I love that I get to take my dog everywhere in Germany. It’s absolutely the best to be able to go shopping or sit for a cocktail and having my four-legged best friend with me.
There are also so many walking trails around that are great for exploring new areas and making sure Copley gets exercise throughout the day. I was surprised, though, by how many rules there are for walking your dog in Germany, given how many places dogs can go. I wish I had a quick cheat sheet for when we moved here and hope anyone who is moving to Germany or bringing your dog with you on vacation finds this helpful! There are also so many other rules and laws for owning a dog, like leaving your dog alone and in a crate all day is against the law, but that’s a different post for a different day.
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Check the signs
There are signs everywhere that let you know if your dog is allowed on the path or now. The signs will tell you if your dog must be kept on a leash, wear a muzzle or can roam freely. Dogs must be kept on a leash on public streets or you can be fined up to 5,000 Euros.
There is a field with walking paths just behind our apartment and dogs are allowed to walk off leash. Many German dogs are super well behaved and stay right with their owners, which is incredible to see. I usually keep Copley on a leash because she stops to smell things every five seconds and if she was on her own, she’d never walk. She also doesn’t react well when other dogs get in her face. It’s better for everyone if she stays on a leash.
There are signs also that will tell you if a dog can be on the grass of some places, like parks or homes. Beware of those places because you can get fined for letting your dog go to the bathroom on grass that has this sign. I always keep these bags on her leash for easy clean-up.
Keep Your Dog Close to You
I’ve noticed that when I’m walking the dog and she is very far in front of me, I get dirty looks. Then I discovered that there are rules for how far your dog’s leash can be from you depending on where you are. If you’re on a busy street, your dog can only be 1 meter away from you. If you’re in a more open area, like a park, it’s 5 meters. Many Germans even have two different leashes depending on where they are going with their dogs.
It’s best to just keep your dog close to you when you’re walking so you aren’t in violation of anything.
Dog Registration Tags
If you are moving to Germany, you must register your dog with your city, similar to what you have to do the States. You pay a registration fee annually and then the tag is sent to your home with a number on it. Your dog must wear this tag at all times, otherwise you will be fined. Of course, if you are just visiting, there is no need to register your dog. It varies by city, but if your dog remains in our city for more than 30 days, it must be registered.
I love taking Copley for walks. It is one of my favorite parts of the day. You can bring your dog to most restaurants and shops, which is so great. Plus, having this smily-faced girl looking at me afterwards is the absolute best.
I have certainly touched on some of the cultural differences between life in Germany…
You would think getting mail would be the same everywhere, wouldn’t you…