Should You Leave Your Dog Tied Up While You Run Errands?
Combining errands with walking your dog may seem convenient, but is it the best way to keep your dog safe and happy? The Dog Trainer looks closely at this popular practice.
On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I spent an entire tram ride drooling over a friendly Pit Bull passenger. In many countries, well-behaved dogs are welcome on public transportation, in shops, and even in restaurants. In the U.S., not so much! It’s frustrating how few places of business will let your dog come in with you.
So you’d like to give Dogalini a nice outing, but time is short and you’ve got a bunch of errands to run. Why not bring her with, and just leave her outside for a couple of minutes while you pick up groceries? You can tie her to a railing so she doesn’t wander off.
Oh, how I wish I could give your plan my blessing! But then I think of the time I saw some kids throwing rocks at a dog tied up outside a deli. And the times (plural!) I’ve seen posters offering rewards for dogs stolen from outside a store. And the times I’ve seen tied dogs cower when a passing dog lunges at them.
But mainly, what I see in dogs tied outside stores is unhappy body language, ranging from hunkered-down discomfort to outright misery. There’s even a Tumblr blog devoted to photos of dogs tied up on sidewalks while their owners shop or whatever – the blogger calls it Dogblog, and I call it the Encyclopedia of Canine Unhappiness. No, not every dog in every picture is looking wretched, but look through the posts and count up the pinned ears, the hunched bodies, the furrowed brows, the tightly closed mouths. Oh, yeah, and then there’s this whole keyed-up thing. Also, you can’t tell without more of the photos’ physical context, but I will bet you that almost all of those dogs are staring in the direction their guardians disappeared. I feel safe making this bet, because every day I see tied-up dogs doing exactly that.
Want to do right by your dog, but time is pressing? Give her a short walk, and then a food-dispensing toy to enjoy while you go shopping. Ah, and maybe urge your local government and businesses to expand public access for well-behaved dogs. Dogalini will thank you for it.
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Waiting Dog photo from Shutterstock