Are dogs our prisoners – or slaves even?


Sally Hopkins of has posed the question with an interesting chart to make us think.

A dog that is kept shut or tied up alone outside and that is only brought out to do a job for the humans – that sounds very much like slavery to me.

On the other side of the coin is too much freedom, and domestic dogs don’t thrive on that either – with no rules and no boundaries. This leads to insecurity.

I like to think of my own dogs ‘captivity’ in terms of that of a child of around seven years of age. The child is dependent upon us for all sorts of things and can’t roam free for his own safety – but we give our children pocket money, love, food and schooling. We try to be fair and we try to understand his needs.

What I love about clicker training and other modern force-free training methods is that it does give dogs some sort of choice, unlike the old dominance methods that expect a dog to comply, with force if necessary, in order to avoid punishment rather than to earn approval.

Here is the story of a dog I went whose life was so boring that it was similar to being in jail – much of the time in solitary confinement.

Theo Stewart, The Dog Lady

Go to the main website:


About Theo Stewart

I am a dog Behaviourist C.C.B (Certified Canine Behaviourist) INTODogs). I have helped over 3000 dog owners over eighteen years. In addition to online consultations all over the world, I cover Beds, Herts, Cambs and Bucks for home visits. A 'Victoria Stilwell' Positively Dog Trainer (VSPDT) and a full member of the IMDT. Graduate ISCP, International School for Canine Practitioners. My main site:
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