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      Chain your Dog?

      Do you ever keep your dog tied up outside? Some believe that dogs should live outside, and they keep the dog tied up

      There are many reasons why people chain their dogs outside. The dog is tied up because he or she escapes the yard or digs in the garden. Or maybe the dog has grown too large to be inside, or has developed a behavior problem that the owner is unable to deal with. Or perhaps the dog is kept outside to “protect the home”

      Fewer people seem to be keeping their dogs tied up outside. And many communities have passed laws against long-term chaining of dogs.

      Why? There are two major reasons. First, chaining is dangerous for people. Studies show that chained dogs are much more likely to bite than unchained dogs. An otherwise friendly and happy dog, when kept continually chained and isolated, often becomes neurotic, unhappy, anxious, and aggressive. Second, continuous tethering is bad for dogs because, as pack animals, dogs have been bred for thousands of years to form a strong attachment to a human family.

      Chained dogs are exposed to a number of dangers outdoors. They may unintentionally hang themselves if they are tethered too close to a fence and attempt to jump it, they cannot escape attacks from other animals or cruel humans, and chained dogs are forced to endure harsh weather conditions such as extreme heat and cold, rain, and snow. If your dog lives outside, there are a number of steps that you can take to drastically improve his or her life, and maybe even take them off the chain for good. First, 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. Plus, sterilized dogs are much less likely to bite. Spaying and neutering are safe procedures that have many health and behavioral benefits. Ask your veterinarian for more information.

      If your dog was put outside because of behavior problems, enroll your dog in an obedience class offered through your local animal shelter or pet supply store. Also, remember to provide your dog with proper toys, exercise, and “people time.” Behavior problems such as barking, chewing, and digging are often the result of boredom. By giving your dog exercise and things to do, you may alter undesirable behaviors and teach acceptable house manners. For help with behavior problems, visit www.PetsForLife.org or contact a trainer in your area.

      If your dog is a “guard dog”, please keep in mind that a dog who is inside the house is much more likely to deter an intruder than a dog chained in the yard.

      A life on a chain is no life for a dog. If your dog is continuously chained, please consider how this can affect your dog and the community.