Arts & Life
8:45 am
Sat July 14, 2012

Unchain Your Dog

Keeping your dog on a chain might seem like the responsible thing to do, but it may be kinder and safer to find another way to restrain your best friend.

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I overheard a coworker this week talking about his neighbor's dog.  Seems its owner keeps his pet on a chain for hours on end, even during the heat of the day. 

My coworker would agree with most pet experts who feel that chaining – or tethering as it is sometimes called - is dangerous for the animal, and inhumane.
 
Chaining or tethering a dog usually refers to attaching one end of a rope or chain to the animal's collar and the other end to some stationary object, such as a tree, or a stake in the ground. 

Whether it is done in response to a leash law that prohibits pets from roaming freely or in an effort to keep the animal from running away, it is often used because the alternative of fencing is more expensive. 

Those who object to the practice believe that chained animals often are not as well cared for as other dogs whose owners choose to keep their pets in a fenced yard or in the house.
 
It is true that dogs are naturally social creatures.  That's why they make such good pets.  They enjoy the interaction with humans, so the isolation of being confined in one area for extended periods of time can have a psychological effect. 

Often, dogs that are routinely kept on a chain can tend to feel trapped and become unhappy, aggressive animals.
 
Part of the danger to a dog that is chained is its inability to get away from a predator, whether it's another animal, or a human who intends to harm it or even steal it. 

Countless pets have gotten entangled in their chains and become injured trying to get untangled.
 
Chaining a dog and leaving it unattended puts the animal at risk, something a conscientious pet owner should try to avoid. 

If you need to confine your pet, put it inside a fence where it can be safe, and make sure to provide adequate protection from the weather along with access to clean, fresh water. 

Better yet, attach a leash to that collar and take your canine buddy for a walk.  The exercise will be good for both of you, and you'll be amazed at the bonding that takes place on both ends of the leash. 

After all, the joy of owing a dog is all about the relationship, when you're speaking of pets.

For more information about chaining or tethering see the Humane Society of the United States website or the ASPCA website.

 

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