Are You Worried About a Neighbor's Dog?

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ChainFree Asheville

Are you concerned about a chained dog in someone else’s yard?  There are many things you can do to improve that dog’s life.

The first thing to do is get acquainted with the dog’s owners. Bring a friend with you for safety reasons, and knock on the door. It is very important to be nice, friendly, and respectful to the dog’s owners. Offer a sack of dog treats as an ice-breaker.

Remember to stress that anything you offer is free. People love free stuff! Start out by politely introducing yourself.

Then say something like:

  • I am a volunteer with ChainFree Asheville (use the backyard dog tips on this website) and I came by to offer you some free resources.  I live in the area and saw your dog in the backyard.
  • I noticed your dog lives on a chain. I'm sure he would love the chance to exercise. Could I come by a few times a week to walk your dog?
  • I love shepherds. My shepherd died and I really miss him. Can I go back and meet your dog? What's his name?

If the owner seems receptive, ask if you can go with the owner to meet the dog. Ask the dog’s name, how old he/she is and how long the person has had the dog. . This will give you an opportunity to get to know the dog and the owner, and to learn why the dog is on a chain. Sometimes you can help solve the problem.

For instance, if the dog is chained so it won’t breed with another dog, tell them about the Humane Alliance, which does low-cost sterilization for dogs (visit

If the dog is chained because he is a fence-jumper, offer to put up fence extensions.

If the dog is chained because the owners never really wanted the animal in the first place, offer to find the dog another home. (visit

Bring along materials for the owners to read, too.

Be Constructive, Not Critical

If the dog is too thin, infested with parasites, matted, etc--DON’T be critical of the dog’s owner. You don’t want to make him mad! Just say, “I’ve got some extra flea treatment at home I can bring over to put on Boss” or “I think Boss would look better with a few more pounds on him. How about if I bring over a free case of dog food for you?” or “I like grooming dogs. Could I come over sometime and get these mats out of Boss’s hair?”

Once you have met the owner, try to keep up a good relationship. Leave dog treats and toys on their porch. Stop by to check on the dog. Offer to take the dog on walks and to the vet.

Eventually, the owner may let you have the dog. Although some chained dogs are aggressive, others make perfectly good pets with some love and training. If the dog is relinquished to you, you can now place the dog into a good home.

(Sometimes a dog owner will sell the chained dog to you. Only do this if you think the owner won’t go right out and get another one.)

Some people steal chained dogs to provide a better life for them. The problem with that is that the owners might put a new puppy right back on the chain. And, since dogs are legally considered property, stealing a dog is a felony.

Some people chain their dogs as guard dogs. Explain that chained dogs do not make the best guard dogs. Chained dogs become aggressive, not protective. An aggressive dog will attack anyone: the child next door, the meter reader, the mailman. The way to raise a protective dog, who knows how to distinguish friend from foe, is to socialize the dog and bring him inside with the family.

Besides, what can a chained dog do to stop an intruder except bark?

You should keep two goals in mind when talking to the owner of a chained dog:

  1. Educate the owner so that he will think of the dog in a new light; as a living creature who needs love and attention and care. Hopefully, he will learn how to treat dogs better in the future.
  2. Helping the dog a little is better than doing nothing at all. You may not be able to convince the owner to relinquish the dog. You may not be able to convince the owner to put up a fence. Even if all you can do is get a decent doghouse, a well-fitting collar, and some toys for the dog, that is a success and the dog’s life has been improved.

Visit for more tips!  Or let ChainFree Asheville know by visiting our contact page. 

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