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  #21  
Old 07.07.2011, 22:56
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Re: Dog etiquette

I mean, dog friendly area, "the best dog area" doesn't mean anything !
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  #22  
Old 08.07.2011, 00:36
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Re: Dog etiquette

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Even the Swiss seem ultra-freaked with their dogs. I'm a dog person, and when I see a dog, I will greet it if I have an opportunity and every time I do this around here I get the wild eye of fear from the owner until they figure out I'm a friendly.
There are times when I am one of one of those wild-eyed fearful dog owners - because post-Oberglatt I've had people try to hurt my dogs while we are out walking, peacefully minding our own business. I try to be a responsible polite dog owner and good neighbor at all times - heck, when other people approach we always step off the pavement, the dogs sit politely; we give way so that others can pass us by - yet we've still seen instances of aggressive behavior from folks who do not like dogs. The worst was once a lady asked if she could pet my dogs, she missed her own dogs so much, it would make her so happy if she could pet mine. She seemed like a sweet old dear, so I asked my elderly wobbly little sheltie to sit... and then the sweet old dear took out her Wanderstock and tried to hit my 'Kampfmachine' over the head.

So I do not trust strangers. If I don't know you, you don't get close to my dogs, punkt.


---

Just a bit of a history lesson, for those who came here after Dec 2005:

Switzerland had the reputation of being a fairly dog-friendly country; certainly when I arrived here in 1998, two mutts in tow, I was thrilled at how much freedom my dogs were allowed. It was wonderful to allow a dog off lead (not allowed in many places I had lived, not sensible in others), to be able to have my dogs out and about with me, to bring them to a restaurant - I loved the country for that alone. Most of the friends I made when we first arrived here were made through the dogs.

Yes, there were people who did not like dogs, fair enough. But there seemed to be a healthy mutual respect among dog lovers and those who would prefer not to be around them. Each to his own, as long as you don't bother the other person.

Life was good.

However, in Dec 2005 there was a terrible tragedy - a young child was killed by three pitbulls. It was a horrible, senseless, tragic - and the nation was, quite rightly, upset.

The dogs had been smuggled illegally into CH, were kept starving in abusive conditions (it is thought being groomed for an illegal fighting ring) by a known criminal. The owner had been reported to the police before, nothing had been done. Had any of a number of laws already on the books been enforced, this terrible tragedy need not have happened.

The tabloids took up the story, and then the story became a campaign. Everyday there were pictures of snarling 'Kampfhunde' on the front page. As the coverage became more strident, a wave of anti-dog hysteria seemed to take over. First it was aimed at the SOKAs - then at all large dogs - but even owners of smaller dogs felt the sting. People began to be afraid of dogs, truly afraid. Not surprising when the tabloids kept up a relentless ' OMG! Killer Dogs!' mantra. More often than not when one heard the word 'Hund' it was preceeded by the adjective 'böse'.

Politicians jumped on the bandwagon, soon a raft of anti-dog legislation was being proposed. (See the 'Federal Dog Control' thread, which was started at this time - a convoluted thread but it pretty much details the history.) Some cantons, (dog control is in the competency of the cantons), started introducing BSL.

Valais led the pack, banning 12 breeds of dogs soon after the tragedy. Any pups of those breeds born after a certain date were automatically euthanized. An over-the-top Wesenstest for those breeds was introduced, while most dogs passed or were referred for additional training, about 10% of the dogs who stood the test failed and were euthanized.

Other cantons followed suit. On a slightly (darkly) comic note, Geneva required all dogs, of any size - even the teeny ones like Chihuahuas - to be muzzled in public parks. There was then a mad scrambling among Chi owners to try to find muzzles small enough for their little friends. Fortunately, the courts reversed that poorly thought out legislation.

Some form of BSL, where certain breeds are either banned or restricted, is on the books in GE, VS, VD, FR, TI, ZH,TG, BS, BL, SO, and the underlaying legislation exists in JU, but has not been brought into force. SZ, while there is no BSL, enforces a leash law for all dogs in public. (At least, it is enforced in my area: CHF 100 on-the-spot fine.)

Some people with dogs were finding it hard to rent a flat, there were reports of dog owners being mobbed by neighbors. Many dogs were given up to shelters (or worse) when their owners could not cope with the regulations or pressure. It seemed that dogs had suddenly become the scapegoat du jour, responsible for all the world's ills.

Was it like this for everybody? No it was not. Many dog owners never faced any pressure, any problems, were even unaware that all this was going on. But for a good number of folks - either because of the breed or size of dog owned, or the attitude of neighbors, it was a very difficult time.

---

Things have calmed down quite a bit since the worst days. The draconian federal legislation morphed into the milder, more sensible mandatory theory and training classes - but the cantonal BSL remains, as does some degree of fear or uneasiness around dogs among a fair number of people here.

So perhaps it's understandable why some dog owners who were targeted during the hysteria have become afraid of those who are afraid of our dogs.

---
Despite this, Switzerland is still more 'dog friendly' than many other countries. There are still lots of places where a dog can romp and play, there are still lots of dog lovers who will smile approvingly at your pooch. There are still more restaurants allowing you to bring your dog than those who forbid it. If you don't have a dog affected by BSL, if you don't have nasty neighbors, you may never encounter any of this. I hope most of you never do. But one should be aware of the history, aware that there is a dark side.

To keep that dark side at bay, one should do all that one can to be a responsible, polite, law-abiding dog owner, to be a good ambassador for our canine friends, to respect others at all times.
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  #23  
Old 08.07.2011, 09:38
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Re: Dog etiquette

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- even the teeny ones like Chihuahuas - to be muzzled in public parks. There was then a mad scrambling among Chi owners to try to find muzzles small enough for their little friends.
I would have thought the end of a Prosecco bottle would have done the trick
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  #24  
Old 08.07.2011, 09:52
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Re: Dog etiquette

WTF!!! of the day.

I am so happy that we lived in Seebach when our dog was still around. We could walk to the nearby fields where he could walk/run off leash and run round the fields and there were many other dog owners that did so too (taking the dog off leash, not run round the fileds). Everybody kept an eye out for runners/bikers etc etc and would leash his/her dog when necessary. Thankfully, I never encountered aggression towards my dog. Just some growling/barking contests with other males (dogs!, not me).

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snip The worst was once a lady asked if she could pet my dogs, she missed her own dogs so much, it would make her so happy if she could pet mine. She seemed like a sweet old dear, so I asked my elderly wobbly little sheltie to sit... and then the sweet old dear took out her Wanderstock and tried to hit my 'Kampfmachine' over the head.
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  #25  
Old 08.07.2011, 10:28
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Re: Dog etiquette

I agree,

I find it astonishing that the same people who "fear" a dog because it has the potential to 'Kill' (in their minds only)........ seem to think that it's a good idea to abuse the animal.

I mean, if they piss a killer dog off, who do they really think would win the fight?


If I'm afraid of a Russian organised crime member, I'm NOT going to throw rocks at him.
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  #26  
Old 08.07.2011, 10:46
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Re: Dog etiquette

a wee add on onto the dog etiquette: As already pointed out, it's a question of respect. It's a sign of respect to pick up your dog's left behinds. No one likes to step onto it. And if you don't have a Robidog-bag with you, just wait and ask the next dog owner passing by, and ask him for one, and restock at the next Robidog point (the bags are free)

It's also a sign of respect to accept that a dog can be intimidating so some people.

I like dogs, though at the moment I am living with a sweet, daft old tabby-cat who needed a new home. The owners, they are a different matter all together.
I am also a keen walker. Not "Nordic Walking" or even running. I walk. An hour a day, and mostly the same walks many dogs and their owners have their daily walks.

For years I used to have my walks with a Chow-Chow a very friendly, nice, stubborn dog who was rock-firm in his response to vocal commands. But it took months of very firm training with him too.
Yet even with me knowing that he would obey if I command him to "sit" - how on earth would another person know that he would? So when I told him to sit (e.g. runners or bikers passing by), I always hold his collar, to show "no fear, he won't run after you".
When he wanted to have a run - we did run. In a natural preserve region not off-lead of course, so I just had to run with him (and while a Chow isn't a husky, he's a very good runner).
Wasn't that much of trouble, and I was in better shape with the dog than in all the years following.

Although this might not please many of those who thought the new laws on "dog-" resp. "puppy-school" unneccessary: It became much more relaxed to walk now.
Past are the days when I had a screaming two year old clinging onto my leg with a large German Shepherd running onto us. Just try to put it into scale: for a two year old boy the dog is as tall as he is!

I'd scream bloody murder too if something of my size is running at me, and the person behind just yells "Er macht nüüüt!" (He just wants to play).
The problem with such experiences is: one bad experience weights up nearly all of the good.

Yet - as I've said - by today I can go and have my walk. Owners developed a different sense of understanding, that a running dog isn't just natural and free but to some can be intimidating.
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Old 08.07.2011, 11:15
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Re: Dog etiquette

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The worst was once a lady asked if she could pet my dogs, she missed her own dogs so much, it would make her so happy if she could pet mine. She seemed like a sweet old dear, so I asked my elderly wobbly little sheltie to sit... and then the sweet old dear took out her Wanderstock and tried to hit my 'Kampfmachine' over the head.

how exactly did she try to explain it? there really are some nutcases in the world.
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  #28  
Old 08.07.2011, 11:18
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Re: Dog etiquette

As a dog lover I really like to talk to/pet other dogs- but I'll always ask the owner if that is OK, then put my hand out slowly and let the dog choose whether to come to me or not.

I am so lucky to have plenty of space, great neighbours, and lots of lonely country lanes where I just meet the odd fox, hare- and where my dog can run wild. This is not a criticism, please, but I wouldn't have a large dog in a flat in town- for my sake if not their own.
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