require leashing or control in specific situations.

Other cantons will decide when and where leashes are required. The usual places might include: playgrounds or parks used as a playground, in public buildings, on public transportation, in nature conservency areas, in the forests during hunting season and during the spring when wildlife are rearing their young, when walking along heavily trafficked roads, in some cantons/Gemeinde after dark. Typically dogs are forbidden on school grounds, in cemeteries, in stores selling food (but not restaurants).

Additionally you must obey any signed area - either dogs on leash or dogs forbidden.

All cantons expect dogs to be kept under control at all times. Generally that means in sight and instantly recallable. 'Under control' can mean voice control or a lead, depending on the training level you and your dog have acheived. If your dog is not instantly recallable or cannot be trusted to remain in your sight, he should be leashed in public while you are mastering those skills.

Be aware that special care should be taken around farm fields. These are not playgrounds, but rather the source of the farmer's livelihood. Always pick up, skirt the field whenever possible, do not let your dog run through and damage crops or chase livestock. Be aware that the farmer has the right in many places to shoot an off lead dog that is 'worrying' livestock. Some farmers shoot first, ask questions later... do please, for your dog's sake, keep him under control.

Please check the Vaud laws and your Gemeinde regulations for specifics for your area.

There is also etiquette. Whenever somone asks you to re-leash, please do so. Keep your dog close until that person has passed by. There are many reasons why someone might ask you to releash or recall your dog, it does not matter why the person asks, doing as requested is the polite and responsible thing to do. Never allow your dog to approach a person or another dog without first asking the person or other dog owner if contact is wanted. If you are told 'no', steer clear.

Note that VD is a BSL canton. If your dog is one of the breeds listed, you will have additional requirements to follow, the most critical being the need for a special permit. Depending on the individual situation additional leashing requirements (or other measures) might be ordered.

I'm assuming you are either new to Switzerland or to dog ownership if you are asking this question - so I'll recommend a new set of courses being rolled out, the National Hundehalterbrevet. These offer both theory courses and practical courses, and are a good way to learn dog law and how it applies to your every day life with your four footer. See this thread for more info:

https://www.englishforum.ch/pet-corn...g-program.html

The courses are a replacement for the now-abolished SKN, and are voluntary.

I'm a huge fan of, and advocate for, continuous education with our canine friends. While many of us are experienced dog owners in our home countries, there is still much to be learned about dog ownership in Switzerland. And of course one should never stop learning alongside one's dog, training - of both dog and owner - is a life long adventure. Training is an activity, not just 'side, down, stay'. Whether you are into dog sports or just a bit of Familenhund, I've found that joining a good dog school or dog club is a great way to find one's feet in a new community.

I cannot stress enough how very important it is for a dog owner to know the applicable laws and follow them - and to be respectful of others at all times. It's been 10+ years since the anti-dog hysteria following Oberglatt, the hysteria may be all but forgotten but those attitudes among the general public have not gone away. It's important to remember that at any time we might be just one people's initiative away from losing our priviledge of keeping our furry friends. Always be a good ambassador for Dogdom.

/sermon.

Hope you and your dog enjoy your Swiss adventure.

Last edited by meloncollie; 02.11.2017 at 00:39.
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