Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday-The Problem With Dog's Tied Outside of Stores

 Note: I already posted about this issue on my face book page and got some great responses but I wanted to write a bit more about and hear from the larger blog community, if its a repeat for your my apologies.

I don't deny that I'm a fairly opinionated person and when it comes to dogs in what I perceive to be situations of distress I don't shy away from expressing my opinions (sometimes loudly and often without completely thinking it through.) One thing that bothers me a great deal is dogs tied outside stores.  

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 Now I know this is a somewhat controversial issue, there is even an older blog Dogs Tied Up NYC, about the problem and you can see from the comments that NYC pet owners are very divided on the issue.  If you can see your dog through the store window for the entire time you are inside and if your dog is very well trained and exceptionally calm and friendly then I think it might be OK.  I also know it may be less of an issue in parts of  Europe where it is a common practice and in small towns where everyone knows each other, but in my opinion you are taking a big risk when you tie your dog outside a store, particularly in a large urban area.  

For one thing, urban streets are a parade of ever changing sights and sounds. Can you really be sure that your dog will remain calm when approached by bicyclists, baby carriages, shopping carts, pedestrians of all shapes and sizes and a assaulted by a barrage of honking horns, shouting people, and squeaking tires?  What about the many people who are afraid of dogs?  It seems very disrespectful to force them to walk past your unattended dog in order to enter a public store.  Then there are the dog walkers who may be walking their own potentially leash aggressive dogs, which is my situation.   I often have to alter my walking route to avoid unattended dogs since I know my dogs may bark at them and I am unsure how the unattended dogs will react.   Worst of all there is the risk of your dog being stolen or harmed in someway while you are not their to protect them.

All of these problems where the reason I was really surprised and upset by this article on the XO Jane site, admittedly a fairly tabloidy website.  The article is written by a women who lives in Albuquerque New Mexico with Lola her German Short Haired pointer mix.  Apparently while leaving her dog tied outside a supermarket she was accosted  by a woman wearing pajama pants (the pajama pants seem to really bother the author) who yelled at her for leaving her dog unattended without water or shelter.   

Now, I instantly totally identified with pajama pant lady (as the author of the article calls her), for one thing I often walk my dogs in pajama pants, although I've never grocery shopped in them, and I don't quite see the egregious social offense inherant in this article of clothing.  I tend to only have two modes of dress, dressed up vintage and sloppy casual, and I don't see pajama pants as being all that different from the sweats and yoga pants that many people wear for any and all occasions.  What really troubles me though is that the author of the article makes it clear that her dog Lola does not have excellent behavior.  She details how Lola often barks and jumps on walks attracting comments from passers by and declares that the behavior makes her look "super crazy." Despite these problems she makes no mention of any training methods she has tried to correct or manage this behavior.  Now my own dogs are far from perfect, I sometimes wonder if they are not the worst behaved dogs in blogville, but I always endeavor to train and or manage their behavior and I never leave then alone in a situation where they could get  in trouble.  

 The author also states that Lola is under exercised.   I know how hard it can be to exercise an active breed, my husband and I used to take Norbert

 to the dog park for an hour  twice a day when he was younger plus a 90 minute walk. Thankfully as he has gotten older his exercise needs are much less.  The fact that this type of intense exercise really does not fit into our life style is one reason I may choose to not get another active breed dog.  If I did choose to get a very active dog, or wound up with one, I'd do what ever was necessary to provide the exercise it needed, no excuses.  That is the commitment you make when you get a dog. This whole exercise issue is why people need to do breed research BEFORE getting a dog.  Plenty of dogs, like my own beloved pugs and bulldog, have relatively low exercise requirements and are an excellent choice for people who are not super active by nature. Plus there are thousands of low activity senior dogs in needs of home. Still all dogs need exercise and according to the author of the article the exercise she provided Lola, her energetic and "crazy" dog, with before tying her outside the grocery store was a walk around the block, a distance that would not exhaust even my senior pugs.

As I sympathize with pajama pant lady, yelling at people in public is really not the best way to deal with any issue, but I wish the author of this article had listened to what was being said and had considered that perhaps her behavior was irresponsible and rude.   If you have errands to run consider that it may be better to take two trips and leave your dog at home.  While it is tempting to take an eager canine everywhere with you it really is not always the best option.   
I do wonder though what other dog bloggers think, it seems most commenters on the articles website thought that the author was in the right and I wonder if feelings will be the same, or different, among dog bloggers, so I am eager to read your comments.

 On another note, we would appreciate some good vibes from all our blogger friends.  Eleven year old Norbert is having his senior blood work and wellness exam tomorrow and even though he seems to be very healthy that always makes me a little nervous.  We have our paws crossed for good news.


  1. Once a long time ago, SHE thought it would be a good idea to walk us down to pick up the Sunday papers....a run into the News Agent, pick up the paper, pay and away! the only thing to tie us up to was a metal sign. We pulled that down, quick smart. The experience has never been tried again.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

  2. I'm with you and pajama pant lady. (there really isn't any difference between my beloved yoga pants and pajama pants) And, though I wouldn't yell at anyone in public, I worry about dogs I see tied outside of stores..a lot.
    We recently went to a very nice restaurant that had these handle like things outside, like a hitching post for dogs, and it just seemed like a bad idea to me.
    If nothing else the point you make about people who have a fear of dogs having to navigate the area is argument enough for not doing it.
    But then, I think taking your parrot outside on your shoulder is a pretty bad idea too, and many people would completely disagree with me. (even though there is a huge network online of people searching for their lost bird who would "never try to fly away.")
    I just don't think its a risk worth taking, and you can't plan for the unexpected.

    Great post. :)

  3. UH Mama!
    Mama Mindy here. I think it would be stressful on the dog to be left alone outside...I know my pugs would HATE it...and I also live in a part of the country where people still tie their dogs up to those metal things in the ground that are like posts...don't get me started on when I check someone out at the local Wal-Mart where I work part-time and I see them buying one of those tie-outs or the choke chains...especially the one with spokes.
    Much Love,
    Mama Mindy

  4. Norbert we are sending healing pibble sugars and protective pibble toots your way.

    Pibble wiggles
    Brinks and Bella

  5. We don't see many dogs tied outside stores here, but we do see a lot waiting in the back of pickups or in cars!
    Drives me crazy. We do not take the pugs when we go shopping. We do not leave them in the car alone.

    we will be sending pawsitive thoughts for Norberts check up
    Bailey, Hazel & Greta

  6. I will come clean here and say that I do sometimes tie Bertie up outside a store, despite agreeing with much of what you say here and living in the heart of a medium sized city. What I have learned is that some places Bertie stays calm and it feels safe and I am happy to leave him in such places, although it would not be for more than 5-10 minutes. In places where experience has taught me that he gets distressed, we don't try it again. But it is often quite possible to attach him to a secure post, perhaps off to the side of the store or at any rate in a place where he would not be in the way of people passing by. There is a theoretical risk that he could be stolen, but this is not a crime that I have ever heard about in Aberdeen. We have a favourite walk from home, along the disused railway line, across to the supermarket, back along a path by the river and through the park. So I can do some grocery shopping and Bertie gets a three mile walk and it all works well.
    Cheers, Gail.

  7. I agree with you completely, I would never leave a dog outside a shop and have heard many horror stories of dogs being stolen because they were left outside.
    I also heard of one dog being maliciously untied, only to wander into the road and be killed by a car.
    We are alike in that my strongest opinions are almost always about dogs :)
    Lynne x

  8. Ditto something we would never do. Have a tremendous Thursday.
    Best wishes Molly

  9. With my first corgi, I did tie him up at the grocery store that was a short walk from my condo. It was a neighborhood store with a nice wide area and shade to wait under. This would have been the early 90s. Dylan was a rock solid dog and friendly to all. It didn't seem like a bad idea at the time. Fast forward to today, and I would NEVER tie my dog out where I wasn't just a few steps away. I am more aware of the risks and am just not willing to take them. I can't imagine setting my dog up to be stolen, kicked, poisoned, or some other horror, not to mention, as you said, scaring a dog-fearful person. If we have the dogs with us on a shopping outing, John and I play tag-team, and only one person goes in at a time.

    Good health to Norbert!

  10. I think leaving dogs outside the shop is wrong. Even if people can see their dogs from inside the shop, they can not keep an eye 100%. Plus, we never know what happens. If people are in the store, they can't react to the situation quickly enough. So I'm totally with you!

    I hope the checkup for Norbert will come back with good result!

  11. I've lived in large cities (L.A., New York, Chicago) for most of my adult life and would never consider leaving my dog tied up outside of a business, unattended - even for a minute. It's not worth the risk of the leash coming loose, him being stolen, hurt, etc. Luckily, pugs are small, and if it's a business that doesn't sell food, I will pick him up and carry him inside (some stores are dog friendly and do allow him to walk on the ground which is awesome). If the store tells me I can't bring him in, I shop elsewhere, or come back after I've dropped him off at home. I do admit it is sometimes inconvenient because it means more trips, but it's not worth the risk of losing him.

    Sending good juju to Norbert!

    -Brian (Sid's dad)

  12. I know things are different in NYC, but all and all - I simply don't trust PEOPLE enough to leave my dog tied or unattended ANYWHERE...

  13. Keeping that power of the paw for you Norbert.

    Too many dog nappers around even here in a little English village, no big time to leaving dogs outside of anywhere on their own.... Luvs Freya Rose Blossom X

  14. there have been loads of dog thefts in our area so leaving dogs unattended isn't a good idea

  15. We wouldn't leave Mollie tied up outside a shop, she is such a nervous fruit cake she would go spastic. xxooxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  16. Hey, I couldn’t find an email address. Can you email me so that I can ask you a question?

  17. I agree with you (although not about the pajama pants. :-) I think those should remain private) dogs unattended regardless of how well (or in this case not) behaved they are is a disaster waiting to happen. Perhaps in the small towns (or Europe as you stated) this practice is okay but in an urban area, I would say no. There are too many variables that are out of ones control.