There are many people who think it is “cruel” to keep a dog on a chain, but I intend to show that the opposite is true. I intend to show that it is both humane and responsible to chain a dog properly, when you are away from home, as opposed to letting your dog run free. This is true even when a person has only one dog and a fenced backyard. You might be thinking, “Why can’t I leave a dog in a fenced back yard?,” and the answer is, “Because even if you have a cinder-block wall surrounding your property, many dogs learn to jump over that wall, learn to dig under that wall, or they learn to wait for a gardener (or kids) to leave the gate open … but one way or another, every dog will eventually escape his yard if he is left loose and unsupervised.” And we all know what happens to dogs when they escape: dogs can cause trouble; dogs can get hurt; dogs can get run over by cars; dogs can get shot by farmers for worrying their livestock; dogs can get lost in the woods (or in the city), etc. … and even those few dogs that don’t meet the above ends wind up getting placed in dog pounds. In short, nothing good ever happens when a dog escapes his owner’s yard, and the only way a dog can escape from an owner’s yard is when that owner is negligent and doesn’t confine his animal properly. Dogs are not moral beings, they are animals, and as such they need to be in the control of humans at all times. Therefore, when humans are not present their dogs ought to be confined at all times. As such, a person should address the question of how he is going to keep his animals (in a kennel run or on a chain set-up), and I intend to prove that confining a dog on a chain is the superior, more humane method of confinement for a dog. Contrary to many professional dog breeders, I do not like kennel runs, in fact I think they make dogs miserable, and I will list many irrefutable facts to back-up this posture. But first, let us examine what we are trying to accomplish when we confine our animals to begin with:

Reasons Why We Confine Dogs

1. To prevent our dogs from escaping while we are away.
2. To keep our animals as happy and comfortable as possible, with as much
room as possible, while they are in their state of confinement.
3. To meet these goals as conveniently as possible, and for
as little unnecessary expense to us as possible.


A lot of people are under the misconception that kennels are where it’s at in the effort to confine dogs humanely, but I am here to tell you this is not the case. The only justification for a kennel run is if you have one dog, or just a very few dogs, that you let out all the time – or if you live in such a nice neighborhood that you can’t ruin your carefully-pruned, landscaped backyard with a chain being drug back-and-forth across your lawn with a dog. One other advantage to a kennel run, with proper drainage, is that you can hose the urine and feces down a drain, which helps eliminate odor, again which is a necessity in a populated residential area where your neighbors might not appreciate “essence of dog kennel” permeating the air. However, as you will see in the forthcoming pages,
proper chain set-ups provide a better and cheaper method to confine your dogs, from their perspective. Let’s take a look at the 3 goals on the previous page, and draw an immediate conclusion: kennel runs meet #1, they prevent our dogs from escaping, but the fact is kennel runs fail miserably to address #s 2 and 3. How is this so?

First of all, regarding our dog’s comfort, kennel runs have concrete floors whichare hard on a dog’s joints. Day-in and day-out, every day, of every week, of every month, of every year, your dog is forced to walk on cement in a kennel run. Dogs were not designed to run or lie down on hard concrete, they were designed to run and lie down on soft earth. Therefore, when we force a dog to repeatedly walk and lie down on concrete, by keeping him in a kennel, the animal will soon begin to develop sores on all of the contact points his body repeatedly makes with said concrete or cement. If forced to be in a kennel every moment of every day, these sores the dog develops will get bigger with time, and will quickly worsen, while at the same time the animal’s weight-bearing joints will be likewise challenged while he moves back and forth on the unforgiving flooring.Just picture yourself, every day of your life, having to walk barefoot on concrete, and having to sit and lie down on this hardsurface, and eventually you too would be praying for a soft spot and a way out of that uncomfortable situation. Well, how do you think a dog feels then? The next issue where kennel runs fall woefully short of providing adequate living quarters is on living space. Not only are kennel runs terribly uncomfortable for the dogs who have to live on rock-hard concrete, but kennels are also woefullysmall enclosures on top of this. Since the average kennel is 6’ x 10’, this means the average kennel is only 60 sq. ft in dimensions. As you will see in a moment, even the biggest kennel runs are only about one-third as roomy as the average chain set-up, while the average sized kennel run is only one-fifth as roomy as the average chain set-up. In fact, let’s get the true numbers on these dimensions:

Kennel Dimensions

• 6’ x 10’ = 60 sq ft
• 10’ x 10’ = 100 sq ft
• 10’ x 12’ = 120 sq ft

The fact of the matter is, most kennel runs are of the first dimensions, as seen in the set-up below, and again only offer a miserable 60 sq ft of living space (on a rock-hard surface) for a dog. And even if a person really wanted to spend a fortune and build an enormous 10’ x 12’ kenneling system, the fact is the dimensions of even this system still only add-up to a paltry 120 sq ft in total dimensions, per dog, which is less than half the living space of an average-sized chain set-up.


Alot of people mistakenly believe that kennel runs are the best way to keep dogs, but they are not. Kennel runs are the most expensive way for an owner to confine a dog, while being the least-roomy (and the least-comfortable) for that dog. These runs pictured here are 6’x10’ in dimensions — for a total of only 60 sq ft of living space for each dog. Since this kennel run is comprised of 10 kennels, this means the total square footage for all 10 dogs is 600 sq ft. And, remember, the whole thing is set on a rockhard concrete slab. Is this how *you* would like to live every day? Finally, regarding #3 the desire to meet the need to confine your dogs conveniently and cheaply, you can forget about either with kennel runs. A truly adequate kennel run system, with concrete flooring, roofing, drainage, and thick-enough fencing will cost you several hundred dollars to implement … per dog … and they will take a couple of months to construct … whereas a top-shelf chain set-up will cost you less than $60 per dog and will take only a couple of hours to set-up. In fact, let’s examine all of the advantages to chain set-ups even closer:


Let’s start right off the bat by clearing the air of one of the oldest myths perpetuated by animal rights fanatics, and that is “chains are cruel,” or “chains make a dog mean.” This is pure, fabricated bull-hockey and is absolutely untrue. I have raised hundreds of dogs on chains, during my nearly 20 years breeding dogs, with every one of them being happy and healthy, while not a single one has ever “become mean” because of a chain. Therefore I know first hand, for an indisputable fact, that all of this malarkey against “dogs being on chains” was invented by animal rights zealots who use their over-active imaginations as a substitute for genuine experience. These animal fanatics invent this concept in their head, or they repeat “what they’ve heard” from someone else, like parrots, while having no true first-hand understanding of the subject in question. I will prove, factually, with numbers and statistics, how and why chain set-ups are better for a dog (physically and psychologically), than any kind of fenced kennel run could ever hope to be. Let’s start out by discussing the LIVING SPACE of each. Again, the average kennel run size is 6’ x 10’ which indisputably and mathematically translates to a pathetic 60 sq ft of living space for a dog to live out his whole caged life. Again, even a “huge” 10’ x 12’ kennel run indisputably and mathematically translates to only 120 sq ft of caged living space for a dog (and again, on hard concrete). Now let’s compare these miserably-inadequate numbers to the open and spacious dimensions of a professional chain set-up, on nice soft earth, when using just an average-sized chain. Chain space set-ups, when anchored on a central axis, become circular living areas for a dog, and so to understand how much living space a dog will have on a properly set-up chain, we must first discuss some simple geometry. The surface area for any circle is pi (3.14) multiplied times the radius, squared. This is an indisputable mathematical fact of how to determine the surface area of a circle. Therefore, since the chain-length itself is the radius, this means that to find the surface area of a 10-ft long chain, we would take that ten feet, squared, which equals 100 ft. Then we would multiply this figure by pi (3.14) to come up with 314 square feet of living space for a dog on a 10’-long chain, when secured on a central axis. Again, this is an indisputable mathematical fact.


The mathematical facts of the matter are simple: one ten-foot chain, secured on a central axis, gives a dog 314 sq ft of room to enjoy himself … which is more than 5x the room of a 6’x10’ kennel run.


You could, quite literally, stuff FIVE 6’x10’ kennels into ONE 10’ chain space. And yet the animal rights geniuses try to enact laws against tethering, rather than kenneling! The truth is, both systems need some kind of “minimum standard” set as to their allowable dimensions. In other words, both kennel dimensions as well as appropriate chain lengths need to be based on the size of the dogs. But still, at the end of the day, proper chain kenneling will always allow a dog more freedom and space to enjoy his life.Again, here are the facts:

Basic Chain Dimensions

• 6’ Chain = 113 square feet of living space.
• 8’ Chain = 201 square feet of living space.
• 10’ Chain = 314 square feet of living space.
• 12’ Chain = 452 square feet of living space.
• 15’ Chain = 706 square feet of living space.

When we remember that the surface area of a circle is pi (3.14), multiplied by the radius squared, we see that the above dimensions are the square-footage that different lengths of chain provide the animal, when secured on a central axis. Again, when we compare this to the average 6’ x 10’ kennel (60 square feet), or even the largest of kennels at 10’ x 12’ (120 square feet), we see that even the smallest of chain set-ups is virtually TWICE the size of an average kennel run and about as roomy as the largest of kennels. And the average-sized 10’ chain provides nearly TRIPLE the living space of even a huge 10’ x 12’ kennel and more than FIVE TIMES the living space of the average kennel. Now then, for all the bleeding-heart animal rights zealots out there, who sob at the thought of a dog “being on a chain,” I ask that you please wipe away your tears and pay attention to these facts for a moment. Then ask yourself this question: if you had to be confined, but had a choice, which would you rather be confined in … a 60 sq ft living space on hard concrete? (or a 120 sq ft living space on hard concrete?) … or would you instead choose to live within 314+ sq ft living space on soft earth?
For that matter, ask yourself some more questions, from the dogs’ perspective: would you rather be permanently behind bars in a cage, in your smaller space on the harder surface (where you can’t be petted by your owner either)? … or would you rather be out in the open, where you can still investigate nature and where you can jump on your beloved owner and be petted every time he walks by you? I think the answers to these questions are obvious, if anyone wants to consider this subject reasonably and factually for a moment. The dimensions illustrated are all indisputable mathematical facts and are plain as day. Yet, sadly, there are many cities and counties, and some states even, where chaining a dog is now being considered “illegal” … and all of these laws were created by animal rights zealots thrusting their ignorant propaganda and agenda down the lawmakers’ throats, without any of these people truly knowing first-hand the actual FACTS about kenneling dogs. So now let’s see how all of this translates to real-life situations:


The dog in the foreground has an 11’ chain (and therefore has 380 sq ft of living space), while the dog in the background has a 13’ chain (and therefore 530 sq ft of living space). Together, these two dogs alone have 910 sq ft of living space, which is almost twice the living space of all ten dogs in that entire 10-kennel run on page 3! And these dogs here get to move around on nice, soft earth and not rock-hard concrete. The above photo shows a real life application as to how professional chain setups work. When I go outside I can walk right up to each dog, pet them and play with them, and they never once have to feel imprisoned “behind bars.” They are also situated under a canopy of shade trees, so they always have a shady place to escape the sun, as well as places to seek the sun if they want a sunbath.


This is a closer view of the rear dog in the previous photo,on a 13’ chain, who therefore has 530 sq ft of living space to enjoy himself in nature, which is NINE TIMES the room of those tiny 60 sq ft caged prisons on concrete that you saw on page 3.


Smaller chains (in this case, 6’ long) should only be used on puppies that are too old to be in a pen any longer, but too young to be on a full-sized chain. Accordingly, the chain thickness, and hardware weight are both much lighter as well. This 4-month-old puppy still has 113 sq ft of living space, which is just about the same amount of room as she would have in a mammoth 10’x12’ kennel run. I hope that the realities of these photos have made a point, and I urge that you consider the point of view from a professional dog breeder, who does have the actual life experience raising dogs, and who has actually compared, measured,and documented the differences in kenneling protocols … and concluded that a professional chain set-up is by far the roomier, nicer confinement method for the dog who actually has to live in it.
It is the typical kennel run which (quite literally) fails to measure up. Kennel runs are tremendously expensive to implement, and after you have spent all that money to get those kennels constructed, even the best of these constructs are not half as roomy or comfortable for the dogs to live in, as just spending a few dollars and putting those same dogs on a professionally-constructed chain set-up. True, for the simple pet owner who has a finely-pruined backyard, and only one or two pets that he lets out to exercise, a kennel is fine for such a person’s in-and-out dogs. However, for a serious breeder, who has a large yard of animals out in the country, that have to live their lives permanently confined, proper chain set-ups are better and more humane on every level. Believe me, I have run things both ways, and a yard based on proper chain set-up protocol is far superior to a yard having kennel runs, both financially and factually, and (most importantly) for the quality of lives that the dogs lead.


Even a 9’ chain still gives a dog 254 SQ FT OF LIVING SPACE, which is more than four times the meager 60 sq ft living space that a 6’ x 10’ kennel run offers, and still more than twice the 120 sq ft that even a large 10’ x 12’ kennel run offers. And again, these dogs shown are all out in nature and they get to enjoy themselves in a natural setting. Compare these living conditions above to the dogs kenneled on page 3, who are stuck in a tiny metal-and-concrete world with no interesting view or stimulation.


This female is on a 15’ chain, which gives her 706 SQ FT OF LIVING SPACE TO ENJOY HERSELF, which is more room to move around than all ten of those other dogs had in that entire kennel run, combined. To state this in the reverse, all 10 of those dogs pictured in that kennel run on page 3 were cramped into LESS SPACE than what you are seeing here for this ONE dog. I hope by now my point has been made. As far as meeting the original 3 goals of confinement (preventing our dogs from escaping; keeping our animals as happy, roomy, and comfortable as possible; and trying to meet these goals as conveniently and for as little unnecessary expense to us as possible), the professional chain set-up is clearly the winning protocol over kennel runs, hands down, and on every level. It’s not even a contest. So please don’t let your vote be swayed by animal rights activists who don’t really understand the realities of quartering dogs. Let your vote be swayed only by THE FACTS, from a professional, which clearly show ALL of the advantages go to the chain set-ups, both to the animals that have to be confined, as well as to the owners who have to pay for these protocols. Chain set-ups, when professionally-configured, offer the dogs two- to ten times the amount of room to move about, the dogs don’t have to be “behind bars,” and these configurations also allow the owner to walk right up and pet his dog(s) without having to open and close a fence or a door. Everybody wins, and so I hope this article has been helpful and educational, and that it will help prevent ignorant legislation from being passed.

Leave a comment


  • norascats

    Very well presented. I am constantly arguing with the anti chainers. My Husky has a 20 ft tether on my deck. She can stay on the deck, go under the deck, dig nice soft beds in the dirt. she can make a nice snow bed in the winter and enjoy her element when it is too cold for me.
    I’ve tried the kennels and all I get is whining, hours of it. and complaints from the neighbors who think the dog is being tortured. The most reasonable kennel is over $300 and is made of flimsy wire that an enterprising bored dog can bend and make a hole. I’m happy with my setup. I’ve had three dogs on tethers by my deck with no problems.

  • etbmfa

    Truth about Tethering

    Dog owners deserve laws based on facts. Not fear. Anti-tethering laws may sound humane, but may actually do more harm than good. Anti-tethering laws may negatively impact poor, rural, and minority communities.Solid, dog-proof fencing is expensive and not permitted in some areas. Humane restraint safeguards both pets and the community. Loose running dogs are a nuisance and may bite.

    A Cornell University study found that proper tethering is a safe and humane method of confinement. Animal rights extremists deliberately distort statistics – there is no factual basis for anti-tethering laws. Responsible owners need all options to humanely confine their dogs!

    The CDC does not support anti-tethering laws.

    The AVMA does not support anti-tethering laws

    Anti-tethering laws are the latest craze. Strict leash laws safely, humanely control and contain dogs. Caring owners exercise caution and adequate supervision of their dogs, regardless of the restraint method they choose. A tether is a “tool” and any tool can be abused or misused. Are we going to outlaw hammers because someone commits a murder with a hammer?
    Tethering in a humane manner meets the physical and psychological needs of dogs while
    accommodating the needs of the community.


    -Securely confines dogs to protect them from exposure to injuries or illnesses.

    -Facilitates humane care and husbandry of the animals leading to increased opportunities for human interaction and socialization.

    -Allows dogs to interact freely with their kennel mates while simultaneously protecting dogs from aggressive kennel mates.

    -Provides ample space in which the dogs may engage in a full range of species-specific behaviors.

    -Provides access to the visual, auditory and olfactory stimuli of the general environment.

    The studies cited by those seeking laws to prohibit tethering were not scientific studies of animal confinement. Most were epidemiological studies of dog bites and their conclusions do not demonstrate a cause and effect relationship between tethering and dog bites. Advocates of outlawing tethering as a method of dog confinement frequently misinterpret the results of the
    studies they cite. On their website, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) states that a study published in the September 15, 2000, issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reported that 17 percent of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans between 1979 and 1998 were restrained on their owners’ property at the time of the attack. If that is true, then it is also true that 83% of dogs involved in fatal attacks on humans were NOT restrained on their owner’s property at the time of the attack. In other words, this very same study indicates that tethered dogs are almost 5 times less likely to kill a human than dogs that are not restrained. The best available current scientific evidence supports humane tethering as an effective, safe and humane method of confinement.

    The only controlled, scientific study comparing sled dogs primarily confined by tethering on
    post/swivel systems to another confinement system found no significant difference in the behavior of tethered dogs to those confined using other systems. (Reference Houpt K, Reynolds A, Erb H, Sung W, Golden G, Yeon W; “A Comparison of Tethering and Pen Confinement of Dogs.” Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, vol 4, no 4, 2001: 257-270.)

    Depending upon the length of chain, tethering with the post and swivel system as recommended provides each dog with more space to run, play, jump and engage in other species-typical behaviors than required under most animal welfare regulations, even those
    applicable to dogs in federally regulated industries or even modern research settings.

    -With 6 foot chains the dogs’ play area is increased to about 113 square feet

    -7 foot chains allow each dog a personal playground of nearly 155 square feet.

    (Reference (Hubrecht R; “Comfortable Quarters for Laboratory Dogs”; Universites Federation for Animal Welfare, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.)

    Neglect is cruel, humane tethering is not!

    There are laws on the books to address the issue of inhumane tethering of dogs. Use


  • Hunter333

    Kurt Lindstrom When we got our first Alaskan husky, I thought, “Pole and chain is the last thing I want to do to this dog.” So we got a 10×10 kennel with a shade for cover with a house inside. That lasted 2 days. Then I installed a fence. After multiple escapes, arrests, vet visits, neighbor animal injury, vet visits, meds, trauma I installed a “chain and pole.” I cannot tell you how many days I spent looking and listening for our husky as I pulled into the driveway. That was 3 dogs ago. ALL are tethered and have shown ZERO negative affects!!! When they arent hooked up, they are free to roam, play, run, bark, etc. Another thing that we learned is that free roaming without supervision can lead to fights which lead to injury which leads to pain. NONE of which are good. Our 4 dogs RUN to their houses when one of us steps outside to hook them up!!
    Like · Reply · 2 mins
    Kurt Lindstrom
    Kurt Lindstrom Oh, we have a dog door so they are able to run in and out as they choose any time that we are home. Not home, hooked up they are.

  • conquistador17

    I am trying to do some research about the pros and cons of tethering. I will admit that I have a instinctive anti-tethering bias but am trying to understand more fully what things are targeted by anti-tethering legislation as well as understand the opposition. It appears that there is not a lot of detailed research that can definitively say yes or no to the question of whether tethering adversely affects the dogs. While the anti-tethering research is retrospective in nature, I hear the pro-tethering side cite the Cornell research but I have not yet seen a citation on that where I could review the study conclusions in the author’s words. If you have a citation, I would appreciate it.

    Of the pro-tethering arguments, I have seen that many are from people who own dogs that are used for sporting purposes and may even have some training benefits (in the case of sled dogs). But surely even the most ardent supporters of tethering cannot deny the mountains of visual evidence provided daily of dogs who are tethered and malnourished, diseased, injured, and neglected. Those are the things that I and a supermajority of anti-tethering supporters would like to see eliminated.

    From speaking with law enforcement and animal control officials, they hate tethering laws that have time limits on them. It is simply not logistically possible for them to be able to conduct surveillance to determine whether the time based portion of the law is violated so they prefer that there be less rather than more restrictions put on tethering. Even if that means no tethering. At some point the success of tethering or non-tethering seems to hinge upon the owners providing surveillance. In the cases of neglect, it is clear that the owners are not engaged in providing for the welfare of the animal. But tethering also allows the animal to be concealed from view due to restricted movement. It is not the responsible tetherers that are a problem but the irresponsible.

    So assuming that you agree that cases of neglect as I mentioned are a problem (and the evidence is pretty widely available that it is), what would you suggest as a law to prevent tethering from being used irresponsibly? One that can be enforced and supported by the authorities who would have to police it?

    Calling people animal rights nuts and zealots while impugning their intellectual capacity to analyze and interpret data does not seem to acknowledge that they have any validity to their positions. If the positions of the anti-tethering crowd are so wrong, you should have ample scientific proof of such and not need to use insults to make your point. I understand you have to vent – I do it about liberals all the time. But I am not going to dismiss their concerns out of hand simply because they are a liberal. If there is validity, I am willing to consider a solution. We have become a society today that sledgehammers one side or the other as if our country is in some sort of controlled contest for total control. That is not what the country was designed to be. This issue is but one example of how we are failing to live up to the founders expectations of us as the inheritors of the greatest republic in history.

    The assertion made by many people regarding dogs and other animals that ‘they are not moral beings and are just animals’ is a personal opinion which has no more validity (and maybe even less depending on what research shows) than the opinion of those who hold that animals are sentient beings who experience legitimate emotions and can be psychologically disaffected and/or damaged by poor handling techniques by humans. Unless and until that issue is settled science one way or another, the use of the ‘just animals’ argument is a straw man to distract from the main issue which is to find a way to craft legislation to keep humans from applying an inappropriate control method to a creature that cannot speak for itself.

    One of the main objections I have is to the assertion that keeping a dog tethered 24/7/365 is not harmful to the animal. These are pack animals that are genetically designed to be in the presence of others in steady interaction. I have personally seen dogs in that condition that are routinely kept away from adequate shelter and who do not have access to water (usually because they knock over their water with their tether). In these cases, the owners are away all day and seldom interact with the animals. My personal experience is that those dogs are much more difficult to control or interact with because of the pent up energy they have from the tethering. But I do not blame the tether, I blame the owner. In almost all cases where tethered dogs misbehave, there is a clear lack of oversight and proper care by the owners.

    When I was in the Boy Scouts, we were taught that our responsibilities were primarily to Mother, God, Country, and the Younger and Weaker. I view this issue as the domain of Younger and Weaker and personally believe that I am accountable to God for the way that the animals are treated. I would not be living up to my responsibilities if I did not challenge mistreatment. I may not have the perfect solution but I do want to make sure that dialogue occurs to find a better solution than currently exists. That may or may not play well with you and your readers but I appreciate any consideration of my point-of-view you may give as well as any reasoned discussion you may wish to have. We are both lovers of our dogs and want them to have good, safe, and healthy lives. On that we can surely agree. The only question is how we can improve the current system.