Chaining can often result in physical injury to dogs. Dogs can get their body parts tangled in chains that then pull tighter and tighter the more they struggle to get free. Pulling hard to free a caught leg can pull muscles and tendons and cause pain and even cut and bleeding skin. Dogs often injure their necks and spines by pulling and lunging repeatedly against the end of the chain. Sometimes collars will become embedded into a dog’s neck when sores are formed and begin to heal around the collar.
Some dogs have strangled themselves to death when their chain got caught on something. Others may become tangled and not be able to reach their food, water or shelter. In extreme heat or cold it can be dangerous and even deadly for dogs to remain outside for long periods of time with no water or shade/shelter.
There are other reasons that it can be dangerous to keep a dog on a chain. While keeping a dog on a chain keeps the dog in its yard, chaining does not keep others out of the yard. Other dogs may wander into the dog’s yard, or maybe coyotes and other predators, or even children. A dog that is chained cannot get away from an animal or child that tries to hurt it or tease it. Dogs that feel like they can’t get away feel trapped and are more likely to fight to protect themselves.
If a child approached a dog tied on a chain and the dog felt trapped, it is more likely to bite that child than if it were not on a chain. Even if the child is friendly, the dog may bite because it doesn’t feel it can get away. Dogs that are stressed and frustrated from living on chains are more likely to bite in any circumstance.
Dogs left outside are more likely to be the victims of dog theft. Thieves may steal dogs and sell them to research facilities or dog fighting rings. Dogs that are unattended make easy targets for thieves looking to sell them and make a quick buck.
These are just some of the physical dangers of keeping a dog on a chain. But there is also emotional damage done to dogs living their lives on chains. Dogs normally enjoy the company of others and like to live in groups. A dog on a chain is lonely and suffers from emotional isolation and boredom. This causes stress. When a dog is stressed and bored, it is more likely to learn nuisance behaviors such as constant barking or digging holes.