Dogs in Public in Germany
Despite the industrial and technological bent of society, Germans love nature and animals. This includes dogs, which are often treated better than children in public. This is fair though, as they often behave better too. I have been impressed by how the canine members of society are accepted and act. So much different than the dogs I remember from the US.
Ger-Man’s Best Friend
Compared to the US, Germany is a more public society. More walking around and much more outside. Dogs seem to fit right into this. Smaller apartments and more urban areas seem to lead to a desire to go out and do things. I remember reading this about New York City as well. The smaller and more packed together homes encourages more going out. As people go out, so go their dogs.
Dogs ride the tram with a child’s ticket, in Freiburg anyway. And they do so often with minimal issues as well. I have heard the driver berate someone for not having the dog on a leash once, but even then the dog was pretty sedate.
Being in such an urban environment, they must be trained from puppies to be in society and how to behave. This is pretty cool in comparison to the wildness that seems to typify the dogs I remember seeing at home. I was scared of dogs as a kid and still a bit hesitant with them now. I often remember being out and around with people and seeing others walking their dogs, which want to jump up on me. I get sniffed every so often here, but mostly they just ignore me. I’m actually kind of ok with that.
Public Visitation Rights
It is not at all unusual to see dogs in restaurants. They are under the table near their owners and seem often quite content to just lie there. No begging that I have seen. And not just little dogs either, bigger dogs too. Restaurants seem perfectly fine with it too. We saw at one point a waitress bring a bowl of water for a dog on a hot day.
I still think it is a little weird to see them in restaurants, but they definitely behave. There are certain stores that have signs out that say that dogs are not allowed. There are then often tie up spots near these signs, so that owners can dip into the store quickly for something. I’ve seen it at the gym I walk by every day too. Dogs set up in the lobby with a nice bit of fabric to lie on and await their owner sweating inside.
As is typical for Germany, there are rules around dogs and their behavior seems pretty well controlled. I don’t how much of these are unwritten courtesies and how many are actually on the books. Dogs don’t bark very often when in public and never seem to be very hyper when out in a big crowd of people. Something that cannot always be said for children.
Every so often on the street two dogs will see on another and feel the need to bark at each other. Owners are usually pretty good at restraining this. Despite a few barks every so often, the dogs that I have seen here in Freiburg have been quiet and well behaved.
And especially here where cleanliness is highly prized, it is neat to see stations along a lot of the walking trails that provide free supplies of poop pickup bags. People seem to use them too, which is actually good to see. I occasionally see someone calmly talking to a friend while walking the dog and have a yellow bag full of poop swinging from their side. So not only are the dogs better behaved, the people seem better behaved about their dogs as well.
Germans love their dogs and take them out with them into fresh air. But these are German dogs, so they are far more careful to follow the order.
Photo credits to my wife at Ali’s Adventures.
May 22, 2012 @ 8:26 pm
It’s interesting that you’ve found that the more smashed together people are in their living situations, the more they want to get outside. That makes sense. I actually wrote a post about the animals in restaurants issue last week. You almost never see this in the U.S., but where I am now in Dahab, Egypt it is as common as the sun. Stray cats and dogs are everywhere, and literally as I write this in a restaurant on the beach a cat is sleeping beside me. I love having stray cats wandering around, but some people don’t. I think in the U.S. we need to become a little less uptight about this, don’t you?
May 23, 2012 @ 7:57 pm
I would definitely mind a hyper barking dog in a restaurant in the US. Here I don’t mind because they are quiet and stay where they should. The stray cats as well. They are cute and fine on the ground, even meowing softly for scraps. But if one jumped up on the table and started into my plate, I would be quite upset I think.
May 21, 2012 @ 1:24 pm
I love dogs too and I think a lot of people would love to have one.. This is a great idea actually to some people.. Great post shared for us..
May 20, 2012 @ 5:02 am
Turkey has a big problem with street dogs and not a lot of Turks will take dogs into their houses. The expats actually do a good job of helping and getting donations to help with neutering etc.
May 20, 2012 @ 10:25 am
Street dogs and street cats from what I remember seeing while we were there. That is good to see the expats making some positive changes.
May 19, 2012 @ 7:57 am
In reading this information about dogs, this sounds a lot like California. I know a lot of towns here have the same things. Dogs aren’t allowed in that many restaurants although some do allow them. There are bags along the trails to pick up after them and there are numerous dog parks around here (including one down the street).
Maybe I’ve been in California or some other places that do this. I like that Germany has this attitude towards dogs but I think some places in the US do this as well. Maybe it’s because I’ve had dogs my entire life so I am used to seeing what is out there and what is allowed.
Only thing I don’t like out here is not everyone picks up after their dog even when the bags are on the trails.
May 20, 2012 @ 10:22 am
Not EVERYONE does it here too either, but a larger proportion than I would expect.
I expect the bigger more urban cities in the US have similar qualities as the more urban societies here too. I have seen dog parks here, but I couldn’t tell you where as I don’t have a dog. I have seen them meet up in the mall with 10 dogs to do some sort of socializing I guess.
fotoeins | Henry
May 18, 2012 @ 5:32 pm
Andrew: what I didn’t like was the frequency of dog poop on streets and how a few reasoned that their high-taxes “allowed” them to have their dogs leave their presents openly on public grounds. On the whole, however, it was good to see dogs treated well. Then again, I think there are a few owners who would rather be around with their quadrupeds than deal with their fellow bipeds!
Ali: I thought the same, though in all of the time I’ve spent in country, I’ve not seen an “encounter” nor have I seen a “resolution”.
While I finally became accustomed to the sight, I admit that time inside a large café with a quiet friendly dog sitting at the next table isn’t so bad … well, for those of us who don’t have dog allergies …
May 20, 2012 @ 10:20 am
I get the opposite impression. I am surprised at the number of people that actually pick up after their dogs. And how little of it ends up on teh sidewalks here. Sure, it is in the trees and gardens, but not where I want to walk like in Paris is often the case.
May 18, 2012 @ 5:07 pm
I’d really like to see what happens if someone sits down with a dog and a person at the next table has a dog allergy. Seems like it’s bound to happen at some point.
May 20, 2012 @ 10:18 am
I asked our kiwi friends and the answer was that most likely the person with the allergy would move. I dunno, we need to keep our eyes open.
June 3, 2014 @ 2:00 pm
Simple solution: if you have a problem with having a dog beside you in a restaurant, you simply tell the owner…they might act offended (because dog owners tend to have a problem with the concept that some people are not dog lovers, have allergies, are simply afraid of dogs or don’t want them near them while they are eating), but usually they will move the dog if you ask them politely…and since Germans are not prone to hedging such subjects, it’s simply a matter of communicating.