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Dec 16, 2010 08:15 AM

Dogs vs Kids


We just came back from 10 days in Germany (Bavaria), and were blown away by the fact that there were no children in any of the restaurants we went to. None. There were, however, dogs. Dogs in stores, dogs on public transportation and dogs in restaurants. They were mostly smaller dogs (no Great Danes), but they were not those little beasts that fit into your purse either. Many eateries even provide doggie water bowls. And without exception, the dogs were quite well behaved and unobtrusive.

Are the Germans on to something?

  1. Very nice. We occasionally have a restaurant allow Greyhounds in during the Greyhounds Reach the Beach festival on the DE shore, and once in a blue moon here in Dover for some fund raiser. If the dogs are well behaved and socialized, I personally have no problem with it.
    It will be interesting to see if it spreads.

    1. This isn't an anti-kid post in disguise, is it?
      I feel like here in the U.S. we just don't have the kind of discipline for people to only bring their small, well-behaved dogs into restaurants -- I'm positive any restaurant that started to allow that would soon have to deal with Rottweilers. Everyone in my family is allergic to dogs, so we're happy with the no-pet policy in restaurants.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Pia

        No, it's not an anti-kid post. I'm sorry if it had that appearance. I have been through the whole taking my kids to restaurants thing years ago, and now have grand kids. It's always an adventure, and not always a good one (they are 3 1/2, 4 1/2 and 8 months). I have to tell you, though, that 8 hours on the plane (both ways) with screaming infants sitting behind me did make me feel just a bit anti-kid.

        This is probablay a custom that has long standing in Germany (or at least in Bavaria, where we visited), and the unspoken rules are clearly recognized and adhered to. The largest dog we saw in a restaurant was the size of a mid-sized lab or golden. Once they were in the restaurant, you hardly knew that they were there -- they just curled up at their owner's feet under the table. On trains, they curled up inder the seats. When we asked locals about the no kids in restaurants thing, we were told that children are taken to places like Pizza Hut, or McDonalds, but almost never to a regular dining establishment. Dogs, on the other hand......

      2. I can't say we never saw kids in restaurants when we were in Frankfurt for a trade show trip, but there were dogs everywhere. The thing that struck me is that they were all well behaved, but they didn't seem overly trained and were, overall, really laid back pets. Even breeds that can be really focused and alert to everything, like German shepherds or schnauzer or Rottweilers, were quite content to just hang out under a table. Maybe it's because they were also evident trotting along on errands and shopping, rather than shut in their houses or apartments waiting for their people to come home. It seemed like being out and about like that wasn't "special," so they were well accustomed to it.

        I have to say, the kids we saw also were really well behaved.

        1. Population and reproduction might have something to do with this topic as well. Birthrates are declining in Europe and Germany appears to be leading the pack with approx. .60 children per couple. Perhaps they're having puppies instead?

          2 Replies
          1. re: sebetti

            Maybe they should stop cutting their kids in thirds. ::drumfill::

            1. re: sebetti

              France is in the middle of a baby boom -- birthrates for the last several years have reached post WWII levels...and Germany's not that far behind.

              Europeans take their children with them when they go out to eat, and not just to fast-food...restaurants cater to them, but children are expected to behave appropriately, which is not a bad thing.

            2. Child of a German chiming in - Based on my time in Germany, both living there alone as well as regular, weeks long visits with the many relatives, I do think German dogs are better behaved their American cousins.

              Maybe it is just my family members and their friends but their dogs are well-trained. They sit when told to sit, they stay still until told to release, they don't jump or lick or bark. I am not a dog person and I never disliked being around "restaurant dogs" while in Germany.

              I cannot say the same about most of the dogs I see in the states or in my hometown. While I don't see dogs inside restaurants, I see plenty on the streets every day.

              Maybe Americans humanize their dogs more? Train them less? Maybe German dogs are more tired because of all the walking? Maybe they are more socialized? I don't know but I have also noticed that German dogs are quite well behaved.

              3 Replies
              1. re: cleobeach

                cleobeach, I also own a German shepherd (have had them since I was 4) and the calm nature of all the dogs out in society was surprising to me. When I said not overly trained, I meant they had the basics I think all dogs should have ... sit, stay, don't jump around like a loon. I think it might be all of the things you named in the last paragraph, and maybe it's some breeding, too. The dog I have now is from German parents -- dogs bred in Germany -- and her temperament from the very beginning was just ... different. Focused as they all are, but calmer. Easy to train, and I should add, very helpful in cleaning the kitchen floor. She especially likes cheese-grating time.

                1. re: lsmutko

                  When my son was in a high chair, my GS would monitor and devour everything that fell from the high chair. At one point she had diarrhea (not uncommon with her) so I took her to the vet, who asked if she'd been eating anything she didn't usually eat. I realized and had to say "Boy, has she ever," That ended her under-high-chair cleaning career.

                2. re: cleobeach

                  We adopted a very beautiful, multi-diseased German Shepherd many years back. I wanted to make her one of those dogs you can take anywhere, out of the country, all that. We got her well, but the fact is she would never give in to her inner coyote instincts, she was afraid of loud noises (rocky Point gringo goober entrtainment - fireworks every night after sundown) she would run away across the estuaries until we found her and put her in a car (safe haven to her), in short she would never have made it in a French cafe. She was our best most memorable dog ever but I wouldn't even try to take her to restaurant, damn coyote would have run roughshod through the place. My friend Ming has a German Shepherd that is unbelievbly well-behaved, she can walk him to Trader Joe's and tie him outside, he stays put and wouldn't try to schmooze people into letting him loose and giving him food like Duchess would.
                  We called her the Hellcow and I always thought i should have named her Dammit. We loved her too much, but she was not one of those dogs you could take to a French bistro or anywhere else where ther was food. She'd snatch it right out of your hand if she thought she could get away with it.