Resources for dog owners who currently chain their dogs:
In the last year no Chains all love Dog Society successfully rescued and rehomed 40 dogs who had previously lived their entire lives outside. None of the transitions were easy - and none of the dogs were perfect - but there are no perfect dogs out there - even dogs who live their lives inside their whole life have lots of problems and their owners want to get rid of them - but I think if you tried to bring the dog you have right now inside, you will surprise yourself.
Here are some steps to bring your dog inside when he has lived outside his whole life:
1. Get him spayed or neutered - if you put him outside because you couldn't house train him - this will fix 90% of the problem - they will stop marking almost completely once you spay or neuter them.
2. Don't leave your dog unattended - if you can't be with the dog for the first little while after you've brought him inside - put him somewhere that he can't get into trouble - like in a crate, or in a smaller room like a bathroom or close off your kitchen - so that nothing important gets destroyed - he shouldn't be left unattended so that he can make mistakes and make you unhappy with him
3. Give him toys to entertain himself with - a lot of behaviour problems are caused by boredom and lack of stimulation - so if your dog has something to pass the time with - he'll be a good dog - things that he can chew on like sterized bones or kongs that you can fill up and he can eat - would be awesome.
4. Play with your dog! When you bring your dog inside he is going to be a puppy - it has been determined that if you put your dog out on a chain when he was a puppy - that's where his personality stunted at - so when you bring him back inside at 5 years - you've got yourself a 5 year old puppy - so have fun with that - it's great! You should have a lot of fun times!
5. A lot of chained dogs have a high level of anxiety when they are out on the chain - and they may bring that with them when they come into the house, so you have to be patient with them for the first little while - it may come across as being whiny, or being clingy to you - because they are going to fall deeply in love with you immediately, or they make do a lot of barking - just know that this will get better. Once they realize that they don't have to go outside to live anymore and that they have regular love being given to them - they calm down - dogs are way smarter than we think they are.
6. Give yourself a bit pat on the back and realize that you have just rescued a dog from a life living out on a chain. There are a lot of reasons why people leave their dogs outside 24/7 365 days a year - but here in Nova Scotia, that is now illegal, and there are a lot of good reasons why that decision was made by our government. Thank you for following our laws and bringing your dog inside.
The Nova Scotia SPCA has a handout about dog house regulations for the times that you still leave your dog outside - it can be viewed at http://www.spcans.ca/documents/doghouse.pdf
There is also a really good article about rehabilitating your chained dog at http://dogsdeservebetter.org/rehab.html if you wanted tho check that out