Unchain A Dog

chained dog standing outside a run down dog house


In the state of California, it is illegal to tie your dog to any stationary object for more than a 3-hour period within 24 hours. There are physical and mental health consequences to dogs being chained/tethered. Here are just a few:

  • Increased aggression.

    Tethered dogs can become increasingly territorial and exhibit possessive/aggressive behavior toward those who come into the little space they can occupy. Even if the chain/leash tethering the dog is lengthy, the space is still restricted and the dogs will understand they cannot move freely. 

  • Discomfort and injuries.

    If a dog is tethered constantly, their necks may get raw from the chain/collar. There is also the increased risk of choking or tightness around the neck as they move or run about. The chain or leash can also get tangled, posing a danger to the dog’s well-being.   

  • Violence and theft.

    Did you know that chained dogs have an increased chance of being stolen and/or having violence enacted against them? Because the dog is chained, they cannot run or defend themselves beyond the limits of the chain/tether if someone or something attempts harm.

There can be a variety of reasons why someone might tether their dog outdoors. Perhaps the dog has behavioral issues that are not welcomed indoors, or maybe the dog doesn’t get along with another pet that is living indoors. Regardless, here are other alternatives to chaining.

  • Training.

    If the reason the dog is tethered outdoors is because of behavioral issues they exhibit when indoors, we strongly encourage you to consider seeking training. Dogs are safest when indoors and although training may take time, it will benefit the dog in the long run! 

  • Fencing.

    If the dog must remain outdoors for whatever reason, consider having stronger and better fencing so that your dog will not have to be tethered in their own yard and can run freely but also safely. If the dog is an escape artist, combine the strong fencing with dog training to help mitigate any risk of the dog escaping. 

  • Long Leash.

    If you are home often, a long leash might be a great alternative. As its name suggests, a long leash is a loooong leash that is tethered to YOU! As you are on the other end of the leash, your dog can freely roam but you can still exert control or recall should anything happen. 

  • Surrendering.

    As sad as it might be, if you are unable to find any alternatives aside from chaining your dog outside, it might be time to consider surrendering your dog to a friend/family or a local shelter who can help you find someone who will be able to care for your dog in healthy ways.

We hope you are now more aware of the effects of chaining a dog and the alternatives to it. If you have any other tips or advice, be sure to share!


Valley Animal Center

Valley Animal Center is dedicated to serving animal companions in the Central Valley and beyond. Our mission is to unite dogs and cats with loving people. We believe every animal deserves a loving family and furever home. Through our membership-based dog park and our low-cost clinic, we also provide local and accessible resources and services to the animal lovers and pet communities while rescuing animals in need from local animal control agencies. Donate to support our endless mission.