I know a lot of people in Japan who love their dogs. A family I visit often includes their dog in their greeting cards and treat it as a family member. They even have it lick their plates clean after dinner. Their dog has multiple changes of clothes and they only stay at pet-friendly hotels. And I know a couple of women from work who have little dog totes, who dress up their poodles in jewels and who take their pets to special pet salons. These pet salons have services ranging from dog facials to aroma baths. There is a whole aisle devoted to pet goods at most supermarkets and home ware stores, and since I’ve been here, I’ve noticed there are as much dog and cat hospitals as doctor’s clinics in most towns.
What I found puzzling, though, was the behavior of Japanese dogs. Dogs here don’t bark as much as back home, they don’t chase people down the street and they don’t seem to be vicious. I recall asking a Japanese friend about this. He explained that most pet owners don’t tie their dogs up, and allow them free reign of the house, just like a member of the family. Could it really make that much of a difference? What do you think?