More Effective ways of Keeping a Dog at Home are also Safer

Question:

I was appalled to find that my wife’s adult son had left his dog chained to a clothesline pole.  He had no food or water and very little shade.  I gave him food and water, and he seemed SO GRATEFUL. I considered it animal abuse but my wife said that this was a country dog, and when he learned not to run away her son would let it off of the chain.  I think I know the answer, but is my wife right? Is it OK to chain a dog on a short length and leave him in the sun all day without food or water?

 

Dr. Nichol:

If you pardon my French, the answer is not only no, but hell no. Left to dehydrate in the hot sun this boy will be at serious risk of heat stroke and kidney disease. This approach to dog training is pointless; a dog is not capable of seeing neglect as a consequence for running away. This puppy will learn nothing but anxiety. You are right to be appalled. This is animal abuse.

 

Keeping pets at home is important for everybody’s health and safety. Dogs are naturally social creatures with a need to stake out their territory and read and post “messages”. Some need a bigger territory than others. Responsible dog ownership includes satisfying the basic canine need for interactive play, providing for controlled socialization with other dogs, and a fence.

 

Another important way to help keep this dog home is by neutering him. Hormone levels are largely responsible for roaming behavior in male dogs and in many females as well. Your stepson has much to learn about dog care but he must be treated with kindness and respect. If he’s interested in hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth he is welcome to call me. (I’ve been called worse things than a horse’s mouth.)