Why are German dogs so darn smart?

Old Jun 20th, 2006, 09:26 AM
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Why are German dogs so darn smart?

Wherever I've been in Europe, and especially in Germany, the dogs are so well-behaved. They pay no mind to stupid tourists or anybody else attempting to get their attention. They only seem to notice their masters. I guess that's why German restaurants allow owners to bring their dogs - they know the dog won't pee or bark at the other patrons. How do the owners train the pups? Do they have special obedience schools or is there strict licensing much like the stringent rules for obtaining a car license? The only dogs I've seen in the U.S. that behave as well as German dogs are our service dogs. Even our police and military dogs seem undisciplined compared to the average German doggie.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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That is a funny observation! When we lived there, we noted that their dogs were usually better bahaved than their children. Only once did we witness a barking match!
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 09:36 AM
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I suspect you may not be a dog owner. I've had little trouble getting European dogs' attention..depends on how you talk to them I guess.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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"Ordnung muss sein" is not, but should be, the national motto of Germany.

"There must be order [discipline, obedience; translate it as you like].

The Germans apply the same rules to their dogs.

But as far as that goes, in Italy, which may be the farthest removed from the German mind set, many restaurants also allow dogs, who are extraordinarily well-behaved.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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Patience and persistance. I've picked up some tips from the "Dog Whisperer".
Europeans have the expectation that their dogs will be out in public. Few American dogs go anywhere but to the park. Dogs that go to work with their owners tend to be better trained. I do mean "go" my husband and I work from home and our dog is fairly well behaved but not a model citizen by any means. She would be if I could convince her to stop running around visitors going "Woo Woo Woo". We are working on it.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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We were sitting in a cafe in Paris one day watching the well behaved French dogs. I asked a young Frenchman next to me if they all took them to obedience school - he just laughed. But I don't think dogs are allowed in cafes and stores because they are well behaved in Europe - it is just a mindset different from the US where everything is regulated out the wazoo. We wanted to take our small dog to a sidewalk cafe in Atl but of course there was a public health ordinance prohibiting it.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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It's well known that dogs take after the masters.
that said the most violent dog fight i've every seen was in Cochem, Germany when two dobermanns were fighting to the death it seemed - both with mouths locked on each others - guys started hitting the dogs with shovels, etc. and they didn't stop fighting for several minutes before the owners somehow restrained them.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 10:35 AM
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My German dog was born and raised in the USA and is verrrry smart!
I think it is the owners, not the dogs that make the difference ( in some small way) ((&))
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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Scarlett: does your dog speak German or English?
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 11:02 AM
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LOL....I always wondered this myself! Now I am the owner of a very precious lab/sheppard mix mutt that I love dearly, but there is no way I would ever bring to him a restaurant, ever. He is a master at pulling food off a plate faster than I can say "no"! And I won't even get into how he wants to attack every dog who walks by. Even after several puppy obedience classes, those German dogs put my doggie to shame!

Tracy
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 11:34 AM
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My guess is that it's only the well-behaved ones that get taken out to restaurants.

And it isn't just the German dogs---we met a very sweet and well-behaved Jack Russell at the next table in a Swiss restaurant. Since we have one ourselves, and there's no way I can let her off a leash, let alone take her anywhere, I wanted to ask how they did it. But I couldn't speak the language, and anyway it didn't seem appropriate to interrupt their dinner, so I didn't.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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My two American-born German dogs are as different as night and day. One, a Shepherd, is smarter than most humans I know. The Dachshund - dumb as a post, but the nicest, quietest dog you could ever meet.

Both were raised city dogs, and I think city dogs are just different. Now that I live in the 'burbs, I realize that city dogs get taken everywhere and just get used to everything. My dogs couldn't care less about seeing people on the street, jumping on people, being off the leash, or someone talking to them while out in public. In fact, they are quite bored with life on a cul-de-sac and their interaction with suburban dogs is nearly one of disdain, as if they've seen it all, which they pretty much have.

My neighbors' dog, on the other hand, is stuck in a crate most of the day and barely sees the light of day, or ends up on a tether in the backyard. He never gets to chase a ball or play with other dogs. You can't even look at him without him peeing on himself, he's so excited for the attention! No way could he go to a cafe, unless he had months of work beforehand!
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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I would add, however, that a German born and raised family friend has one of the most unruly, but adorable, dogs I know!
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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I think the OP title is rubbish actually. there is no way German dogs can be smarter than other dogs - certain types or breeds of dogs may be but that has nothing to do with being raised in Germany. All over Europe you see dogs with the same trait. In laid-back holland there are dogs running around in cafes, shops, everywhere and seem very calm. so i don't think it has anything to do with Germany.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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I want to know if Scarlett's pup dreams in English or German.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 12:28 PM
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Germans in general simply have less tolerance for out of control behavior and do what it takes to make sure that their animals fit in to their lives, instead of it being the other way around. Germans treat their animals well, but make sure that limits are set.

This is a generalization, but for the most part, it is what I experienced in my many years in Germany.

In general (again), German society tends to be more orderly, with less of a tolerance for unorderly, undisciplined, spontaneous behavior. This, is as true of all things, has positive and negative aspects. One big positive is that dogs listen to their owners, having been taught to do so at a young age.

Diana
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 12:33 PM
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I've spent months and months in Holland and Dutch dogs do the same and the Dutch are known for their ballyhooed tolerance!
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 12:59 PM
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Obviously German dogs have better self-discipline because they have learned to master German, a structually difficult language.

American dogs, on the other hand, speak a language that hardly even uses the subjunctive. So how can you expect them to understand ideal behavior?

Sorry, but many American dogs also behave quite well and won't "pee or bark at the other patrons." And I've seen some European dogs misbehaving and wearing jeans. Now it's not enough to stereotype American people, but we have to pick on American dogs!
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Absolutely no mystery.

I have trained four dogs in my life. We usually get the puppies at an age of 8 to 12 weeks. At this age, dog training is very easy and requires just 2 or 3 weeks. I read a guidebook before I got my first dog (I was 10 years old, then). That's all.

I doubt if it is a matter of national character. Besides that German housewives are very strict in hygienical matters. An unclean dog within a private or public building is simply not imaginable in Germany.
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Old Jun 20th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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I heard the "Dog Whisperer" talk about this subject once on NPR. He said that Europeans, generally, view their dogs differently than Americans. While they love their dogs, they are not treated like family members - they are dogs and have their place. The dogs respect this place, and "behave" because they have strong masters. Accordingly, training and reaction to poor behavior are handled quite differently in Europe.

My dog is a German Shepherd mix, and while he is the best dog around, he would be very bad in a crowded cafe. He'd beg for food from everyone, and steal (and eat) all the napkins he could find.
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