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CANINE CORNER

ALTERNATIVES TO CHAINING:
HUMANE CONTAINMENT OF DOGS

By Judith Adamson

Besides a trusty old dog lying at your feet before the fire, thereís probably no more heartwarming image than a dog running across a field, fur and ears flying, nose to the ground. Unfortunately, in this day of dense population, traffic and other dangers, not to mention the law, running free is not an option. Keeping dogs confined humanely is a challenge. Whatever the method of containment that suits a specific situation, a dog should be walked and played with and given plenty of access to humans.

Most ideal is either a physical or invisible fence which allows freedom of movement within a restricted area. A physical fence can be relatively cheap, and with a little loving labor not hard ot put up. Three hundred feet of woven wire fencing costs about $80.00. Posts are $3-$5 apiece and need to be placed six to eight feet apart. Of course there are the escape artists--the jumpers and diggers-who are determined to get out and see the world. Only you know the extent your dog will go to get out. Make the fence higher or line the inside perimeter with railroad ties or cinder blocks to discourage digging out.

Invisible fencing consists of a transmitter, a receiver collar and a buried boundary wire, which operated together to keep pets in a safe area. There are various benefits to this fence system. Pets are safely contained, yet have the freedom to run and play in their own yard. Large areas of uneven terrain that may be difficult and costly for conventional fencing is not a problem for underground fencing. There is no loss of view or visible fence to maintain or repair. If fence owners decide to move, they can take the transmitter and the collars with them and with new boundary wire, the system is again complete.must tie up your dog because for some reason fencing wonít work, try one of these two options. If you have some open space--anywhere up to 50 feet--an overhead dog trolley is a possible solution. A c able wire runs from your house to a post or a tree or between two posts. On top is a pulley that runs along the wire and holds a lead which is attached to the dogís collar (NOT A CHOKE COLLAR), allowing him/her the freedom to roam between the two points. It also has enough give in the line for access to a doghouse. The space between the posts must be free and clear of anything he dog could get caught on. Trolleys come in different sizes and cost between $30-$50.

Cable wire is available in varying strengths according to the weight of your dog and is much more humane than a chain which weighs heavily on the neck and can get wound tightly around a post. A cable is lightweight and can be attached to a post in a way that allows for movement in whatever circumference you can offer.

Tying a dog up should only be used as a last resort when a fence isnít possible. To tie a dog out constantly, day and night, with no exercise or human contact is not humane. Imagine a world confined to pacing a small area. This cannot be what our best friends had in mind when they approached our campfires so long ago.

Judith Adamson is an editor for Petroglyphs.

Note: This article first appeared in the Spring/Summer 1999 issue.

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