Chances are that your dog is one of your most faithful companions. But, from time to time, he may present you with unique challenges that could lead to frustration for both you and your four-legged friend. The information in this section will help you handle the responsibilities and potential difficulties that accompany the joy of sharing your life with a dog.
Do you ever keep your dog tied up outside? If so, you're not alone.
There are a variety of reasons why people chain their dogs outside. Many people believe that dogs should live outside, and they keep the dog tied up because he or she escapes the yard or digs in the garden. Or maybe the dog has grown too large to be inside, or has developed a behavior problem that the owner is unable to deal with, so the dog stays in the yard. Or perhaps the dog is kept outside to protect the home.
Whatever the reasons, fewer dog owners seem to be keeping their dogs tied up outside. And many communities have passed laws against long-term chaining of dogs.
Why? There are two major reasons. First, more people are learning that continuous tethering is bad for dogs. As pack animals, dogs have been bred for thousands of years to form a strong attachment to a human family. An otherwise friendly and happy dog, when kept continually chained and isolated, often becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and aggressive. In fact, studies show that chained dogs are much more likely to bite than unchained dogs.
In addition, chained dogs may unintentionally hang themselves if they are tethered too close to a fence and attempt to jump it. Chained dogs are also subject to attacks by other animals and cruel humans.
The second reason for the tougher stance on chaining is that many dog owners have learned to solve the problems that caused them to tie their dogs outside in the first place. If you would like to provide your dog with an alternative to a rope or chain, consider these suggestions:
Note: Depending on where you live, your city or county may require that you provide more space than these guidelines suggest.
In addition to safe confinement, dogs need adequate shelter from the elements. Dogs kept outside may be unintentionally exposed to bitter cold temperatures in the winter and scorching heat in the summer. To protect your dog from harsh weather, provide a well-constructed doghouse. However, keep in mind that some breeds with very long or short coats cannot tolerate extreme outside temperatures even when provided with proper shelter. Also remember that if you have more than one dog, you need to provide a doghouse for each one.
To provide your dog with a comfortable doghouse, consider these suggestions:
Want to pass this information along to others? Make a positive impact in your neighborhood by educating people about the dangers of tethering and the needs of dogs who spend time tied up outdoors. For just $1, you can purchase 50 copies of our Do You Chain Your Dog? flyer, which contains the information presented above. Simply send your request, with a check made payable to The HSUS, to:
HSUS Dept: Tethering Flyer
2100 L St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20037-1598