- Pets and Animals
What's Wrong With A Dog Being Chained
A DOG ON A CHAIN
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.
CHAINING A DOG OUT
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.
KEEPING YOUR DOG SAFE
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.
LEAVING A DOG TIED OUT
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.
More on Dogs by Audrey Kirchner
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