Dog Laws Around the World

One of the most enjoyable parts of doing seminars around the world is talking to people from a variety of countries about their countries’ and culture’s attitude  and regulations regarding dogs. A group of us got to talking in Edinburgh about the dog-related laws of their own countries, and what a range of regulations we found. In Sweden dogs are allowed off leash in many areas, but must be “under control.” (Very sensible!) I was told when I was in Sweden that keeping a dog in a crate was illegal–any Swedes want to confirm or deny? Sweden has very strict animal welfare laws that also apply to domestic pets. For example, all indoor animals must be able to see out a “sunny window.” This is especially interesting to me, given that I’ve advised many a client to keep their dogs AWAY from windows when they leave the house because the activity outside often overstimulates and/or frustrates them. I’d never leave Willie loose in the front room with big windows facing the driveway; when I tried it earlier he was a stressed out wreck when I came home.

Sweden has no country-wide breed related bans, but lots of European countries do. Several countries ban “Pit Bulls,” but as best I can tell no one over there knows who they are either. In the UK I was told the “breed” designation is based purely on looks, and any dog who is reported to look like a pit has to be evaluated. In Germany, some breeds (from Akbash to Staffies to Dogos) must be muzzled in public, unless they have been evaluated for safety. One of the Edinburgh participants was from Poland and she reported that all dogs over medium size must be muzzled in public. She also reported that the law wasn’t enforced and most people ignored it.

Regulations aside, in general my experience has been that Europe and the UK are much more dog friendly than the US. We ended our trip in southern England, and there were dogs, off leash, in all the parks in London. (Which has more parks than one could ever imagine! Gorgeous!) We saw dogs all over the UK, many off leash and many on leash, some in pubs and buses, both of which would never be allowed in the US. Sigh.

What about where you live? There are 16,000 readers of this blog (yeah!) and they live all over, from Alaska to Afghanistan. I’d love to hear from you, and I expect our colleagues around the world would too. How “dog friendly” is your community? What kinds of regulations are there restricting their behavior? What kinds of welfare-related laws are there? (Our animal welfare laws are insufficient here in the US, to say the least. If they were better we wouldn’t have puppy mills…..). What would you like changed?

MEANWHILE, back on the farm: I spent most of Sunday NOT cleaning the house (very much needed) or weeding the garden (also needed) but rather collecting wild apples with friend Harriet and Jim, washing and then cooking them up into what I call Apple Butter Sauce. Here’s what them process looks like:


Here are some of the apples we picked. Wild apples vary tremendously in size, shape, color and taste. We picked the ones we liked best, about the equivalent of 4 big supermarket bags worth (sorry, I can’t think in bushels.) I don’t worry about the small blemishes on the skin, they won’t hurt you and they come off anyway in a later stage.







After you wash the apples, cut out any bad parts, cut them into quarters, put them in a large pot and simmer them for about 20 minutes until they are soft.









Once the apples are soft, drain them and put them through a Foley Food Mill. I’d never heard of one until my friend loaned me one, and what a difference they make! You just cook the apples and then turn the crank. The skins and seeds are retained in the top and the soft cooked apple comes out the bottom.






This is what it looks like after it’s been through the mill… add a little sweetener and it’s great as it is. But I go one step further and turn it into Apple Butter (Sauce… it’s still a bit soft once it’s done.) I add tons of cinnamon and allspice and cook it at 325 for hours. Hours. Really. Like 6 of them. Stir every hour or so, and once it’s about half the size it was it’s ready to be put into jars as Apple Butter Sauce. By that time it’s much darker in color and thick and sweet and spicy and yummy yummy yummy. It’s fantastic on toast and even better with a meat like pork if you do eat meat. Definitely one of my favorite parts of autumn!

The sheep love it too, cuz they get all the left overs. Yummy all around. Yeah nature, that’s all I can say.


  1. Bethany says

    I don’t like all the restrictions on dogs in the Bay Area (California/SF-Bay). There are leash laws everywhere, and the city counsels continue restricting where dogs go (even on leash). It makes hiking and other outdoor activities very discouraging…After all, who wants to go for a hike if your 1.5 year old Golden can’t come, too? Many of the wilderness areas on the Peninsula are completely restricted to dogs, and dogs have to be on leash on the other trails, which is a bummer since my young girl needs to RUN for several hours every day. There are some off-leash fire roads in the North Bay, though. The unfortunate thing is, I see much more dog-dog reactivity in leashed dogs than I do in those off-leash, so we seem to be creating problems with leash laws, not necessarily preventing them.

    P.S. Beautiful apple butter sauce! I just made pumpkin butter this week. Yum!

  2. Dogdaes says

    What a timely post. Just yesterday, I was having lunch with another dog colleague. We were sitting outside of a restaurant, and I had one of my dogs with me. She was just lying beside me, and as people approached, she wagged her tail, wanting everyone to pet her. A woman came by and said, “you know in Europe, they would be allowed inside, but here they can only be outside. Just think when it snows, and they can only lay outside here. It is a shame.”

    Another guy I have been corresponding with who recently moved back to the states after living in the Czech Republic said how his dogs felt much more at home in Europe than in the US.

    As for where I live, pit bulls are considered vicious (wolf-hybrids as well), must be leashed and muzzled in public in a particular city. Like in the UK, it is based on looks, so this also includes those that look like pit bulls or a pit bull x. The interesting thing about this is that this ruling is in a city where there is an underground fighting ring.

    By the way, there is a big appeal going out for Lennox in Belfast, Ireland who has been slated for euthanasia based on his looks. It is a very sad case.

  3. says

    In Australia, the state of Victoria has just passed legislation to ban Pit Bulls after a pit bull x killed a four year old child. Other states have different laws and it is quite confused and complicated as defining a breed is fraught with problems. As far as leash and non leash goes we have lots of good dog beaches and parks where dogs are allowed off leash but also lots of restrictions where dogs can’t go. Obviously to protect wildlife they are not allowed in National parks. Where i live in Fremantle a lot of people take dogs to alfresco cafes and even though it is officially not allowed it gets done and is accepted as normal. In general i think Australia has a good mix of regulations to allow responsible dog ownership but also allows a lot of freedom to our dogs to exercise.

  4. Nina says

    Hi! I have just found your blog by looking for dog training and I really like it. I am from Norway and we dont have the best animal welfare laws (even tho we think we do).
    Some counties have their own on-leash restrictions, some sheep farmers are “unstable” if they see a dog running loose close to their sheep… but in general off leash is allowed between the 20th of August to the 20th of April. In April the baby boom season start for the wild animals so thats the reason why all dogs need to be on leash.
    We have breed specific ban on Pit bull, American Staffordshire terrier, Fila Brasileiro, Toso inu and Dogo argentino and mix breeds with % of Pit bull are not allowed either. I think ignorant politicians ban them cos its easier.
    It is not allowed to neuter or castrate dogs if they are healthy, but if displaying aggression its considered. Many vets are helpful in this aspect. Ear or tail docking is not allowed.
    I live and study (vet.) in Budapest, Hungary and its such a huge difference to back home. Here dogs are allowed in cafes, restaurants etc. Its so nice to be able to do that. At the same time here in Hungary dogs are neglected and abandoned more or less every day. Several organisations are dealing with dog rescue out of private money.
    Thanks for a great blog!

  5. says

    In Estonia there are laws for keeping a pet (dogs and other pet animals too), which state that the animal must have enough room to move, light and quietness, balanced food, clean drinking water as the species needs.

    For dogs, the law state that a dog must get enough exercise. There are also exact requirements for the size of doghouses, kennels, lenght of leashes, all to ensure that the dog could live a happy life. In addition, you can only keep dogs who can cope with cold weather to live outside year-round, you must not mate your female dogs too often, and in a multiple-animal-household you must ensure that all animals get along well and not hurt each other. There are even more rules, and I think my country is very dog-friendly!

    Each town also has its own regulations on keeping pets. In my town, people must ensure that the dog cannot escape from your home or when walking, on the fences there must be warning that you have a dog in your yard, in public places your dog must be on 1m long leash. No dogs (or cats) are allowed to be at public beaches.

  6. Fjm says

    The UK Breed Specific Laws are a mess – legislation rushed in response to tabloid newspaper hysteria over a few high profile dog attacks. It doesn’t address the key issues of owner responsibility, and has led to harmless dogs being euthanised, or held for months or years at public expense without reducing the number of serious bite incidents at all. Apart from that, welfare law is pretty good – although there was a recent survey indicating that a very large number of dog owners were in breach of its provisions. I suspect that may be because the guidance implies that dogs should have their own bed, and the survey was counting all those whose dogs slept elsewhere (in the owner’s bed, for example) as technically non-compliant! There is an active campaign to open up more shops and public areas to dogs, and as you know, most parks and open spaces are dog friendly. Most limitations are sensible – no dogs in children’s play areas, dogs must be under close control around livestock and on leash during the breeding season on land where birds nest on the ground, etc.

    We still have puppy mills, however, and dogs sold in pet shops and through brokers, and far too many dogs bought on a whim, or as a disposable status symbol. Too many dogs are in rescue, and too many of those never find a home. And the hysteria is still there, complete with photo-shopped dangerous dog:
    The public, however, is largely pro-dog – the survey accompanying this ridiculous campaign was taken down after a few hours when it became clear that the vast majority of voters supported the dogs, not the newspaper, and the comments tell much the same story. And a recent television show featuring an unqualified, dominance-based dog trainer was quickly pulled after a huge campaign by dog owners and welfare organisations.

    I am dealing with baskets of quinces, rather than apples … spiced quince butter … now there’s a thought!

  7. says

    Where I live, in Vienna-Austria, dogs are allowed anywhere (sometimes overexposed to excessive crowds), tram, buses, metro, trains, clothing stores, restaurants and caf

  8. Skye says

    I am always so jealous of Europeans and their dog privileges.
    Montreal, Canada where I come from, is an extremely dog unfriendly city: no dogs allowed in stores, in many parks, or on public transportation (unless they are in a container). There are small smelly dog runs for dogs who like to play with other dogs and a few wooded parks where dogs are allowed off leash but if you want to do frisbee with your dog on a playing field, you are out of luck. I used to sneak around early in the morning, dodging the local security forces, just to get a few throws of the frisbee for my dog.
    The day that I was refused entry on a city bus because I had a small poodle in my arms was the day I decided to leave Montreal for good.
    I have recently moved to the Ontario city of Kingston. Although the province has a pit ban on the books, I get the impression that it is largely ignored. I happily outrun my border collie and play frisbee out on the many open playing fields here although I have occasional flashbacks of security guards creeping up behind me, nothing so far. In on-leash areas I see people with dogs off-leash and no one seems to get excited. Owners here seem to pick up after their dogs pretty well, which is so important.
    I feel that a dog’s liberty and access should be co- ordinated with it’s demeanour. A licensing system that took this into consideration would motivate owners to put more time and energy into training.

    I still remember a couple of women on a bus with their dogs in Cornwall, UK, debating which beach they were going to go to, to walk their dogs. “Oh, lets go to so-and-so beach because the dog warden isn’t there so we won’t have to pick up.” I had to so bite my tongue. … if only I could tell them how lucky they were..

  9. Sue says

    Beautiful sauce, Trisha! What a fulfilling Sunday’s task.

    I also make apple sauce and apple butter, but I hate throwing out the peels. Hence I quarter the apples and remove seed cores and stems, cook them to soften and throw them in the blender to puree, skins and all. The texture differs a bit, and the incredibly gorgeous color is enhanced. Freeze as is or add spices and cook into butter. Old recipes for apple butter include sugar; it’s unnecessary. Instead, I’ve added cider for sweetener, but in a sense it’s counter productive as it necessitates a longer cook. Then it goes into the freezer.

  10. Allison says

    Here in Maryland they just passed a law this summer to allow dogs at outside eating areas of restaurants with the restaurant owners approval. Yea! The state parks department also has lifted some of their dog restrictions. I think they realized they were missing out on lots of revenue from dog owners! But, there are a couple of counties that have breed restrictions (pitbulls, of course! not sure how they decide what constitutes a pitbull- probably looks). I had someone ask me one time if my Red Heeler was a pitbull. Geez, glad I don’t live in a county with restrictions! I think I’d rather see muzzle requirements than breed bans.

  11. Mikki says

    In Finland crating is illegal unless the crate is quite large (around 4,5 square meters for a 40kg dog) so it’s likely also true about Sweden. Here dogs are allowed off-leash only with a permission from the land’s owner but most dog owners don’t pay much attention to that and keeping dogs off-leash in somewhat secluded places is normal. And bigger cities have fenced dog-parks for those who like them, many dog people either don’t have dogs social enough or simply don’t think it’s a good idea for a dog to socialize with dogs of unknown temperaments. We don’t have any banned breeds (yet) but aggressive dogs have been on the news a lot and it seems that dog hatred is rising. Than again Finland has a huge number of dogs compared to our small population so I guess it’s no wonder that there are a lot of irresponsible dog owners as well.

    My dogs are being left in my house completely free and there are of course windows in most rooms… They behave very well, it’s what they are used to all their life and how they were taught to be from puppyhood. Or, in the case of a rescue of mine that hadn’t been taught how to stay alone properly, as an adult but that can be much harder of course. I don’t mean any offence to anyone but I personally couldn’t imagine crating dogs, it would feel so wrong where’s in many foreign puppy guides I’ve read it’s the only responsible thing to do. Cultural differences, obviously.

  12. Adria says

    In Massachusetts (I know, not foreign, but still…) we’re allowed to take the dogs on all public transit except during rush hour- which seems reasonable to me. I’ve also had my dogs at outdoor seating in restaurants and been told that’s okay. Where I live in Cambridge, most bookshops, hardware stores, art store- basically anywhere without food- have been very welcoming as well.

  13. trisha says

    The crate issue is such an interesting one. All of my other dogs have been left at home loose in the house, and they did very well. But Willie is different, hyper-reactive, easily frightened and aroused, and as much as I’d love him to be happy loose in the house, he appears to be much happier if he has the comfort of some seclusion and less stimulation. I’d argue (strongly), that “one-size-fits-all”regulations are not always the best of ideas. He loves his crate and goes into it happily, never whines or cries in it and appears relaxed and content in it. I think of it as his bedroom, where he gets to relax and drop his guard.

  14. Rachel says

    In Switzerland it’s AWFUL!!! One has no clue about the laws of the next town. In some parts Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Pitbulls, Amstaff, Cane Corso and many more are banned. Where I live they will most likely come out with a law that has no breed specific list but a huge grey area that could include any dog.Then there is the law that dictates how to live with your dog (cat, guinea pig etc.) and on the other side are animal right laws that tell you to do other things. They even want to have a lawyer for pets. Think of your dog is chasing the neighbors cats – neat case for the pet lawyer. The sad thing is politicians and the media seem to be winning, people are fed up, getting rid of their dogs or not getting another one once the beloved one crossed the rainbow bridge. Needless to say crating is illegal.

  15. tania says

    So in Finland and Sweden, what happens to dogs who destroy the house due to anxiety if they are not crated? I can’t imagine there are no anxious dogs in these countries, and if not, what are we doing wrong?? My only solution would be to either leave my dog kenneled outside all day or find him a new home where someone is home all day, but I doubt anyone out there wants a blind, epileptic dog with anxiety issues!

  16. Beth says

    I cannot imagine having a puppy and not having a crate. My parents Chessie is very protective of property (as most Chessie’s are) and feels she is “on duty” at all times unless crated. They keep the dog and the neighbors happy by crating her when they leave the house (in some circumstances they must leave her out).

    Part of me wishes we had more lax leash laws in public spaces, but then another part sees so many people with truly scary-looking dogs loose barely under control and think that’s not fair either. And what of people who are truly afraid of dogs? They deserve access to parks too. My own compromise would be that parks over a certain acreage would designate certain quiet areas ok to be off-leash areas.

    But then, our own park is utilized by cross-country teams and the ROTC for drills, and they do use the “quiet” areas. Not a good idea to have even well-behaved dogs off-leash when an entire track team runs by, so how would the community communicate the fact that certain dates/times require leashes?

    It’s tough to keep everyone happy. We try to balance the law with common sense and ours are sometimes off-leash in certain spots where they are not likely to be of concern to anyone else.

  17. Rachel says

    I also live in Massachusetts.

    In Boston, there are breed-specific rules (where breed is defined by appearance, although if you have a DNA test that says your dog is a negligible percentage of pit-type, then you may be ok). Essentially, pit-type dogs are supposed to wear muzzles in public. Similar bans are present in some surrounding towns.

    The town in which I live (Somerville, the less posh version of Cambridge) is relatively dog friendly. There are no breed bans. There are off-leash dog parks (most fenced) within walking or easy driving distance; however, dogs in all non-designated areas must be on-leash. Dogs are allowed on restaurant patios at the restaurant’s discretion. There are lots of dog services readily available (daycare, walkers, vets, playgroups, groomers, etc).

  18. em says

    This is a fascinating topic for me, because I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking lately about the impact that rules and restrictions have on dog behavior. I started really thinking about it because our local dog park (a large, unfenced county park that has always been a designated off-leash dog area), under the aegis of a new parks commissioner, attempted to restrict the off-leash area to a fraction of the space that people were accustomed to use.
    There was a great hue and cry and eventually the parks department relented, officially restoring much of the park to off-leash use. The debate and politics were fascinating to watch in action, but what struck me the most was the fact that there was an observable change in the behavior of the dogs in the park while the issue was under dispute.

    I know that being leashed often increases reactivity, but what was interesting to me was that dogs started showing an increase in reactivity even though they WEREN’T leashed. A great many owners chose the civil disobedience route while the matter was under dispute, ignoring posted signs and risking a ticket if caught. Instead of confidently enjoying a permitted behavior, these owners were surreptitiously or defiantly breaking the rules, and were painfully conscious of it. Even though I observed the same dogs, in the same environment, and with the same leashed/unleashed status, they behaved differently because the rule had been changed, which altered their owners’ attitudes.

    Instead of a happy, casual, curious glance, the sound of footsteps coming along the path led these owners to guilty scrambling for a leash or tense, measuring observations of each person coming around the bend. Unsurprisingly, the dogs became more tense and defensive as well. Dogs who had never shown the slightest reactivity started barking or staring at newcomers (at least until identity was established). Once the rules were changed back, these same dogs returned to normal.

    The whole thing has made me start to wonder about the relationship between rules and dog behavior in general–I wonder whether strict restrictions on dogs ends up creating a vicious cycle of discomfort and distrust on both sides, and rules that are more accepting of the presence of dogs might actually work to improve dog behavior generally, not just by allowing the dogs to have more social experience, but by creating a more comfortable and mutually accepting environment.

    I know that our local dog park has always been the most awesome place to walk because even though it is very large and sparsely attended, people go there expecting to see dogs, and expecting that dogs will be allowed to interact with each other. This has a self-selecting effect-it is very unwise to bring a fearful or unfriendly dog into that kind of environment. It also removes a great deal of tension from new meetings-we expect that the dogs will approach one another, and we expect that it will go reasonably well, so they are allowed to do so without a lot of hanging back and sizing up first or a lot of hovering and interference at the time. The expectation of a good outcome, by itself, goes a long way to setting the groundwork for a positive experience. Having a designated area for off-leash dogs is tremendously liberating-I know that I never even realized how much I felt pressured to minimize my dogs’ presence in public (short leash, unobtrusive manners, never allowed to approach strangers or strange dogs without an express invitation-I have big dogs and I try to be courteous) until I had the opportunity to occupy a space without apology. My dogs’ behavior is my responsibility everywhere, obviously, but at least in this one place, I don’t have to justify their presence, and it is SUCH a relief.

    Anyhow, thanks for this fascinating topic! (the apple butter, looks great, too!)

  19. says

    I live in the Treasure Valley (Boise and surrounding areas) and its not the most dog friendly…but also not the most restrictive. Because of where we live, we have lots of outdoor activites and people here love their dogs and love to take them out with them. We have several dog parks (which I don’t go to because I have found that most dog owners do not understand dog behavior and don’t know when to or not be concerned about their dog’s behavior) and there are restuarants that allow your dog with you to eat outside. I can understand not having dogs around where food is prepared or out in the open, such as in grocery stores or inside restuarants and to a certain degree the Saturday Market (which in Boise it is posted that dogs are not allowed but people still bring their dogs, not a great number…I did once not knowing they did not allow dogs so I just walked on the opposite side of the street where the food vendors were).
    My dogs definitely do better when they are off leash around other dogs. I’m at sheepdog trials alot and just about the only dogs on leash are: non-border collies and puppies/young dogs…and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a dog fight. Once after an agility trial, a few of us were hanging around waiting to go to dinner so we decided to let our dogs off-leash (gasp! for most of them) and “surprise surprise” the dogs got along great! I was surprised more by the handler’s surprise that the dogs got along.
    I can’t imagine having crating being illegal! With the exception of my Aussie with separation anxiety, my other dogs LOVE their crates and are most comfortable in their crates when I’m not at home.

  20. Caroline McKinney says

    Tania stated my question “So in Finland and Sweden, what happens to dogs who destroy the house due to anxiety if they are not crated?” And Tricia, “he has the comfort of some seclusion and less stimulation”. Having had a dog that chewed the furniture and the upholstery when we were gone–until we finally realized that he was better in a crate when left alone

  21. Rusty says

    I think a lot of things have to do with public perception and opinion. I live in a medium sized city in southern WI. When I got my Doberman Pinscher and would be out walking him I had quite a few people tell me it was illegal to own them in the city. I had some even tell me it would void my home owners insurance (not true). Just in case the know-it-alls might be correct, I checked the ordinance and it does not identify any breed what so ever. It does define a “vicious dog” as one that has two documented “unprovoked attacks.” I love the useage of “unprovoked” in the ordinance. A recent effort to ban Pit Bulls in my city failed. The city council stood by the ordinance and said it was restrictive enough. Hooray! I’m not a Pit Bull fan but that certainly doesn’t mean that I want to prevent others from enjoying whatever breed they so desire.

    Kennels: My Dobie goes into his kennel at will and without protest. I agree with what Trisha said: it is a sanctuary for the dog. A place they can decompress and be unmolested, whether the door is open or closed. I use the kennel because he is a voracious chewer. I don’t want the house destroyed overnight or when I’m not home. He gets exercise and attention, just enjoys chewing on almost anything.

    My Sheltie also goes into and out of his kennel at will, the door is always open. Being placed in the crate is never used as a punishment. Neither dog is bothered when they are in their crate.

  22. Rebecca Fouts says

    This is a fascinating discussion.

    RE: Crating –
    I honestly can’t imagine trying to toilet train a young dog w/o a crate or some sort of ability to confine. And having had a client whose dog chewed through electrical wires, and in edition to killing himself, nearly burned down the house, I can’t imagine leaving most dogs un-crated when home alone. Sure, some are fine. But others…wow! When I was younger, I had a German Shepherd pup. I thought crating was cruel, until I started to come home to holes in my dry-wall, plants destroyed, soil all mushed into the carpet, etc. Well, crating became a new institution. I leave the door open and most of the dogs I’ve had in my home, be they mine or as training client, disappear into them all on their own happily. They get upset when the door is shut and they can’t get in!

    RE: Restrictions
    I’m a service dog trainer, so this conversation is very interesting to me. I’d love to hear from some of the same people in Europe about what, if any, laws they have on the books regarding service dogs for the disabled.

    As a service dog, the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) gives public access to all service/assistant dogs in the US, not just guide dogs. This means they are allowed in any business open to the public, on all public transportation, etc. The dog can assist for any disability as long as it is tasked trained. This can be for hearing impairment, medical alert, wheelchair/mobility assist, learning disability, etc.

    The one we’re fighting a lot right now is emotional support. TSA allows emotional support animals. ADA does not. I don’t believe just the presence of the dog should be significant to give public access. I DO believe in task training. But I also believe there are tasks that can be trained to support psycho-therapy and those with depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. The other big issue right now is ADA previously was broad enough to include any animal. They’ve recently tightened this up to mean only dogs and miniature horses — totally edging out monkeys. Which in my experience, are often better suited for a limited number of disabilities, like quadriplegics. At the same time, it was being abused. Some tried to pass off a cat, a snake, a pig, etc as an assistant animal.

    And we often have trouble with pet folks throwing a vest on their dog and passing their dog as a service dog because they want their dog with them all the time. When the dog is not properly trained, and makes a scene in a store or on public transportation, etc, this creates a large problem for those of us with legitimate disabilities and service dogs. The business owner begins to think ALL service dogs are like this, and starts refusing access, opening himself up to a law-suit, and the disabled handler to the emotional stress of having to deal with an access dispute.

    I’ve noticed a destinct difference in service dog education for businesses and the general public also regionally. In the mid-west, I had more trouble with access issues, being denied access, being questioned more, etc. Out here on the east coast however, while I don’t get questioned by businesses nearly as much, I have a hell of a time getting the public to stop petting my dog! They know what a service dog is, because I here them say “oh, that’s a service dog!”. But I’m using more energy in educating the public on proper service dog etiquette, like don’t call to the dog, don’t pet, etc. They think it’s fine just to reach out and pet, and actually get offended when I ask them not to pet the dog.

    There is also a distinct difference, and perhaps this a little…delicate…on the culture of the person. I have a harder time with access in stores owned by immigrants from Asia or the Middle East. I also notice African Americans are more likely to be frightened of my dog, then others. I’ve tried to explore this a little bit, by trying to start an open and honest dialog with people from other cultures without prejudice. I’ve found for the most part, in Asia and the Middle-East, I’m told dogs are seen as culturally unclean. And this is just what I’ve been told by a few African Americans I’ve spoken with, but they felt it was because often, in the poorer neighborhoods, most of the dogs around are chained, or taught to be aggressive. Or they’re police dogs. Their exposure to dogs as children is a bit different than that of a middle-class child. When I looked at it that way, and experimented with going into different stores in different economic levels, and I did document a noticeable difference. I’ve noticed the same thing when I go in to do service dog education programs in schools. When the school is in a poorer area of town, I have more kids who are frightened of the dog.

    RE: Public access to pets in general
    I do wish non-service dog pets were more welcomed in general. The two cities I have lived in in the past few years have both recently, finally, put in fenced dog parks — and what a difference! MOST hardware stores will allow a leashed dog inside, something I’ve learned to utilize in states that don’t give service dog trainer’s or dogs in training public access (which I always thought was stupid, how can we train the dog for public access if we can’t get him in the store to train??!) I have again noticed a difference just between the mid-west and the east coast. The stores and people are a bit more lenient when it comes to dogs coming into their stores or being around town, then in the mid-west.

    One city I lived in had a really tough pit bull stance. Any pit or pit-like dog had to be double-leashed & collared with muzzled if in public. The owner was required to have special licensing, which cost several hundred dollars more then regular licensing, and home owners insurance. If the dog was ever in the yard, it had to be double fenced, with the inner fence being concrete floored and topped, all gates pad-locked. And the dog had to be double-leashed/muzzled just to go from the back-yard to the kennel. IF they bred, animal control was to be notified, and the pups were to be off the property within 8-weeks, promoting the breeder to possibly sell the puppies before the right time. And animal control WOULD come out to inspect they were gone.

    I’ve heard Denver is so bad you can’t even drive THROUGH on the highway with a pit or staff. terrier, even if you’re just driving through to a show. But I don’t know if that’s true.

    My last city put a pit-ban into effect while I was there and I went to the city counsel sessions. I raised the issue that breed-bans have been shown to be entirely ineffective. It only penalizes those who are already responsible dog owners. The gang-banger who uses the pit chained in his yard to protect his drugs, or the dog fighter, isn’t exactly the type to go and get a dog license anyway, much less obey further laws designed just for his pit. And in cities where they did outlaw pits all together, the drug dealers and dog fighters just moved on to another breed. I wouldn’t mind seeing a law that gave a significant licensing discount to dogs who went through an obedience class but even this doesn’t do a thing for those already breaking the law.

    We DID have a dog fighting ring, and our animal control was completely shut down when forced to confiscate 70+ pits for a year while waiting for trial. The punishment was so ridiculous, a fine of a few thousand dollars with no reparation to animal control for costs to take care of the dogs and no jail time, that the guy just moved across the boarder to Oklahoma and started up again.

    RE: Cultural/country views on dogs/pets
    This was a discussion I tried to start at a HAI conference a few years ago when I noticed several Europeans in the audience. None of them could understand the forced spay/neuter laws here, or the amount in which we do spay/neuter. But in their countries, they admitted they didn’t have the over population problem, the puppy mills, the dog fighting, etc. In fact, they claimed they rarely had mixed-breeds at all. We tried to determine what was the difference in our two societies that made that difference. WHY were their owners so much more responsible, even with intact dogs? Why didn’t they even need dog shelters?

    I brought up California, and their barbaric cinder-block unwanted pet ‘drop-off’ buildings. (I don’t know if these still exist.) This was someone’s solution to encourage people to at least give up their dogs to animal control, rather then letting them off in the country, abandoning them, or killing them. Instead, they’d relinquish their animals at these anonymous drop off points. You literally put the animal through what was essentially a bank over-night deposit slot, and you were rid of your pet, like throwing it literally in the trash. No fees for giving it to animal control, no embarrassment or someone guilt tripping you into keeping the dog.

    No muss, no fuss. We’re a throw away culture and this was their answer. Never mind that often, there would be other animals already in the building, which was unmanned. Toss a cat in there and there may already be several dogs (hungry dogs? street dogs? dogs with predatory sequence fully intact?) The result – dead cat. Or the dogs would fight and maim/kill each other. Or someone would throw a sick animal inside, with the healthy ones. They weren’t AC’d or vented well, and often they ran out of water and had no food. It might be a day before animal control came to pick up the animals. You were essentially teaching the public that pets were disposable. In essence, animal control was just as guilty of promoting animal cruelty within their own drop-off centers.

    I felt the other issue was the general public perception of animal control. Most feel they’re doing the dog a favor by letting him off in the country, rather then sending him to animal control where he’ll be put in a cage and euthanized. And in our current economy, with people losing jobs and housing, this has become a HUGE problem I understand for most cities. People are abandoning their pets in their foreclosed homes, expecting the bank to come by and take the animal to the shelter. Problem is, often the bank doesn’t show up for weeks, months. What is it about animal control that prevents the average person from taking their dog in when things don’t work out? I think a lot of it has to do with embarrassment, guilt, fear of fees (which some cities do), and the general result of our throw away culture. But it’s a very interesting discussion.

    WHY do some of these European cultures have NO over population issues? WHY are their people taking better care of their animals? Is it all down to law? Is it culture? And how do we balance animal rights, with the freedom to do what’s best for our individual dog (like crating)?

    I do hope everyone goes over to Lennox’s site and checks out the story. It’s exactly what we’re talking about. A pit-looking dog who has a perfect clean bill of health and behavior, who is being destroyed by city council for his looks. I don’t even know that a DNA test has been offered.

  23. KellyK says

    I’m in Maryland. One of the nearby counties has a pit bull ban, and a neighboring county was also considering BSL (not an outright ban, but extensive restrictions, including having to post a warning that you had a “Dangerous Dog” if you had a pit bull, a pit mix, or a dog that a vet, rescue, or animal control officer thought looked like a pit bull). There was a massive protest, and it got pulled. The regulations that they are working on include a lot of good stuff, like requiring animals kept outside to have shade if it gets hot and limiting how long animals can be tethered outside.

    My dog looks vaguely pit-like. All we know for sure is that she’s a shar pei mix, but shar-pei/pittie is our best guess. And we’re currently fostering a complete and utter sweetheart of a pit bull. If you want to get me really mad and ranting for an hour, talk to me about BSL! :)

    We do have some dog parks with very nice off-leash areas. There’s a separate space for small dogs, which is also really useful if you have a dog you want to keep separate from the others, but still give a chance to run around. We’ve got both a PetCo and a local, independent pet supply store where pets are allowed on leash. And Bruster’s, the ice cream place, will do free doggie sundaes (plain vanilla with a dog biscuit) if you bring your dog.

  24. Rebecca Fouts says

    According to a video at Lennox’ site, in Switzerland you must now pass a test to own a dog. Kinda like a driver’s license.

  25. says

    We crated our dogs until they were about six months old & absolutely reliable in the house, & then we put the crates away. Now if there’s anything stressful or confusing going on around here we find the dogs under the dinner table, which is against a wall with a bench at one end & so is the most den-like place they can find. If they had their crates I’ll bet they’d go into them instead.

    For the record, speaking of southern Wisconsin, we lived in Milwaukee until a few years ago & it wasn’t bad, partly because the County Sheriff has jurisdiction over the parks & he’s a dog guy with a Rottweiler. A deputy once pulled up next to me & my very off-leash Weimaraner in Lake Park – oh oh – but he just wanted to warn me about coyotes in the ravines. Maybe candidates for public office should routinely be asked about their pets.

  26. says

    I live in San Clemente, a city in southern california. I have 6 dogs (have had that many since 1993 – naturally some have been replaced by dogs I lost). The animal control is exceptionally hostile and rude in this city. I have a permit and have had to have all my dogs rabies vaccinated (though 4 of them are 8-13 years of age and never leave my property). 4 of them are Champions. I keep them indoors when I go to work, the pugs love their crates and the goldens are in the bathroom with a gate. My dog sitter comes at around 2:00 to let all dogs out to romp and play for at least an hour and get fresh water. These dogs are never left unattended outdoors where they could be a “nuisance barking dog”. I have a rude neighbor who calls and reports the dogs if they bark AT ALL (such as gardeners up on the slopes, or joggers running by the back of the property). Animal control officers come and give me citations (they POUND on the door like the Nazi’s) based on this one individuals complaints (I have inquired and all of my other neighbors tell me they NEVER hear the dogs) I am so frustrated. I have had to appeal tickets (fines up to $500) and the tickets were dropped due to no evidence. Wish I could move but property value is way down and I cannot sell at this time.!!!

  27. Alexandra says

    I live in North Carolina, and it’s a mixed bag here with regard to dog-friendliness. My general impression is that the northeast and pacific northwest are better. At any rate, they recently amended the law so that you can have a dog in an outdoor eating area if the restaurant owner allows it. Most hardware stores and all the pet supply stores allow dogs. There is one large fenced dog park near me, but I stopped going because so many people brought dogs who behaved inappropriately. Out in the county, there are rarely leash laws and most dogs are allowed to roam freely. In town, there are leash laws but the enforcement varies greatly by town. Where I live, leash laws are rarely enforced, which is really a nuisance because many people allow their dogs to run off their property and onto the street. I have had lots of problems with off leash dogs charging and barking when I am out with my dogs. As I type this, I am listening to my neighbor’s dog bark incessantly because they’ve yet again left it outside alone in the back yard while they go out on Friday night. Parks and hiking trails all require that dogs be kept on a 6-ft leash, but I am pretty good at finding out of the way areas of the park where I can allow my dog to run off leash. I’ve spent years working on his recall so that when we do bump into people he comes back to me. I think 99% of the problems with dogs are related to owner education; the vast majority of pet dogs around here are completely untrained and the owners that do try to control the dog do so using the outdated dominance-based type of training that they see on tv.

  28. says

    I live in Australia. Different states have different regulations, but in my state dogs are allowed off lead in parks unless sign-posted otherwise. In other states, it’s the opposite (e.g. dogs must be on lead in parks unless sign posted otherwise). Dogs are not allowed off lead on footpaths in any state, as far as I know, and most states have a restriction on how close dogs can be to playground equipment.

    Dogs must have access to water at all times and, provided water is provided in a crate, crates are legal.

    In Victoria, I believe dogs are allowed on public transport if muzzles and/or in a pet carry cage.

    Most restaurants and cafes will allow dogs to sit outside, but animals are not allowed inside restaurants, cafes, shopping centres, or pretty much any inside public space.

  29. JJ says

    re: “Animal control officers come and give me citations … based on this one individuals complaints ….”
    That’s very sad. It shouldn’t be that way. Your neighbor is harassing you.

    In my city in western USA, you can get a fine for nuisance barking, but the person who submits the complaint has to have a video with sound recording documenting X numbers of minutes/hours (I can’t remember the number) of almost continuous barking. That’s a fair way to handle it. And I think it should have to be documentation across multiple days. You want to avoid situations where you have a nasty neighbor (I have two by the way, so I can commiserate) who does a recording on an accident day (something unusual happens at your house like a substitute sitter leaves the dogs outside) which is not typical.

  30. trisha says

    Re “nuisance barking” versus “nuisance neighbors.” I’ve had several clients who were in a similar situation. We tape recorded their dogs and were able to use it as proof that the dogs barked sporadically during the day, (or barely at all), and not ALL DAY LONG like the neighbors argued.

  31. Katie says

    I don’t live terribly far from you…the only places my dog is allowed off-leash are designated dog parks. I don’t mind so much since I live close to the downtown area…he’s not one of those dogs who will trot by my side. He likes to RUN and then come back and check on me and then RUN and then come back and check on me. Honestly I don’t know what he’d do off-leash in a town setting. I’m much more worried about other people and their dogs than I am about him, but I suppose most people feel that way, even those with unstable dogs.

  32. EmilyS says

    IRT to the pit bull laws of Denver and its suburbs: there used to be a requirement that the owner of a pit bull had to get a permit to drive through. That was ruled unconstitutional.. actually the only part of their horrific inhumane law that has been so ruled. All the rest, the seizure and destruction of private property without due cause, the harassment of lawabiding citizens… was determined to be within the purview of the city on the grounds of public safety. So today, the law can seize any dog it determines to be a “pit bull” (which is determined by reference to APBT/AST breed standards… or anything that looks like one of those breeds… and everyone who has gone through the Denver shelter’s pit bull deathrow testifies to the number of lab mixes, boxer mixes, etc, all to be killed for the crime of having a certain appearance). There are several ongoing lawsuits against Denver over the issue, one of them involving service dogs, since as noted above the law requires public accomodations to allow them and recent clarification specifies that dogs may not be refused because of breed or size (though they can be asked to leave if they misbehave). So Denver must allow pit bull service dogs, and it has mightily tried to resist the federal law. The laws do have exemptions for dogshows and many clubs use venues in the area.. which I find appalling, because it conveys the message that the laws are acceptable

  33. Alison says

    I live in eastern Washington. In my town, dogs must be kept ‘under control’ (not specifically on leash). They are required to be on leash in parks as per sign postings. Some businesses allow dogs (like the hardware stores, feed store, music store). Whether or not you can sit outside a cafe with your dog is up to the business owner, but most allow it as long as the dog isn’t causing problems and most will offer water and a treat for the dog. There are laws against nuisance barking and allowing dogs to roam freely (especially in a pack of 3 or more), but two complaints on file from two separate households are required before enforcement takes place (helps prevent ‘nuisance neighbors’). Dogs must be licensed and vaccinated for rabies. 3 dogs per household in city limits, 4 outside city limits in our county.

    Mostly enforcement around here is pretty relaxed as long as your dog isn’t causing problems. They are pretty good about giving a warning and a chance to comply before issuing a fine, etc.

  34. Nicola says

    I can understand crates being illegal – it is like BSL – a blanket ban to catch the few abusers. I can’t imagine trying to manage my household without a crate though. My border collie ALWAYS urinates in the house when left in the house with my older dogs – I don’t know if it is anxiety or the girls are bullying him, but put him in a crate and he is as happy as Larry. In fact, I leave my crates open and all the dogs are found lying in a crate at some time or other. My border collie has even learnt to use his paw to open the crate door if it has swung shut!

    In NSW, Australia dogs must be on lead except in designated off leash parks, and each council must have at least one off leash park in its area. The trouble is many councils only have one for very large areas and numbers of dogs, and other parks, like the ones where I live now, are not fenced, close to roads or sometimes not maintained – long grass in summer is a particular danger due to snakes. And all of the off leash areas are small – enough for dogs to play, but not enough to give a dog a walk.

    In National Parks dogs are not allowed (the rangers wouldn’t mind, but the public do) and in State Forests dogs are allowed on lead. It means that hiking off lead, unless you or a friend own a large property, is pretty much impossible.

    There are a handful of hotels that allow dogs, a few more that allow dogs under 15 kilos or similar limit, but they are getting fewer due to irresponsible dog owners abusing the privilege. Where I live there is not one hotel/motel or caravan park which allows dogs, even on lead. When people come for dog competitions they either leave their dog in the car (in winter) or camp near the venue and each year we have to beg with council to allow them to camp.

    The funny thing that happened a few years ago is that a councillor was elected whom the rest of the council didn’t like – so they gave her responsibility for companion animals. This councillor did some research and talked to people and found that many people were passionate about their animals. She encouraged the council to set up more off leash areas, and a few other things. It became her boast when campaigning for council how much she had done in the companion animals area and got her in for several more terms!

  35. Mikki says

    Well I have yet to meet a dog that cannot be trained to be calm and behave when left alone. There are of course people here who have failed and sometimes they confine the dog to a one room which is stripped of anything dangerous, sometimes they crate regardless of the law and sometimes they give up the dog. I currently own two dogs like that, one was given to me because of separation anxiety (tried to run through windows etc. if left alone) amongst other behavior issues and one was just a rowdy teenager who liked to entertain himself by eating books and walls…. Especially the first case took a lot of work to fix, took me little over a year until he could be left alone normally but currently both dogs are calm and usually sleep on a couch the time I’m away. If the training has failed when the dog was a puppy than I do admit it’s hard and probably too much for a lot of people to fix but it can be done.

    As for housetraining, I really can’t imagine needing to crate a dog for that. Puppies are predictable, it’s pretty easy to tell when they are going to pee. Some accidents will happen of course but that’s what you get when you take a puppy. But like I said, I think it’s a big difference in our dog keeping cultures and the whole mindset on this matter is drastically different.

  36. Frida says

    I’m from Sweden. Dogs are not allowed to be locked into crates unless it’s during training or traveling. There’s also rules about the size of the crates. As for what people do with dogs that have problem being alone, some use crates although it’s illegal, some let the dog have access only to a small secure part of the house or apartment, don’t know if there’s other solutions too. Dogs aren’t allowed to be left alone for more than six hours per day, although six hours is more a guideline than an absolute rule. I haven’t heard anything about rules about windows, so don’t know if that’s really true. You have to take your dogs on walks outside the house though.

  37. Ashleigh says

    I live in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) and it’s great having a dog here!

    Ginger can come with me into (most) restaurants and cafes, (most) shops (not grocery stores, for obvious reasons!), and on all public transportation (I have to pay for a dog ticket on the train (just a few euros to go anywhere in the country) but not on the tram or bus). I’m regularly impressed at how well-behaved the dogs are here, especially in restaurants, but I guess it’s what they’re used to!

    People let their dogs off-leash in most parks (there are hardly any with dog-specific fenced areas) and often on the street as well (I’m always amazed at those dogs – Ginger would run straight into traffic for the tiniest crumb of bread, but then, she’s a beagle mix!).

    The only thing I don’t like is that the parks get really crowded in the summer with people having picnics and bbqs… and leaving all the trash behind… which Ginger would gladly hoover up if I let her (I’m too scared for the chicken bones so I keep her on-leash). I don’t begrudge people the chance to get outside and I understand that people are often lazy with their trash (especially after drinking all day), but those are the times when I really wish there were some dog-only areas!

    Oh, and I think there are still quite a few people who don’t pick up after their pets here. Gross.

    And crating is definitely NOT illegal! Thank God! Lots of people think it’s mean to stick your dog in a box, but when I explain how it works, they seem to get it, even if they might not do it themselves (too bad for them and their dogs – Ginger thinks her crate is the best place in the world!).

    Thanks for the interesting topic!!

  38. kecks says


    Killing a dog without a very good cause (dangerous, very ill…) is illegal and punished. Shelters don’t put dogs to sleep. Most shelters have acceptable living conditions for the dogs staying there (two dogs in one kennel if possible, daily walks, heated indoor area, behavioral training, working with volunteers) and try their best to make adoptions happening.

    Most people consider it a bad idea to keep a dog if you are working all day long here. Leaving a dog alone for 8 hours a day is generally not accepted, as are crates. i use crates only with pupps or severe cases of seperation anxiety. Most dogs stay loose in the house when left alone.

    Dogs are allowed without a muzzle in public transport (busses, subway, streetcars…) and most of the time on the train (not always; officially dogs have to be muzzled there. a head halter always worked for us, no complaints from the staff). You see dogs in restraunts and pubs all the time. Very common.

    Dogs are allowed of leash in many areas. “On leash” areas are marked in public parks. Off leash is everywhere else :-).

  39. Jane says

    I live about an hour north-ish from Madison, WI and my city is pretty unfriendly to dogs unfortunately. We have one off-leash dog park which is pretty decent, but no dogs are allowed in the city parks, period. I do think dogs are allowed off-leash in some state parks, but they are quite a drive for us so we very rarely go.

    At one point the city tried to pass a pit-bull ban, and later a law saying that all dogs within city limits must be spayed or neutered. Neither passed thankfully. You are also only allowed to own 3 dogs within city limits, and if you own more than 3 you must pay for a kennel license and be inspected.

    I envy people that can take their dogs to work, to restaurants and shops, etc. Petco gets boring after a while!

  40. Genevieve Bergeron says

    I live in London Ontario Canada. There is a pit-bull ban in place here. When I purchased the license for my lab mix, I have to physically bring him in so they could assess him for “pit bullness”. I would say this city is very conservative and people react with fear when it comes to dogs. They always assume the worst. I also think there are a lot of people in this city who don’t exercise their dogs, physically or mentally, enough, and there are a lot of dogs who are crazy bored. It’s too bad. I see way too many prong collars for my liking.

  41. Alexandra says

    Regarding crates and housebreaking – yes, of course it’s easy enough to see when a puppy’s going to pee when you are able to supervise 24-7, but in the US at least most people are gone 8 to 9 hours a day for work during the weekdays – usually even both parents in a couple if it’s a family – and they run home at lunch or have a dogsitter drop by to let the pup out until it’s old enough to hold it all day. People also like to sleep at night, and the crate encourages the pup to make a little noise so that you’ll wake up rather than using an out of the way corner of the bedroom to pee. Yes, you can set an alarm clock when housebreaking, but that’s not perfect either and eventually you do need to transition the dog to sleeping through the night without a potty break. Crates make this process much easier.

    Personally I don’t like to see a dog crated for more than is absolutely necessary, but careful management of the crate keeps a pup safe when you can’t be right there to supervise. I had one dog that was trustworthy in the house alone at 8 months old and another that was almost two years old; it varies a lot by dog. That said, yes, some people do abuse crates and it’s wrong to keep a dog in there for 23 hours a day or something like that… doesn’t mean a blanket ban on all crating is the right answer. Go after the problem behavior and problem people, not the specific tool (or breed for that matter re: BSL).

    My older dog is never crated anymore, but my younger dog routinely spends time in his crate when we are at agility trials, as the dog has to wait somewhere when you’re walking the competition course and doing other things. He goes in there voluntarily and sleeps most of the time when in it. It gives him a quite refuge to rest between our competition runs in an otherwise extremely distracting, loud environment.

  42. says

    Just read the comments. Some very interesting thoughts from the other readers. There were a number of comments about people wanting to keep their dogs off leash and how much better they behaved when they did so. I completely understand that because my shepherd mix loves to be off line in the forest preserves BUT we so often forget to keep the other side of the equation in our heads. Many people hiking in the preserves are not at easy around dogs (some actually frightened), yet they deserve to feel at ease there also.

    I can’t tell you how often I have had to deal with other peoples “no really, he’s so friendly!” dogs that come charging at us. After I get my heart out of my throat, I have to deal with a dog that hopefully backs off and runs away but usually is too nervous to run off and holds his ground and barks and lunges at us until the owner realizes what is going on and finally collars his/her dog and usually commenting on how “aggressive” my dog seems to be!

    We all love our dogs, and although we may think the sun rises and sets on them, the rest of the world is not so convinced of this. I love letting my dog off line but I finally got it through my head that I needed to keep her farther away from not just other dogs but everyone else (people, horses, family hikers and joggers included). I make sure I recall her far sooner then I used to do. If we are within 50 feet of someone else its too close. Interestingly enough, I find this has made her calmer by being near me when we pass someone. She seem to take her cues from me on the emotional level of the encounter. It surely has helped her be calmer around other dogs even though she does not want to socialize with them. It also reminds me to work on her recall all the time. Working for that “PhD” in recall may seem boring but it is sooooo rewarding!

    Thank you to all.

  43. Sarah says

    I’m in Portland, OR, which I think is generally held to be a pretty dog-friendly city. We don’t have BSL, which is the important thing to me, as I have Staffordshire Bull Terriers. I’m nervous about that sort of thing, though, so I don’t license my dogs. Which means I can’t get their rabies vaccines at my usual vets, because the county requires vets to inform animal control of all pets given rabies vaccines. Not fond of that law.

    Being in a city, the only place to legally allow dogs off leash would be in dog parks. There are several, but I don’t take my dogs to them. It is hard to find a place to let your dogs run if you don’t want to use those. I am lucky enough to have a couple friends who have acreage not too far away, so I go out to their places when I can. I’ve also been known to illegally have my dogs off-leash in lightly used remote areas of parks. And it’s very commonly accepted at the Oregon coast ( a couple hours drive away) that dogs are off-leash on the beach. It’s not legal, but I’ve never heard of anyone getting in trouble for it. All Oregon ocean beaches are public, no private beach ownership allowed, so they don’t tend to be crowded.

    There are some businesses you can take a dog into. Nothing with food, but pet supply stores almost always, some hardware stores, auto repair, that sort of thing. I find if you just walk in with the dog, a lot of times you won’t be questioned. Food places with outdoor seating usually don’t mind dogs there. I’m not sure if it’s legal, or just ignored. Though there are places like the Lucky Lab brewpub which has a large patio seating area, with a roof and plenty of tables, and aimed towards dog owners. So a pretty elaborate set-up if it wasn’t legal.

    Most people do a good job of picking up after their dogs, which is awesome. And we do not really have an overpopulation problem, most dogs that go into animal control or the local humane society find homes. There are also several great rescue organizations that place pets. The rescues and the humane society actually import dogs from elsewhere to place (my sister & family have one adopted from the rescue they volunteer with, the dog is originally a Mexican street dog)

    The only thing I really want, other than getting rid of the rabies vaccine reporting requirement, would be to make it illegal for people to confine their dogs unsupervised in a yard that borders the sidewalk. Just because the dogs that charge the fence in a frenzy every time you walk by their house frustrate me so much. And make it impossible for me to get my 5-yr-old Staffy bitch to walk on a loose leash, since she wants to get away from the fence-chargers so badly, and I can’t really blame her. My friends disapprove of me wanting any more restrictive laws, though.

  44. Christine says

    Here in Switzerland we can take our dogs with us almost everywhere (mountain railways, trains, trams, buses, restaurants, hotels, shops). Our companions are allowed to move around off leash almost everywhere. It is the responsibility of us owners to keep our dogs under control and to react sensibly (i.e. not to let roam the dogs through the woods during breeding time, call them back when small children are around, etc). I love to see dogs playing happily together when off-leash and I almost always can see a happy grin in my dog

  45. Kerstin says

    I live in Sweden and yes, you cannot keep a dog crated or in the car for more than “a short time”. But, on dog shows, while hunting or during dog classes you may have your dog crated but with breaks every 2 hours. As for “the window rule” I this think is for doggy daycare business mainly. The dogs don’t have to be able t0 look out, but dayight should fall into the room, ensuring that the dogs aren’t kept in the dark basement all day long. As for leashes, this is regulated in local laws so in one city you may have to keep your dog on a leash in all public areas, in others not. But on all public transportation you will have to have a leash on no matter how well-behaved your dog is.
    Also you will find dogs banned from most restaurants, shops etc. In buses, on trains etc there most often is a part declared for pets. For some reason allergic people are only allergic to living fur, never perfumes och fur coats……

    Most rules around dogs (and other pets) are regulated by these local laws and by 3 national laws. 1) You cannot have your dog running of leash/out of control during March 1 and August 20 due to wildlife protection. In nature reservates/parks you must have a leash on all year. Very few owners can guarantee that the dog no mattere what will not go after game if they meet it eye to eye….. 2) As a pet owner you are strictly responsible for whatever damage your pet may cause. You have to register ownership in a national register. The extreme example is the burglar getting bitten by your dog when breaking in and you have to pay him for whatever damage your dog did to him. Or should your dog run off leash and straight into traffic causing an accident you will be liable to all damages to the cars, persons etc. Also in a dog fight, the owner of the dog who bit has to pay the vet bill for the dog who got bitten. Even if you had your dog on a leash and the bitten dog was running freely and towards you….. So most pet owners do have a home insurance including “pet damage”.
    3) this law is really an extension of the second law, giving the police the possiblity to take a dog from a person who they think is not fit to keep a dog. This law has so far been used to take dogs who have bitten or threatened a person, to test them and to decide if to put the dog down, rehome it or give it back. So far this law has been strangely used with dogs whisked away without warning and no possibility to appeal the decision made. A few dogs have survived but most have been put down setting all normal legal rules or actions aside. We are not happy about this…..

    There is an ongoing discussion about banning breeds. There was a time in the 90-ies when pits were illeagal but the ban was revoked since it really was a owner problem and not a breed problem. However those years gave way to a lot of “kitchen mixes” and the wrong kind of persons got interested in these breeds and mixes thereof.

    It is intresting how laws and regulations differ between countries. I travel in Europe with my pets so you have to keep track on national laws when passing the borders =)

  46. says

    We live in the south of Spain where there is a list of “potentially dangerous” dogs as long as my arm including all the usual suspects (Pits, Dogoss etc) and Dobermanns, Staffordshire bull terriers AND any dog over 25kg’s that has short hair and is muscular. If you own one of these dogs (you are not allowed more than 1) you must be liscensed after passing a mental test which has no relevance to dogs, dog must be on lead and muzzled.

    Wish someone that knew about dogs made the laws about dogs!

  47. Cindy says

    I live in East Texas and the dog laws are beginning to change- in a good way. Some counties are enacting laws against selling puppies in parking lots [oh yeah, people buy dogs out of the back of a pickup at WalMart], laws against keeping a dog chained to a tree and legislation to limit the number of litters per year in an attempt to wipe out puppy mills. Unfortunately there is still an active dog fighting circuit although law enforcement is doing their best to abolish them. Outside of city limits there aren’t any leash laws at all

  48. Dianna says

    Hi Patricia, I know exactly what you mean by the poor animal welfare laws here in the US. The HSUS is trying very hard to change that. Most recently we sent over 10,000 signatures to Washington concerning a law coming up that should change the laws governing puppy mills, etc. IF Obama will sign it. Word had it that we needed at least 5,000 signatures so we beat that. Now we can sit back and see what happens. As for where I live in Chattanooga, TN. the local Humane Society is divided. The City is doing well with a beautiful animal shelter (to die for) called the McKamey Animal Shelter alongwith a strict law not allowing dogs to be tethered for over 12 hours at a time but the County laws stink. Their animal shelter is not as nice as well as there are no laws keeping pet owners from tethering their dogs 24/7 and believe me I know some houses where these poor animals are on a rope tied to a tree and have been that way for years. It’s pathetic but the County won’t do a thing about it. As far as the City goes – once again, Chattanooga is becoming very pet friendly and we even just had the 4th annual doggy day in a large park where everybody gets together to ‘show off’ their canine friends. Most all of the public parks allow dogs as long as they are on a leash and the owner is responsible to clean up after them. SO, our city is getting so much better as we have plenty of dog lovers here!

  49. Katy says

    Where I live in SE Ohio, the leash law is pretty non-existent. I had a heck of a time finding the actual law when I moved here, and as best I can tell, the law simply says that your dog must wear its county tag or else the dog warden will take it to the animal shelter. In city limits, dogs must be on leash, though I have not seen that law enforced and all of the off-leash dogs I have seen in the city have been extremely well-behaved. Out of the city, though, unleashed dogs are often a problem. Last weekend when I was bicycling, 6 to 7 dogs came out into the street to chase me and my companion, which was scary for us and potentially dangerous for the dogs.

    On the other hand, when I took my dogs hiking in the state forest yesterday (where dogs must be controlled but not necessarily leashed), we had very pleasant encounters with other off-leash dogs on the trail. It seems to me, though, that most people who will hike a 10 mile loop trail with a dog have dogs who are well-trained. I have learned to be selective about the off-leash areas/parks we visit because the ones closer to the cities are often more crowded and more often have people with untrained dogs.

  50. Beth says

    Questions for Mikki and Frida:

    Regarding puppies being predictable: What does one do with a puppy overnight? The idea of the crate is the puppy won’t pee in a tiny space and is taught to “hold it.” Do people really set their alarm to go off every 3 hours for months on end til the pup has grown?

    How does one keep a puppy safely away from chewing things if it can’t be crated (mine chewed windowsills, for instance, and I’ve heard of dogs eating through drywall, floors, etc.). And why are crates illegal, exactly? Dogs are denning animals and most of them seem to like a space where they are safe. What do you do if you have multiple dogs and are trying to train one and need to keep the other away?

    Regarding dogs not being left alone for more than 6 hours: does that mean that no one who works full-time can have a dog?

    Also, if you can’t have crates inside, how do you teach one to enjoy its crate enough to be happy in there while on car trips and the like? I have one who will chew right through any seat belt harness I’ve tried but rides beautifully in a crate. But she stays quiet in the crate because she was trained (in the house) that the crate is a nice place to be. And if a dog is not crate-trained, how does it react if it’s in need of medical treatment and must be confined?

    If crates are illegal, are exercise pens also illegal? I can see getting by with no crate and a pen, but then again I’m fortunate to have a big enough house to fit a pen. A lot of people aren’t that lucky.

  51. kecks says

    …if you work fulltime, you take your dog with you to the office or you pay for daycare. or you do dogsharing with someone who works complementary hours. or you don’t own a social animal which needs to be around his humans or fellow dogs… 8 hours a day in a crate or home alone is not cool imo.

  52. says

    I am also from Sweden and as Kerstin wrote we are not allowed to have our dogs in crates unless it is for a very short time in the car, while hunting or at dog shows. Indoors it isn’t allowed at all if you aren’t directly training your dog. Your dog can use its crate as its safe place IF the crate door is open. The reason for this law is to let the dogs have the possibility of moving around in the house and not being banded to stay in the same position for hours.

    Exercise pens falls in a grey zone, if they are big enough I guess they should work fine.

    And as I also work as a dog trainer I both see and hear about dogs that has been chewing stairs, walls, shoes, telephones etc. in to microscopic pieces. So we dog trainers recommend our puppy owners to put away all shoes and small pieces etc. and let the dog be in only one or two rooms when no one is home. We also really point at the important training in getting the dog used to be alone, starting with just 1 or 2 minutes from the really beginning. With enough training most dogs really cope with it from about 6 months of age.

    The law that won’t let your dog be alone for more than 6 hours also work rather well. Some people have the opportunity to bring the dogs with them at work, but the majority don’t. We have day care centres for dogs and many people have neighbours or relatives that have the possibility to take care of the dog for some hours each day. In many cases some have the possibility of coming home and taking a long walk with the dog at lunchtime and then let the dog be alone again.

    So as always, the most things is possible to get working really well if you really try and get the time to learn the dogs to behave.

  53. s says

    our community is actually not dog friendly but I understand why based on the behavior of many dog owners. We have a beautiful small lake in our town, but dogs are not allowed in the park at all which is unfortunate (leashed or unleashed) unless an official assistance dog. Our town green also prohibits all dogs, as do our ball parks and soccer fields. Even with that prohibition, many individuals do take their leashed dogs to their kids games. I did this when my rescue dog first showed SA signs and I couldn’t leave him alone, but I did my best to minimize this (only taking him when absolutely necessary, alternating time in the car when the weather cooperated). For the most part, its not an issue when folks take their dogs alone to the baseball games and such, but sometimes some owner will tie the dog to a tree and we have to listen to it bark, or I’ve seen impolite dogs and oblivious owners which can be frustrating (jumping on kids, aggressive with other dogs) and in some situations a bit dangerous for children.

    I find many many owners don’t pick up after their dogs, hence the restrictions. Can’t argue with that – no one wants to step in dog doo, especially kids in a baseball/softball or soccer game! If only people picked up after themselves and their animals, I’m sure the restrictions wouldn’t be so harsh. I wonder if folks in UK are just generally better about that? Because the trash I see at our local fields and parks is depressing…and I live in a very small town!

  54. Aly says

    In Seattle things are pretty progressive for the USA. No breed bans, lots of dog parks, dogs off-leash in non-dog parks but no one really cares, dogs allowed on busses, and several dog-friendly pubs and coffee shops. I’ve only seen people get ticketed for not having their dogs licensed, not for having dogs off-leash.

    Dogs are allowed at most of the festivals too (like Octoberfest, and pretty much all the smaller festivals and farmers markets.) The people tend to be well educated so there are far more dogs on no-pull front attach harnesses and head halters than pinch collars, and you almost never seen a dog on a choke chain.

  55. Jessica says

    Here in Austin, TX, we seem to be pretty dog friendly. Dogs are allowed on outdoor patios (which most restaurants here have) with the restaurant owner’s permission. We have about 10 offleash dog parks throughout the city and I’ve seen at least a handful of stores that accept well-behaved dogs inside.
    Additionally, dogs are not allowed to be chained up outside at all and if a dog is kept outside in a fenced yard for the majority of the day, it must have shelter, water and a set amount of space to move around in (I think it’s something like 80 square feet.) We’re also one of the largest (maybe the largest) city in the U.S. to achieve no-kill status at our city shelter (woo!)
    I believe a few nearby cities are trying to enact breed legislation to ban pit bulls, but I doubt anything like that would happen in Austin considering the active animal rescue community here. Or at least, I hope it doesn’t. My pit bull is about as vicious as a stuffed teddy bear, unless you count intense snuggling and prolonged licking of your face vicious.

  56. Joh says

    I live in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town, South Africa. The area I live in is a dog’s and dog-owner’s paradise. We practically don’t have leash-laws here and dogs are allowed on most of the beaches to run free.

    We enjoy off-leash hiking with our dogs and in most parts of the Table Mountain National Park dogs are allowed to accompany their owners off-leash.

    In general dogs are allowed everywhere off-leash it not stated otherwise. There are some parks, some beaches and some parts of the National Park (Cape Point – were lots of antelopes roam free) were dogs aren’t allowed.

    Many Restaurants and Caf

  57. Becky says

    I live in a town about an hour outside Vancouver, British Columbia. We don’t have any sort of BSL (breed bans or muzzle laws), which is great since I have a pitbull and am not willing to live in a community where my well-behaved, social dog has to be muzzled. Instead, incidents are dealt with on a case by case basis regardless of breed. If a dog is designated aggressive or dangerous there are specific containment requirements, muzzle restrictions, etc. A lot of the neighbouring communities have BSL.

    All dogs over the age of 4 months have to be licensed and we have canvassers that go door to door from March to October licensing dogs. It’s a pretty good system and our rate of compliance is way higher than most other municipalities. There is a two dog per civic address limit but it’s not really enforced unless there are problems.

    We have several off-leash dog parks and many on-leash parks. People regularly have off-leash dogs in on-leash areas, which I don’t love. My dog is good with other dogs but that’s not the case for everyone and I think everyone has the right to enjoy the trails and they shouldn’t have to be afraid of an off-leash dog rushing their on-leash dog aggressive dog. Animal control does occasionally hand out tickets but there isn’t enough manpower to properly patrol the parks.

    On the whole, I do wish we were a more dog friendly nation. Like the US, Canada’s animal welfare laws are totally insufficient and some truly horrific treatment of animals occurs and is overlooked.

  58. Betsey F says

    We live on a farm in Maryland and there are no substantive laws about dogs other than rabies shots and licenses. I can’t imagine having a dog without a crate. Maddy, my current dog (Border Collie) came to us as a puppy and she had a crate during the day pretty much during her house training. At night I followed the “Monk’s Book” and she was leashed to my bed (on the floor) after a couple of nights in a small crate next to me. She still has her crate in the kitchen (she’s about 7 now) next to my chair and she regards it as her “house”. Maddy also has a bedroom crate which she sleeps in without the door ever being shut (actually, it’s a portable crate which I’ve used a few times when I’ve taken her to our daughter Jennifer’s overnight). She’s shut in a couple of times a month (my garden helper is petrified of dogs and he sometimes eats his lunch in the kitchen). When her “niece” Mazie (our daughter Sharon’s dog) is with us, Mazie also has a crate. The dogs delight in sleeping in each other’s crates during the day–just because they can.

    Twenty-some years ago we adopted a dog, Taurus, who was VERY smart but VERY destructive in the house if left alone. We had to put him on a chain (with a doghouse) during the day which he was ok with and he was fine in the house if someone was home. He also chased cars. One day when we were both at work, he got loose and, of course, was hit and killed by a car. If crates had been at all “in vogue”, Taurus would have been with us for many years.

    I can’t imagine having a dog, especially a puppy, without a crate!

  59. Joh says

    Beth Says:
    “Regarding puppies being predictable: What does one do with a puppy overnight? The idea of the crate is the puppy won

  60. says

    Great topic! I’m an animal law attorney with a blog specifically on Companion Animal Law( and budding dog trainer in Alexandria, Virginia. In fact, Trish, this blog inspired me to shift my practice towards animal law!

    The DC/Alexandria area was just named #8 in dog friendly places in the US. You can take your dog into most of Old Town Alexandria’s shops (even Banana Republic and the like), and most of the restaurants have an outdoor seating area where you can have your dog dine with you.

    Virginia allows each jurisdiction to establish their own leash laws. As expected, most urban areas like Alexandria have fairly strict leash laws, with rural areas typically requiring no dogs at large and keeping your dog “under control.”

    I am proud to say that Virginia’s dangerous dog statute outright prohibits BSL. A dog cannot be deemed dangerous here based solely on breed. Prince George’s County, Maryland is right across the Potomac River from us, and they have a pit bull ban there, so our shelter gets plenty of pitties. Hybrids are allowed in Virginia, but localities can set their own permitting and other laws for hybrids.

    I’m a lawyer who decided it was worth it to learn more about dog training and animal behavior. (In fact, just this week, I successfully completed Pat Miller’s Level One Academy, and had a blast!) There is so much that all of you dog trainers and animal behaviorists out there can do to impact laws and legislation. Never before have there been so many laws about and so much emphasis on companion animals. Right now, there is plenty of focus on topics such as dangerous dog laws, BSL, puppy mills, breeders, etc. Please consider reaching out to your local legislators and lobby groups to make a positive impact and help gear laws to be smart and considerate of animals.

  61. rose says

    In Ontario, Canada there is Breed Specific Legislation for pitbulls/staff’s (or anything looking substantially similar). They were banned in 2006 and all dogs that were in Ontario before that date were grandfathered in and allowed to stay but must be muzzled and on a leash at all times as well as neutered/spayed and registered with the city. No pitbull that was not here before the ban can come into the province..even for a visit. It’s a horrible law.

    In Toronto, Ontario in Canada dogs are allowed on buses, subways and streetcars. The only exception is rush hour Monday to Friday (6:30 am-9:30 am and then again from 3:30pm-6:30pm. Dogs are allowed at all other times during the week and all day during the weekend. It’s great-my dog has been all over the city.

  62. Beth says

    Thank you to the Swedish people for answering. I suppose I’m struggling with why it’s qualitatively different to leave a dog for 6 hours as opposed to 8 or 9. It seems, if you’ll pardon me, arbitrary and not based on any science but someone’s idea of what they might feel like if they were a dog.

    My dogs are routinely home for a bit over 9 hours at a stretch. Today I was home sick from work, and my dogs did what they always do when I’m home sick: Nothing. Or, more to the point, they acted slightly put out that I was there. Apparently they each usually have their own sofa, and with me taking up one of them I interfered with their routine. I started out with one dog on the vacant sofa and one on the floor. The one on the floor moved to my sofa, then after awhile grumbled and jumped down and went on the sofa with the other dog. She stretched and kicked him or something which annoyed him, and he jumped down again.

    They both were alert while I ate lunch, then they switched sofas and the other dog joined me for awhile, then jumped down onto the floor.

    Only once did my pushy, high-energy male ask to play and he quickly dropped the subject.

    When we arrive home, by the way, the girl is generally waiting by the door with the cat. The boy does what he has always done since he had run of the house: wait til I’ve put my things down, hop down, stretch, toddle over to say hi and then go for a toy.

    I consider myself a fairly astute owner who is in tune with when my animals are unhappy or distressed, and I just see nothing in their behavior that indicates they have a problem being home alone for long stretches. I chose to have two in part because I have a breed that tends to be highly social with other dogs and appreciates the company, but many other breeds are just fine being alone. Dogs sleep much more than people do and our work time + our sleep time generally adds up to their sleep time.

    And as I said, my male is pushy and bossy. If he’s bored, he is quite vocal about that point. What I saw this afternoon, as I did every other time I’m home sick, is a relaxed and happy dog who is perfectly happy being home doing not much all day.

    As for the crates: well, I would have had no window sills left in my house if I was not able to confine my particular puppy.

    While I respect cultural differences and find many points of contention with animal protection laws and their lack here in the states, I would like to see some research to back up the apparent legal claim that being home for 6 hours is ok for a dog, but 8 is so universally distressing that it requires the force of the law to prohibit it.

    I also had a puppy who would pee on any carpeted surface without pausing, sniffing, or looking distressed til he was a good 6 months old and have the feeling that without a crate he would have been very difficult to housebreak. He only pooped in the house one time, the day we brought him home, but he would be running and playing and just hardly pause and pee and then continue. Yes I know how to housebreak and yes I was diligent, but as a pup he really didn’t mind peeing where he played, so I don’t think he would have awakened me at night were he loose.

  63. says

    Here in Iowa there are many cities with breed bans. Iowa is on a top ten list of places in the United States that are worst to live in if you have a ‘pit bull’. My experience is that most folks here would have trouble identifying a ‘pit bull’ in a doggy line up though. Some apartments, doggy day cares and parks ban breeds as well.
    Some apartments require CGC certification for resident dogs.

    I live in rural Iowa, but near a metro area. In my neighborhood many people keep there dogs in doors, but most do not walk them regularly. Instead they tie them out in the yard, or give them run of a fenced yard. Some people leave dogs in kennels or ‘dog runs’ during the day while they are at work, or some people it seems leave the dogs in outdoor kennels at all times unless interacting with them. I also see electric shock collars sometimes being used in place of leashes. Then still others you see outside with the leashed dog daily.

    Leash laws are not enforced in my neighborhood. But they are moderately or strictly enforced in most metro areas in Iowa.

    Animal welfare laws are present but difficult to enforce. Recently ( February of this year) a women was arrested for housing 99 cats and dogs in filthy conditions. This was the 3rd time this woman had been arrested for animal abuse and hoarding. Over 300 animals have been seized from this woman .This number does not account for the bodies of animals found on her property. She is now legally not to keep animals in the Cedar Rapids metro area. Other agreements in the plea deal have not been made public.

    I have used crates in transitional training periods.
    Now, none of my 3 dogs are crated.

    Personally, I keep my dogs as inside dogs with outside hobbies :)

  64. Nicola says

    To those who have crate laws: I can quite understand not having crates for toilet training, but how do you manage when a dog is on restricted movement from the vet? I had one case of a back injury where the dog was on crate rest for a week – only allowed out to toilet on lead. This dog had a habit of standing on its hind legs, so an exercise pen would not have kept her safe. Do you just leave your dog at the vets for the extra week, or are you allowed to use a crate if a vet reccommends it? I might add, that was a horrible week – I hated keeping my dog crated so long, but she recovered from her back injury without surgery, so in the long term it was worth it!

  65. Beth says

    I just had another thought about crates. If crates are not allowed, what does one do when introducing a new dog to a resident dog to ensure all are safe? For smaller dogs, baby gates are fine but I don’t’ know of a gate that would hold, say, a Husky. Or even most terriers.

    When we brought home Maddie, we had her in an ex-pen and behind baby gates when no one was home. The dogs seemed to get along fine, but we didn’t want to take any chances. After a couple weeks we removed the gates and just left the pen, and then after a month or so they were loose together. But I have Corgis (not known for their fence-scaling) and a baby-gate could contain them. With a taller dog, or better climber, that would not have been sufficient.

    And if one is bringing home a small puppy to introduce to a larger breed, the adult may see the pup as prey, especially if the breed is one with a high prey drive and the pup has not yet developed a dog-scent (pre-adolescent).

  66. Joh says

    Nicola Says:
    “To those who have crate laws: I can quite understand not having crates for toilet training, but how do you manage when a dog is on restricted movement from the vet?”

    As far as I know you are allowed to use crates for a certain amount of time if your dog is injured.

    Beth Says:
    “I just had another thought about crates. If crates are not allowed, what does one do when introducing a new dog to a resident dog to ensure all are safe?”

    You put the dogs in different rooms or you make sure that they are not alone together (taking one with you/having a dog-sitter…)

    Lots of people in Europe would tell you not to get a dog or a 2nd dog if you don’t have enough time or enough space!

    People who work for 9 hours a day generally don’t get dogs (or they have the possibility to take them to work or they have a reliable family member or dog-sitter).

  67. JJ says

    I’d like to second Beth’s comments on the arbitrariness of the “correct” number of hours to leave a dog alone. At a minimum, if such a number exists, I would think the number would be dog-specific and thus difficult to enforce via law. When I was looking for a dog to adopt several years ago, one rescue group refused to give me a dog because their maximum alone-time is 8 hours. That wasn’t going to work for me.

    Duke is home alone 10 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and he does just fine. He has a loving home where he gets lots of training, attention, shelter, exercise, mental stimulation, socialization, etc. He just has a working mom. Anyone who sees Duke notes that he is a happy, confident dog. When I mentioned that I wondered if I should get Duke a friend, the doggie physical therapist, who has a pack of her own, said, “Why? He seems perfectly happy.” Duke is free to roam the house all day. He is not destructive. He is quiet. He greets me calmly when I come come. It is not an ideal situation, for sure, but I don’t see a problem that should be legislated.

  68. JJ says

    On the subject of crates: The stories of crate use on this blog make crates sound like great tools. Clearly, crates *are* great tools when used correctly. There’s the rub. In other contexts, I’ve heard plenty of stories of what I consider to be crate abuse. Where dogs are in a small enclosed place pretty much their entire lives except when let out to relieve themselves–sometimes not even then.

    I don’t think a law is the way to go one way or the other. However, I do think there needs to be clear information on what counts as good crate use and more importantly, what counts as bad crate/confinement use. I’ve seen lots of literature on how to train a dog to a crate. And I’ve seen lots of information on when a crate can be helpful. I have not seen anywhere a clear description of what counts as crate abuse. (I’m not talking about blanket rules since each dog is different.)

    For those people who live in places where crating is legal: I think it would be helpful to have a pamphlet that people could freely download from the internet which clearly defines both what is good use of a crate and what is bad for dogs of type A, B, C… And then maybe we could use such a tool to really educate people not just how to use a crate, but how *not* to use a crate.

  69. Debbie says

    Great topic. I live in Renton, which is the city just south of Seattle. Seattle is far more dog friendly than the outlying areas. We don’t have SBL here, but some of the other cities do, and as far as I know, those are restricted to pits. Ugh.

    We can have dogs off leash in public if they’re voice controlled and they walk beside you. I’ve only known one dog that could do that, I doubt any of mine would ever be so well trained. We finally did build a dog park, but that’s really the only area in our city where dogs can legally run off leash.

    My three girls have crates. As puppies, they were trained to go into their crates during times of stress, they love their crates, and except for the baby, the doors remain open. All it takes is a happy, “Oh! I wonder who can jump in her crate first!” and they dive into them for a treat.

    I do watch them on a web cam from work.

    All of these other areas that don’t allow crating is interesting, it never even occurred to me that it was a possibility.

    This brings me to wonder: Is there also legislation about the types of collars you can use on dogs? For example, prong collars and slip chains are legal here, it kills me (now) when I see a prong collar on a dog with a handler that has no idea how to use one. When my previous batch of dogs were young, I was taught in school to use a prong collar and I did, carefully, with all three. This is one of those cringing moments for me, although the boys were happy enough to use them. I can’t imagine the girls putting up for a minute with a prong collar. No doubt they’d just sit and refuse to move and look at me like I’m an alien.

  70. says

    Washington state has counties restricting Pit Bulls, not sure about Oregon, but certainly there is a strong push towards restricting ‘muscled dogs’.
    I live in Portland OR. The dog community here is very strong and active, however the community of non-dog people is as active. In the recent years there has been a strong push to inforce leash laws, to keep dogs out of certain areas for example farmers market, and a slew of dog ‘rangers’ have been hired to patrol and ticket off-leash dog owners.
    I do not go to fenced dog parks. I like to take long walks with dog roaming swimming etc. Increasingly I have encountered dogs with no training no recall and their owners with very little understanding of dog behavior. People who have no interest in taking time to train their dogs, so that even if they try to call the dog back they cannot and fall back on “dogs will be dogs”. Routinely I see dogs jumping on joggers, kids, people without dogs, routinely I see a complete lack of understanding or desire in trying to be ‘polite’.
    I would very much like to see a discussion happen in our communities, followed by new rules. I would like dog parks to be dismantled, test given annually at the time of license renewals. The color of the tag would indicate what that particular dog is able to do. I would like to see one rule implemented immediately: if you can recall your dog, keep it leashed!
    The crate thing….I put my pups in xpens. I grew up in France and we restricted our pups put down paper and potty trained them. I cannot remember seeing an adult dog in a cage, unless it was a hunting or guard dog? I use crates for transport and at dog sport events, but I do think they are(talking about the travel crates) too restrictive for an 8hour day. And they are hard on old dogs with painful joints.

  71. says

    …and regarding the potty training period for pups as well as adult rescue, Yes I do set my alarm at night. It doesn’t take that long… a week or two for pups, days for adults. I do keep them in Xpens during that time, folding it smaller for at risk times and larger, or adding a second one for low risk times.

  72. Deanna in OR says

    I live in Corvallis, Oregon (USA), which is a fairly dog-friendly town. We take our dogs to restaurants with outdoor seating, with no problems. In most parks in town, dogs are allowed (Central Park is an exception). A couple of parks have off-leash areas, not fenced, and there is a fairly new 2-acre fenced dog park downtown.

    We do a lot of outdoor stuff–dogs are allowed in most National Forests and Wilderness areas, off leash as long as they are “under control”. The exception is during the winter, where there are National Forest “snow park” trailheads for cross-country skiing or snowmobiles, some of which are specifically dog-friendly (off leash) and others which prohibit dogs.

    We’ve also done “Paddle Oregon”, a 5-day group paddling (canoe) trip with our dogs, camping in state parks overnight, with no problem. The dogs loved the opportunity to swim in the river on rest stops, and we kept them on-leash in camping areas, with some off-leash frisbee fetch in open areas.

    I’ve noticed that most parks, with leash requirements or not, have poop-bag dispensers (just in case you forgot one). Not everyone picks up after their dogs, but it seems that most people do.

    In Oregon, some counties and cities are pretty dog-friendly, but others are not. At least 2 agility training facilities have been closed down in the past 2 years, because dog training is not considered “Farm Use” in areas zoned “Exclusive Farm Use”. Oregon has pretty strict land-use laws, and dog folks are working to get dog training into the law as an allowed “farm use” activity. Some cities restrict how many animals a person can own (in Albany, the limit is 2 dogs over the age of 6 months). One county in Oregon (Malheur, a rural county in eastern Oregon), has BSL aimed at “fighting breeds”.

    After having one of “those” kind of neighbors complaining about my dog barking (even when in the house, even though tape recordings showed less than 20 minutes barking over a 9 hour period), when we moved to Oregon, we opted to buy a house on a couple of acres so the neighbors wouldn’t complain. Now that my husband and I are agility addicts :-), we have a huge fenced area for the dogs to run and play and practice. But they are never left outside when we are gone. In the house, when we are gone, they are restricted to the kitchen with doggy-door access to a fenced dog run/dog bathroom. The 5-month old puppy has only recently been allowed to be out of her crate when we’re not home, but she usually goes to daycare when we’re working.

    Like some of the other posters, I can’t imagine raising a puppy without a crate (and I’ve raised several that way, before crates were common…will never do it again). My collie pup would cry when she wanted out in the middle of the night, and I would wake up to take her out. All 3 of our dogs sleep in large crates with thick dog beds, next to our bed, as 3 big dogs who want to try to share our bed during the night is just too much. If my husband is out of town, and I let the dogs have the run of the bedroom at night, I usually find one or more of them curled up sleeping in their open crates in the morning.

    They go in their crates willingly, in the bedroom, and in the car (like a child’s car seat, much safer). We’ve had a couple of friends who were in bad car accidents–if their dogs had not been in crates, they probably would have been killed. A loose dog in a car can be a deadly projectile in an accident, deadly to himself and to the car’s occupants. A dog is much safer in a crate when traveling in a car.

    We also crate our dogs at dog sporting events (with frequent walks and breaks). At most agility, obedience, and Rally trials, or Frisbee dog contests, or dock diving events (all dog sports that we do), dogs can’t be left alone lose, or tied up–they must held on leash, be crated, be in a secure expen, or in a car if the weather isn’t too hot. How could you walk an agility course or Rally course, or listen to a judge’s briefing, if you couldn’t put your dog in a crate or expen, unless you brought along a helper who could hold your dog while you walk the course (especially in the summer)? And not all trials have crating space for the larger expens, so crates are a necessary part of these sports. Of course we provide water, shade at outdoor events, toys and food and plenty of interaction between runs.

    What do agility handlers in Sweden or other places that forbid crates, do at dog events?

  73. trisha says

    I’ve been following the crate discussion with great interest. I wonder if part of the disconnect (crates good, crates bad–apologies for simplifying the discussion) relates, as one commenter said, to how crates are used and the type of crate. Willie’s crate at home is large. He can easily stretch out on his side in it. He basically can get into any posture he’d like in it. On the other hand, the crate in the car is by necessity, much smaller. I would hate to leave him in it for many hours at a time. I wonder if people in countries where crates are only used for travel are assuming all crates used in houses are as small? Perhaps not, just a thought. And I absolutely agree that the use of crates can be over done, to the point of it compromising a dog’s welfare. But I’d also argue that, just as one can teach many dogs to be safe and comfortable when loose in the house, one can also teach many dogs to be happy and comfortable in their crates. I’ve seen so many that choose to sleep in them even when the door is open.

    And regarding the number of hours that a dog can be left alone: Surely this also depends on the dog, and as importantly, what happens once the owner gets home. I’ve seen many dogs who were left loose in the house, had lots of freedom, but I wouldn’t say they had good lives, because they did little once the family arrived home. A bowl of kibble, a quick walk, and that’s it. I’m not so sure that’s such a great life. Right now Willie is left for about 5 hours, rarely longer, because I can do much of my work at home as well as at my two offices. But sometimes it is longer, and I don’t feel terribly guilty about it. I’d rather be home sooner too, it’s not like I’m lying on a couch somewhere eating chocolate! (I do that at home.)

    I hope this conversation continues, I find it constructive and instructive to compare cultural norms…

  74. Beth says

    Joh: I do believe the cultural divide is huge. I’m not sure you are aware (because having a British husband made me realize how different work cultures are, from place to place) but here in the States a typical work week is 40 hours, with an unpaid half-hour or one-hour lunch, plus travel time. Most couples both work full time, so I would say the majority of people of working age here ARE out of the house more than 8 hours per day. It’s just normal life. The Swedish laws would make it impossible for most adults here to ever have dogs. until they retire Some dogs find doggy day care stressful, plus it’s awfully expensive for most people to afford every day.

    I guess we will just have to disagree on what constitutes a good life for a dog. Mine get time spent with them most days walking in the woods. We do training, we take them places on weekends that we choose based on what the dogs enjoy (just this past Saturday we had them swimming). And honestly I would have very unkind words for any legislative body who could tell me with no science behind it that my dogs (whom they have never met) are somehow unhappy just because they are alone during the day. Did anyone ask the dogs? Video cameras have allowed many people to see what their dogs are up to all day, and most sleep, wander around, go get a drink, maybe look out the window or play with an animal housemate. If a dog suffers separation anxiety it will suffer if you are gone for an hour or ten. Again, I fail to see any research that indicates 6 hours is ok but 7 is just awful.

    As far as confining dogs to different rooms, both of mine find it much more stressful to be in a small room with the door closed than to be in a crate. It makes them visibly nervous to be confined to a room that they can smell and hear out of, but can’t see out of. When trying to get two dogs used to each other, having them so separated so they can’t give any body signals to each other seems like a good way to up the stress level rather than lower it, and violates everything I’ve ever read from behaviorists about how to accustom animals to each other. The beauty of penning (or crating) is that the dogs can get used to each other gradually while still safe from one another. Regardless, there are a whole lot of behaviorists out there who feel that crate-trained puppies = happy and safe puppies and certainly I will continue to use my crates. As Trisha mentioned, size is a factor and I have 36-inch crates for my Corgis.

  75. Beth says

    Hmmm, I found this enlightening. Online stats show me there are about 800,000 dogs in Sweden. The human population is just over 9 million. That means that the ratio of dogs to humans is about 8%.

    In the US, there are about 72 million dogs and just over 300 million people, making the ratio of dogs to people about 23%. In other words, there are about 3x the dogs per capita in the US as in Sweden (1 dog per every 4 people in the US, compared to 1 dog per every 12 people in Sweden).

    While I realize that household sizes are probably different, it seems that there are a lot more pet-owning households in the US, and I wonder if that accounts for a broader range of what is considered an acceptable home for a pet?

  76. says

    I’m glad we’re talking about crating, too! I completely agree that crates are a great help and I do use them, but in my experience (2 rescues @ home, plus extensive shelter volunteering) many dogs with a shelter background are just plain uncomfortable with confinement. Even with the door off, they will almost never in their lives enter the crate of their own accord, unless there is food in it _and_ they are hungry, but still, it’s a compromise. If they’re in the mood to settle down in a den it will be under the table, behind the chairs instead of in a cage. And like so many other aspects of life with a pet, it really just calls for a bit of problem solving or a little creativity. I close doors, I use baby gates and in different environments I find a safe, secure spot to chain the dogs. Maybe it’s an emotional thing but I feel like I understand if they don’t want to be caged, and it’s not too much to ask that we try other means.

    As for the outdoor regulations, I would be happiest if ALL public places had leash laws that were actually respected and/or enforced, and a separate, fenced, off-leash area. We really need both; it makes it easier for more people to follow the rules and keep themselves safe. I live close to downtown in Montreal, Canada, where people are remarkably uninterested in courtesy, safety or training of any kind. I feel truly blessed to have internet access and the ability to read English.

  77. Joh says

    @ Kenneling in Germany: as far as I know Germany has a law about kennels, that states that they must be at least 15m2 (~161sqft) and must contain an isolated dog-house (when on the outside) or a dog-bed/pillow/blanket. Dogs must be taken out of the Kennel at least once a day. Apparently, this law is mainly about outside kennels and for dogs that live (mainly) in theses kennels. Their is no law about the use of kennels as training aids or to use indoors, but it may be (their a some discussions about that) that they aren’t allowed because one can argue that the above mentioned law only allows the 15m2 kennels.

    Beth Says:

    “Joh: I do believe the cultural divide is huge. I

  78. Beth says

    But Joh, on the weekends when we take the dogs out more, they sleep all evening. Not sure why it’s ok to take them out during the day and then have them snooze on the couch while you watch TV, but NOT ok to have them sleep all day and then play with them/walk with them/ train them in the evening?

    Again, what you are talking about is cultural norms. That is not research and it is not science. Most sources say dogs typically sleep about 14 hours a day or so when given free choice of activity. By my reckoning, mine sleep about 7 hours at night while I sleep. They also sleep about 7 of the 9 hours I’m gone to work (based on what I see when I arrive home combined with what I observe when I AM home, including about a month I spent home sick last winter).

    In the evening, they are awake the entire time I’m home.

    When we take them out during the day on the weekend, they get their extra hours of sleep in the evening instead (while we are home).

    I guess I’m puzzled. Are you really suggesting that having a dog home awake and alone for about 2 hours is so cruel that it deserves the full force of the law behind it? Because if I’m gone 9 and they are asleep for 7, that does only leave 2 hours of waking time.

    And an existential question for you: since the American lifestyle would dictate, by your standards, that most working-age Americans would not own dogs, by necessity that would mean many fewer dogs would be bred and therefore born. Do you think if I asked my dogs (if they could think that way) if their time alone is so awful that they would prefer to have not been born, would you tend to think they would agree with that? Because that’s what it would come to, to be perfectly blunt.

    I am all for laws protecting dogs, but I want those laws to be based on some sort of evidence. Many dogs would be stressed out of their minds brought to the office, or left in doggy day care, and are much happier and calmer left home alone. I don’t think you’d find it reasonable if I suggested we should outlaw doggy daycare, just because SOME dogs find it unbearably stressful. By the same token I don’t find it reasonable to outlaw having dogs home during the day when most are fine, just because some can’t tolerate it. As with people, some dogs are extroverts who hate being alone and others are more introverted and love the quiet sanctuary of their own place and their own time.

  79. says

    I also feel a wee bit defensive about the leaving your dog alone all day thing. No one is arguing that it’s the best case scenario, but I’m honestly having a hard time understanding how the alternative is better for the dogs that would otherwise not have homes or not exist at all. There are many problems all over the world with how animals are treated, and I haven’t seen any evidence that being left home alone even counts as one of them. People who read and comment on this website in particular clearly care about being responsible pet owners and it’s quite alienating to imply that what they are doing isn’t good enough and/or that it breaks animal protection laws in other countries. I think that is messed up.

  80. Nancy Petr says

    Yes, crating a dog is illegal in Sweden except in cars and at shows or dog class. In other words, I’m a criminal because I crate my miniature poodle every night next to my bed… Hope I don’t get caught! ?=)

  81. lytha says

    Germany: This is dog land – dogs are allowed almost everywhere and there is apparently no leash law and definitely no scoop law. It has been illegal to dock ears and tails on dogs since the 80s. Castration is considered cruel and unhealthy. We live on a hobby farm but since we work fulltime, we won’t be getting a dog, even though I’d love one.

    Also, it’s illegal to keep a goldfish in a goldfish bowl, and next year it will be illegal to hot brand horses.

  82. Amanda says

    We are currently living in Switzerland and in many ways it has been great for the dogs. But true to form, they do have tons of rules. Crating technically is not illegal but the culture considers it cruel so it is in effect illegal. Dog bans are enforced county to county here. I don’t think there are any banned where we live, but I don’t know (we have a boston and a pug so I never checked into it). The Swiss love their rules so like everything else, animals are heavily regulated.

    Overall, Switzerland makes it really hard to own a dog so if you have a dog you really have to want to have it. Dogs can not be left alone more than a certain amount of time (I think it is 4 hours) and they have to go outside during the day. But, before someone gets a dog they have to take a course on how to own a dog and pass a test showing they are competent. Once they get a dog, they have to go through a series of trainings and pass some more tests and pay taxes for the dog ~$90.00/year (that isn’t the dog license either that is a separate $120).

    The upside…dogs are allowed pretty much everywhere but the post office and grocery store. There are plenty of areas for the dogs to play off leash. Hardest part for us has been the food. Even though they seem to care a lot about the welfare of the animals, dog food here is crap.

  83. em says

    I am so grateful for this discussion. It has made me re-examine my thoughts about crating, and re-evaluate my feelings about leaving dogs home alone in a more nuanced way.

    Otis is the first dog I ever used a crate with. I am happy about the experience, comfortable with the way in which I used the crate (to safely contain a large, strong dog unfamiliar with living in the house while I slept and left the house for <3hours) and I am grateful that I had the crate to use. I could probably have done without it, but I'm sure that it prevented some unwanted behavior and I'm happy that I didn't have to. If Otis had shown any desire to continue using his crate, I'd probably still have it, but while he never fussed while crated or refused to go into it, he never voluntarily went in there, either, so after a few months, we phased it out and eventually dismantled it. (A crate for a great dane is a serious space-hog…on the bright side, I could easily sit in there with him, (which was downright pleasant…with a colorful sheet draped over it and pillows festooning every corner, that thing looked like something out of I Dream of Jeannie) but to have it in the living room if he wasn't going to use it…no way) . Crates clearly can be a positive, valuable tool.

    On the other hand, I know people who use crates in a way that I would consider abusive. Everyone I've talked to about it says the same, but until this discussion, I've never really thought about where and why I'd draw the line between good use and bad. On reflection, I find that I am much, much less comfortable with the idea of leaving a dog ALONE in a crate. For me, it is not about confinement or boredom or loneliness, since I know for a fact that my dogs, after being exercised in the morning, sleep for 5-8 hours by choice (they're sacked out right now, in fact). It's about physical comfort and the need to eliminate. This is likewise the limiting factor, for me, on the time dogs should be left alone. My personal 'comfort zone' for the dogs is around six hours. When I return to the house, Otis almost never seems to need to urinate urgently, though Sandy sometimes does, starting around six hours in.

    Obviously, every dog is different, and I'm sure that Otis can and will go much, much longer (by choice, if it's raining), but eight hours is my personal limit, after which I will leash him up and force him to go out to pee. I acknowledge that this is a fairly arbitrary number, but there must be some scientific consensus on how long it is reasonable or healthy for a dog to go without urininating, even if that interval is much longer than I imagine.

    But here's the rub, for me. If people are using the crate while at home, to housebreak a dog or puppy, that seems fine to me…when the puppy cries, the person scoops him up and takes him out, and the crate encourages him to 'hold it' only for the few minutes between when he feels the urge and when his signal gets a response. I have no problem with that. But when people use the crate to stretch the length of time that their housebroken dog can go without eliminating…meaning that they are forcing a dog to choose between standing in urine or feces or tolerating the discomfort of holding it for longer than a few minutes, that strikes me as unacceptable. Human labor laws require that people be given regular breaks for this reason. What really swung my opinion on this issue was reflecting on the one and only time Otis ever defecated in the house.

    It was back in the beginning, when he was suffering from some chronic GI troubles. I could tell that he was feeling "off", all day, but he seemed to be ok, so my husband and I took a risk and went out with friends for dinner. We just went around the corner and cut the evening short, but even so we were gone around an hour and a half. When we returned, Otis had had diarrhea on the linoleum, right in front of the kitchen door. I felt awful for him, and hoped that he had just had a very sudden severe cramp, because fastidious as he was, I can only imagine how much discomfort he must have been in to defecate in the house. I really hope he didn't spend an hour fighting not to.

    But I'm REALLY glad that he wasn't crated. Not only would the mess have been much worse, but if he had spent an hour standing in his own feces, I would have felt beyond terrible. If that hour had been four, or six or eight? Doing that to a human counts as torture. I realize that dogs don't have quite the hangups about bodily secretions that we do, but clearly they must be distressed by this possibility, or the crate wouldn't function as a housebreaking tool at all.

    I wouldn't want to see crates prohibited, as they seem to be very beneficial to many dogs and people, but I find I'm not comfortable with the idea of a dog being kept like a rabbit in a hutch, 20+ hours per day, and I'm also not comfortable with the idea of dogs having to choose between physical discomfort or standing in urine or feces. With no way to monitor or limit the way that people use the crate, I can understand why they might be made illegal, even if I don't feel that's necessary. I am glad that I had the chance to think these issues through. If I ever raise a puppy or get another green rescue, I might use a crate for a safe space and a sleeping area, but I think I would prefer some other method of confinement, like an ex pen or a stripped-down room to use while I am out of the house. That's my choice, and I'm not necessarily saying it's the best or only one, but it's the one that would give ME the greatest peace of mind-even though my dogs are seldom alone more than seven hours, I do feel oddly comforted knowing that they are loose in the house (which works fine for them, though it may not for all dogs) so that if my husband and I were unexpectedly detained, and seven hours became 10 or 12 or 24, they would at least be able to go to the bathroom somewhere without having to stand in it.

    I will also note that I have gone 10+ years without a dog because I didn't feel I had enough time. Again, this was a personal choice, much the same as the hundreds of other personal choices that people make about their lifestyles. It didn't seem right to me to leave a dog alone 8-10 hours per day, but I would never argue that it can never be acceptable to do so or that all dogs left home alone during the day are unhappy. Right now my dogs are typically alone for no more than six-seven hours, a couple of times a week, because I do a great deal of my work from home. If my lifestyle were to change, and I were to take a job that required the dogs to be alone much more than that, I would think it reasonable to hire a dog walker to come and take them out. Again, I'm sure it's not necessary for everyone, but probably not a bad idea, either. I second Beth's call for some sort of scientific verdict on this issue…it must be possible to determine a general guideline for how often a dog should be allowed out to eliminate.

  84. Beth with the Corgis says

    Em, I was not comfortable using a crate during the day and at night to housebreak, so I used a crate at night and a pen in the day. If I need to lock my dogs up while I’m not home (say there are workers in the house and I can’t be around) I pen them. They are both together in one pen which in itself carries a small risk, but with one male and one female who have never fought I find the risk minimal. Were there room for two pens I would do that instead, but there really isn’t.

    Anyway, point being that I used the pen in the day so if pup needed to eliminate, he could do so in one corner and play in the other. And I came home at lunch every day until he was close to a year old. It IS hard to housebreak if you are gone all day and pup can’t hold it that long.

    Now as far as how long an adult dog can comfortably hold it…. I consider myself a fair judge because I have one dog who will hold it til he would pop. My other one, though, is one of those dogs that is housebroken in the respect that she’d rather go out than in, BUT she will go inside in a corner somewhere if no one notices she has to go out. So she would not hold it til she hurt, best I can judge.

    In the two years she’s been home all day, she has gone on the floor exactly once during the daytime.

    When I arrive home, my dogs bring toys, ask to play, ask to cuddle but DON’T ask to go out and in fact on rare occasion something urgent has happened where we didn’t take them out for another half hour or so after we got home and they were fine. My particular dog (the male) will bark at the door if he has to go and whine at the door if he REALLY has to go, and I can count on one hand the number of times he has done that when I first got home from work.

    I did feel bad one day when I came home and he’d had an intestinal upset and had pooped inside; it clearly upset him. Fact is, though, I had that happen once or twice in the middle of the night when he did not bark loud enough to wake me from a sound sleep.

    My parents’ Chessie once held it for two days when leg surgery made it painful for her to squat. They were about an hour from getting her back to the vet when she finally went. Point being, I think that they biology of dogs’ bladders is markedly different from our own.

  85. em says


    That’s been my experience, too, that my dogs seem happy to hold it longer than I would be-I don’t worry about my dogs being uncomfortable unless I radically deviate from our regular feeding/exercising schedule. But I would like to know what was considered optimal. It seems like there should be some kind of empirical information about it, right?

    That doesn’t alter my opinion about the unattended dog-in-crate, though. It worked out for me on the infrequent occasions in which I did it, but if I had it to do over, I don’t think I’d leave a dog alone in a crate unless I absolutely had to.

  86. Beth with the Corgis says


    I think we are in agreement. For my own dogs (who are perfectly relaxed being loose in the house and short enough to confine by another method, such as baby gates, if confinement is needed) I don’t like to crate. I imagine a horrible litany of bad outcomes: fire, vomiting dog, dog with paw wedged in crate, etc. I do make use of the crates when I am there and need to keep one dog out of my face while I work with the other (training, medicating, nail-trimming). I personally prefer exercise pens for puppies and had excellent results. I do think, though, that for some dogs in some situations, crating while the owner is gone can result in a happier, calmer, less-stressed dog. And for some dogs (the kind who will go through a window if sufficiently aroused) properly used crates are literally life-savers.

    I do think they have potential for abuse and the personal rule-of-thumb I followed is that a puppy should not spend more than 8 hours out of 24 crated, which meant that for me a puppy crated at night had used up his crate-time for the day.

    And yes, definitely I agree that some research on what is ok would be helpful. It would seem that at the least they could do some scans of bladder and bowel to see how close they were to capacity, so to speak.

  87. MarieBenson says

    Leaving a dog alone at home for 9 hours or more?
    Why get a dog if all y0u have to offer this living creature is being alone in a house all day?
    I think we have great laws in Sweden! But even 6 hours alone is too much! Most responsible breeders demand that the dogs they sell never be left alone for more than 4 hours.

  88. Beth with the Corgis says

    “Why get a dog if all y0u have to offer this living creature is being alone in a house all day?”

    Ms. Benson, honestly that comment is not very well thought out, is it?

    That is not ALL I have to offer my pets. I offer them long walks in the woods, cuddles on the couch, agility classes, therapy visits, trips out swimming. I offer them hikes and frisbee sessions and lots of visits with people in the park by my house. I offer them treats and good meals. I offer them the companionship of each other (two dogs and a cat).

    I guess I would turn it around and say this to you: do YOU find it unbearable to be alone for 8 or 9 hours? I know I don’t. I enjoy it. I crave time alone after being in a busy office all day.

    Regardless, I do find your comment a touch judgmental and very subjective. My pets are actually never alone, except for the cat on rare occasion. Personally I can’t imagine having just one dog because they seem to enjoy doggie companionship so much. Yet my online searching shows me that the majority of Swedish dog owners do have just one. Now, I won’t go around saying that I think that’s ridiculous and that no one should be allowed to have only one pet since they need time with their own kind. So I suppose I would appreciate if you would give the same kindness and consideration to MY choices that I give to YOUR choices.

    Many breeders also won’t sell to someone without a fenced yard and I don’t think that’s fair either.

  89. Jenell says

    I just came back from a trip to Asheville, NC. It is a wonderfully dog-friendly town. Dogs were everywhere and when I asked about it I was told that dogs were allowed in every store and park and mall- just not the restaurants. It was so strange to see dogs in the mall. Water bowls were all over the downtown. It seemed that everyone was good at picking up after their dogs.

  90. Susan says

    Germany. (American multiple dog family that has lived in several European countries and traveled to all of them with dogs.)

    I haven’t looked up the laws regarding crates or hours unattended that we have, but I’d almost guarantee that they are as restrictive as Sweden’s or worse. Fortunately, the police have much more important activities to worry about and they are not peeking in my windows (or anyone else’s) looking for crate violators. The law is there to make sure abusers can be dealt with if necessary. It ensures that animals have some protection which is virtually absent in the USA. I have not once encountered a lonely backyard barker, abandoned dog, or the crazed chained dog (all nearly daily encounters in the US.)

    The social and financial costs of dog ownership are high here. People don’t get a dog without a lot of forethought and planning. There are a lot less dogs here, but every one of them seem to be well taken care of, exercised, and incorporated into family life. Well behaved dogs are welcomed virtually everywhere. My dogs love it here because they can do so many more things with their humans. I love it because I’ve done a lot of work with dog rescue in the USA and in other countries, and my heart doesn’t get broken by continual tales of neglect. Many of the dogs in the shelter/rescues here are imported from countries that don’t have crate laws and other annoying regulations. Bottom line, if these pesky laws make people rethink their commitment and suitability to be dog owners–that isn’t really a bad thing in my opinion.

    Those egregious puppy mills all seem to be located in counties with more lenient dog regulations. Is there a connection? I’m not sure, but I’d love to know if Sweden, et al, have puppy mills?

    Many European countries have laws about leashes/muzzles on public transportation, but otherwise, the owner is liable for their behavior on and off leash. It is my responsibility to know if they are safe and dependable, to what extent, and what environment. I also like this aspect of European law. It encourages training, awareness of your dog’s behavior and capabilities. As long as my dogs are not a nuisance and I’m not obviously abusive, no one is looking to enforce how many hours Fido is left at home.

    Germany isn’t doggy heaven, but it’s pretty darn good.

  91. Katherine says

    I’m American and have lived in Ireland for 10 years. We got our dogs here….one is a rescue from the UK and the other a purebred. The laws on dangerous breeds include one of ours, who is an English Bull Terrier, because the Irish confuse them with “pit bulls” (no such animal, of course) and have rarely seen an EBT, even though there are far too many in desperate states in the UK, right next door. The requirement is for an EBT to be muzzled in public, which gave the good people in the rescue group in the UK pause when allowing us to take her, and I don’t blame them. We have not licensed her for this reason, as we will not muzzle her. Ireland, with a very small population of 4.5 million, puts down approximately 59% of it’s shelter dogs, as opposed to approximately 23% in the UK, with 63 million people and far, far more dogs and with animal abuse and abandonment problems of their own. The approach in Ireland is primitive…puppy farms are a huge issue, and they have not been able to fix it though proposed legislation has been on the table for years. Greyhound racing is still a hugely popular sport here, with the attendant horror stories for the dogs when their racing careers are over. There is virtually no humane education for children. I have applied several times for a volunteer position (visiting schools with educational presentations – I’m a former teacher) which my local SPCA had advertised on their website to be told it had been filled, even though the ad was still there. The head of the ISPCA was quoted in the Irish Times on April 17th of this year:

    “Noel Griffin, the ISPCA’s chief executive said that his group’s put to sleep figures were higher than other pounds because it does not give dogs to other welfare groups to rehome in Britain. He questioned how other Irish animal-welfare groups were managing to find homes for dogs that he said were of “no value” & “not the prettiest”.

    “The exporting of dogs to the UK improves the statistics but I would question where these dogs are going” said Griffin.

    Griffin questioned why rescue groups in Britain, who accept Irish strays were taking “a load of old mongrels”. “With all due respect to the little dogs they are not the prettiest so what is the attraction ?. Why would someone take five or six dogs to England ?. These are not thoroughbreds that have a value. When a dog has no value I think animal welfare goes out the window”.

    Griffin said that the ISPCA did not give unwanted dogs to charities like the Dog’s Trust”.

    I rest my case.

  92. trisha says

    Katherine: Argh, my heart breaks reading your comment about the attitudes in Ireland and the “old mongrels” of “no value.” Was there any push back to his comments? I know that none of us should be surprised; his attitude is more common around the world than ours, but it is still surprising to hear it from a country in the UK.

  93. Den says

    I’m in Massachusetts, I would say the area I’m in is not dog friendly. Dogs are highly restricted, not allowed on public transportation unless they’re service dogs or in a crate small enough to fit on your lap or a seat. Dogs are supposed to be contained at all times, but many people ignore this law and it’s not really enforced, as a result I’ve been charged many times by loose dogs. The only store that allows any animals inside is Petco. though I’ve seen people bring dogs into other stores, mainly because the employees cannot tell the difference between a service dog and a dog that someone randomly brings in. We have no local dog parks so reactivity, barrier frustration and lack of socialization is a big problem here as well.

  94. Hunter's Mom says

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing the Foley Mill with all of us! After many years of tedious peeling, coring, and cutting apples, my husband and I spent yesterday halving, cooking and Foley Mill-ing dozens of pounds of apples for applesauce and apple butter. WOW, was that easier! And my husband loves using the mill, so I didn’t even have to bother cranking – he did it all for me! I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog, learning more about training and dogs, and fondly remembering life in the MidWest. Our dog Hunter is a big ol’ Lab mix Doofus who would LOVE your farm!

  95. Marie says

    Together with our Dogs Trust rescue terrier cross, we divide our time between Wales and France. In Wales, he is allowed on some designated beaches all year round, and most others between the beginning of October and the end of April. He is allowed on public transport and in most pubs, but not restaurants.

    In France, he is allowed in some supermarkets (outside the food area), and he is welcomed in almost all restaurants. He is usually served a bowl of cool water before we even get the menu, especially in summer, and sometimes gets a treat. In the towns and villages of our region (and many other areas we’ve visited), there are dog “loo” points where bags are provided free of charge to pick up after your pets, and there are bins for disposal, so there really is no excuse not to clean up. France is very definitely dog friendly!!

  96. Bex says

    Here in France, we are allowed to take dogs EVERYWHERE! I often take my German Shepherd to the local pub, on the bus, on the train etc, she loves it and gets lots of attention!
    As far as i know, no off/on-leash laws, no muzzle laws… :)

  97. Gigi's Mom says

    Visited Hungary in May and was astounded to see many dogs walking off leash with owners, even along crowded Budapest streets. We joked that Hungarian dogs must be better behaved and smarter than the average dog. While eating lunch at Karma restaurant (quite upscale) in Liszt Ferenc square, a young woman came in with 2 small dogs. The waiters enthusiastically greeted the dogs and the dogs seemed to be equally happy to be in the restaurant. Like they were visiting friends. We started a conversation with the young woman who we learned was a student from Norway. She said the restaurants and cafes in Budapest were generally welcoming of her dogs and her favorite was this particular restaurant. I suppose board of health issues would interfere in the US, but it was quite refreshing to witness an overall dog friendly environment in Hungary.

  98. Izzymc says

    I currently live in Hungary where as you say dogs are welcomed and well treated in many restaurants. My problem is that my neighbour has two dogs which bark constantly at anything which moves, which is fine during daytime hours, but is a real nuisance overnight. I cannot find any laws regarding barking dogs in Hungary and would like to know if any readers of this forum have any such knowledge.
    The dogs are kept outside in all weathers though have a partially sheltered section under the stairs, though depending on the weather conditions at times does nothing to keep the rain and snow away from them. I live in Zala district and my real problem is I do not speak Hungarian and my neighbour does not speak any of the languages I do. Can anyone help at all and would the local council do something if I complained. I am wary to do this as it is a very small community with many gossips, however, I am so very tired through lack of sleep that I have to do something. I might add that I have two dogs and three cats all of whom are well behaved and the dogs are kept indoors at night.

  99. Michael says

    Sweden does it right.

    1) 100% liability. If your dog bites a human or pet or destroys property YOU as the owner 100% responsible in all cases. If someone breaks into your house, and your dog bites them you pay the medical bills, no appeal allowed. If your dog bites another dog, you pay the bill. If the Dog or person dies the suite is millions of dollars. Most dog owners have very complex insurance policies.

    2)Dog owners are held CRIMINALLY responsible for their dogs. If your dog assaults someone YOU the owner are charged with a crime and often go to jail for minor attacks, deaths are treated as murder.

    2)unregistered dogs are destroy or adopted out. If you are found with an unregistered dog its a huge fine.

    3)Dogs are not allowed to be crated (except for medical reasons like heart worm or travel), you can not dock your dogs tail or ears. There is a long list of legal requirements for exercise and medial checkups.

    4)If your dogs shows any threatening behavior the police can and very often take the dog into custody and often they are put down or adopted out. The police can decide that you are simply not allowed to own another dog. So if the mail man comes and your dog is barking on the other side of the door, in less then an hour the policy will come by, demand the dog and remove it, you will most likely never see it again and may not ever be allowed to own a dog.

    5)Many people simply are not allowed to own dogs, anyone with a drug conviction can never own a dog, anyone who shoplifted as an adult can not own a dog. Often things like DUI offense result in no dog ownership.

    Sweden keeps very good stats lately, they estimate fewer then 1% of dogs are Pit or Pit mixes. 10% of dog bites reported to police are Pit or Pit Mixes.

    Often dog owners will pay off victims to keep bites from being reported because they know they will lose their dog.

    Many areas in Sweden are considering BSL most apartment complexes and neighborhoods have their own restrictions.

    I am 100% in favor of Sweden’s laws. would you rather have BSL or laws like Sweden?

  100. says

    Some of Michael’s statements are slightly exaggerated. ^^; Yes, there are strict laws considering the welfare of pets in Sweden and you are held accountable for what your dog does. But most often we’re talking about fines, not prison time. A dog will not be taken by the police and put down just because it barks at people. But if a dog bites another person or dog it might be put down.

    What is said earlier about crating in Sweden is true – only during certain occasions like competitions, shows, travelling, hunting. The crate must have a minimum of two sides covered and the dog must be exercised every other hour during those times. Keeping a dog crated so you can go to work and not worry about the furniture is not allowed – you actually have to train your dog in Sweden. A puppy is now even allowed to be left alone more than really short periods of time. You’re not allowed to tie your dog up inside either. Outside a dog is not allowed to be tied up for more than 2 hours a DAY and only in such a manner that there is no way the dog can be harmed. And I’m only talking about adult dogs here.
    It’s really not that difficult. When bringing home a puppy, you “puppy-proof” your home – putting away shoes and other things you don’t want to risk and immediately start to train your puppy in what’s appropriate to chew on and what’s not – they catch on FAST, puppies are really fast learners. You must of course provide chewing toys for their itching teeth. And since we in Sweden generally are very good when it comes to walking our dogs and training them, everyday, you have a satisfied pet both physically and mentally and your dog won’t get destructive inside but instead get some well earned rest. Puppies can’t take long walks, but that only makes it easier – short walk – tired puppy.

  101. says

    O yeah, “puppy mills” doesn’t exist in Sweden and you can’t sell dogs in pet stores. You will have to pay 1500-3000 dollars for a purebred puppy in Sweden, depending on breed. 😉

  102. Gitte says

    I haven’t seen this before, but it is a very interesting matter. I am 48 years old, I grew up in the middle of a city with never less than three dogs in an apartment with my parents and two older sisters. Breeds ranging from always a pair of whippets to a labrador, German Shepherd Dogs and then my first Borzoi.
    At that time, crates weren’t “invented” for pet dogs – and we had this whole successions of dogs, never a problem in the world.
    Since moving out, me and my sisters have continued to keep 2-6 dogs each, again never particular problems. I have watched with fascination how crating pups, and then dogs, have grown into a thing which ALL new owners “must do” – to create stability, a safe haven, all those strange terms for putting your dog behind bars.
    It grew so much, also in neighbouring Sweden, that this latter country regulated against it. I remember how well known psychologist and dog behaviorist Anders Hallgren ( started voicing out against the wide use of crates – and said this was one of the “bad things” that we got from the US :-)
    Anders is a veteran dog trainer, and one of the first that became a household name with his milder methods. He felt so strongly against the use of crates, which he calls a remedy to the convenience of us humans, that at a weekend seminar/conference the participants weren’t allowed to let their dogs stay in their car crates… (I needed to bring my own two, so they were allowed in!)
    He evidently talked about something of the same in Vienna last year, stating: “The cage will destroy the dogs if they are in the cage for a long time. But 5 minutes, 15 minutes is okay, because some dogs like the cage. Because it’s quiet and it’s like a little den. But long time in a cage will destroy working abilities in a dog. I would say if you need a cage for your dog, or a crate or whatever, you are not a good trainer. You don’t need things like that!”
    One important thing though: Here in Scandinavia, I would say the majority of the dog owners get their dogs from puppyhood, from breeders of more or less repute. We don’t have anything at all like the stray/rescue problem that is in the US!
    We also have a LOT of holiday time (4, often 5, weeks in Norway, if you are lucky like me I have 7), so it also is quite normal to use a couple of them with the new pup (summer pups are very sought after).
    Another difference is that most people actually walk their dogs here LOL
    It is considered normal to take your dog out for a walk, even when you have a garden. And we are quite a rural country with small cities; I live in the middle of Oslo, and it takes me 15 minutes by car to be out in the big forests surrounding this capital of ours.
    I know of the law in Sweden with time you can leave the dog alone. That would make it virtually impossible for all the best dog owners I know to keep dogs – since we all work :-) I solve it by always having two dogs, and by using all my spare time on them; they get 2-3 hours walk each day, and I spend all weekend with them.

  103. says

    I lived in Switzerland from 2010 through 2012 and I have to say, I love the animal control laws there. It’s complete common sense (except for some of the BSL on rotties and pit bulls). Dogs can be UNLEASHED under voice control anywhere in the country side. In the cities, they designate trails for dogs with either a picture with a dog with no leash or a picture of a dog with a leash or a picture of a dog with red circle (no dogs allowed) and that’s usually at museum parks to keep the grass clean, etc and even so there are tons of little trails around those areas for dogs to be (leashed or unleashed). Coming back to the Bay Area was a rude awakening. NO dogs unleashed ANYWHERE except dog parks. (and the dog parks are disgracefully small and unsafe here.) It makes ZERO sense to me if I have a dog i’m hiking with in the mountains, with nobody around, my dogs obey and return on recall, they don’t chase farm animals (they were trained on horses, cows, sheep, goats in Switzerland and did well on them) and they call off wild animals. I feel that creating dog parks to go to is a very unsafe compromise as most of the dog parks are very tiny (an acre or less) and not a natural way for a dog to run /walk freely as the energy of dog parks are insane (in a bad way). I love to walk with my dogs off leash. I don’t allow them to meet other dogs UNLESS it’s planned or the other owner nearby or approaching asks/allows. I always recall and leash my dogs near another dog walker, even if that dog is unleashed. I always supervise first meetings on leash then we get on with our activity–usually a hike/walk–either leashed or unleashed depending on where we are. Typically I prefer to interact with my dogs or hike with another friend with her dogs. I absolutely hate dog parks for so many reasons. occasionally i will use them to train my dogs under distraction but even then I don’t see the point of submitting them to that kind of stress when the type of interactions we encounter are hikers, bikers, equestrians and other dog walkers going about their day. There was exactly ONE dog park in my area in Switzerland and NOBODY used it. Because the Swiss are animal-smart and relaxed about leashed or unleashed dogs. They don’t need dog parks because they don’t panic when they see unleashed dogs whether they have dogs or not or whether their dogs are leashed or unleashed. Rather I usually got stopped a lot because they love huskies and rarely saw them as pets but as real working dogs in that country. And they were so much smarter in their behavior toward dogs and how they approached my dogs for a meeting. They never just assumed they could even though my dogs were off-leash. (Ok, i have to laugh because one Italian Swiss woman love my GSD so much she squeezed his cheeks (I didn’t see it coming) and said “ciao bambino!” while I had a heart attack thinking for sure that was an accident too fast for me to stop. Thankfully my GSD LOVED her immediately and tolerated it and gave her kisses.) I can’t tell you how many people stopped and asked to pose with my two dogs for photo ops. I have photos of them on my own blog doing this. It’s insane how much the Europeans love dogs. But they are really smart about them too so naturally a dog park seems just silly and useless to a Swiss person when there’s miles and miles of trails to explore as long as your dog is well under control via leash or voice. Dog parks and overly strict leash laws are creating a bigger mess than they are meant to prevent. I get leash laws in public places and really busy towns/cities. I don’t get them for the country side and as it stands right this second, where I live, leashes are required 100% of the time, period, no matter where you are in Nor Cal (remote country or town) except on your own property. it’s a real tragedy for people who want to really recreate nicely with their dogs, (thow a ball, do a sport, etc.). Trying to play a sport in a busy over run dog park with dogs who only want to romp and wrestle with your dog is completely counter-intuitive to building a trustworthy off leash dog. Like anything else, people who don’t understand, create laws that don’t make any sense. Wish I was back in Europe. Anyway here’s my story on the dog’s trip in the Italian section of Switzerland and with some posing with them:

    I wish there was a way we can change laws to be more leash relaxed, maybe not in towns/cities but definitely in country side. It just makes sense.

  104. Ozi says

    let me just say thank you for opening this topic. I have dogs all my life and now I have a privilage of being a friend to my elderly greyhound. This thopic is very interestig to me because I see laws for dogs implement and people’s attitude toward dogs change over time – and I must say: not for the better
    I am doing a paper/dissertation on these topic: Dogs in public spaces, where I am exploring ongoing trend in Slovenia (an Central-Easteren European country) – a trend of limitating the use of public spaces for dogs and also their owners.
    I think that these kind of limitations of public spaces are discriminating toward dogowners and have a potencial for creating intolerant society. Awerall all these processes could eventualy leed to limitations of use of public spaces for other kind of users in the future and I think they could also lead to diminishig of some human rights and I am certan they create fear of dogs if not that they crate human-dog segregation instead human-dog co-habitation.

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