Visiting France: Check Out If Your Dog Is Subject To French Regulations

I actually don't like to do this posting but I must warn every owner of a Rottweiler who intents to visit France for holidays!!!

Now the law here in France is getting so far: It is not possible to go anywhere in the public with your Rottweiler without muzzle. There is no precise definition of where public begins, in towns, villages, roads and even including unpaved field paths in the country side.

Have no illusion about this law: The fine is up to 15.000 Euro! If your dog is bitting someone else's dog or a person. Police must advise you that you put a muzzle. And my personal experience is very positive with police and gendarmerie; also some of them here know my two have the a German VPG & FH certification based on FCI standard. So simply if you are told to put a muzzle, just do it! Don’t start a silly argument like: you did not know and you were unaware of this law because you are a tourist. Law is law.

It is not the police which is obsessed enforcing a law. They usually first observe. All are going through trainings and workshops where they learn deescalation has priority. Your and your Rottie (or the other breeds mentioned below) problem starts with the “petite bourgeois”, this species of the “I know it all” fraction who see themselves as the moral pillars of a society which tend to insular thinking. If you are in a hotel, or live in a gite to go for walks in the country side during your holidays you find this species much more then you like…

Here now comes the real disadvantage: you know this little ones, these soooo sweeeeet doggies like e.g. Jack Russel (and they are really sweet and lively!), but they also are hyperactive and can be very "dangerous" if does not get a response from your dog, so the little one continues attacking. I have had a German shepherd going for my Rottie. That shepherd bit him really very, very bad. And you know, you can not go between bitting dogs. So, my little Rottie could only compensate the handicap of the muzzle hassle by using his sheer weight , jumped up to crash with his 60+ kg onto this shepherd. Imagine this then, it was taking me weeks of training each day to control that his experience did not lead into a suppressed aggression which can then break out at any time… And I needed to pay a huge sum for treatment out of my own pocket.

Of course, I not saying forget France (Swiss law is not any better). Sure,you can enjoy your holidays in France also under this discriminating law when you love it that your Rotti is wearing a muzzle and can be risk-free bitten by any other dog. But what do you do when your Rottie then is becoming aggressive towards other dogs, - just because of having the experience being totally defenceless?

I spoke to dog trainers and vets here in France and they confirmed that it is basically legal discrimination and deliberate ignorance. One of the vets we visit once a year is a renown Rottweiler specialist since 1984, her husband is working as a generalist in a hospital. Both are saying: “the fact that the statistics are telling a totally different story because most biting wounds treated in hospitals are caused by small dogs.”

It is clear that the biting force is also important, so a small dogs bite does not have the same effect. But a person who got bitten will be afraid all his life and of course when it sees a big one simply even more. But that this law is based on empirically derived & by knowledge acquired by means of observation or experimentation does not look plausible to me. But surly by media pundits who are making their living from writing about, what they consider a sensation. These are the same dull journalists who want to tell us everyday in one way or another that a European Grass Snake is saving a fish or frog from drowning….

Val, that's exactly the type of dog owner / keeper why it all came to introduce this law and I think first a fine of ca. one month of his wage so it really hurts him and not a symbolic 100 euros, but if such thing incident is happened a second time the dogs need to be confiscated because this guys seems not to have a clue of responsibility. These individuals are responsible that such laws needed to be introduced... Have really no tolerance. Doesn't matter child, adult, another dog, thats basic training.

Ha ha ha, Peter, loved that.

...probably wears Hush Puppies !

I love the idea of a house dog in a house coat or dressing gown. Does he have slippers for winter mornings? Lovely.

I was speaking to my neighbour the other day who goes cycling round the locality once or twice a week. He went past a house about 5km away and apparently two Rotties (or types - he said they definitely had Rottie in them) charged out the gate and one bit him on the ankle. The owner gave him a shrug for his pains - literal pain. THAT is the sort of owner behaviour I find appalling. Does the owner have no concern that it may have been children on bikes instead of a grown man? (Not that I'm saying biting a grown man is acceptable either, but can you imagine??).

D. Jane, that’s the very fair and clear basic of a description of Rotties, but it applies actually really to most large dogs, - it fearlessness and self-confidence. And yes its is not a breed you should have without knowing the basics of their nature, means training and advise is necessary

Doreen, it was just a recommendation how to help him to understand where his territory begins and and ends. He can’t understand the sense of a fence, for him its only a challenge and then Labs are really smart! So I don’t understand your reaction.
Lis, of course, if he is just 4 weeks here its normal he is interested in everything, if not it would be indeed strange. Retriever in this age are extremely playful and they are the least aggressive dogs I know, but very smart. Just take care he does not start this little “gentle” nibbles (bitings) while licking hands. Otherwise, once he got used to his new environment he will calm down. Yes Ces Milan is good! There are some exceptions like he electric collar he is proposing, but then, if he can’t handle certain behaviours then who? His approach is the rehabilitate dogs and train their owners, something they properly do not like too much ;-)

Theo…what made you think that our puppy is agitated? He’s young, he’s interested in anything that moves around him, and I would be worried is he wasn’t…but agitated, he is definitely not! I’ve done the puppy classes, it’s not our first dog and I swear by Cecar Millan’s methods. PS! He only came to France just about 4?weeks ago, so he is adjusting too…and the world is an exiting place to be!

Why was your dog wearing your dressing gown Doreen ?

Well said Patrick (Hay), you just said everything I feel on this subject.

The lack of discipline by a very apparent minority of irresponsable dog owners spoil it for the caring majority.

I would extend the law to apply it to every dog that's in a public place regardless of breed. That would cut down the number of injuries caused by unmuzzled, off-leash dogs with issues attacking others. The pitbulls get bad press but it's some of the little dudes that cause problems. The last 'thing' that charged us, as we were walking AWAY from it, was a bulldog. I could have happily strangled the bloody thing - trying to deal with three overstimulated dogs on leads while comforting a traumatised boy.

I agree about untrained owners. We can only try to keep the peace. We have dogs wandering around but the good news is that most don't do anything but scrounge. I agree about the muzzles, but it is the law here so I would rather abide by it if possible. My husband and I are from California and they don't have such rules but they also don't allow dogs in restaurants which does happen here.

D. Jane, I know muzzles are a necessity and prevention is so much better than injury in anyone's book but I bloody detest them. My Hugo, my unknown breed donkey-sized lump, has to wear a muzzle because he was dumped in a box at 3 weeks, has no papers and has a big fat head so he's been labelled due to size but they really worry me. You now as well as Theo have been approached by less than sociable German Shepherds which can inflict such damage but Hugo, for example, would be completely defenceless because he's muzzled. I despair of owners who let untrained / unsocialised /(whatever word) dogs run free in areas they know there are other dogs but don't seem to give a hoot about the outcome and do little, if anything, to prevent their dogs from attacking. If they're not friendly, put them on a bloody leash.

I think posts alternately talking about large dogs and smaller ones is causing confusion. Doreen, I've had a quick read back and I honestly don't think Theo used an abusive tone. He was suggesting that walking your Lab around the perimeter might encourage him to stay in the garden better as he would know the terrain and then he could be let off the chain when he's outside. I have the same problem with my big boy, Hugo, who has complete wanderlust and leaps 7 feet high (literally) fencing. Where the fence extends to 8 feet, he simply ram raids through underneath it. Sheesh. So he, too, is on a length of rope when he's outside. It's not ticed off at the other end but at least if he does get out he's much easier to follow if he doesn't get tangled up first!

I love this thread as perceptions of different dog breeds are of interest to me so could we keep it happy please? Oh, and the most terrifying foster dog we had here was called Gino, about 8 inches tall and really, really mean - he scared the crap out of big dogs, cats and people alike. He had to go back after six weeks because my lot became so stressed I couldn't bear it.

My husband and I have a wonderful 8 year old female rottie whom nearly everyone in our small town loves. She is gentle with all children and they all know her name and pet her. When first coming to France with her, it was a big deal and yes, muzzles are required. We always put the muzzle on her when taking her for walks but sometimes when we take her to the vineyards, we let her off leash.

We got here when she was approximately a year old and the first thing we did was to take her and us for training classes. They are a very smart breed so she was easy to train and knows her commands well.

The first time we brought her to France, I was walking her on leash with her muzzle in the promenade. The next thing I see is this huge shepherd, off leash and coming at us. I pulled the muzzle down and then held on to her leash with both hands. She is more than capable of pulling me but she has never done that. A few commands will sidetrack her. When she reared up on her hind legs, she scared the other dog off. Her usual recourse now is if another dog is threatening, she will stand up on her back legs and within a few seconds everything calms down.

Doreen, "verbally abuse people" ? I'm really a patient person. So. please do read again but do not twist my words:

I precisely wrote it was a GSD (German Shepherd Dog) "I have had a German shepherd going for my Rottie. That shepherd bit him really very, very bad." It was me who was left to pay 800 Euro for hospitalisation and treatment of my dog, because his wasn't even insured...) You may haven't read it...

Or, do you consider them small? And it is my vet's husband who is working in for ordinary humans who was saying "... most biting wounds treated in hospitals are caused by small dogs.”

Where is the “Reply” button???? So then answers all in one post...

Don, he just was warning nicely:”hello, till here and this is my territory”. Yes its true dogs have astonishing instances. Approximately 3 weeks ago a guy came into my garden. I heard the two dogs barking, but not rough or threatening and they did not stop. They usually bark very little, so I went down to check and the was this guy one Rottie behind him, another stopping him from entering the house. So the guy stood there and was not afraid. He was one of this without home and quickly I realised he was mentality a bit retarded and he haven’t had any sinister plans. The dogs must have sensed this instantly as he came through the gate. They have been more “determent” with a certain type of “artisan” who want to “enforce” their services. One spend at least 2 hours in the apricot tree, till we returned from shopping. But the dogs never bite and do not eat anything a stranger would offer them (all my friends have had to go at their first visit through the procedure of offering the dogs them a wonderful steak with lots of tabasco)… Its their nature to protect their territory.

Lis, you need to stop him from getting “agitated”. And what concerns the his pulling attitude: keep the leash in your right hand, then behind your body. You will not feel his pulling as much, but you have more control as he has to pull your body. At the same time he starts pulling you tell him “feet” or a command he remembers. Correctly “Feet means then his nose is about at your knees hight and he is never going further and faster as you. And, don’t start this tread rewarding, - it does not work because all he does is to get the tread and in a certain situation the tread is less important for him… and regarding your second post: Your wish, “the French” would look after their dogs, I’m a little bit pessimistic because they are giving in to the wishes of their kids. And then there are kids, growing up and don’t care… But then you have such wonderful caring French people as well. What concerns the Crotte, no not the "Cote blue”, I even find it stupid to go into a town with a dog. They like to sniff around, but its not their natural environment. I only do it for training reasons...
Ian, I saw with my own eyer what a pack of little Chihahuas can do to a real big dog near the mex-us border. They are quite courageous dogs, but like all smaller dogs, especially these gorgeous Jacky’s, too hyperactive for my age…
Doreen, I clearly wrote it was a German shepherd which was bitting my muzzled Rottie, not a little dogs. To me it is absolutely important that a dog is “risk-less” to any person (unless being to to be on alert) You should really get your Labrador off the chain. Not that he would run away, no, what do your think he is forced to believe? Your favour the Yorky. This is maybe the root of his “run-away-speen”. You need to walk along your fence with him for a month, or more, each day, telling him not to run away, so he knows. He’s not a human. The only problem is that also your Labrador may cause a bit a damage “incidentally” by banging into the Little One, they do a lot with their shoulders. Yes, there is a sign at the two gate, which is also obligatory by law. Just walk the Lab a bit in the garden along the fence and he will know where the limits are.
Paule, you only need to go to a vet and you will get the certification (120 + Euro) and if you want to have a LOF you need to find a judge. I’m just saying this because I learned breeders (with this breeds Mallinious (Belgian Shepherd), Akitas, Beauceron
and Rhodesian are having a strange understanding of LOF) Especially with the Beauceron (I learned at the Argo Show in Paris) the real breeder have a lot problems with hobby breeders… But with a Mastiff, you can’t go anywhere without muzzle once its Cat I….
Patrick, your input is very helpful. In fact I agree to most you write! What is necessary to understand: Same rules for all dogs!!! “ as you write “All that's required is that owners should understand their dog is no different from any other dog, and that they bear the responsibility for its behaviour, its safety, and the safety of other people who use public places. Because it is exactly this attitude “Oh my dog will not do anything, - till a child first petting the head of a dog which it does not know, parents smiling like dull idiots and then the child is testing how the dogs reacts if it pokes his eye… Also do I agree that people who decide to have a dog in their house, that all of them should have the obligation to spend certain time with the dog (so maybe some would prefer fishes then…). As I wrote in the blog: it is empirical that most dog bits treated in hospitals are cause by small dogs. The rest is for this sweet little “petite bourgeois” which is pissing in their pants they see a bird anyway… They only thing here is: buerocrats create laws without empirical research, they do it as they are being told by lobby groups. And this lobby groups have the fees in mind they can charge…. So think.
Lesley: don’t worry, this little giant would just bark once or twice, you stay away from the door and that’s all. Rotties are like that. Just don’t hit him or be aggressive, then its a bit trouble coming up. (have had a case recently, he wanted to see his imagination of an aggressive Rottweiler "live" teasing my Big One. It just shows the mindset of some people)
Valerie, yes, its exactly the same info I’ve got. It all just melts down to the responsibility to care, to spent tome with a dog and give him the ability to learn to behave socially proper. In the UK there is this Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme which does not coast a fortune but helps a lot to avoid hassle...

I had a German short hair hunting dog, Henry, that I adopted when his owner had a stroke. He could put on quite a show of ferocity toward those approaching the property, but the neighbors and facteur were not intimidated due to the fact that he always had his rubber squeaky ball in his mouth, when barking, and his tail wagging. In fact they were quite amused with his bluff. He was very gentle, but demanding of affection and attention. Just a big goofy lover. He never bit anyone, but would persistently nudge with his nose until ears were scratched. In all my years I have only been bitten by two breeds, a little Boston bull terrier and a sheltie with severe emotional problems... he would bite just about anyone without warning.

Our lovely 5 months old Golden Retriever is already big and very strong, and my hands are seriously suffering as he’s pulling and wants to say hello to anything on 2 or 4 legs. He in particularly loves little kids and if they are on a scooter even better. What I do not understand is that parents are happy for their kids, well most are, to instantly pad our Max on the head. They do not know him, his big and he could flatten a small person anytime. Guess who eould be guilty us that happens! He’s always on a lead when he’s outside our home/garden, and I have bought + been given by a friend a Halti head collar/Le Licol. Lots have commented that they feel sorry for him wearing this, but it does not hurt him, it’s only uncomfortable for him, and he’s already picking up on, that if he pulls, it’s uncomfortable, if he does not pull it’s OK, and soon he will no longer have to wear it we hope! :slight_smile:

The only dog that has ever bitten me was a Jack Russell and that only when I went to grab him as he attacked my ankles. The owner was basically unconcerned. Most growling and teeth showing posturing came from my son's Chihuahuas and one even urinated on the bed I was sleeping in when I visited. If that was his best alpha challenge good luck to him. My son and his wife had to clear up the mess not me.

We have a mastiff and it is necessary to have their pedigree or this breed automatically becomes a 1st Category dangerous dog. We are on our second Dogue de Bordeaux bought in France and both times have had to chase the breeder for their papers.