Do You Chain Your Dog? Perhaps the biggest and most widely held misconception about dogs is the belief that they will be healthy and happy living tied in the backyard. This is simply not true. The Humane Society describes tethering, a permanent method of confinement, as inhumane. It used to be that most people did spend a lot of time in the yard; playing, working, gardening, and socializing. These days we actually spend about 75 per cent less time outdoors in our yards, and therefore less time with our outdoor pets.

Dogs are more social than humans and need to be part of human families. Forcing a dog to live outside with little or no human companionship is one of the most psychologically damaging things a pet owner can do to a dog. Many communities have passed laws against long-term chaining of dogs. Why?

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.

Getting your dog off the chain.

Many dog owners have learned to solve the problems that caused them to tie their dogs outside in the first place. Consider some of the following options:

Install a fence if your property does not already have one. If you have a fence and your dog can jump over it, install a 45-degree inward extension to the top of your existing fence. Many home improvement stores sell these extensions.

Provide exercise each day. A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Give your dog a good exercise session before you leave for work in the morning.

Good manners don’t just happen. Spend some time each day learning how to train your dog, or sign up for obedience classes.

Spay or Neuter your dog if you haven’t already done so. A neutered dog is less likely to roam and more content to stay at home.

Remember that behavior problems such as barking, chewing, and digging are often the result of a lack of stimulation. By providing your dog with proper toys, exercise, “people time,” and positive reinforcement, you may alter undesirable behaviors and teach acceptable house manners. In addition, a dog who is inside the house is much more likely to deter an intruder than a dog chained in the yard.

Submitted by: Robson Valley Spay and Neuter Society