Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Switzerland is dog friendly

It's dog heaven here. You can take your furry friend nearly everywhere: in most restaurants, trains, buses, some shops, etc... And if they don't allow your dog inside, most shops provide leash hooks outside, allowing you to shop while Rover waits. You can even take your dog to work if your employer has pooch-friendly company regulations like NestlĂ©.

The best part is that you can walk your dog off the leash, as long as you can "voice control" it. Warning: this is tricky. Your dog must be really good at this. One policewoman nearly ticketed me for having my dog off the leash, but when she saw that my dog came when I called, she complimented me.

I believe strongly that keeping dogs with their owners most of the day socializes them, making them less shy, bored and aggressive than those dogs that are locked up at home all day.

Where my mother lives in the USA, local ordinances require people to keep their dogs on leashes in parks and on beaches. These ordinances are created by people who are afraid of dogs, and who react to incidents involving pit bulls and to people not picking up poop.

Strike it up to the minority spoiling things for the rest of us.

Swiss laws are pretty specific but thanks to them, there seems to be more freedom here.

I found the following laws on the protection of animals, which I find pretty straight forward:

  1. Dogs must have sufficient daily contact with human beings and, as far as possible, other dogs.

  2. Those kept in closed premises must be able to take exercise, every day, according to their needs and must, as far as possible, be able to romp in the open air.

  3. Those kept tied up must be able to move around in an area of at least 20 m2 (20 square meters), and must not be attached using a choke chain. (I don't like the idea of tying up a dog... makes them mean.)

  4. Those kept in the open air must have a shelter and water available.

  5. Anyone looking after a dog must take the measures necessary to prevent the dog endangering either human beings or animals.

  6. Treating dogs with excessive harshness, firing shots to punish them, and using spike collars are prohibited. (Electrical shock collars are also not allowed here.)

Gone fishing — literally

As you may have noticed, I've been absent from the Swiss Alps, due to the fact that I've been fishing off the New England coast. T...