Canine Companion: Treat Your Dog Like She’s Family

Hey, guys. I can’t believe it’s the beginning of a New Year. I hope all of you had a fantastic time with your friends and families. I spent New Year’s Eve with my two little boys sipping on sparkling white grape juice. It’s a tradition of ours to bring in the New Year with a ‘bang.’ We are all thrilled to begin a new year with new adventures.

Since it’s the beginning of 2020, I would like to thank you now, and I thank you every day since I have written for The Post-Journal, for reading my column and supporting my ventures. All of you are what keep my company going and taking on new challenges

I recently attended a seminar involving the Unchain A Dog movement. In New York state, as of 2011, it’s illegal to chain a dog for more than 3 hours within a 12-hour block of time.

I’m sure there are quite a few of you who let your dogs out on a runner to play, especially in the summertime. If that’s you, this law wasn’t geared toward you. The runner lets your dog have space to roam and feel free. Of course don’t forget to play and interact with your dog on a regular basis, but if she’s keen to running away, you don’t want to let her out without some type of protection in place.

Who is this geared toward? Well, have you ever driven by a dog or seen a dog on television who is just chained with no room to walk around or maybe not even enough room to move? That’s what this month of Unchain a Dog is geared toward.

It’s geared toward treating your dog like she’s family and ensuring her mental and physical health is positive. Chaining a dog for long periods of time creates severe mental and physical breakdown.

Aggression in Chained Dogs

I can speak from experience, and the largest behavioral issue I see with dogs who are chained or may have been chained in the past, is aggression. They generally have had little to no socialization with humans or other animals. They’re scared, angry, and sometimes dangerous.

I have worked with many levels of aggression, but aggression due to chaining is an issue that could be easily prevented.

I just want to note here, I have assisted rescue organizations with rehabilitating dogs with incredibly severe aggression. Don’t be too quick to judge the dog who has been chained. It’s not his fault that he has developed this behavioral problem. And, it’s always worth a solid attempt to return him back to trusting humans again via a behavior modification plan.

This does not mean you should risk your life or health to get her back to the trust phase. Aggressive dogs are dangerous and should be approached with caution. Consult a professional prior to taking this type of venture on.

Frostbite and Hypothermia

Unchain a Dog month was also chosen carefully by those who created it. There’s a reason January is ‘Unchain a Dog’ month. It’s bitter cold in many places. Dogs who are left outside for long periods of time, especially those who are unable to move, may develop hypothermia and/or frostbite.

I have seen dogs who had frostbite so badly portions of their ears and tail had to be removed. And worse, many dogs die each year due to being left out in the bitter cold for too long.

Of course, there are many dogs who can handle the cold better than others. For example, a Siberian Husky is likely to handle the cold better than a Pomeranian. The Siberian Husky is built tough to endure low temperatures. And, I can hear some of you in my head saying, “my dog doesn’t even want to come in.”

Yep, I certainly understand that. I have a dog who has been a regular client of mine for several years and he’s a Samoyed. Winter months are his freedom and the hot summer days he sits next to the air conditioner happy as a clam. Him and I disagree on when he should come back inside.

If your dog is one who enjoys being outside, and you’re home, it’s not a big deal. Just go out and check her ears, tail, and extremities to make sure they’re not cold. Cold extremities is the first sign of frostbite and we don’t want her to get to that point.

Report the Dog

If you see a dog that’s tethered or chained for long periods of time, please show the dog some love by reporting the dog to the local humane society or rescue organization. It’s better to be safe than sorry and ensure a dog is taken care of than hear of him passing away the next day.

And, as I stated earlier, there are some dogs who can handle the cold better than others, and there are many dogs who actually have an area they are permitted to come and go as they please with. Watch for signs of abuse, exhaustion, fatigue, and discolored ears (frostbite).

That’s all I have for you today. Have a wonderful weekend.

Until next time.


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