I have been traveling in Italy for the last month, and I found dogs to be very different there.
My boyfriend Andrew was probably sick of listening to me say “Oh my God, look at that dog!”
The first thing I noticed was their temperament. All of the dogs I saw in Italy were calm. I didn’t see any anxiety or any dog-to-dog reactivity when they passed each other on the street. They really didn’t care about anyone else other then their owners. Many dogs would willingly sit outside of a store waiting for their human to run an errand. I tried to say hi to them, to see what their reaction would be, and they didn’t even look at me or wiggle their body due to excitement. They simply didn’t care!
The second thing I noticed was how many dogs were off leash. All of the owners had the leash in their hand, but the dogs would just follow them. No human prompting was needed to keep them near; it was as if they were on a leash. They all stopped and sat or laid down if their human were to start up a conversation with a friend. The humans were not stressed whatsoever! It didn’t even occur to them that their dog might run away.
As far as barking, I heard NO barking from pet dogs. The only dogs I heard bark were guard dogs. That was their job, and they were good at it.
The last thing that I noticed were the different breeds. The most prominent dog breeds were beagles, long-haired dachshunds and Cavalier King Charles. But many of the dogs were mutts, and all very cute.
So, why are the dogs in Italy so different than the dogs here in the States? I don’t have all the answers, and I am going to do some more research, but here is my guess. They don’t have dog parks or doggy daycares. The demand for dogs is not as large; therefore they are not over breeding. Another thing is life is just calmer over there. Calm humans, calm cities and calm dogs.