What Are the Dangers of Tieouts & Runners With Dogs?

A tieout can put your dog at risk for wild animal altercations.
Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Tieouts and runners are cable, rope or chain confinement systems designed to be attached to a dog’s collar and a fixed point, typically in the pet owner’s yard. Pet owners often use tieouts and runners as a way to let their dog be outside without supervision, and to keep him from running away. There are, however, numerous dangers associated with these types of restraint methods.


One of the most serious problems associated with the use of tieouts and dog runner systems is that of strangulation. Your dog may accidentally get himself wrapped in the cable or cording system, either out of boredom, chasing something of interest or trying to get away from something he fears. Cables can get wrapped around furniture, trees, bushes, fencing and even rocks.


A dog on a tieout or run only has a limited amount of give in his restraint. If he runs or builds up any amount of speed and is quickly and abruptly jerked back by the restraint system, it has the potential to injure delicate bones in his neck and shoulders. Dogs who are scared or anxious or trying to escape a threat may continue to pull on the restraints even if it hurts, resulting in compounded injuries.


A dog on a tieout or runner is not protected from the elements, such as inclement weather, heat and cold. Many dog owners who use these systems secure their dog in a wide open space to avoid problems like strangulation, though being away from shade or structure presents its own set of problems for the pup.


A dog restrained by a tieout or runner is a sitting duck and is easy prey for other animals and for unscrupulous humans who want to taunt, injure or even steal the dog. Children have been known to poke at or tease a dog they know is restrained, which can lead not only to injury, but to your dog fearing humans, which can lead to future aggression. If a wild animal or another dog wanders into your yard, your dog is also at risk, having little way to defend himself, as he can't run away.


There are numerous alternatives to a tieout or run or system that can keep your dog safe from harm. Consider a dog run or an outside kennel. Alternatively, an invisible fencing system can contain your dog through the use of shock, vibration or citronella spray activations that keep your dog within a specified boundary. You may also consider crate-training your dog so he can be safely contained indoors when you're not around.