Many dogs spend their whole lives in “solitary confinement,” fastened by the neck to the end of a chain. "Chaining" or "tethering" a dog .... fastening a dog to the end of a chain or tether that's attached to a tree, a dog house, a stake in the ground, or other stationary object ... is a cruel, inhumane practice that's all too common.
Sometimes people who shouldn't have a dog in the first place get upset when a new dog does not become instantly house trained. Instead of one person at a time being responsible for watching the dog and taking it outside at regular intervals, there is a daily blame game. The carpet gets soiled because no one bothered to take the dog out. A dog needs attention and becomes bored and destructive without it. A young dog needs chew toys and chews anything within reach when it has none. The dog sheds too much but no one takes time to brush him. Eventually everyone decides that it's all the dog's fault and that dog becomes an "outside dog"... out of sight... out of mind. Since no one could spare five minutes every few hours while the dog was inside, no one will take the time to buy or build a secure fenced area for the dog after it's outside either. Everyone is too consumed with all the important things in their busy lives to worry about a dog who is no longer a cute little puppy anyway. A chain is a cheap, instant means of confinement.
Pet owners who have their dogs chained outside 24/7 might say the confinement is temporary, until they have more time to deal with house breaking problems and other lack of training. But... being chained leads to more behavior problems. It forces dogs to walk through puddles of urine and defecate in the same area where they must eat and live day after day. That destroys their natural instinct to eliminate away from their living space. People might say they are waiting until the dog matures and settles down, but since dogs desperately want to be with the people they love, young active dogs become hyperactive when isolated. They become frantic for attention and when they see people they react by wildly jumping up and down, far too happy and excited to listen to commands. Since that kind of behavior makes them difficult to approach, they never get to enjoy the pats, hugs, belly rubs, playing fetch and physical attention other dogs thrive on. Being chained can also discourage coming when called and encourage running away, since some dogs who are finally released from the torture of a chain will want to run as far and as fast as they can to avoid being chained again.
Other people might justify subjecting their dog to life on a chain by claiming the dog will protect their property and alert them to trespassers. The problem there is that many chained dogs, out of boredom, will bark at almost anything that moves. They often bark at anyone they see, hoping to get attention. Although the barking of an outside dog will disturb the neighbors, everyone becomes so used to the noise that they wouldn't notice if the dog were barking at a real intruder. The sound of a barking dog inside a house might scare a potential thief away, but a barking dog who is securely chained outside is no threat.
Some dog owners simply do not realize the consequences of chaining a dog. Because it's done so often they just assume it's acceptable. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), The Humane Society of the United States, and many other humane organizations have issued statements against the practice of chaining or tethering dogs.
Chaining is not okay. Chaining is cruel and here are some of the reasons why....
Perhaps the most compelling reason why a dog should not live outside is because dogs are loving, sociable beings. They live for and crave love, attention, and companionship from their humans. Dogs who must live outside, alone, on the end of a chain, suffer immense psychological and emotional trauma.
They can be attacked by roaming dogs and other animals. If they do survive the wounds, dogs who are victims of attacks by raccoons or other possibly rabid animals must often be euthanized. Since dogs who live their lives outside have usually not been immunized, they have no protection against rabies or other preventable diseases.
If a fenced yard is impractical or unaffordable, a rectangular kennel enclosure or a fenced area where the dog can spend short periods of time a few times a day is a humane solution. For doggy escape artists, you might have to bury part of the fence underground, and have a roof or fence across the top of the run as well.
There are also ways to humanely tether a dog when necessary. For elderly dog owners who have no fenced yard and are unable to walk their pets, when the weather makes walking dangerous for anyone, or for any dog who must be kept on a tether or chain for short periods of time, attaching a tether to an overhead line or pulley run is preferable to tethering a dog to a stationary object. The dog should not be able to reach trees, outdoor furniture, or other objects the tether could become entangled with. The dog's collar should fit properly and be comfortable. Restraints should be long enough to allow the dog to move about, sit, and lie down comfortably. Never fasten a chain or tether to a choke collar or prong type collar.
Invisible, underground electronic fence or electronic training collars are another means of keeping a dog within the boundaries of your yard. This is sometimes a controversial subject but it's one solution that works well for many dog owners. It can be a practical solution when a real fence is not possible. When used properly, most dogs will never need to be corrected after the first few times. Knowing that they are wearing their correction collar will be the only reminder they'll need. Since electronic boundaries will not keep people and unrestrained animals from entering your yard, watchful supervision is always necessary with this method of restraint.
Take the time to properly house train and socialize your dog. Let your dog be a happy part of your family. The love you give will be returned ten fold.
|For more information about the abuse of chaining a dog, see Dogs Deserve Better a nonprofit organization dedicated to freeing the chained dog, and bringing our 'best friend' into the home and family. Find out how to deal with caretakers of chained dogs, hand deliver educational information, and much more to help the plight of chained dogs in your area.|
Sign a National Petition for Legislation Against Chaining and Penning Dogs