When is the best time to chain your dog up all day?
The reason I raise this topic is that as a dog walker i get many requests. Sometimes they are short notice walks, sometimes one off long weekend dog walk requests etc.
Lately I have come across what can be considered an unusual trend from dog owners who want their dog walked because they don’t have time during the working week. The unusual part comes into it when they tell me their dogs have separation anxiety or aggression issues or shyness problems.
Some used to have digging issues and running away issues, but the owners have converted these problems into the above problems (thinking (most likely) that they were doing the best for the dog) by CHAINING their dogs up all day. They often say its for the dogs own good, or to save their gardens! Yes, I hear that a lot.
Some consider this a personal taste question or a moral question and since most Governments and councils do not specifically rule against this practice –as long as there is sufficient shade and water and food, then perhaps that is all it is.
But here is the secret to good dog keeping, for anyone who wants to know what it is like to be a dog walker, walking ‘problem dogs’.
What many people fail to consider is that dogs are derived from wolves and are pack animals with a highly social character. Some dogs will get separation anxiety and dig and run away from their owners, not because they are being mistreated, but because they are not allowed to be a dog, which means daily experiencing a pack walk and exercise for their nose and their bodies/legs.
99% of dog problems come from lack of exercise, so if you want to resolve many behavioural problems, make sure you walk your dog extensively in the mornings before you go for work, or get a dog walker.
You see, while dog walking will cost money if you don’t do it yourself, so will vet bills, dog catcher bills or car accidents caused by your dog or your dog’s death if it does get out. Chaining a dog up only exacerbates any of the issues such as anxiety, boredom etc. While a 45 minute dog walk is not guaranteed to cure all issues such as boredom, dogs are much less likely to want to dig or escape once they have had one of their primal urges satisfy by a morning walk.
Chaining up a dog is cruel because it is the same as if you are chained up, but much, much worse. Its movements are restricted, it can not guard its territory (from cats, birds or imagined threats), it can not have liberty to have an explore in their own back yard. It will not allow them to mark their territory. It will make them urinate and defecate in their own personal space which is a major thing that all adult dogs try to avoid.
If you consider that taking a dog for a one hour walk a day and allowing it off leash is equivalent of a human prisoner being allowed out of their cell for one hour a day, imagine what it is like for a dog that is used to tracking and hunting prey for hours on end to be restricted to such a small patch of land.
If the dog eats your garden, either get dog training advice, or dog proof your garden. A dog’s enjoyment in life is worth far more than the enjoyment you may get from an ornamental garden.
So if you are wondering, the answer to when you should chain your dog up is NEVER. If you want to have a happy balanced dog, resolve the issues, don’t add to them.
An article by Bruce Dwyer, Dog walker - as well as a dog treat specialist