9 Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Tethering

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Questions About Dog Tethering

Sometimes, when out walking my dogs, or driving around town, I see dogs that are tied in a backyard, and my heart aches for them. For some of these dogs, their entire world is their doghouse and the length of their tether, and they get little human contact. I know that this practice is not as common as it once was, but I would like to live in a world where no dog is ever tethered and left all day, or for that matter, for even five minutes.
Here are 9 of the most frequently asked questions about dog tethering.

 
1. Is there a difference between tethering and chaining?
Tethering is any practice of tying or fastening a dog to an immovable object, and leaving him there without human supervision. “Tethering” usually refers to the use of a light chain, a rope, or a length of clothesline. “Chaining” is the term most people use when referring to tethering a dog using heavy chain. Neither term is used to denote a dog being walked on lead, or to a temporary tie-out (perhaps for a potty break) when a human is present.

2. Why would anyone tether a dog?
Most people who tether their dog don’t do it out of malice. Perhaps they come from a family where dogs were customarily tethered, and they don’t realize that there are better ways to confine a dog. There are other reasons as well:
• Maybe the dog is an escape artist, and the owner has run out of ideas for better ways to keep the dog safe. Often, this is the reason why we see dogs on heavy chains – the dog has chewed through a lighter tether.
• The yard is not fenced, or there are gaps in the fence.
• The dog misbehaves when indoors, and the owner doesn’t know how to train him to behave properly.
• The dog is being harassed by a dog, or a person, on the other side of the fence, and the owner believes that he can keep the dog safe by confining it to one part of the yard.
• The owner’s landlord refuses to install a fence, but also won’t allow the owner to keep the dog in the house.
There is almost always a better way. We’ll talk about alternatives to tethering later on.

Questions About Dog Tethering
3. Why is tethering undesirable?
Quite simply, tethering is bad for a dog’s well-being. Dogs need to interact with humans, and if they’re deprived of human companionship for long periods, they can end up being unhappy, neurotic, and frequently, aggressive.
Constantly tethered dogs can also develop physical conditions like sore necks, chafing, and if persistently neglected, their collars can even end up growing into their skin. They are also more vulnerable to fleas and other parasites.
A tethered dog has little defense against an attack by another dog that may enter the yard, and may be teased by people who know perfectly well that the dog can’t get any farther than the end of his tether. There is also a serious risk of death by hanging if the dog should happen to jump over an object that doesn’t accommodate the full length of the tether, or by strangulation if the tether should become wrapped around an object.
A tethered dog may not have proper protection from the elements, and may not be getting enough to eat or drink if he is prone to turning over his dishes. As previously stated, tethering can also make a dog unstable psychologically, and he may be difficult to approach. This means that he is going to get even less human contact, and could end up doomed to a life as little more than part of the backyard landscape. This is, simply stated, abuse.

4. Is a tethered dog dangerous?
A tethered dog can be very dangerous to humans. When a dog can’t retreat from perceived danger, he’s going to act out. It’s a simple “fight or flight” response, and since the dog can’t flee, there’s a good chance he’ll go into “fight” mode if he’s approached and feeling threatened. Tethering build aggression.
If a tethered dog should happen to escape, he is unlikely to decide “Okay, I’m free now; I guess I can be friendly.” More likely, he’s still going to perceive anyone approaching him as a threat, and continue to respond aggressively.

5. What are the alternatives to tethering?
The best alternative is to have your dog indoors with you, to live with you as part of your family. Provide him with regular exercise and veterinary care. If you need to have your dog outside part of the time, make sure that he has a safe enclosure, with shelter, and that it is escape-proof.

6. Should a dog ever be tethered?
As previously stated, temporary tethering is okay under certain circumstances. Make sure that the tether can’t end up being tangled, and never use a choke chain. Always, always stay with your dog while he is tethered.

7. Are pulley runs acceptable?
The only good thing about a pulley run is that it’s marginally better than tethering to an immovable object. The same risks apply, though (hanging, attacks by other dogs, teasing by humans, and lack of proper socialization).

8. Is tethering even legal?
In many jurisdictions, tethering is not legal. In others, it is regulated. Some municipalities, counties and states are currently working on improving the laws regarding tethering.

9. How can I help?
The Humane Society of the United States recommends working with your local animal services agency toward better tethering regulations. What is needed? How can existing resources be improved? Are there programs in place to educate pet owners? Pro-active support is one of the best ways to eliminate tethering. If there is no non-profit advocacy group in your area, you might want to band together with like-minded people to form one.
As to individual dogs, although it can be very tempting to go in and perform a daring rescue, it’s probably not the best idea. Instead, get in touch with your local animal services agency, and ask them to visit the owner. You can do so anonymously, and they will take a supportive approach if possible. If the situation is truly awful, they can also take punitive action.
No dog should ever be condemned to live out his life at the end of a tether. It’s cruel, and it’s dangerous both to the dog and to any humans he may encounter. Laws on tethering are becoming increasingly tougher in many areas, and in some places, tethering is illegal. Most people, properly educated regarding the harm that tethering can cause, will not tether their dogs. If you don’t tether, good for you! If you do tether, please stop.

Author bio: Franklin Medina is a dog owner and advocate. He has never left a dog tethered and alone, and he never will. He hopes that one day this article will be viewed as a quaint reminder of the “bad old days,” because everyone will have given up the practice of tethering. You can read more from Franklin at SimplyForDogs.com

 

 

 

 

 

9 Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Tethering

9 Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Tethering

9 Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Tethering

9 Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Tethering

9 Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Tethering

 

About the Author: Shannon's Pet-Sitting