Compulsory course for dog owners offered locally
Translated and adapted by Diana Oehrli Article by Christine Eisenbeis AVS 28.10.11
Since 2008, a federal law requires all first-time dog owners to provide a certificate proving that they have attended a minimum four-hour theoretical course before a dog is purchased or brought home. Offering theoretical and practical courses locally are licensed coaches Kathrin Ummel and Rolf Steiner of the Hundesportverein Saanenland (Dog Sporting Club). Both coaches have noticed that many dog owners fail to follow federal provisions. “Most who register for our theory course already have the dog” they say. It should be the opposite. The theoretical course is designed for potential dog owners to clarify what dogs need and to erase misconceptions. They believe dog breeders and animal shelters should be required to require proof of course attendance before a dog can be purchased or adopted.They feel they have succeeded, if a participant during the theoretical course says: “I’ve changed my mind and no longer want a dog.” According to animal welfare statistics, 27,463 animals were brought to animal shelters in 2010, a 3,579 rise over a year ago. Ummel and Steiner believe this is due to a rise in popularity of pets and to a throwaway mentality.The theory course teaches people what dogs are, which breed would fit them best, and their basic requirements.During the practical course, the basics of dog training are taught including discipline and consistency. There is common misperception that owners of little dogs do not need to attend courses, but statistics show that little dogs are more involved in bites involving children than large dogs. For more information, call Rolf Steiner at 79 379 72 03; Kathrin Ummel at 076 505 75 66.