Backyard Dogs

It is a widely held misconception that dogs will be happy and healthy living only in the back yard. Current studies in dog psychology indicate that dogs isolated in back yards are very likely to develop behavioral problems. Dogs are instinctively pack animals, and forcing a dog to live away from its humans goes against a dog’s most basic instincts. Isolated, a dog exhibits stress by digging, barking, chewing, escaping, and exhibiting troublesome problems.

Dogs need companionship. When you have a dog, you become the dog’s pack and he wants to be with his pack. Forcing her to live outside with little human companionship is one of the most damaging things a pet care giver can do to a dog. Backyard dogs do not develop strong bonds with humans, making him harder to train than a dog allowed to be in the home with the family. Back yard dogs usually do not have the opportunity to become socialized to people and other dogs, so they may become fearful or even aggressive.

Dogs that are tied up or chained outside suffer great frustration!. They also are unable to escape from other animals or people who mean to do them harm. They can also become entangled and do harm to themselves. Several states are finally enacting laws prohibiting tethering your dog for extended time. Unless people have time to spend with their dog, it is best to not get a dog. A sad, lonely, bewildered dog tied out back only suffers, and hopefully no one wants to maintain suffering.


Early morning: I can see and hear people moving around in the house. I am hungry and thirsty. I tipped over my food and water bowls last night when I got tangled in my chain. The chain is too tight, and it is cutting into my neck.

8:15 A.M: the people in the house are all leaving. I try to run toward them with my tail wagging, hoping they will notice me, but my chain snaps me backward. It is no use.

8:15 A.M. -2:00 P.M. : I am not sure what I am supposed to do. I can’t protect the house from my short chain. I don’t have any toys to play with. Maybe if I bark, someone will show me what to do, or come to play with me, so I bark.

2:30: The animal control officer arrives and posts a notice on the door of the house. He looks at me and sadly shakes his head. Do I look bad? I know I’m dirty but it is hard to be clean when I’m always sitting in dirt. I pace in circles and bark because I don’t know what else to do.

3;15: The smallest person in the family comes home, but he doesn’t pay any attention. I go to the bathroom in the same place, the only place I can.

5:30: the rest of the people come home. One of them removes the notice left by the animal control officer and yells at me to stop barking. I pace back and forth, confused.

6:00 I am still hungry and thirsty. One of the people from the house comes out and fills my food and water bowls. I am so happy for this attention I jump up in excitement, spilling both bowls and dirtying his clothes. He yells at me that this behavior is one of the reasons no one wants anything to do with me.

8:00: Another lonely night. I am sad and bewildered. I dream about being on a chain because it’s all I know.

Be realistic. Making the backyard your dog’s home does not make him part of your family. Dogs offer steadfast devotion, abiding love, and joyful companionship, and unless you have the time and commitment to return them in kind, please do not get a dog.


Our Best Friend Deserves More Than Life on a Chain

There are many things that you can do to help make life better for a dog that is tethered in a back yard without much human interaction. The first thing to do is to get acquainted with the dog’s caregivers.

Be sure your approach is positive, so you don’t come off sounding critical. Lecturing them about the evils of leaving their dog outdoors will not solve anything. Explain that you are a dog lover, and would enjoy the chance to play with their dog, or take him for walks a few times a week. Be sure to stress that anything you offer is free…everyone loves free stuff.

If the dog has no adequate shelter, you might offer to bring them a dog house. If you are willing to spend some time with the dog, you will probably form a friendly relationship with the dog’s caregiver, and perhaps rekindle a bond between him and his dog.

There are many success stories from this approach, but even if this doesn’t happen, remember that helping the dog a little is better than doing nothing at all. You may not be able to convince the caregiver to take the animal inside, or even convince him to put up a fence.

If the dog was never really wanted in the first place, perhaps an offer to find him another home will be successful, but even if all you can do is get a decent doghouse, some toys, and regular walks, that is a success because the dog’s life has been improved.

Animal control and human agencies receive regular calls from citizens concerned about animals, but until the public understand the problems, and laws are changed, nothing significant will be accomplished. Documentation shows that chaining dogs is not only inhumane treatment of companion animals, but is also dangerous, because chained dogs often develop behavior problems. They become bored, boredom leads to frustration, and frustration leads of excessive barking and aggression. The number of animal bites and attacks by chained dogs will only continue to grow if we do not educate the community and break the never ending cycle of generations accepting this practice.

Most of our communities do not have any anti-tethering ordinances, and realistically they are not likely to pass them soon, but many communities are considering limited tethering laws. To make a positive impact on your community you must convince people that extended tethering is not acceptable, and although it is difficult to change attitudes, it is possible. To learn how you can more effectively help chained dogs in your neighborhood, go to sites such as , and .

Get involved; it is not impossible to make life better for our dogs, and safer for our community.

God put dogs on earth for a reason, and I’m sure it wasn’t His plan for them to be treated so cruelly, and abused so often by man. Why would someone have a dog only to keep him tied to a tree? And why won’t they listen to reason about how cruel that is—why can’t they see? If people would realize this treatment brings their dog pain, they would surely stop this horrible practice, and take them off of their chain. ~Robyn Kirby

I Bit A Child Today

I spend my life at the end of a chain. You got me as a puppy and I misbehaved, so you tossed me outside with a doghouse and chain. You never taught me how to live in your world; yet you expect me to abide by its rules. I’m a big dog. What breed am I? Doesn’t matter. Wait: I know my breed– Chained Dog. We come in all shapes and sizes, and I’ll tell you one thing: we are not happy dogs.

I am exploding with pent up energy from never getting to run or stretch my legs, and pent up anger from living a solitary life when I’m meant to live as part of your pack. I was domesticated by humans to be a companion, a helper, but you chain me to this dog house and leave me alone. I have no life except to guard my solitary patch of dirt. If you cross into my territory despite my warnings, there is a good chance I will attack you to protect myself and the dirt, the only thing that is mine.

I bit a child today, and now they are taking me away. I am so scared, and I don’t understand what I did wrong, but I will die. Both the child and I have paid the price for your irresponsible behavior.

If you have a dog at the end of a rope, please consider the frustration, loneliness and potentially aggressive behavior that is possible, and make the adjustments necessary to allow him to be part of your family. Report to the authorities if you see a dog at risk, and educate others that dogs are not fit to be tied.