Why I Don't Leash My Dog | Sheepadoodle

by - December 09, 2017


I am sure this is going to be a pretty button pushing, controversial, post for some of you. That's life though. As most of my followers and those of you that have been tuning in for Blogmas already know, but for those of you who don't, Milo and I got a dog! I have been looking into getting my son a dog for sometime. Doing all sorts of research, watching shelters adoptable pet lists for breeds I like, and reaching out to bernese and doodle breeders. You can find my post on Choosing the Right Dog for Your Family here. I planned on waiting until Christmas of next year, 2018. However, the perfect dog came along so we chose to adopt! The handsome lad grinning ear to ear and wagging his tail to the right has turned our little family of two into a family of three! He is a 1.5 year old Sheepadoodle (english sheepdog + poodle) and his name is Axl Rose. 

We welcomed him into our home pretty much already trained, which was a blessing all it's own. If you have ever trained a puppy you know the struggle is real. Some basic manner lessons are all he needs, but that will come in due time as he matures and learns the lay of our land. He may be large, but he is still a puppy. He is so smart already being potty trained and knowing basic commands such as "Come", "Sit", "Lay Down", "Stay" and I am currently trying to teach him how to carol. Yep, that's right Christmas Carol (bark on command). It's a work in progress to say the least. I prefer breeds who tend to be easier to train. Intelligent, worker bee, companion style breeds. Which leads me into why y'all are here, to figure out why I don't leash my dog.

I have never been a big fan of leashing or restraining any animal. Especially, around the neck. It's just a little cruel and creepy in my opinion and gives me the heebeegeebees. Plus, leash training is a bunch of extra work and a big ol pain in the butt, if you ask me. Now I am not saying I never leash Axl. If we go into town, to the groomers, or walk around my neighborhood he is leashed for the sake of the law and our neighbors privacy. Not everyone likes dogs and some might even be afraid of a sheepadoodle. (yes, I did just chuckle)

When I do leash him I don't use a standard leash and collar. Axl has a No-Pull Harness which secures him comfortably around his chest verses a chain around his neck. We also use a Retractable Dog Leash which gives him a bit more freedom and is easier for me to handle. He may be well trained, but he is still a puppy and the size of a small man. If he wanted to he could overpower me and drag me all around town. Though I know and trust he won't. Axl doesn't wander to far from me, so I feel these options make him feel more secure and comfortable on the rare occasion he is restrained. He is very obedient and I trust him enough to where I don't deem leashing entirely necessary. What I have grown to notice throughout my experience with dogs is that if you don't give them a reason to leave, they tend to stick around. You know, you do have the food and all.

Now that's just a rule of thumb, and most certainly not always the case. A lot also depends on the breed and personality of the particular dog. I tend to view a pet as more of a friend and part of the family, rather than a possession or accessory. Axl is a kind, playful, gentle giant who likes to sniff, run and explore. So I let him be who he is. He is fairly well behaved for being a young rescue and always obeys his commands even though sometimes I may have to repeat myself. Just like with my toddler. I don't choose to have dogs that require so much extra work.

If you have a hound, a dog whose temperament is low on the obedience scale, or a dog on the dangerous breed list then the off leash training and lifestyle may not be for you. Training a dog takes time, trust, and patience. Something not every pet owner is willing or capable of providing, and that's ok. For my personal preference I choose to work with my pet on a foundation of trust. Similar to how I am raising Milo, I don't purposely put Axl in situations where he could fail. I trust that Axl won't bolt off or run away on our morning ventures and a lot of that has to do with the type of dog he is and his personality. I trust that while on our family outings he will stick by us and even if we run into people he won't cause them any harm. 

There are many places near where I live that he likes to play in and that are safe areas to be off leash. A field near the river behind our home, Lamoille Canyon has mountain hiking trails and paths, a local dog park, a marina park in Spring Creek. Pretty much unless we are in the center of town or in a heavily populated place Axl isn't leashed. He wanders near where I am. When we are walking trails he walks right along side Milo in his stroller. They are buddies after all.

Restraining is not a natural act for anyone, especially a dog. Sitting, laying down, waiting, barking (speak), come, are all natural commands and acts. Things a dog responds to and does naturally. Making training to do those commands much much easier. Leashing or restraining isn't a natural action, and often causes anxiety in a dog that isn't used to it. Often times this act of training is called Breaking. Breaking an animal of the natural reaction to circumstances is something I don't particularly believe in. With that break/leash training takes time for the dog to release free will and adjust. This requires patients from the owner to continue in getting the results they desire. It's not something I feel like investing my time in. Axl doesn't seem to have been leashed before. Maybe his previous owners had a fenced yard or large lot of land. Leash training just isn't something I feel like teaching him now or really ever. So to sum it up I just don't feel like it.

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