Legislative Action Center

Dogs Outdoors/Tethering
Action Alert
Dogs are the most diverse species of mammals on earth.  Individual dogs have different needs based on their breed, age, training, and a variety of other factors.  When it comes to animal care, one size does not fit all. 

No dog should be left in situations where their health or safety are at risk.  Similarly, responsible owners should be permitted to have dogs outdoors in a variety of circumstances so long as it is done in a responsible manner and the dogs are safe.   

Different breeds thrive in a wide variety of temperatures and conditions. What is ideal for a Chihuahua  is very different than the needs and tolerances of a Saint Bernard. Factors such as normal body temperatures vary according to individual characteristics including age, acclimatization and health status.  Some dogs begin to show signs of overheating when the air temperature feels moderate; others may thrive in much higher (or colder) temperatures.

In the same way, there are many situations in which a dog may be humanely and safely tethered outside.  Just as dogs should not be outside in situations that endanger them, dogs should not be tethered in a manner that could cause them harm.  

AKC opposes arbitrary one-size-fits-all regulations that do not consider the complexities of dogs’ individual breeds, needs and capabilities. Legislation seeking to protect dogs should provide sufficient flexibility to recognize variations in appropriate care requirements while prohibiting situations that put an individual dog’s health and safety are at risk.  This way, all dogs can be protected against dangerous situations, while still being able to participate in appropriate training and outdoor activities they were bred to do – and the weather they love best.

AKC Policy Position Statements 

Proper Care and Humane Treatment of Dogs


Issue Analyses/ Resources 

Sassy’s Story  (tethering issue analysis)

Arbitrary Temperature Requirements Can Harm Dogs  (AKC Responsible Policy Video) 

Keeping Dogs Safe in Inclement Weather

Safe Housing/AKC Care and Conditions Policy

What You Need to Know About Dogs and the Weather 

Arbitrary Temperature Requirements Can Harm Dogs 


Winter is Coming: What to Consider with Inclement Weather Legislation 

Related Issues

Dogs in Vehicles: Avoiding Unintended Consequences


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