The Perils of Tying Your Dog Outside


I shudder every time I see a dog tied up outside. If people even knew how dangerous tying a dog can be, most would probably not do it.

Several years ago, one of my neighbors acquired two beautiful mixed breed puppies from an animal shelter. He built doghouses for each of them, and attached chains – not that he planned on leaving them tied outside all the time, but usually he would put them out in the morning so they could do their business, and then bring them in after breakfast. One morning, about 20 minutes after a good meal of bacon and eggs, he went outside and had his heart broken.

One pup, just ten weeks old, had wound his chain around the doghouse, and then hoisted himself onto the roof. With little chain left, when he tried to jump off, he strangled to death. Needless to say, after such an outcome, my neighbor never again put a dog on a chain. Years later, he still has not forgiven himself.

Why Tie?

Given that tying a dog outside is dangerous, why, in the name of all that is holy, do people insist on doing it?

Well, sometimes, like my neighbor, they do it with the best of intentions. Other times, they’re just idiots, as I’ve suggested in my article, Can Dogs Live Outdoors Full Time? – they’re people who have no business owning a dog in the first place. Let’s talk about some of the reasons people offer to justify tying, and the types of solutions that are better.

1. To Guard Property

For sure, tying can make your dog aggressive. But if he winds his chain around objects and gets it all tangled up, it will probably be possible for bad guys to just walk past him and into your home. And of course, there is still the danger of hanging. A tied dog is also vulnerable to attacks from other dogs that might wander into your yard.

If you want your dog to occupy your yard so that intruders cannot gain access to your house, the better solution would be to fence in the yard.

Related Content:

How to Turn an Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog
Can Dogs Live Outdoors Full-Time?
5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe If You Can’t Have a Fence

2. To Prevent Damage

Some dogs love to dig. Also, they defecate everywhere, and it can be a royal pain having to examine the entire yard for poop.

Rather than tie the dog, why not build a kennel, or fence off part of the yard for his exclusive use, where he can dig and poo to his heart’s content?

3. To Keep Him Out of Trouble, or to Keep Yourself Out of Trouble

If your dog wanders out of your yard, he can wind up in for a world of grief. There is always the danger of being hit by a car. Or, he could be poisoned, or stolen for dog fighting.

A roaming dog, especially one that could be aggressive due to being tied, can end up terrorizing people or other animals, and destroying property. Then you get a nice visit from your friendly animal control officer, and probably a fine as well.

Again, fence your yard.

4. It’s Just Until He Learns His Manners

Sometimes, dog owners make the mistake of thinking that it’s best to tie a puppy outside until he learns how to behave in the house. But how is an outdoor dog ever going to learn indoor manners? Dogs only learn the good behaviors that their people teach them, and if you think that his indoor behavior is one day going to magically improve without any effort, then I’m thinking that your dog will end up living his whole life outside.

So, devote some time to training. Supervision, gentle handling, and rewards when your dog “gets it right” will work. Tying him outside will not.

As you can see, there is always something you can do to keep your dog safe, to have him protect your property, or to prevent him from destructive behavior due to wandering. There is always a better option than tying.

The Happy Outdoor Dog

Of course there may be times when you really do need to leave your dog outside, and you may not be able to be there with him. For instance, you might have to be at work while your home is being renovated, fumigated, painted, or something else that might be less than hospitable to your dog. So if your dog is in the yard unattended, make sure the yard is well-fenced. Provide him with a doghouse so he can get in out of the elements if necessary. Make sure he has access to food and fresh water.

Some toys can also make your dog happy about being in the yard. Something like the KONG Extreme Ball, for instance, will keep him amused for hours with its high bounce. It’s puncture-proof, too. Amazon has the size for medium and large dogs reduced right now, at $11.99 down from $14.49. Kong makes Extreme Balls for small dogs, too.

A variety of toys will keep your dog from getting bored, so be sure to include some squeakies, stuffies and maybe a NylaBone or two.

Related Content:

How to Turn an Outdoor Dog into an Indoor Dog
Can Dogs Live Outdoors Full-Time?
5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Safe If You Can’t Have a Fence

The Final Word

The best way to keep your dog under control is to have him in the house. That way, you don’t have to worry about him tunneling under fencing when you are not available to supervise him. He’s also not going to be barking at people or other animals. And you won’t have to worry about somebody who has it in for him (or you) tossing poison over the fence.

That said, on the few occasions when your dog absolutely has to be outside without your supervision, a fence is a far, far better course of action than tying. A tied dog can develop aggression, can be vulnerable to harm from other animals (and humans as well), and can even die if he ends up hanging from the chain. So, to state it simply, concisely and unequivocally, do not tie your dog out