The Swiss are known for their well-behaved pets and pet owners are allowed to take their doggies almost anywhere unlike Australia.  In 2008, mandatory dog training in Switzerland was introduced by the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office as part of the national animal protection legislation to ensure good welfare and improve dog-owner-communication.

The rules were backed by voters following highly publicised dog attacks on children. Anyone who has never owned a dog before must take a 4-hour theory course BEFORE they purchase or adopt the dog.  The content covers – about dog ownership (needs, costs), breeding/breeds, nutrition, care & health, dog behaviour and laws/regulations.

All pet owners are required to do the 4-hour practical training course (with their dog) regardless of whether they have owned a dog before.  It will be necessary to pass the theory exam in order to keep any kind of dog, whether it is a Chihuahua or an Irish wolfhound.  The rationale behind taking the practical course with each and every dog brought into the family is to keep skills and knowledge current.

The mandatory dog training in Switzerland has received a positive response among English expatriates,

“I must say, the training in Switzerland was great and I personally think the laws are great for animals and pet owners.  At first I did not like the fact that we had to do the training by law, but it was a blessing for us as owners more than the dog.  Our dog is much better in this country, it’s so nice to see dogs off the leash and free. 99.9% of the dogs I have seen are well trained and look very happy.” (

Not everyone welcomed the mandatory dog training in Switzerland.

“Education is necessary but to completely regulate (dog ownership) is not the solution” says a breeder of Yorkshire Terriers in Valais. (

According to Swiss Animal Protection (SAP), the oldest and largest animal protection organization operating throughout Switzerland and Liechtenstein, many future dog owners decide on a breed solely based on its looks and not its needs, behavioural traits, characteristics and personality.  Dog trainers of mandatory courses try to steer future dog owners in another direction, towards a better match between dog and human personalities.

dog training in Switzerland

Take Fido almost anywhere after completing dog training in Switzerland. Photo: Jim Dratfield

Dogs are allowed in many places in Switzerland but not in grocery stores or public places.  The dog must remain on the leash in the city and residential areas.

When you and your dog have completed the dog training in Switzerland, you can take Fido travelling, shopping and enjoy a meal together in restaurants.  Dogs and cats may travel on public transport. 

Many hotels are pet-friendly. Most Swiss restaurants will let you bring in a well-behaved pet. It is not uncommon for the waitress to serve a plate of food to a customer’s dog. However, it’s considered bad manners to have your dog sit in a chair while eating…unless, of course, Fido knows how to use silverware.

Dog training in Switzerland sources

Swiss Animal Protection,,