In Germany, walking your dog will be mandatory from 2021. If you do not take your four-legged friend outside at least twice a day, you will be fined. The question is how you will enforce such a law.
Because what do you do, for example, with a dog that does not want to go outside at all, or that is too old to walk? In Australia, there is already an obligation to exhaust and for non-compliance, fines can be up to $ 2,700. But fines or not, the fact is that not walking is just bad for your dog.
« What do you understand by exhausts? » It is the first question that arises for behavioral expert Liselot Boersma. Because the enforcement and exact implementation of such a law seems to her to be an extremely complicated matter. « If you walk your dog on a short leash twice a day through the neighborhood, while looking at your smartphone, you may meet such an obligation to walk, but it does not help your dog. »
Dik Nagtegaal of the Animal Protection Agency also foresees all kinds of problems. « You can say: ‘Twice a day for half an hour’. But that is too much for one dog and too little for another. » As far as he is concerned, you have to take into account race, age. He is also afraid that if such an exhaust obligation is introduced in the Netherlands, there will be great resistance. « Before you know it, we all have dog owners on the Malieveld who are angry about the exhaust law. We shouldn’t want that either. »
Both Boersma and Nagtegaal understand why Germany is introducing such a law and do not fail to emphasize the importance of exhausting. « A dog must be able to sniff », Boersma explains. « For the dog, his nose and smell are very important: who has been here, what fell here. Going outside is just like checking social media for a human being for a dog. Unfortunately, I often see things go wrong. »
« The consequences of not walking properly are major », Nagtegaal adds. « With too little challenge, a dog gets bored. And that can lead to behavioral problems. Then you get dogs who will demolish the couch or they become annoying to other dogs or owners when they are outside. »
Signal to the Netherlands
The signal that Germany is sending with the law is important to Boersma, also towards the Netherlands. « Especially because it makes us think about the welfare needs of dogs in the Netherlands. Other countries are really ahead of the Netherlands in some welfare points. »
She refers, among other things, to the ban on electric belts in Great Britain, with fines of up to 2,000 euros for whoever uses them. And in New Zealand and Norway, dog owners can include paw-ternity leave for the first few weeks of having a pet to help improve bonding at the beginning and reduce the likelihood of later relationship problems. Animal shelters could thus become redundant in the future.
Nice and tired is not necessarily happy
The German bill also states that you cannot leave your dog alone. And that also gives some food for thought to veterinarian and Libelle animal doctor Martijntje van der Veer. « Walking twice a day is really the minimum. »
« There are 24 hours in a day, what else do you do with your dog except walk it twice? » So moving alone is not enough for her. « You also have to get the brain of your animal to move. 5 minutes of thinking is equivalent to an hour running and throwing a ball. The brain has to rattle, which is very satisfying for a dog. Because if they get little stimuli, they can be very unhappy. turn into. »
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