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Old 16.09.2010, 16:12
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Dog etiquette

Hi dog owners in Switzerland! We just arrived with our dog and were promptly told that our dog shouldn't pee on a lawn where children play (this was prompted by the fact that she had just peed on the lawn where children play. I am from the US, so don't know what else I am doing wrong. Can someone help me understand what is acceptable or not? For example, what stores can we take her into? Is it ever OK to have her off leash? If we can't take her into a store, can we leave her outside? Anything else I am not even aware of? Many thanks!
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Old 16.09.2010, 17:00
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Re: Dog etiquette

Was this on someones private property? I make it a point to never let my dogs pee on someone else's grass. If you were in a park designated to be used by pet owners and everyone else alike, and there is usually a sign, you should have suggested that they not let their children play where dogs pee. Parks here in Geneva are usually marked as to where you should let your dog do his/her business.

Personally, I would never leave my dog outside a store, or walk him off the leash. You will see many people do it here, and eventually you will see a dog get hit by a car. I live near a park and have seen it happen twice in the past 3 years. As the old sayings go, 'Better safe than sorry', and 'It's always funny until someone gets their eye poked out'.
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Old 16.09.2010, 17:03
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Re: Dog etiquette

First there is dog control law, and then there is local etiquette - you should make yourself familiar with both. Always comply with the former, and try to be a good neighbor by practicing the latter.

Dog control is legislated on three levels - at the federal level under the TschV, at the cantonal by the cantonal dog laws, and at the local by the Gemeinde ordinances.

The text of the TSchV can be found here: (click on the pdf)

http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/c455_1.html

And an oversight of the Zürich cantonal laws here:
http://www.tierimrecht.org/de/tiersc...ht/zuerich.php

Note: Zürich enforces BSL - if your dog is one of the restricted breeds, you have to comply with the restrictions in place. (I assume you do not have a banned breed if you have just moved here, as you would not have been able to import a dog of those breeds.)

Be aware that other cantons also have forms of BSL in force; as you travel around Switzerland do keep abreast of what is required where.

You will need to get in touch with Einwohnerkontrolle or the animal control office at your Gemeinde to inform yourself of local laws.

---

Basically, your dog must be under control at all times. Under control is defined as in sight and either under voice control or on the lead. There are indeed places where you must by law leash your dog, such as most nature conservancy areas, forests during the spring and hunting season, along heavily trafficked roads, throughout canton Schwyz - and anywhere else where there is a sign instructing you to do so. Dogs are forbidden from most school grounds, many playgrounds, grocery stores, from the post office, from swimming beaches, from cemeteries, from some wildlife conservation areas, and anywhere else so signed. You bring your dog to a private establishment (say a restaurant) at the consent of the owner - if there is a sign saying no dogs, or dogs on lead - then that's that.

Now lets talk 'under control' etiquette.

That a dog may exercise off lead is anchored in the TschV (animal welfare law), as dogs need free movement for their well being. However, in the pursuit of off-lead exercise, you have a duty (in law) to ensure that your dog does not bother anyone. Towards that end, if your dog's recall is not dependable, keep him on lead in public. If your dog's recall is rock solid - then have fun, run like the wind - but recall your dog when you encounter another person, dog or other animal. The general etiquette is that you should not allow your dog to approach another person, dog, or other animal without the consent of the person or of the animal's owner. Always ask first before allowing your dog to greet another. If you see another dog on lead that is considered a sign that the owner does not want contact - recall your dog, and keep him with you until the other dog has passed by. Dog etiquette really boils down to: treat others with respect.

(Oh - and use of the the phrase "He just wants to play!" or "Er macht nichts!" will earn you instant enmity, from responsible dog owners and non-owners alike. Delete these from your vocabulary.)

Also, if you have just arrived, have you registered your dog with the Gemeinde, and have you seen a vet to have him registered with ANIS? If not, you have 10 days to do this. This is also required under the TSchV.

As for cleaning up after your dog - do it. Always. Failure to do so can result in a fine. There are Robidogs everywhere - use them. There is never an excuse for not picking up, no matter where you are. This is especially important in agricultural areas, including pasture land. And expect harsh words from other dog owners if you fail to do so. You will soon find that every pocket in every piece of clothing you own contains several Robidog bags.

As for piddling... don't allow your dog to foul someone's garden or lawn. This takes a little re-training, coming from the US where we tend to have those convenient parkways and stretches of city-owned grass between the sidewalk and the street. You rarely see that here; the sidewalk runs along someone's private property. I find it best to take my dogs out in my garden before starting a walk - I make sure they do their thing there before we head out. Obviously when nature calls a dog will answer - but do try to keep it to a minimum, keep your dog close, and do not allow the dog access to a play area, along hedges, or a flower or vegetable garden. If you have a male dog, really watch this. Much of male marking is just that, not a need to go - and can be restrained. Again, it boils down to respecting others. If you know that you have a neighbor who objects, try to walk somewhere else.

Switzerland remains, by and large, a dog-friendly country. However, intolerance is growing - you should be aware of that fact, understand that some people simply do not like dogs - and some are truly afraid of them. Being a responsible dog owner, training your dog to be a good canine citizen is the best way to protect your four-footed friend from the anti-dog hysteria. We dog owners need to be respectful of others - just as we ask other people to respect our right to enjoy our dogs.

Last edited by meloncollie; 16.09.2010 at 22:58. Reason: correction
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Old 16.09.2010, 17:10
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Re: Dog etiquette

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(Oh - and use of the the phrase "He just wants to play!" or "Er macht nichts!" will earn you instant enmity, from responsible dog owners and non-owners alike. Delete these from your vocabulary.)
Absolutely!

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 20.06.2011, 21:02
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Re: Dog etiquette

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I find it best to take my dogs out in my garden before starting a walk - I make sure they do their thing there before we head out. Obviously when nature calls a dog will answer - but do try to keep it to a minimum, keep your dog close, and do not allow the dog access to a play area, along hedges, or a flower or vegetable garden.
Meloncollie, thank you for your useful introduction to Swiss dog ownership etiquette. I have a follow up question. When you say "my garden," do you mean you own the place where you live or do you mean you have access to as a renter?

I ask because we rent a garden-level apartment that is shared with 5 other units, but no one but us ever uses it. We use it on a daily basis and have made it clear to the other family living in our building that we'd love to see them come down more often.

First and last visit of the day, we have been letting our dog go in the garden and then immediately watering that spot in the lawn. (I read online that that minimizes damage to the grass when female dogs pee.) Do you think that my neighbors would be put off to find out that we've been doing this? I have been training her to go along the perimeter of garden and not wherever she pleases.
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Old 07.07.2011, 12:13
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Re: Dog etiquette

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Hi dog owners in Switzerland! We just arrived with our dog and were promptly told that our dog shouldn't pee on a lawn where children play (this was prompted by the fact that she had just peed on the lawn where children play. I am from the US, so don't know what else I am doing wrong. Can someone help me understand what is acceptable or not? For example, what stores can we take her into? Is it ever OK to have her off leash? If we can't take her into a store, can we leave her outside? Anything else I am not even aware of? Many thanks!
Ahhhh, welcome to Switzerland and the EF........ you are one of 'us' now !!!

Relax...... there is SO MUCH MORE to do wrong here, but this will come with time..... and fines.



Hot tip: Wherever you can see people, don't let your dog off the leash.
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Old 07.07.2011, 13:06
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Re: Dog etiquette

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Meloncollie, thank you for your useful introduction to Swiss dog ownership etiquette. I have a follow up question. When you say "my garden," do you mean you own the place where you live or do you mean you have access to as a renter?

I ask because we rent a garden-level apartment that is shared with 5 other units, but no one but us ever uses it. We use it on a daily basis and have made it clear to the other family living in our building that we'd love to see them come down more often.

First and last visit of the day, we have been letting our dog go in the garden and then immediately watering that spot in the lawn. (I read online that that minimizes damage to the grass when female dogs pee.) Do you think that my neighbors would be put off to find out that we've been doing this? I have been training her to go along the perimeter of garden and not wherever she pleases.
Hi Jetset,

Sorry I didn't see this earlier to reply...

We own our home, so the garden is private, securely fenced-in, and belongs to the doglets. But even then I cannot do as I wish on my own property - this is Switzerland, the neighbors have just about as much say in my life as a homeowner as they did as a renter. Even though it is my garden, I have to take neighborhood sensibilities into account - i.e, the dogs may not go outside during official quiet hours, over the lunch hour, while the neighbor's baby is sleeping, whenever the dog-haters are out on their balconies... you get the picture.

Owner or renter - it's all about finding a way to co-exist living in shoeboxes within a fishbowl. T'aint easy, to say the least.

It sounds like your neighbors are fairly easy, and that you are being a responsible dogowner and good neighbor - good on ya! I would just make sure that you have written permission from the landlord to use the space, and of course continue to pick up after the dogs, water the piddle spots (yes, this is pretty much the best thing against urine burn) and keep the area sparkling clean.

The only thing you might prepare yourself for is a gardening charge when you move out.

All the best to you and your four-footed friend.
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Old 07.07.2011, 15:09
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Re: Dog etiquette

Every time I read one of these threads about dogs and the terror of owning one here in CH, I am so glad we did not bring our 160 pound slobber hound with us as much as I and my daughter miss him daily. I'm pretty certain that I and he would have been forcibly deported by now.
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Old 07.07.2011, 15:28
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Re: Dog etiquette

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Even though it is my garden, I have to take neighborhood sensibilities into account - i.e, the dogs may not go outside during official quiet hours, over the lunch hour, while the neighbor's baby is sleeping, whenever the dog-haters are out on their balconies... you get the picture.
Time to move to the Toggenberg - yes, we do eat babies in these here parts but dogs are welcome .
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Old 07.07.2011, 18:50
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Re: Dog etiquette

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Time to move to the Toggenberg - yes, we do eat babies in these here parts but dogs are welcome .
Almost did... had the Vorverkauf signed and everything, and then at the last minute the seller decided he couldn't bear to leave the beautiful Churfirstens behind...

Oh, well - que sera, sera.

(Before we completely frighten future dog-owning immigrants with this thread, I should point out that I am a furriner in the Heart Of Darkness, a rather...ahem... special place - and I have a herd of very visible (and unfortunately, one audible) misfit mutts. If you have one small, well-behaved, cute, fluffy doglet you and your canine friend are likely to get along fine in Switzerland - just keep your head down, and follow the rules. )



Last edited by meloncollie; 07.07.2011 at 19:19.
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Old 07.07.2011, 20:17
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Re: Dog etiquette

Sometimes I think the Swiss want dogs to be these cute little things that never make a noise, never poop, never pee, and don't eat anything.

Basically, they want everyone to have Beanie Babies.
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Old 07.07.2011, 20:30
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Re: Dog etiquette

Not here they don't, I am glad to say. But we do keep control of our dog, we pick up any mess and don't let her pee on common grassed areas.
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Old 07.07.2011, 21:15
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Re: Dog etiquette

I'm moving to Zurich with my dog in september and I must confess, when I read threads about dogs, it kind of scares me a little :/ I'll try my best to follow the rules and hope for the best !
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Old 07.07.2011, 21:29
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Re: Dog etiquette

As long as you have accommodation that is suitable for your dog, and take time to exercise him/her sufficiently in a suitable area, all should be well.
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Old 07.07.2011, 21:39
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Re: Dog etiquette

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.

The first day we were here, my little girl went to pet a friendly westie outside the post office and the woman went into near hysterics about how not all dogs are friendly, etc, etc. (Having owned dogs that poop bigger than hers and know a friendly dog when I see one, I really wasn't sure what she was on about) but it all starts to make sense now in retrospect. She was probably terrified that he'd nip her and cause all sorts of grief.

It's bizarre in a way as I'd expect that more from the US given the litigation culture there but it seems taken to a whole new level here (I mean, we have litigation insurance on the strong advice of the employer due to it being expensive and probable).
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Old 07.07.2011, 21:41
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Re: Dog etiquette

Thanks Odile ! My dog has lived in flat her whole life (she is 6), and everything was fine so i guess there is no reason it would be different in CH ! I'll just pay extra attention that she doesn't pee on common grassed areas. I know now that is not allowed, thanks to EF !
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Old 07.07.2011, 21:43
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Re: Dog etiquette

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Not here they don't, I am glad to say. But we do keep control of our dog, we pick up any mess and don't let her pee on common grassed areas.
Just out of curiosity, since this is largely a rental/apartment dwelling country where pet owners don't own the land....what counts as fair game to pee on?

Last edited by poptart; 07.07.2011 at 21:44. Reason: spullin
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Old 07.07.2011, 22:00
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Re: Dog etiquette

I am glad that we own a small fur ball that puts smiles on everybody's faces. We take her almost everywhere besides food stores. Ah, actually I have even taken her into Migros in the lower part of the stroller So far never had an issue, most people don't even notice her in there. Same on the bus, free ride in the stroller bottom part. The only problems we had so far was when she run after kids because they jump and yell and sound generally like fun. The parents sometimes don't agree. I understand that, she's got to learn. As for the official stuff, nobody even checked when I brought her into the country. She is registered now but that happened waaay beyond the official time line. No problems whatsoever.

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Every time I read one of these threads about dogs and the terror of owning one here in CH, I am so glad we did not bring our 160 pound slobber hound with us as much as I and my daughter miss him daily. I'm pretty certain that I and he would have been forcibly deported by now.
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Old 07.07.2011, 22:01
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Re: Dog etiquette

Look for areas of neighbourhoods where dogs are walked a lot and you will
have no troubles with a decently trained dog here. My dog walks mostly off lead in the area, as do most others. Invest in training here, and you can have a
wonderful time with your dog. I am aware that in some areas and kantons the rules are more stringent here around the lake area of Zurich kanton is in my eyes a dog paradise. our dog travels almost everywhere we do : Germany,
North Italy and all over Switzerland. Your dog should be well trained but does
not have to always be as "perfect" as some comments imply. My neighbours have helped me with tips along the way. Do invest in some dog training at first if you are unsure and the trainer can help you to get to know the local doggy customs . Our rescue pooch has been a really wonderful ambassador and key to us getting to know the locals, just be sure to pick a dog friendly area !
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Old 07.07.2011, 22:45
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Re: Dog etiquette

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My dog walks mostly off lead in the area, as do most others.
Can I ask where you live ? I am not in CH yet and it could be really useful to know where are the best dog area around Zurich !
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