Just like there are different types of dogs, there are different types of dog owners. With so many varying types of lifestyles, each pet parent is bound to have their own set of particular beliefs. Before you ask…no we are not talking about aliens! Instead, we are talking about leashes. It is not a secret that dogs love to go on walks but how they walk is completely up to their owner. From long to short leashes or no leash at all, you and your pup’s unique outings are an experience all to their own. One hot topic that has made its rise to a reasonable debate among owners: leash vs. no leash.

      On one hand, leash laws may require you to keep a better control on your pup (ultimately reducing any risk factors). On the other hand, open-minded owners want their furbaby to experience true freedom and companionship. No matter which side your heart stands, there is no doubt that sensible arguments come from each point of view. Just like our beloved political debates, this one requires a deeper exploration.

Table of Contents

Reasons to Use a Dog Leash:

  • Keeps dog close by
  • Can help stop attacks
  • Prevents injury
  • Helps lead continued movement during walks or runs
  • Decreases owner anxiety
  • Minimizes risk of injuries during human interactions
1. Keeps Them Close

     When you take your dog for a walk you can never be sure exactly what you might run into. Of course, you may have cars passing by but there may also be an unexpected squirrel that runs by. If this does happen and your dog does not have a leash on they may just take off running. Once they have left your side you will now need to stop what you are doing and go look for them. However, if you did have a leash you could have held them by your side until the squirrel was out of focus.

2. Stops Attacks

     One thing you will never be able to avoid during your walks is people. Whether you are walking down a neighborhood street or a park path there is a chance that you will pass a person. It is no secret that dogs love to see people but some dogs will go out of there way to make it known. Just ask the mailman! These dogs will run after and jump on people just passing by. Although you have taken great care to train your dog properly, some dogs can become aggressive in the most unlikely situations. They may growl or even go to bite strangers. If you had a leash you would be able to hold your dog back and stop them from attacking people, or even dogs, that may pass by as well.

3. Prevents Injury

      If your dog does decide to run after something they could easily get hurt. When they are chasing something they are not paying attention to the area around them. In turn, this could cause them to trip and fall hurting their leg. Not only that but they could also get into something like trash and eat something that makes them ill. If they were on a leash they would not be able to escape in the first place and there would be no chance of them hurting themselves.

4. Continues Movement

     One of the best parts of a walk is all the smells. From people to other animals the scents are endless and just waiting to be discovered. The only issue with these smells is how your dog needs to take time and sniff every single one. To fully get the aroma they tend to stop dead in their tracks and sniff continuously. If you let them they would probably stay there for hours! Although, since you have responsibilities this is not possible and you need to keep moving. Thankfully with a leash, you can make sure they stay on track and not stop every few minutes.

5. Decreases Anxiety 

     There is nothing more important to a dog owner than their dogs well being. This is why when a dog has a chance to run off anxiety starts to rise. When they are not by your side there is no way to stop them from hurting themselves. There is no way to stop them from running into the street or attacking a dangerous animal. With a leash, you can feel calm knowing that there is no way that can leave your side. Anything can run by and you will not worry because they are connected directly to you.

6. Human Interaction Risks

     Even if your pup is the most well-behaved little furball on the planet, there is still the possibility that they can cause harm to other innocent bystanders. First, as much as we hate to think it, some people are just not into dogs. Their preferences may cause you altercations if your bouncing dog comes along for an unexpected greeting. Second, young children and senior adults are not going to be able to handle any jumping from friendly Fidos. This may result in unintended injury and even law suits! Finally, dog allergies are out there and you will not be able to tell who has what just by looking. Unfortunately, letting your dog roam free could lead to an allergic reaction from others.

A LEASH is RIGHT FOR YOUR DOG if…
  • they are aggressive
  • they tend to explore
  • they are easily curious
  • the location requires it

     Leashes are a great way to easily take your dog for a walk. However, for some dogs, a leash may not just be an optional accessory but instead, be necessary. Here are a few examples of dogs that need a leash to make sure that they stay out of trouble, safe, and on track.

Aggressive

     One purpose of a leash is to hold a dog back. This is a very important quality for dogs that are aggressive to people and other dogs. Not only is it important to make sure that your dog is safe but also to make sure that the person or dog on the other end is safe as well. As an owner is your responsibility to make sure that no one gets hurt. With a leash, you will be able to keep them at your side and away from potential altercations.

Adventurer

      If your dog is one that will run off right when they get the chance then a leash is definitely necessary. They may like to adventure but this could lead them to poke their nose in places where it does not belong. This could cause them harm or could lead them to a place where they are unable to find their way back. Having them on a leash stops this from even being a possibility because they are connected to you. It will be quite hard to run off without taking you with them!

Curious

      When a dog is curious they have a need to stop and investigate everything. It does not matter if it is a smell or a leaf they will examine it until the sun goes down. Since you guys are together this causes you to stop as well. Over time the encouraging them to move can get quite annoying. With a leash, you can stop pleading and easily make sure that they move at the same pace you do.

Location Requirement

     Many locations, like state parks and cities, have leash laws. These require an owner to take their dog out into public, or the trail, with a leash. Before heading to your desired location, make sure to research their specific leash policies. For example, most hiking trails and campgrounds will ask you to keep your pup on a leash no more than 6 feet in length.

Pro Recommendations

     If you find that your dog falls into one of these categories then a leash is definitely for you. Unfortunately, there are so many different types of leashes on the market that it is hard to find just the right one for you. Thankfully, to help you out Better Living With Fido has already done all of the research for you and put all the information you may need in these articles:

  1. The Best Short Dog Leashes
  2. Cotton Dog Leashes
  3. The Best Multiple Dog Leash

Reasons to NOT USE A dog LEASH:

  • Provides freedom
  • No discomfort for your dog
  • Strengthens relationship between dog and owner
  • Presents a training opportunity
  • Decrease the need to run
1. Provides Freedom

     Most of a dog’s day consists of them lying around the house doing nothing. They might pick up a toy here and there but most of the time they are pretty bored. This is why they get so excited at the idea of going for a walk. Not only do they get to stretch their legs but they get to release all of their pinned up energy. Well, they would if they were not held back by a leash. When your dog is attached to a leash they are held back from getting the freedom and space that they desire.

2. No Discomfort

      As you walk along you may find that your dog wants to explore a certain smell. If you are a bit annoyed you may find yourself tugging on their leash to keep moving. In turn, this could tighten the collar around their neck choking them. Also, if they are ahead of you they may pull you toward a certain smell which will put a strain on their neck and shoulders. Both of these instances can cause injuries that could be avoided by just letting them roam to and from smells while not on a leash.

3. Strengthens Relationship

      When you allow your dog to walk without a leash you show that you trust them. They will be happy knowing that you believe they can do it on their own. Also, since you will not be connected there will be no reason to get annoyed or angry with each other. With a leash, you both have to be headed in the same direction at the same pace. If your dog wants to stop and pee or turn around to investigate a smell they have to pull you along with them. This ,in turn, can cause you both to be jerked around or the leash all twisted up.

4. Training Opportunity

     If you want to give your dog the freedom but still want to keep them close you can teach them commands. Each time you go out for a walk you can practice commands like ‘leave it’ or ‘slow down’. Once they understand these commands you will be able to walk without any worry since you will be prepared. Also, since these sessions will make your dog use to learning commands you can start training them other places as well. For example, you could train them in the house to not jump on a guest or not to bark.  

5. Decreases the need to run

     At first, your dog may feel the urge to run off because they are full of so much energy. They have been inside all day and all the sights and smells are just too exciting. However, after a few times of walking without a leash, their need to run off will decrease. This is because when they are not held back by a leash they get the space they need. Each time they smell or see something interesting they do not have to worry about you getting upset if they stop or pull you along. After a few walks, they will enjoy staying by your side because they know you both have enough room.

NOT USING A LEASH FOR YOUR DOG may be okay if…
  • they are 100% obedient
  • they are friendly
  • they tend to pull with leashes

     Many dogs may enjoy not using a leash because of how free they will be. Although, for some, it will be a much easier and more beneficial change. Here are a few examples of dogs that should not use a leash because they are compliant, not aggressive, and determined.

Obedient

     Training your dog commands will make walking without a leash enjoyable and easy. However, to do this your dog first needs to listen to you. If your dog does not care what you have to say they will run off without a second thought. Instead of creating a fun walking atmosphere this will instead cause you to get upset with them. It may take a bit of time but making sure that they listen to you is the first step in removing the leash.

Friendly

     As you walk there is a chance that you could run into people or other dogs. To make sure that your dog is safe to pass them while not on a leash you need to make sure that they are friendly. It is okay if they want to stop and say hello but no leash may not be ideal if they are prone to biting. You can train them not to jump on you but it may be harder if they are more aggressive. Not using a leash is beneficial or many reasons but safety definitely comes first.

Pulls

     If your dog gets so excited about things that they pull you around then not using a leash would be perfect. When they pull you toward a smell or a person they are tightening the collar around their neck. In turn, this is choking them and causing harm to their neck and shoulders. Over time this could cause issues not only to their body but also to yours. There is only so much harsh tugging your arm can take.

pro Recommendations

     Does your dog fall into any of these categories? If they do then not using a leash is a great option for you. However, if you are still a bit worried about losing the leash completely, but want to stop harm from choking, there is an alternative. Using a harness takes away the possibility for them to injure their neck and allows them to get used to the feeling of no leash. To help you decide if a harness could be another option for you here are a few Better Living With Fido articles with a ton of valuable information:

  1. The Best Active Dog Collars and Harnessesharness
  2. The Best Front Clipping Harnesses
  3. The Best Dog Harnesses for Pulling