Is a chain leash bad for dogs? Let’s Explore

CON: Chain is Heavy and It Hurts, Be Careful

Not only are dog chain leashes heavy, but they hurt too. For smaller dogs and puppies, look for thin and lightweight chain leash options. Remember, chain leashes will hurt your hands. They will definitely pull a layer of skin off when you’re grabbing the chain portion to stop a dog from pulling.

PRO: May Stop Dog Biting & Pulling on Leash

Some dogs get excited and pull on their leashes, which can quickly damage even the most durable leash material. One time, when working with a fearful dog that became frustrated around triggers–he lived in an apartment complex, so triggers were everywhere–the dog grabbed his leash and chewed through it. Understand, this was a huge Rottweiler. He could sever a leash in two pieces with few purposeful chomps. It was frightening. We did have tremendous success changing his behavior though, and his pet owner used a chain-and-cotton dog leash until she learned how to quickly identify and reward different dog behavior.

For the most part, I prefer teaching a dog to do something else instead of pulling or redirecting frustration on a leash, but a dog chain leash will deter behavior as well. Most dogs don’t like the metal taste or feel, so they’ll leave their leash alone. Some dogs will redirect tugging to their pet owner’s pants or another dog’s leash, so it’s not a quick fix for all dogs. In fact, I’ve had pet owners tell me their easily excited leash-tugging dogs fractured their teeth pulling on their leashes, so proceed with caution. If you decide to use a dog chain leash, use it to change behavior. Once the behavior has changed, then switch to a cotton, nylon or leather leash.

How does tethering dogs pose a danger to humans?

Tethering is not only bad for dogs—it is a high-risk factor in serious dog bites and attacks. Dogs unable to retreat from perceived or real threats can act out aggressively when approached. Dogs tethered for long periods can become highly aggressive. Dogs feel naturally protective of their territory; when confronted with a perceived threat, they respond according to their fight-or-flight instinct. A tied dog, unable to take flight, resorts to fight, attacking any unfamiliar animal or person who unwittingly wanders into his or her territory.

Tragically, the victims of such attacks are often children who approach the dog unaware of the risks. Furthermore, tethered dogs who finally do get loose from their chains may remain aggressive and is likely to chase and attack unsuspecting passersby and pets because they have developed severe behavior problems from long-term, intensive confinement.

It is important for people with tethered dogs to understand these risks.

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As Preventive Vets dog behavior expert and lead trainer at Pupstanding Academy, Cathy focuses on helping humans and their pets build a strong relationship based on trust, clear communication, and the use of positive reinforcement and force-free methods. With over 13 years of experience, she has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of dogs on a wide variety of training and behavior issues. Beyond her one-on-one consultations through Pupstanding Academy, she also teaches group dog training classes at Seattle Humane. Her specialties include dog aggression, resource guarding, separation anxiety, and puppy socialization.

Cathy is certified through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers, holding both the CPDT-KA and CBCC-KA designations. Cathy is a Fear Free Certified Certified Professional, a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, the Pet Professional Guild, and the Dog Writers Association of America.

When shes not geeking out about dogs, you can find her reading, hiking with her two Cardigan Welsh Corgis, or paddleboarding.

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