Can a Tether Help You Train Your Dog Off-leash?
Tethers are ropes, chains or other leads that, when fastened to a stationary object like a pole or stake, allow you to restrict your dog’s movement while also permitting some freedom. According to the Humane Society of the United States, “Placing an animal on a restraint to get fresh air can be acceptable if it is done for a short period or while supervised. However, keeping an animal tethered for long periods is never acceptable.”
In terms of training, tethers are sometimes used to housetrain puppies and dogs. Veterinarian Dr. Rolan Tripp explains that the dog is confined to a small area with a leash or tether. Instinct prevents dogs from soiling their den, so the tether restriction encourages the dog to “hold it” and wait for an appropriate time and place to do his or her business. Tripp advises that you not do this with a puppy until it is leash trained at about 10 to 12 weeks of age.
If your dog is tethered for a short period of time as you supervise and go through a training session, it should not hurt your dog. Tethering, however, is a very controversial practice since many owners abuse it, keeping their dogs on tethers for hours and even days at a time. As a result, more than 100 communities in more than 30 states have passed laws that regulate tethering animals.
Maumelle, Ark., and Tucson, Ariz., fully prohibit the unattended tethering of dogs. Orange County, Fla., does not allow tethering between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or during times of extreme weather. Those are just a few examples of laws that are established in certain areas. If you use the tether like a leash, it can be a useful tool for supervised, limited periods. In most other cases, though, better options are available for training purposes.