Who Let the Dogs Out?

Well, if Germany passes a proposed law, the answer will be "EVERYONE"!!

Thinking about bring your furry family member to Germany with you? Well, you may now get all that physical exercise you’ve been promising yourself for years! A new law proposed in Germany demands dog Owners take pets on an hour-long walk twice a day!!


Maybe their real intent is to force the 20% of their population who are dog owners (and that doesn’t count all the US military families in Germany who also have dogs!) to get become more active, but protecting the health and safety of dogs is something Germany takes seriously.

"The law, under Germany’s Dogs Act, will require dog owners to take their dogs out for at least one hour twice a day, so a quick jaunt around the block is not going to be sufficient anymore"

The law, under Germany’s Dogs Act, will require dog owners to take their dogs out for at least one hour twice a day, so a quick jaunt around the block is not going to be sufficient anymore.

The new rules are based on scientific findings showing that dogs need a "sufficient measure of activity and contact with environmental stimuli" in order to thrive. In accordance with the new law, you would also not be able to leave your dog alone at home all day - and the tethering of dogs on a chain or a leash for long periods may also be banned.


There are an estimated 9.4 million dogs in Germany that would be affected by the new law. Many people have questions about how this law would be monitored and/or enforced! Many are also questioning whether their dog’s exercise should be governed.


I guess I’m wondering if that same law would apply to dog owners who have a big back yard for their dog to get plenty of exercise all day, and especially if they have more than one dog which often means lots of playtime (exercise). I’m not really sure how families who work full-time will be able to carve two hours out of every day to walk their dog.


But I’ve always known Germans take the health and safety of dogs seriously; pretty much as serious as they take the health and safety of children:) Owning a pet is a responsibility; if you don’t accept the responsibility, you could be fined and your dog could be removed from your home.


It is technically illegal to leave your dog alone for more than five hours. This means anyone working an 8-hour day should plan for someone to come by and let their dog out in between. German Animal Protection Laws apply to all animals, not just dogs, and breaking these laws can result in fines and eventually the animal being removed from the home.


Dogs should also not be left chained up for ANY reason; dogs should also not be kept solely on balconies or in bathrooms or basements. Animal abuse is taken seriously; if a dog is at risk and needs to be removed from the home, owners can expect a prison sentence up to three years or a fine as high as 25,000 Euros.


Excessive barking or noise from a dog (especially during quiet hours) is also subject to a fine. If your dog has a barking problem, it’s best to see a dog trainer; shock collars are also illegal in Germany.


In Germany, dog owners pay an annual tax for each dog they own, which may make owners less likely to abandon their dogs. It would be rare to see a stray dog in Germany, unlike in parts of many other countries.


The good news is that dogs are welcome almost everywhere in Germany, including many restaurants, all outdoor cafes, and even on trains. If you consider (and treat) your dog like a genuine family member, the dog is going to love being here!


As for the new law, I’m wondering about the old lazy dogs! You know, kind of like old lazy members of the family if you told them they had to walk for at least an hour twice a day. Are you going to be turned into authorities for dragging them down the street by their leash like a pull-toy? Fortunately, our furry family member is still young and energetic; she recently did a five-mile walk with us but was exhausted for the rest of the day. So, I’m also wondering if once a day for two hours will suffice:)


For those planning a move to the state of Bavaria, please see this PDF document.