I am not talking about putting a leash on your dog to take him for a leisurely walk through the neighborhood, as there is certainly no problem with Fido getting some much-needed exercise to work off the holiday pounds. Instead, I am talking about the practice of attaching your dog to a stationary object, such as a stake or tree, and attaching a leash, chain or rope as a means of confining your canine companion. Dogs are social creatures, and being confined to a small space for long periods of time can cause immense psychological damage. This inhumane practice can harm not only the dog, but also poses a threat to other animals and humans.
Prolonged periods of chaining can turn an otherwise happy-go-lucky dog into a neurotic, unhappy, anxious and often aggressive pet. Dogs crave love and affection from their owners, and chaining a dog for hours, days, weeks or longer takes away from that interaction and causes a dog a lot of undue stress and anguish. The torment your dog feels as a result of neglect can take many forms, and some dogs will begin to become very territorial, acting in an aggressive manner toward anyone (human or animal) that comes into his/her “space”.
Many dog attacks involve dogs that are chained outside for prolonged periods of time. A chained dog’s first instinct is to act in a territorial manner when approached, even if the subject approaching is a child that wants to pet the dog. This happens due to the way the dogs fight-or-flight defense mechanism is disrupted by the constant tethering to a stationary object. Unable to take the option of flight, the dog will lash out and attack any perceived threat.
In addition to aggression, many of these dogs also receive injuries as a result of improperly fitted collars and the dog’s constant yanking to try to free himself from confinement. Many of these dogs have necks covered in sores that often become raw or infected, which, when not properly addressed, can result in an embedded collar. Just another sad result of years and years of neglect on the other side of a chain.
Should dog chaining ever be allowed?
Simply put, the answer to this question is, NO. In order become well-adjusted companion animals, dogs should interact regularly with people and other animals, and should receive regular exercise. It is an owner’s responsibility to properly restrain his dog, just as it is the owner’s responsibility to provide adequate attention and socialization. Placing an animal on a restraint to get fresh air can be acceptable if it is done for a short period, but keeping an animal tethered for long periods is never acceptable. If you must keep your dog outside for more than 30 minutes to an hour consider purchasing a dog run or fully enclosing your yard – if this is not something you are capable of, or willing to do, than dog ownership is not for you.