Even mushers who primarily house their dogs in their own homes need
some sort of outdoor confinement system to house their dogs during
times when the musher can not be present to supervise the dogs and
of course mushers with larger teams must usually confine some or all
of their sled dogs in an outdoor “dog yard”. Whether confining
members of a 2-dog skijoring team or a 100+ dog racing kennel, the
general considerations and methods of confining the dogs remain the
Mush with PRIDE’s position that tethering sled dogs in the manner
recommended in the Mush with PRIDE Sled Dog Care Guidelines is a
safe and humane method of confinement that allows healthy social
interactions among dogs, minimizes risks of injury to dogs and
facilitates husbandry, hygiene and kennel management.
Tethering in the manner described in the Mush with P.R.I.D.E. Sled
Dog Care Guidelines in the multiple-dog kennel setting meets the
physical and psychological needs of dogs while accommodating the
needs of the community.
dogs to protect them from exposure to injuries or illnesses.
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
Provides access to
the visual, auditory and olfactory stimuli of the general
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
Advocates of outlawing tethering as a method of dog confinement
frequently misinterpret the results of the studies they cite.
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 that dogs that are not
The best available current scientific evidence supports tethering in
the manner described in the Mush with P.R.I.D.E. Sled Dog Care
Guidelines as an effective, safe and humane method of confinement.
only controlled, scientific study comparing sled dogs primarily
confined by tethering on post/swivel systems as described in the
Mush with P.R.I.D.E. Sled Dog Care Guidelines 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 recommended by Mush with P.R.I.D.E. 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.
5 foot chains gives
each dog an area of slightly more than 78 square feet in which
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.
R; “Comfortable Quarters for Laboratory Dogs”; Universites
Federation for Animal Welfare, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.)
The manner of tethering sled dogs recommended by Mush with PRIDE is
available on-line at