Victoria's article in USA Today

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Victoria's article in USA Today

Post by BoardHost » Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:59 am

Check out Victoria's article on the effects of tethering and chaining your dog in Thursday's online and print copies of USA Today:
http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/ ... titialskip
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Paul&Muttley

Tethering experience, pros and cons

Post by Paul&Muttley » Sun Aug 16, 2009 6:29 pm

When I first got Muttley, reluctantly, as a rescue, I had little choice but to tether him out back, as he would not stay in the fenced kennel and doghouse I got for him. He was happier to be chained outside of the enclosed area. Of course, he had been accustomed to running loose in the streets, and he was somewhat of an escape artist with enclosures. And inside the house, he would terrorize my cat and he would leave messes in various parts of the house unless I kept him tethered to me or confined in the room. But I was trying to find a better home for him and I was his only alternative to euthanasia.

After having him for a few months, my friend George was helping me to work on my house, and Muttley was tethered outside as we worked. He was very agitated by the banging, and when George walked by, Muttley took the opportunity to give him a painful bite in the butt. I realize now that it was fear aggression and I did not realize that a fearful dog, who had previously cowered when meeting him, might bite.

I don't know if the tethering was the main issue, or just his lack of good socialization and inexperience on the part of myself and George. Eventually Muttley "told me" that he really wanted to stay inside. I trusted him, and he has not let me down since then. I think he and I had finally bonded to the point that he recognized the house as his own den. But I still let him out on a tether when he needed to go, especially at night or in bad weather, when he usually just did his business and came back in. But even now, sometimes, he wants to go out, and he seems to enjoy lying on the deck or just scaring off real or imagined critters.

It is really almost impossible for me to put up a proper fence in the back, and it would also not be appropriate in the front of the house. I do have a fenced exercise area on top of the hill in back of my house, but it is a hike to get up there. When I sit outside in the front yard, I tether Muttley to a chair or a post, and he is happy to lie in the grass while I have something to eat or read.

A few weeks ago he and I were outside and a guy rode by on a bicycle, and Muttley was barking and pulling on the tether. He is very protective at home, and will react to bicyclists and pedestrians, but not cars or motorcycles. But somehow he slipped out of his harness, and he ran out across the road, causing one or two cars to honk their horns and screech their brakes. I got the leash and went in search for him, and found him calmly exploring my neighbor's yard. When he came out, Muttley backed away, and then came to me, sat, and allowed me to clip on his leash.

When I took Muttley to a family reunion last Sunday, I tethered him to a bench under a shady tree near the pavilion where we were gathered and enjoying food and refreshments. I had a lawn chair near him and my friend and I sometimes sat with him and made sure he had water and companionship. He was well-behaved and did not bark, growl, or act aggressively even in the company of young children and several little yappy dogs.

The point of all this is that there are times when tethering is appropriate and other times when it is not, and it also depends on the dog. I have made definite mistakes in the past, but it would be difficult for me and my dog if tethering were outlawed altogether. So I do not believe it should be banned, but it could be a component of animal cruelty when abused.

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Post by maximoo » Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:37 pm

My husband used to tether Max on the porch/garage door for a few hrs every morning last year when he was a young pup. He couldn't stand to have Max in the house and he was too small to stay in yard b/c he cld get under shed and become stuck, and he was chewing everything and digging. Looking back it was so wrong, but I was at work and had no control :( I think all that frustration played a big part in all the jumping/biting problems I had (and sometimes have) with him.
We eventually were able to put in a second gate, and had to put stepping stones by the gates as he wld try to dig out. He chewed satellite wires/ac insualtion and drain pipe, sprinkler heads, window screens and weatherstripping, etc. Now he has pretty much stopped all the crazy chewing. Thank God.
In retrospect I would've gotton him an x-pen (probably 2). But hindsight is 20/20 and next time I get a dog I will know better.

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Post by maximoo » Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:38 pm

Paul since you can't build a fence, can hyou build a dog run for Muttley?

Paul&Muttley

Post by Paul&Muttley » Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:05 pm

Not too easily. Here is an old picture showing Muttley next to the house. He can go out on the deck, but otherwise it's a steep slope, and a narrow flat area behind the house and practically a cliff up the hill.

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And here he is with his chain wrapped around a post. You can see the steep hill behind him.
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This is him outside of the kennel I had built for him. You can see where he forced his way through the chain link fence.
Image

This shows the back of the house, where I was building an addition. I actually intended it to be a shelter for Muttley, before I allowed him to stay inside. Quite a doghouse, eh?
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And this is a view from the other direction. As you can see, not much room for a run.
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I'm getting some more work done on my house, and I will probably have the addition removed. It was not really done properly and I never really completed it because the foundation is just temporary. It is modular and should be easy to dismantle and perhaps be used to make an outbuilding elsewhere on the property. Then it might be possible to fence in the back area, but it would only be about 12 ft x 30 ft. The exercise area on the hill is about 32 ft x 64 ft.

Image

Fundog
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Post by Fundog » Mon Aug 17, 2009 10:21 am

Interestingly, this topic (tethering/chaining dogs outside) came up on another forum I skim over. Apparently, my state animal control agency is trying to legislate a law prohibiting chaining/tethering dogs outside. The topic got a lot of discussion out of the people on that site. For the most part, the majority of the participants did agree that while keeping a dog chained up all the time was not really the best scenario, they did point out that a law such as this could lead to more people crating their dogs 24/7, which was deemed on that forum to be much, much worse for the dogs. I have to say, they have a point there. And unfortunately, until people become more thoughtful in their views of animal stewardship, this type of law could lead to many, many more dogs with serious behavior/health problems, not to mention being put to sleep.

And of course, there are other mitigating factors involved, such as travel and camping. When we went camping last summer, we took Annie, but per park law, we had to keep her leashed/tethered all the time. However, she was never alone. Either someone was there in the campsite with her, or we took her with us on our explores.

When we first got Annie, our yard was not yet fenced either. So we always had to leash her for going potty, and accompany her. If I was outside doing yard work, she would bark from inside the house because she wanted to be with me. So I would tether her to something solid, like a tree, with a long rope. But she was never, ever left out there unattended. I or someone else was always with her.

But, I'm not too worried. If a tether prohibition law does come into effect, I'm sure our state legislators would include an exemption clause, to account for trips away from home, where it is not feasible or healthy to take kennels along with the dogs.

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Post by wvvdiup1 » Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:00 pm

I saw Victoria's article as a "wake up call" for those dog owners who tie their dogs outside 24/7 and who do not take the time to interact with their dogs. These dog owners don't need dogs for security, they need security gaurds!

You won't believe how many times I've seen dogs in this situation, and in many of these times, I've seen these dogs tied outside without food or water because the dogs ate all their food and have upset their water containers. When I've seen this, I have fed and brought fresh, cool water to these dogs. Where I live, summers can be very hot and winters very cold. It doesn't matter the season, the dogs need to be fed and watered, as well as have adequate shelter, which there have been a few times I've seen dogs not even have this! I felt like tying the owners outside and let them experience what their dogs face every day.

As far as banning tethering or tying dogs outside, I think is going a little overboard. We do have animal control officers or dog wardens to enforce our state laws. In addition to that, we have toll free numbers to call to report what we think are animal abuse. In my neighborhood, we band together and help one another with our pets in the event that if one of us can't get home in time, we look after that person's pets until the owners arrival. We even do this even if the owner(s) have not requested our help, we still check on one another's pets, in this case, dogs. Yes, I think you could call this "Neighborhood Pet Watch."

When I tie my dogs out, it is usually for short periods of time and I'm around. However, with the college semester starting next week and work, I don't usually have many options but to tie my dogs outdoors. Right now, fencing my property isn't feasible at this time because of my budget, however, I would love to have fences around my property. In order for me to combat this, I happen to have a friend who owns a small farm and I take them out there to freely run and play their hearts content. And it is perfect, no major traffic or roads, except for a one-lane country road, streams and creeks, plenty of shade to rest, and a few other "goodies" on this 250-acre farm.

However, I don't think on days I have school and work that I'll be able to take them out there often. Instead, I have made arrangements with family, friends, and neighbors to interact with my dogs while I'm not there. I don't have to worry about biting because my dogs know these people and are very happy to see them.

So back to Victoria's article, I still give her "thumbs up" on publishing this article. Dog owners who just tether or tie their dogs without properly attending to them do not realize how detrimental it is for their dogs!

Again, "thumbs up" Victoria!

wvvdiup1

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