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What's Wrong With A Dog Being Chained

Updated on August 28, 2012


Many people today believe that the world is or should be a dog friendly place. I admit that I am one of those "dog people" who loves my dogs and want to share them with everyone who will allow me to do so.

However, there are some situations where dogs can't go, even in the most dog friendly towns on earth. That said, some people still insist on taking their 4-legged friends with them in the hopes of having a positive outing only to find an unhappy ending.

While in this situation, most dog owners don't set out with the intention to treat their dog badly, chaining a dog or tethering a dog has all the trappings of a disaster waiting to happen.

To be clear, I'm talking about tethering your dog outside a store or a restaurant while you go in and shop or do things without your dog in sight. Even if you do have your dog in sight, disasters can happen. I call this kind of behavior chaining your dog out and "hoping for the best."

Trying to put it into perspective, let's look at some of the things that are inherently very wrong with this situation.



While leaving a dog tethered to a bike rack might not seem the same as chaining a dog out in an unfenced backyard, it can still have the same consequences.

Even the most well behaved, well trained dog can have problems being tied out and left alone. Why?

  • Dogs tied up are vulnerable to other dogs, whether leashed or not
  • Dogs tied up can be hurt by passing children, adults, or things like skateboards and bicycles
  • Panic or separation anxiety can make tied dogs chew through their leash and take off
  • Panicked dogs can choke themselves trying to get free
  • Dogs tied up can slip out of collars and take off
  • Chained or tethered dogs can react in a manner they never would just because they're tied up!

Many cities and towns around the country are banning tethered dogs for the reasons listed above. While the main impetus of the movement is to ban dogs chained in backyards left unattended, the theories still apply.

In my opinion, leaving a dog in an unfenced area chained out should be reported to the humane society and the owner cited for cruelty to animals as in many cases, these are situations of animal neglect.

However, in any situations where dogs are left tied out or chained to something, they can be the victims of canine violence. They can also be victimized by anyone or any thing passing by. Something as simple as a bicyclist or skateboarder who doesn't see the dog tied up until it's too late can cause dire consequences for both dog and humans.


While I think most responsible dog owners don't realize the dangers of tethering or chaining a dog anywhere, it's worth considering for the safety of the dog.

If you want to take your dog to town with you or involve him or her in your life, do it safely. Contain them in a car safely or only go to places where your dog is welcome.

For errands or entertainments that don't allow dogs, leave your dog safely at home.

Dogs that are chained or tethered have a tendency to react strongly when approached. An otherwise calm and docile dog can snap and bite because they feel threatened by people approaching it in a defenseless position.

Not all dogs react badly but enough dogs have been traumatized by these practices to make humane societies around the world take a look at the practice of tethering or chaining dogs not just in backyards but anywhere unattended.

Theft is the other common issue that occurs as a direct result of tethering or tying out a dog unattended. Some people just don't like the fact that someone would tie out a dog and leave it. They might even mistakenly think they are doing the owner a favor by taking the dog to a "better life". It happens all the time.

If the dog happens to be a pedigree or someone just sees an opportunity to steal a great dog, stealing becomes even more lucrative and your dog can be gone in minutes. This also happens every day.

Tethering Laws


In short, there are many reasons why dog owners tie out a dog or leave a dog tethered in public. In my opinion, none of the reasons are very good ones.

This is only one "dog person's" opinion but I have seen too many situations up close and personal to feel that it's a good practice for even the calmest of dogs.

There are too many factors and too many "what if's" that can happen in the blink of an eye. An approaching child with an ice cream cone, a swaggering teen who thinks it'd be funny to give a dog a cigarette butt or a piece of bubble gum.

City noises like backfiring cars or emergency sirens can send the most even-tempered dog into a panic giving him or her superhuman strength enough to snap a leash and take off for places unknown or run in front of a car and be hit.

Well meaning "good citizens" can judge you not capable of caring for a dog and make off with your best friend in a heartbeat (a good argument for having your dog chipped and having it on file). Or someone looking to pick up a purebred dog for free just walked away with the dog you thought you'd have forever.

There are reasons to take dogs everywhere but do it safely and most of all, consider the safety of your pet. If you go into a store, make sure you have someone outside minding the dog. Don't just leave him or her to the elements or fate.

If you're dining and you can't find a place that allows you to sit outside with your dog, don't go! Order takeout and go to a park. You'll get the best of both worlds.

Your dog depends on you for care and safety. In that vein, think about leaving your dog chained or tethered to anything and avoid a tragedy.


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    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      8 years ago from Washington

      Dogs are outdoor animals - I guess that means because people are outside people they should be chained out as well. Thanks for your "intelligent" comment.

    • profile image

      dogs are outdoor animals 

      8 years ago

      You all are nuts -

    • Nature by Dawn profile image

      Dawn Ross 

      9 years ago

      EXCELLENT! EXCELLENT! EXCELLENT! People don't think about all the dangers when they leave their dog tied out like this. I hope a lot of people read this article and learn from it.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      I do agree with you Mimi721wis - my husband and I just frequent the ones that are if we can - and make sure one of us is manning the dogs while the other shops~

    • Mimi721wis profile image


      9 years ago

      Great Hub Maybe more business will become more pet friendly. I don't like the bulky electronic devices on dogs especially the small dogs.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      ST - totally different scenario when you are with them - I just hate to see any dog 'staked out' for whatever to happen to them. Good for you for bringing your dog outside to garden with you~ Mine seem to do more damage so maybe I should think about tethering them to me!

    • Sally's Trove profile image


      9 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      Excellent article, and I agree with you 100%. Well, maybe 99.9. Like Rochelle, I had made provision for my dog to be tethered while she was outdoors with me when I worked in my garden. I live in a townhome community where it is illegal to have a dog unleashed or untethered. If Cinny were to be with me outdoors while I worked, that was the only way to do it. She had plenty of shade, water, and toys and was always in my line of sight, as the tether was on a ground stake which I moved as I went from one part of the garden to another.

      As for tethering animals while you go shopping...out of the question, for all the reasons you mentioned.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      I agree Eternal Evolution and good for you~! That's what we do, too - or if we eat at a dog friendly restaurant, one of us orders while the other holds the dogs at the table. If my dogs were left outside, they'd be gone in 5 seconds I have no doubt - or they would cause such a howling scene that I'd have to go back outside anyhow. Mine do not like us leaving them alone!

    • Eternal Evolution profile image

      Eternal Evolution 

      9 years ago from kentucky

      Excellent hub with great information. I can't see the logic in tethering dog outside a store while you go inside. Too much could happen and if you have a purebred or really attractive dog I could see it being stolen. My boyfriend and I have been out with our dog(s) and have needed to go inside a store. On occasions such as that one of us, usually me cause I don't mind, will stand outside with the dog while the other goes inside. If we are alone and out with the dogs we simply wont go inside. Too much can go wrong when dogs are left out like mentioned above.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Thanks Nikashi_designs - I agree - just like bad parents that shouldn't have kids, there are some folks who definitely do not deserve the privilege of owning a dog~ Tell your pup thanks for the read~

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Speaking for my dog...excellent hub indeed. The amount of stress a dog goes through when tied up is huge. I won't spend time repeating the obvious, but we all as dog owners have a responsibility to keep our dogs safe and happy. "Clueless" people in my mind are reckless and selfish people and shouldn't have dogs. Glad Casandra mentioned the criminals that leave dogs in cars. That is just crazy...Really great hub, Thanks again.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Casandra - thanks for your insightful comment - I would probably have already called the police though on the dog owner who left the dog in the car on a hot day....I HATE that and I'm always sticking my nose where it doesn't belong.....hopefully if more people speak out about it, dog owners might get a clue - though I do think some of them are clueless!

    • Casandra Tayse profile image

      Casandra Tayse 

      9 years ago

      I've seen alot of people chain there dogs up to the meters while they go in and do what they got to do. I can see leaving your dog out there for less then a couple minutes but I can't see leaving a dog tied up outside for 30 + minutes.. I think it's fine and dandy if you want to take your dog for a ride... But if it's going to a grocery store or out to eat or someplace where your going to take a long while then just leave the dog at home, he/she in a safe place where he/she is familiar.

      I've seen people leave there dog in the car with maybe a half an inch worth of window open on blistering hot days.. Or I've went to the grocery store and came out 30 + minutes later and the person still hasn't come out from the store yet and there dog is still waiting.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Nell - I would have had a cow....or probably take the dogs with me....just for a walk mind you....and then been arrested. I can't IMAGINE tethering my malamutes anywhere but that is another story. They know exactly how to hunker down and just yank....either the leash would snap - or the pole might go flying down the lane with them.

      I just think it's criminal. Over the years, I've seen quite a few dogs chained out in yards and it truly makes me sick - especially the folks who have no fence so the dog is just 'prey'. We even pass a couple of very small dogs who are tethered each day when we walk - no fence. I figure the folks in our town are lucky that we train our malamutes NOT to eat small dogs! They are barking frantically and having a cow and my poor dogs are just thinking 'get me outta here'.

      Sigh - I wish someone would elect me 'dog saver' and I could go around ticketing people ad lib for all their stupidity towards the animals they claim to love. I wouldn't even want a cut of the ticket money - just a salary I could live on - and enough kibble to keep me in good standing with all my 'best friends'!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      9 years ago from England

      Hi, this is the exact conversation that I had with my brother last week and so many times over the years, it drives me mad! I live in a small town, and the amount of dogs tethered outside shops is amazing, everywhere we go, there they are the poor little things. Are people stupid? yep, I think so, they are shopping for food for goodness sake, why take the dog?! I walked past one a few weeks ago and he was howling at the top of his voice, I stood there for ages waiting to see when the owner would come out, but no, not a chance, it went on for ages, I could easily have gone into the shop and dragged her or him out, great points Audrey, nice one! cheers nell

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Oh my, Hanna - you are boosting my confidence~ Occasionally I know some things - not for sure - but sometimes~

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Perfect advice. Audrey, you know what are you are talking about.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Citychick - Thanks so much - and I agree with you 100% - would we tether a child out and leave them to the "elements" but then I think in some ways many people do.

      BJ - you are too kind but in essence, yes and yes - people should have to prove they are worthy to raise a child and they should have to prove they are capable of understanding their pet and taking care of it.

      Just as an aside...I only chain Bob when he asks me to...I just can't turn the man down!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      9 years ago from south Florida

      You have performed a valuable public service with this hub, Audrey, pointing out the dangers and hazards of tethering your pet (or husband).

      I enthusiastically support the notion that any prospective dog, cat, bird, fish, amphibian, or other pet owner be required to take and pass a test for determining the person's eligibility (intelligence and common sense) before receiving permission to become a registered petowner in good standing.

      Perhaps we could enact a law and broaden it to include prospective parents as well. Might cut down on over-population.

      Excellent well-written suggestions, m'luv, rated up, up and away.

    • citychick profile image


      9 years ago from Ulster County, New York

      Nice hub; people need to know how tying up a dog affects them; like tying up a child - we wouldn't do it, would we? Keep on writing.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      I think I meant take 'lightly' but that's what starting at 5:15 a.m. will do for ya~! Not enough caffeine in the engine.

      And no indeed, my Bob's not perfect 100% of the time - if he were he wouldn't have anything to do with the likes of this old lady! He's a hoot - but then it seems like I'm surrounded with hoots!

    • Crewman6 profile image


      9 years ago

      That's an awesome image- wrap the ankles, give him a shove, and there's just no defense. Nice to know Bob's not perfect 100% of the time. :^)

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      RF - I'd find it hard to chain my dogs ever but understand it can be a necessary thing for some - glad you at least keep your dog in sight and hoping it isn't for too long!

      Jasper - Thanks for your kind comment and glad you enjoyed the read.

      Crewman6 - Love the statement by your boss - I think I would agree!!!

      I have a great story about my son's pit bull who was strong as...well a bull! We had never met him and were very worried about it because you know the we went (dog lovers that we are) to greet Pac Man and he was so excited he came flying at us a hundred miles an hour. As you say, they are VERY strong - he also happened to be on a tie-out at that very moment just to meet us....he ran around my Bob in circles (it only took him about 5 seconds to accomplish this) and with that, gave a happy jump into the air and my Bob went down like a sack of potatoes. He was SO embarrassed - and of course Pac Man jumped on top of him and licked him to death!

      The exuberance of that dog was amazing but they are incredibly strong - I left with Pac Man pawprints on both my thighs that lasted for weeks!

      I love your disclaimer....what a nice chuckle for the start of my work week!

      And indeed owning a dog is a tremendous responsibility - one I don't take likely obviously~ I only wish I didn't have to work for a living and could go about the world defending dogs!

    • Crewman6 profile image


      9 years ago

      I agree fully- owning a dog is an immense responsibility, and so many people just don't get it. I used to have a boss who allowed pets in our store. She said "Animals are always welcome, but children are on approval only." The only incident we had was when an employee called a rambunctious (and strong) pit bull puppy to him. The dog 'galoomphed' over to Bruce, and in his enthusiasm to be pet, knocked our guy flat on his back!

      (Disclaimer: No animal or employee was harmed in the above incident)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      its so great to see other dog lovers writing about what they beleave in this is a great hub you see thiss type of thing way to often thanks for a great read very well done

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      9 years ago from California Gold Country

      I agree also, we have a small dog who is used to being leashed or chained, but only when we are in sight.

      We have a large property with no fence, and rabbits, deer, squirrels and other misc. critters roam through initiating the 'chase' instinct. You have to give them a little rope... but keep restraint for their safety and for others.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Now that's hilarious~! I shall have to try that with's never too late to start!

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      9 years ago

      I never chain my dog; I only chain my bf! LOL Just kidding. Great hub. I agree with you 100%. Chaining a dog outside is never a good idea.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      RT - Probably wise on your part because I feel that dogs are extremely vulnerable and likely to react rather than think it through when they are tethered. I am happy you are smart enough to think about that!

      So many people parade their dogs around which is great - but if they don't treat them appropriately or train them appropriately...that's the rub - and you are wise to avoid them at all costs with your child.

      I also believe people who own pets (and who have children by the way) should have to pass tests to be able to keep them! That may sound a bit off the chart but I just can't believe how many tragedies or bad situations could be avoided if people actually knew what they were doing. As I say though, I'm a huge believer in bad dogs, bad owner - and also of bad child, bad parent!

    • RandomThoughts... profile image


      9 years ago from Washington

      This is the first article I have read on dog tethering. I agree...although difficult probably for some to do. I have a child and she has a tendency to want to pet all dogs even with my warnings. So we avoid tethered as well as strangers dogs. Thanks for the post.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Memories 1932 - Fantastic input and well pointed out - although I hesitate to say I wonder if some folks DO consider tying their toddler to a pole. We may not want to give STUPID PARENTS any ideas either!

      Pamela - I had a first hand experience with my own dog (a border collie) who went to investigate a nice big old German Shepherd tied out in his backyard! That would have been a deathly disaster had the owner not been able to stop the blood bath!! I was absolutely shaken to my knees - the owner did admit too that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to have his "attack" dog tied out???? Oh DUH!!!!

      Eiddwen - As always thanks for your kind support. I hate to see a dog tied ANYWHERE and I agree - it is unnatural and there should be laws (immediate tickets - none of this 'for a certain length of time') to stop this abuse. That is what it is! Or at least "reckless endangerment" of your pet?

      Moonlake - I hear you on the stupid people who fight back and say you have no BUSINESS turning them in - but I still do!! I can't tolerate abuse anywhere and I wouldn't feel bad about it ever. I think it's outrageous what so-called "educated" people in our society do with their animals (and their children but this is a whole other can of worms)....I think if folks don't stand up and say "I won't have this" - it'll never change and the stupid folks will "win". I think there is NO excuse for people mistreating animals - and that scenario is definitely right up there with they need a fine! Good for you for standing up - and please don't stop because people give you a hard time. It's people like you that make people have to take a hard look at themselves....or so we hope.

      BKC - How AWFUL! I was thinking of NY when I wrote this actually and wondered if people were stupid enough to do this! Imagine the frustration - of people and dogs alike with no ROOM. My dogs would go freaking mad in 5 minutes - actually they would just bust the leash and take off. My poor Griffin for all his size is the biggest baby of all time. He hates car noises - just regular cars...we've tried to decondition him about it but he just can't take it. He also goes into sneezing fits from the fumes - too funny that! He'd be long gone and I'd imagine still be running to escape all the noise. If people came up to him, he'd howl nonstop and them probably whiz on himself to boot!

      I'd just never leave him in a situation though that would be injurious to his mental health - I think a dog's image of themselves and their confidence is just as important as a human's. Why don't owners get that?

      However, if you don't put dogs into situations where they can ONLY succeed, you've missed the boat as a pet owner. Frightening a dog or abandoning a dog, which is what that is, should just flat out be a fine - and a good one to make people stop doing it. The leaving pets in cars is another whole issue. We take our dogs everywhere but they have a comfortable crate to ride in and almost always TWO people with them so no one gets left to swelter in the car. If it's too hot, they just don't go and we make other arrangements. We also walk them extensively when we go anywhere - and we only frequent restaurants that will let us sit outside with them when the weather's appropriate - most of the time here. I'm not a slave to my dogs - I just like to think we are responsible pet owners - and if you have them, why wouldn't you be???

      Thanks for the input and as you can probably tell, I'm quite passionate about the appropriate treatment of dogs! (and people...and the planet....)

    • BkCreative profile image


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      This is a serious problem here in New York City - where too many people are far too irresponsible. Common sense should be a law. Many vets and other shops are posting signs asking people not to chain their dogs for the reasons you cited. They tried the theft angle but people still didn't get it. Dogs shouldn't be chained anywhere.

      One problem we have is tiny sidewalks, way too many people - and trying to walk on the sidewalk with a dog that is chained and taking up most of the space - sometimes you can't get past the dog. This is truly a stupid pet owner.

      So rampant is the stupidity in NYC with dog owners that a recent law went into effect saying you cannot chain a dog anywhere for an extended period of time. Even if you have a backyard - thus leaving your pet vulnerable to attack - to the tornado that couldn't ever happen in Brooklyn but did - and it is cruel after all.

      Thanks for your hub akirchner. I'm just appalled that we have to keep saying the same common sense lecture over and over and over...

    • moonlake profile image


      9 years ago from America

      Great hub. Just this winter I saw an old dog tied to a meter left out in 10 degrees on a cold sidewalk while it's owner went in and had nice warm coffee. I thought maybe they had just ran in to get their coffee but he was still there after I had gone on did some shopping and came back by this time he was crying. My friend and I should have gone in and found the owners or just called the police but we did neither. I've called the police before about dogs being left in a hot car and I get such attitude from them that I don't do it anymore.

      There is also no reason to haul and dog around in your car if your going shopping and going to be leaving the car. It's just foolish and dumb.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      9 years ago from Wales

      A great hub on a sad topic . So many dogs are abused and in my case you don't leave a dog tied to a post!!

      I second all that Memories 1932 says.

      Your hubs are brilliant and it is so reassuring to know that there are many kind and caring people in the world.

      Thanks for sharing this one and I look forward to sharing many more hubs.

      Take care


    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Excellent hub and I fully agree with you. I had to see a dog tethered anytime as its so unnatural. I guess some people don't realize how dangerous that is for the dog.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      What valuable information. We have a border collie and we wouldn't dream of tying him up anywhere. You wouldn't go to a store or some place and leave your toddler tied up a lone outside so why would anybody do it to their dog.

    • akirchner profile imageAUTHOR

      Audrey Kirchner 

      9 years ago from Washington

      Just Ask Susan - Bravo for you~! I would never leave my malamutes ANYWHERE chained because I have seen their strength in action. Just tying my Denaya (the old and "weak") one to my DECK one day while I let the movers in for a second and watching her snap the leash in HALF and bolt out the front door taught me about the power of dogs wanting to be free. I can't imagine if I left mine in front of a store or restaurant for 5 minutes!

      Jaye - I can't imagine mine lasting 5 minutes (obviously) but I know a lot of folks do it. I just think it's asking for trouble but thanks so much for pointing out SHORT periods might be 'okay'. I still think they need a spotter!

      Alexandra - Bravo on the cat!!! I would do the same thing. We frequent a lot of restaurants in Bend, Oregon which is about the most friendly dog town ever. If they won't take our 4-legged friends though....we just pass. Even for malamutes, they are pretty well behaved - we always ask for the 'remote table' near the 'exit spot' but I would rather go without (or get takeout) than chance someone walking away with my sweethearts. (I also never leave Bob outside tethered to anything either as I know someone would snatch him right up).

      LLW - Totally other part of this - leaving a dog in a car is always a bad idea if the temp is above 60 degrees- even then it can get wickedly hot. We take turns with ours - I go in one store, Bob goes in another - and we walk them in between - or sit outside with the back up for them to get the matter how they howl and beg people to come visit them!

      You all are great animal lovers - thank you for your diligence in keeping our pets safe!

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 

      9 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Timely hub topic; hopefully some of the readers of this hub will agree that tethering a dog in these situations is really not in the best interest of the dog. Remember,too, not to leave dogs in the car for any extended length of time in the hot weather. My dog loves to ride, but we only do so in the cool of the morning or evening.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent hub! I don't have a dog although I wish I could... I have a cat who has travelled with me for days at a time and was an excellent judge of motels. I couldn't bring myself to leave her in the truck alone while I stopped to eat though so we had take-out together :) When I did have dogs, we were in the country or in town with a fenced yard. Your point about their vulnerability is so true!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      9 years ago from Deep South, USA

      It's so sad to see a chained dog, and particularly in hot weather...terrible! If it's necessary to chain a dog for a short temporary period (I'm thinking 30 minutes or less) to keep the dog from running away or into traffic, the dog should at least be put in the shade. JAYE

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Excellent hub and I agree with you 100%. My son and I often will walk down to the corner store and he always says to me let's just tie the dogs here outside, they will okay. I can never bring myself to doing that. I always wait with the dogs for him to come outside, then I go into the store. You just never know what can happen in a short time.


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