Doesn't Man's Best Friend Deserve More than Life on a Chain?
     

20 Ways to Help

Adopt a Rescued Dog

Build Fences

Build Trolleys

Care for Dogs

Donate Money

Educate Kids

Find Homes for Rescued Dogs

Get Handouts & Merchandise

Learn the Facts

Pass Laws

Stop Dogfighting

Talk to Chained Dog Owners

Watch Celebrity PSAs:

    Chaining/Dogfighting
 
    Dogfighting

Watch Chaining Presentation

Visit Dogs Deserve Better to join others helping chained dogs!


 


 

 

Talking to Owners

Are you concerned about a chained dog in someone else’s yard? There are many things you can do to improve that dog’s life!

Read two great success stories: Gus and Cuddles were both rescued by women who approached the dogs' owners in a friendly way. It works!

Bring a friend for safety reasons. It is very important to be nice, friendly, and respectful to the dog’s owners. Bring a dog-related gift such as bag of treats as an ice-breaker. People love free stuff! 

Say something like:

  • I saw your dog in the backyard. I have a big bag of dog food I don't need any more. Could you use it? I'd hate for it to go to waste.
  • I am a volunteer with the humane society and I came by to offer you some free resources for your dog (even if you are not a member of a specific humane society, most people recognize the term "humane society volunteer" as someone who cares about animals.)
  • I have an extra doghouse I'd be happy to bring over. Is that OK?
  • I noticed your dog lives on a chain. I'm sure he would love the chance to exercise. Could I come by a few times a week to walk your dog?
  • I love shepherds. My shepherd died and I really miss him. Can I go back and meet your dog? What's his name?
  • I have a friend who owns a fencing company, and I can probably get some fencing materials donated if you would like a fence for your dog.
  • Since winter is coming, I'm giving hay to people with outside dogs. Could you use some hay for your dog's house?

If the owner seems receptive, ask if you can go with the owner to meet the dog. Ask the dog’s name. This will give you an opportunity to get to know the dog and the owner, and to learn why the dog is on a chain. Sometimes you can help solve the problem. For instance, if the dog is chained so it won’t breed with another dog, investigate low-cost sterilization for the dog.

If the dog is chained because he is a fence-jumper, offer to put up fence extensions, put the dog on a trolley or tie-out, or to put up an electric fence or hotwire (see 20 Ways to Help).

If the dog is chained because the owners never really wanted the animal in the first place, offer to find the dog another home.

Bring along materials for the owners to read, too.

If you don't feel comfortable approaching the owners, you can always ask Dogs Deserve Better to send them a letter. Just provide the address. They will not use your name.

Be Constructive, Not Critical

If the dog is too thin, infested with parasites, matted, etc--DON’T be critical of the dog’s owner. You don’t want to make him mad or ashamed! Just say, “I’ve got some extra flea treatment at home I can bring over to put on Boss” or “I think Boss would look better with a few more pounds on him. How about if I bring over a free case of dog food for you?” or “I like grooming dogs. Could I come over sometime and get these mats out of Boss’s hair?”

Once you have met the owner, try to keep up a good relationship. Leave dog treats and toys on their porch. Stop by to check on the dog. Offer to take the dog on walks and to the vet.

Eventually, the owner may let you have the dog. Although some chained dogs are aggressive, others make perfectly good pets with some love and training. If the dog is relinquished to you, you can now place the dog into a good home. Sometimes a dog owner will sell the chained dog to you. Offer to buy the dog only if you think the owner won’t go right out and get another one.

Some people steal chained dogs to provide a better life for them. The problem with that is that the owners might put an new puppy right back on the chain. And, since dogs are legally considered property, stealing a dog is a felony. Be careful!!

Guard-Dog Issue

Some people chain their dogs as guard dogs. Explain that chained dogs do not make the best guard dogs. Chained dogs become aggressive, not protective. An aggressive dog will attack anyone: the child next door, the meter reader, the mailman. The way to raise a protective dog, who knows how to distinguish friend from foe, is to socialize the dog and bring him inside with the family.

Besides, what can a chained dog do to stop an intruder except bark?

Visit the Guard Dog page to learn more about this issue.
 

Two Main Goals

Keep two goals in mind when talking to the owner of a chained dog:

  1. Educate the owner so that he will think of the dog in a new light; as a living creature who needs love and attention and care. Hopefully, he will learn how to treat dogs better in the future.
  2. Helping the dog a little is better than doing nothing at all. You may not be able to convince the owner to relinquish the dog or put up a fence. If all you can do is get a decent doghouse, a well-fitting collar, and some treats, that is a success and the dog’s life has been improved.

    We cannot battle all unconsciousness and cruelty in the world. To keep yourself from getting too depressed about all the animal cruelty and neglect, remind yourself that it's ultimately the owner's choice to neglect his dog and responsibility to care for his dog. Rather than thinking, "I have to help this poor dog!", think "I will try to help this dog and educate the owner, but it makes me sad and mad that the owner chooses to treat his dog this way." This will help you keep the guilt where it belongs - on the owner, not on you! Every dog in the world isn't your responsibility, but you can feel good about helping where you can.

Maggie: A Real Case

One of the first chained dogs I became concerned about was Maggie. Maggie is a gorgeous husky who had lived on a short chain for six years by the time I found out about her. A friend and I knocked on the owner’s door. We were anxious, because he had a no trespassing sign by his door saying, “If you are a salesman or Jehovah’s Witness, don’t knock. If you can’t read this sign, I may have to SHOOT!”

In spite of the sign, his long hair, many tattoos, and leather biker clothes, the owner turned out to be a friendly and reasonable guy! He has a disability that makes it difficult for him to walk Maggie. He didn't want to relinquish her, and didn't want her to have access to his whole yard, so we put her on a 20-foot trolley. I took Maggie to be spayed at a free clinic and kept her at home for a week to recover (she had already had four litters).


I bring treats to Maggie and walk her as often as I can. Once a week I take her to the dog-groomer up the street to spend the day at “doggie daycare,” where the workers dote on her. They don't even charge me, because they know Maggie is not my dog and they feel sympathy for her.

Maggie still lives on a chain, but I know she is happier since we came along to improve her life. I encourage everyone reading this to "adopt" a dog like I did Maggie.


Because I took action to help this dog, I no longer have to drive past with a sinking feeling in my heart, feeling sad and hopeless about the situation. Now I can drive past and say, "Hey Maggie" out the window and know that I can walk her anytime I please. You can do the same thing for the dog you are concerned about. It is a good feeling.

In an ideal world, all dogs would live inside with an adoring family. But that's just not going to happen for every dog (just as it doesn't happen for every child). I am still working to come to peace with this fact. All a volunteer can do is try to educate the dog's guardian and try to improve the dog's life as much as possible within the limits the guardian sets. And try to get better laws passed!


P.S. Maggie's owner actually sent me a Christmas card and even calls me just to chat. I never would've thought that would happen when I first knocked on his door!!

Note: Miss Maggie died at the end of her trolley. I will miss her, but I am so glad that I was able to bring her some happiness and fun while she was alive.

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