Do you know where your dog is? If your dog is outside on a chain, you may be brewing trouble.
Millions of dogs across the country spend their entire lives confined to small kennels or at the end of chains. This “solitary confinement” with little exercise or interaction with humans or others of their own kind can drive dogs insane. Dogs on chains become overly fearful of intruders and protective of their tiny patch of ground. Chained dogs are also exposed to taunts, teasing, and worse from anyone who passes by, further putting their defenses on red alert. Leaving dogs outside unattended increases the chances that children or others may wander into your yard and expose themselves to the risk of injury.
Dogs who spend a great deal of time alone in the backyard or tied out on a chain often become dangerous, while dogs who are well socialized and supervised rarely bite. It’s safest for everyone—both dogs and kids—when dogs are treated as treasured family members. Don’t turn your dog into a killer. If your dog is an “outside dog,” bring him or her inside now, for everyone’s sake.
Other bite-prevention tips:
•Spay or neuter your dog. Dogs who have not been spayed or neutered are three times more likely to bite than are dogs who have been spayed or neutered.
• Train your dog with positive reinforcement.
• Give your dog plenty of exercise. Regular walks give dogs a chance to explore and become accustomed to strangers and other dogs, and help prevent the development of extreme defensiveness of territory caused by prolonged confinement to a small space.
• Play and interact with your dog regularly—provide lots of chew toys and balls for games of fetch. But avoid “attack” games. Your dog won’t always understand the difference between play and real-life situations.
What the Experts Say
“If a dog is deprived of social stimulation, both physical and emotional health are compromised…Because of the lack of physical, emotional, and mental stimulation (socialization), many domesticated animals don’t get along well with others. A lack of socialization also fosters other problems, including … biting …”
–Paul Owens, The Dog Whisperer
“Dogs … not only like to play but need to, and any dog who is kept isolated from canine or human companionship … will be an unhappy dog indeed. With unhappiness come problems such as destructiveness, excessive barking, even aggression, all signs of boredom and discontentment.”
–Bash Dibra, DogSpeak
“[I]f you intend to use a chain daily instead of fencing, then you shouldn’t have a dog. So many things can go wrong with that situation: The dog can slip his collar or be strangled by it, or the dog will just be miserable and lonely, which can lead to aggressive behavior.”
–Greg Louganis and Betsy Sikora Siino, For the Life of Your Dog