Chaining Dogs Outside 24/7 is Inhumane

Dogs may be the most beloved animals on earth. Most of us keep our dogs close to us. They play outside but also snuggle with us on the couch or lay in bed to watch TV or read. Dogs keep us safe by barking if they hear something outside. What I can’t wrap my head around is why some people are chaining dogs outside 24/7.

Chaining Dogs

Dogs that are chained outside are simply existing. The solitude creates psychological problems that take a long time to address. Image credit: MarPockStudios

Chaining Dogs Outside 24/7 is Inhumane


Chaining dogs outside does a disservice to them. Dogs are pack animals. They look at their human families as their pack. Leaving a dog tied outside 24/7 is like someone putting one of us in solitary confinement 24/7 with exposure to the elements. Take a minute and think about not having anyone to talk to or interact with and dealing with the extreme heat and cold. Being in this environment long-term has a psychological effect on a dog.

Chaining Dogs

Running in circles is part of “boundary frustration”. The dog is trapped and can bite out of fear. Image credit: badsanta23


A chained dog is fearful. It can’t get away from any person or animal that comes near, so it feels threatened. It’s called “boundary frustration”. A chained dog can only go so far. Its world is just one small circle. Have you ever wondered why so many children are bitten by dogs that have been left out on a chain? Dogs will bite out of fear. So children who are not taught to leave these poor dogs alone end up getting bitten. Unfortunately, it then becomes the dog’s fault. In fact, the fault lies with the owner that tied the dog up outside in the first place.

Furthermore, chaining dogs outside for prolonged periods can make a dog anti-social. Have you ever seen a dog that didn’t respond to humans? I have and it’s heartbreaking. Keeping a dog in solitude will make a dog’s mind shut down. The dog doesn’t wag its tail or hold up its ears. It doesn’t respond to petting or even kind words. A dog in this state of mind needs a lot of love and patience as well a long time to heal so it can start acting like a dog again.

Chaining dogs

Years ago, people were placed in asylums for no reason. After living there over a period of time, they went insane. This is the same thing that happens to a chained dog. Image credit: Hugh Welch Diamond


Let’s look at it from a personal perspective. Many years ago, people were put in insane asylums for things like dementia, anorexia, mental retardation, epilepsy and PTSD among other things. Now think if you had a similar condition and you lived during that time. They would take you and put you in a room, just a room, and lock you up. How would you feel … alone, stressed, depressed? Exactly! Well, that is how chained dogs feel. These poor people who were locked up may not have been mentally ill when they entered the institution, but they certainly were after living there for a while.

Chaining dogs

A normal, well-loved dog is part of the family and happy as can be! Image credit: freddie10


There is a wonderful organization called Dogs Deserve Better. They work to free dogs from chains and pens. Dogs Deserve Better wants to bring dogs inside to live with the family where they belong. They have a national rescue coordinator that works with volunteers all over America. Since 2002, Dogs Deserve Better has been working to improve the lives of chained and caged dogs.


Simply put, chaining dogs is inhumane. In July of 1996, the USDA issued the following statement: “Our experience in enforcing the Animal Welfare Act has led us to conclude that continuous confinement of dogs by a tether is inhumane. A tether significantly restricts a dog’s movement. A tether can also become tangled around or hooked on the dog’s shelter structure or other objects, further restricting the dog’s movement and potentially causing injury.”

Chaining dogs

A chained dog can get the chain caught on an object and end up chocking to death. Image credit: Mimzy


Dogs have been known to choke themselves to death or end up hanging from a deck on a chain. Have you ever seen a dog with an embedded collar? That is usually a by-product of a dog that has been chained. People who chain these dogs rarely pay attention to them, much less notice that the collar is embedded.


I’ve never understood why people get dogs and then chain them out in the yard. It breaks my heart! Getting a new dog is a huge decision. Dogs that are adopted on a whim usually end up outside on a chain when they reach six months of age. I can’t stress how important training is, but that’s another article!


Only 22 states in the United States have no chaining laws. PETA has lists of states and municipalities in the United States showing what kind of, if any, legislation exists regarding chaining dogs. You can check this link to see where your state or city stands on chaining dogs.


Chaining dogs

Some people believe that allowing a dog to live outside on a chain is perfectly fine. If the tables were turned, I wonder if that would change their mind. Image credit: Medve-kutya


Essential changes must be made to behaviors and laws. One issue is that dogs in many parts of the United States are considered “possessions”. Much like a lawn chair, the dog belongs to the person. In the eyes of the law as long as the dog has shelter and water nothing is done. Education is key especially to young people who should be able to convince their parents that chaining dogs outside is cruel. Municipal and government ordinances can be put into place but they must be enforced! Furthermore, animal control departments in cities need to be on duty longer than 40 hours per week. With budget cuts in many municipalities volunteers may be needed to help animal control and the police if that is possible. We need to talk to our neighbors and friends and do what we can to educate people to save these poor dogs.


  1. I would rather not chain up my dog. However, it was necessary for a time while we were trying to move. We needed time to build a fence. It bothered me the entire time.

    • Short term isn’t bad. At least you built a fence for your pup. When I got my first dog, Benji, I lived in an apartment. I would stake him out for short intervals but always checked on him every few minutes to be sure he was okay.

    • It breaks my heart! There is a group here in the Kansas City area called “Chain of Hope”. They go into the inner city areas and talk to owners about bringing dogs inside, relinquishing dogs to them, and spay and neuter. They also take food, water, and hay to those chained out with dogs houses and bring dog houses to those who have none. They are angels!!

  2. Our dogs have never been chained. We do know someone who does this, and we have talked to him, but he is very adverse to changing. I have never understood why someone would get a dog to chain them 24.7 and never spend time with them. To me, the point of having a dog is having a companion.

    • I agree! The person you know must be “old-school” where the mindset is that animals belong outside. When I was little my parents kept our terrier in a separate room but he was still inside. Thanks for trying to change him!!

  3. WE are not dog owners so I dont feel like I have the right to decide this. I konw every situation is different and I would think a dog run with out a chain would be way more ideal for an animal while you are away for the day. It is hard to see a dog chained up.

  4. It is incredibly inhumane. I have some very, very strong opinions on this. Pennsylvania just passed a law that makes it a felony to leave a dog outside in the extreme heat for more than 30 minutes. Honestly, if you plan to just chain a dog outside all day, do the dog a favor and don’t get one. I understand that there are times where you have no choice (like Tami mentioned, when she was building a fence). But I’ve known people who got a dog and made them live outside all day, every day, on 6-foot chain. Can you imagine? Living your life in a 6-foot span?

  5. YES!!!!! I absolutely agree that chaining dogs is inhumane AND YES that laws MUST be changed! There are so many things lacking in our legal system when it comes to pets and how they should be cared for. Many times in my life I have wanted to take a dog away from their owners. It makes me sick! I have done all in my legal power to fix situations but more often than not, nothing happens. Thank you for spreading awareness. Sometimes I feel it’s humans that need to be spayed and neutered! Ugggg

    • I agree. Yes there are humans who should never have animals or children. It’s sad. I’ve gotten into arguments with people in the past over how they care for their dog and have called the police in the middle of the night because a dog was left out in a snowstorm. Humans need to wake up and realize these animals have feelings and need to be cared for!!

  6. This is heartbreaking. I’m so glad there are organizations trying to put a stop to it. My neighbour used to chain their dog outside. The dog was having accidents and they didn’t want to clean them up all the time. It was out there no matter the weather. He just laid out there crying all the time. I called animal control a few times and they were fined but that’s it. Finally, one day the dog had dug under the fence between our two yards and the chain got stuck on the fence. He was nearly choked to death by it. I went out and helped him get free but once again, spoke to my neighbours about the situation. Sadly, they decided they were tired of all the visits from animal control and their response was to put the dog down. Breaks my heart every time I think of it.

  7. Growing up i saw so many dogs chained up. I often thought they were hurting themselves when they try to run and the chain yanks them back. Our dog does not have a chain. My hubby is a dog lover. He is always made at chained dogs.

    • Thankfully many people do look at their dog as family and keep them inside. Right now my lab is sleeping on the bed while I work. Love her!! I hope that education and legislation can stop this horrible practice soon.

  8. We have dogs and they are our family! We do not believe in chained dogs. However, we have hounds also. They HATE being inside for long periods of time. Even short periods sometimes. They have a kennel that is nicer than some people’s homes and a space to run. They love it. We can leave the gate open and they still will go in and out but mainly in. People also need to know the needs of the paticular dog. Chained dogs no way!

    • Absolutely, the breed of dog has a lot to do with it’s exercise needs. We had a border collie and she needed lots of running time. It sounds like you have a great set up for your baby dogs. We need more people like you!

  9. I could NEVER do this to my dogs! One of my child hood dogs my mom’s boyfriend saw being harassed by middle aged boys and she was chained to a tree. He went to the adult and said he was taking the dog or reporting them. I loved that beautiful pup for so many years!

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