After four 1-hour online sessions, Petra completed the required theoretical training to learn how to care for a dog, in this case our dog Mia. After each session she would have a question and answer session with the trainer. At the end of the four sessions she had to call the trainer via SKYPE to confirm her identity. Next step is to do the practical training. I will participate in that along with Petra, Mia and the trainer.

As you can see having a pet in Switzerland is treated with the importance it deserves. We paid about CH300 in taxes for having a dog. One of the reasons things are expensive here in Switzerland is that many so called externalities that in other countries are either assumed by the government or left unpaid, here they are paid by the citizens.

To prove that she did the required theoretical training she received a card as a certificate of completion.



  1. Is this mandatory? Is it just a training on how to care for a do? Or does it cover how to give commands, etc.? I’m not sure if I want the government to control my decisions on owning a pet but at the same time it is good for those people who are so irresponsible with their pets and don’t take care of these pets that I consider part of the family. How did Mia adapt when she moved?

    1. Author

      In the online course Petra learned about the dog’s behavior, medical needs, routines, legal aspects, feeding, and general caring and responsibility information. You are supposed to do this course before you get a dog. In the course they also discuss what dog breed is best suited to your lifestyle. The second part which we have not done yet deals with training, commands…

      I think this type of regulation works in everyone’s best interest. If you have to do this training and pay taxes for your pet you will certainly think a bit more about the responsibilities and the implications of having and caring for an animal. The opposite end of this issue is people getting pets and in less than a year giving them up for adoption, abandoning them or worse. Plus, in this instance, who pays for the care of an abandoned pet? This is what I meant about externalities.

      Now, the crazy thing is that they do not have an equivalent course for having a child!

      Mia has adapted very well. In fact, like her master, she is much happier and healthier here. Petra takes better care of her than I did in Miami, I have to admit. There were days when I worked nights at the College where I left Mia alone for 12 hours. It was hurting me and her. With us, we rarely leave her alone and when we do is never for more than 4 hours. Here, people take their dogs pretty much everywhere, which is not the case in Miami. Mia is very active. She walks an average of 12 hours a week. She rides the train with us when we travel locally. We have to pay for her spot in the train, of course. We live near a forest and that is paradise for her! Mia has a fan club in the residential complex where we live. Kids love her. They call her in chorus when they see her and always want to pet her.

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