For various reasons, many Saipan residents chain their dogs outside. Perhaps you want to keep the dog from being stolen or running away. Maybe your dog is too aggressive to run freely. Or, maybe you don’t want your female dog to get pregnant. Whatever your reason(s), you are not alone.
Regardless of your reasons, chaining your dog up outside should not be a permanent solution. There are many reasons both humane and health related to find a better way to confine your animal.
Is My Dog “Chained”?
The answer is “yes” if your dog is roped, chained, or tethered to a tree, post in the ground, and/or another stationary object.
Why is it a problem to continually chain a dog?
Continually chaining a dog can cause several health problems.
1. Dogs are naturally social beings who need interaction with humans and other animals to remain happy and healthy. According to the Humane Society, “A dog that is kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months, or even years suffers immense psychological damage. An otherwise friendly and docile dog, when kept continuously chained, becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and often aggressive.”
2. Continually chaining your dog does more than psychological damage. It can also affect their physical health. Chains can pinch skin and/or rub the skin raw. Raw skin is open to infection, which can appear as soars. These soars are painful, and can easily become infected. Such infections can ultimately lead to serious scaring, or in severe cases, death.
Also, some collars fit too tightly and become embedded into the dog’s neck. The Humane Society recalled one story where a veterinarian had to euthanize (humanely kill) a dog whose collar, an electrical cord, was so embedded in the animal’s neck that it was difficult to see the plug.
3. Chains and tethers can become entangled on nearby objects and choke the dog to death.
4. Dogs left on chains are easy targets for animal-thieves or house-thieves.
Dogs that are left on a chain are virtually defenseless when attacked by other animals, insensitive humans, and biting insects.
Imagine being chained up outside and unable to escape from mosquitoes or boonie bees!
5. Female dogs that are in heat and left on chains are easy prey for male dogs looking to mate.
Do chained dogs make good guard dogs?
No. Chaining creates aggression, not protectiveness. A protective dog makes a great guard dog. A protective dog is used to being around people and can sense when his family is being threatened. A dog learns to be protective by spending lots of time with people and by learning to know and love his human family.
Leaving a dog on a chain and ignoring him is how to raise an aggressive dog. Aggressive dogs can't distinguish between a threat and a family friend because they are not used to people. Aggressive dogs will attack anyone: children who wander into the yard, a visiting family member, or the CUC meter reader.
Statistics show that one of the best deterrents to intruders is a dog inside the home. Intruders will think twice about entering a home with a dog on the other side of the door. Second best is a dog that is fenced in a yard that an intruder would need to enter to gain access to the home. In any case, an intruder can easily avoid a chained dog.
Are chained dogs dangerous to humans?
Usually, and may even be dangerous to their owners. Dogs that are chained for long periods of time can be neurotic and/or aggressive. Therefore, when someone is in their territory, they often feel forced to attack and protect their limited space. This aggressive behavior doesn’t just vanish if the dog is taken off a chain or tether. If the psychological damage can be undone, it takes time. Until the damage is undone, the animal poses as a threat to people, particularly children, and other animals.
Are chained dogs otherwise treated well?
Rarely. Chained dogs suffer from sporadic feedings, overturned water bowls, inadequate veterinary care and overexposure to the weather. During typhoons, these dogs have no access to sturdy shelter. They are also deprived of the ability to run and hide, or move out of the way of moving objects. During extreme heat, and intense sun, these dogs often do not receive adequate water or protection from the sun.
Furthermore, because of their neurotic behavior, they may be difficult to approach. Therefore, they are often given minimal affection.
Quite simply, chained dogs become part of the background, part of the scenery and can easily be ignored by their owners.
How can I humanely confine my dog?
The most ideal way to confine your dog is to fence your yard. If you cannot afford to fence the entire yard, try fencing in half the yard now and do the rest later.
By fencing in your yard, you allow your dog the freedom to move about freely and designate certain areas for certain things: one area of the yard is for pooping and peeing, and another area may be for sleeping in the shade, while another may be where he wants to eat.
What if I can’t afford to fence in my yard?
If you can’t afford to fence the yard, you have two options:
1. Attach the dog’s leash to a long line—such as a clothesline or a manufactured device known as a pulley run. This gives the dog a larger area to explore and is preferable to chaining the dog to a stationary object.
2. Be aware that many of the same problems associated with chaining still apply, including attacks on or by other animals, lack of socialization, and safety. Pulley-run can be bought at Ace Hardware or on-line at Petco.com. If you absolutely must chain your dog to a stationary object, be sure to follow these guidelines:
- Make sure the chain is secured in such a way that the chain cannot become entangled with other objects.
- Collars used to attach an animal should be comfortable and properly fitted. Choke chains should never be used.
- Restraints should allow the animal to move about and lie down comfortably.
- Animals should never be chained during typhoons, fires, or hot weather.
- Try taking your dog on a walk at least twice a day to ensure he/she gets exercise. This also strengthens the human-animal bond, while improving your health.
- Try moving the dog (and the dog house, food, and water) to a new location every other day. This allows time for grass to grow. Grass provides padding for your dog while he is sitting, sleeping, and standing.
For more information on chaining/tethering your dog, visit www.hsus.org or www.unchainyourdog.org.
*** All pictures were provided by www.unchainyourdog.org.