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Leave and let leave?

Do you ever see dogs tied up outside shops and worry about them? I do. Even though I live near a very small town, where dogs are probably fairly safe from theft, I still worry that they are clearly unhappy to be left alone. In their canine rationale of the world, surely they must feel abandoned by their pack.

We passed a poor Staffordshire Bull terrier tied outside a large supermarket at an out-of-town retail park this week. Despite the macho reputation of the breed, this particular dog was very unhappy to be left alone. He was barking and whining, and wagging his tail enthusiastically at every passerby, clearly eager to be friends with anyone who would have him.

I don’t usually touch unattended dogs, as obviously it’s not safe, but this dog stopped barking as we got near to him, and strained forward on his lead, aching for a fuss. So I reached out a closed fist for him to sniff the back of my hand, and he nuzzled into it. For a couple of minutes we crouched and comforted him, but as we walked away his attention returned to the shop door, and he resumed his barked entreaty for his owner to come back to him.

I’m not the only one who is concerned by dogs left alone outside shops, as I found out in this thread on Champdogs http://www.champdogsforum.co.uk/board/topic/111291.html#fp There are so many risks to the left-alone dog mentioned here, including being stolen, frightened or even attacked by another dog. Under UK law if a dog is deemed out of control on a public place, it is can be at risk of being put to sleep – and if you’re not with your dog how can you be deemed to be controlling it?

After doing a little research it would appear some people think it’s acceptable to leave their dog while they spend time at the gym or a restaurant http://www.petforums.co.uk/dog-chat/17744-barking-when-tied-up-outside-s... The only thing worrying the poster in this instance is that his dog barks when left and he wants advice on stopping the barking.

Meanwhile Konscientious Karen is asking Uptight Seattleite her opinion of leaving her dog outside a shop. http://www.seattleweekly.com/2008-12-10/diversions/ask-an-uptight-seattl... While some good points are raised, the advice is not entirely serious. Whether it is legal to leave your dog tied up outside is the subject of a question in Yahoo Answers. http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081102130205AAriUbK The consensus is that it isn’t actually illegal, but it is inadvisable.

Did you know there’s even a blog dedicated to dogs tied to things? The blogger simply takes photos of dogs he sees tied up around San Fransisco and then posts them. http://automatedredemption.com/flavorcountry/dogblog/ It’s interesting to study the dogs’ body language; some are alert, watching for their owner, while others are resigned to the wait.

So when is it safe to leave your dog tied outside a shop? When you’ll only be a minute? When you’ve got a big dog? When you’ve got a small dog? Here’s my rule of thumb; if it’s an environment in which I would happily leave a wad of dollar or pound notes, confident that they would be there when I returned, then I would go ahead and leave my dog. The trouble is they don’t build shops in places like that do they?

Take care

Julie x

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