Leaving them tied up outside a shop is one of the worst things to do to any dog. Even if it’s just for a couple of minutes the dangers well outweigh the convenience.
A dog who is tethered outside a shop is vulnerable and often looks stressed. Whether they understand how vulnerable they are, or are scared because they are tied in a place surrounded by scary things, we can’t know. Either way, the dog can’t escape, people can approach and the dog has no choice. So many people have zero amount of emotional intelligence to the subtle requests of dogs. They pat, touch, loom and grab. Parents allow their little children to walk up to strange dogs and hug them. Kids tease dogs for fun.
A fearful dog can get loose and run, panicking into the path of an oncoming car. I once spent the Christmas period looking for a little dog who did that, a truck driver reported hitting her on the nearby motorway half an hour after she managed to escape her tether. The last minutes of that little dog’s life must have been terrifying.
Another risk is people with sinister motives, Tilly, a much loved 2 year old chocolate Labrador was snatched from outside a supermarket in 2014 by teenagers and finished her life in a canal with a brick around her neck. I have read a sign in a shop window asking if anyone had seen their German Shepherd, last witnessed being dragged along that high street by a young man, after being tied up outside a shop. There are so many incidents of this kind that even if you haven’t heard of them – you have now.
To assume it won’t happen to you, or your dog, or that the place you have tied them is safe. Or even that you won’t be gone long enough for a problem to occur, is naïve at best and neglectful at worst. It only takes one back firing car, one mean kid, one thief or ignorant petter and your dog could be gone. Whether through being lost, stolen or seized because they were pushed hard enough to bite.
If you don’t have someone to wait with them, don’t take the risk, don’t take your dog to the shops. You might only stress them beyond their ability to cope, affecting their emotional health and causing serious fear. Or you could lose them forever and their presence be replaced with a lifetime of regret.
There is no good outcome for a dog, from being tied outside a shop. Whether they suffer in silence or something more extreme, our job is to keep them safe from both.