Which way to go?

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 5:39pm PST 
Ok, after raising 2 dogs from pups, I told myself I'd never get a puppy again. I love molding them and their cuteness, but puppies are a lot of work.

However, the one requirement for my next dog is that it must be able to be trusted off leash.

I have no need for purebreds, so I'd be getting from shelters/rescues. But when I start looking just out of curiosity, I find it very hard to pinpoint that trait in adoptable dogs, mostly because they are never let off leash and for understandable reasons.

So, now I'm back toying with the whole maybe I should just stick with young puppies.

I've never adopted an adult dog, so I'm not really sure on which way would be best for my one particular requirement.

Any thoughts on this? Which way would you lean towards?

Dog O' Despair
Barked: Sun Dec 16, '12 8:06pm PST 
I think finding a dog of a breed that does *not* have a strong hunt/chase instinct as well as an individual that seems exceptionally people driven is going to be your best bet. Not all dogs, even those raised from pups, are going to be trustworthy off leash. My last dog, Kumo, was 'fine' off leash as long as he didn't see a ball. If he saw one though, his whole brain fixated on it and all the rest of reality was ignored.

Alyssum, however, does not have any prey drive so far as I've seen and wants to be glued to my side. I won't have her off-leash in the city because she skitters if startled and I don't want her skittering into the road, but on hikes she is eminently trustworthy. If she gets out of sight, a quick call brings her running back. I got her at 7 months old, surrendered to me after having been abandoned, and from a crappy former owner.
Jettsen - Adoptable

Looking for- love!
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 6:45am PST 
Sanka I'll send you Jettsen, he's great off-leash!! wave


Spooky Mulder
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 7:22am PST 
You say you have no need for purebreeds, but this is a trait you can very often found woven in with the genetics of a certain type of dog.

If it kills you to own any animal of distinct pedigree, then look for mixes of reliable types.

Dogs of obvious herding or working type will likely have the highest probability for reliability off lead.

Hounds and nordics probably the least.

If its a Collie mix, odds are you have a better chance with it than a Greyhound mix, and so on.

If you get an adult, offer to foster to adopt. There are some things you can judge from the surface, some you can't, and a dog who is tightly wound and over stimulated from being in the shelter environment will not always give you the best insight into his true character.

Member Since
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 10:45am PST 
I totally agree...dogs that were specifically bred to work with people are "easier" to train and tend to be more focused on humans in general then dogs that were bred to think independently. Also agree that you should NEVER leave a husky/mix or a hound/sighthound/mix off lead as it's asking for trouble.

Your best bet may be a breed rescue rather then trying to evaluate temperaments in a shelter enviornment.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 11:39am PST 
Go with an adult!

I always say that when something MUST be, go with an adult. Always my advice. With puppies, you are not getting the full version genetically. Breeds don't matter in an individual context. Some GSDs will totally drop what they are doing, others require more work as their drives mature. And that's an example of a biddable breed.

HERE is a dog I had last summer. In for less than a week to the point of this short video. There are certain assessments you can do and breed mixes to focus upon that pretty much would land you where you needed to be, with a lot more assurance than starting with a puppy. I think you can see with this dog, very quick learner, good handler association, etc.

Edited by author Mon Dec 17, '12 11:43am PST

Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 2:55pm PST 
Ok, so do rescues do any off leash work/tests or would they work with me if that's what I'm looking for?

Without a doubt I can definitely see in dogs a character towards more handler orientation, but to let them off leash in an environment that isn't fenced in is quite different and I'm confident the dogs know it too.wink

And that desire for certainty is also why I swore off puppies. But I have been with several puppies and taken them for off leash romps and found them so moldable at that young age. But just perusing through local dogs for adoption, I just find it quite tough to really get that assurance from the local rescues in terms of off leash.

And as you can guess, this isn't something I'm doing any time soon, but I do like to know where to go/look when that time comes.

Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 3:04pm PST 
Rigby quickly earned my trust with her off-leash.
Despite the fact she was found as a stray and difficult to catch initially, she bonded immediately with me and has had a great recall/watch sense ever since.

Maybe a type of herding of working mix? One that's generally used to working closely with the owner or bonding closely to one person.
The "sharp" features of a herding breed are generally easy to pick out.

And hounds would be typically one to avoid in an older dog for your desires. In my experience, a great deal of hounds ended up in rescue/shelter as a result of their running needs.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 3:29pm PST 
I agree with the other posters, a herding mix would be best for you. Their recall tends to be an effortless, natural thing once they bond with you. Mine will turn on the run to a whistle.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Mon Dec 17, '12 4:22pm PST 
I'm not an expert on dogs at all but Sophie is an AmStaff. I had her for several years before I got another dog. In her time withme by herself she has always been a complete velcro dog...doing the dishes? I'll wrap myself around your feet...in the tub or shower? I'll just sit beside you, make sure you don't go anywhere...sitting down?...oh I'm the perfect 50lb lap dog...after about two years of togetherness in realizing she wasn't going to take more than a few steps out of my sight I held my breath and let her offleash at the nature reserve-no cars allowed, I don't trust her not to run across roads with cars. But she did BEAUTIFULLY. She has perfect recall and keeps me in sight at all times. I know some of off leash can be accomplished by careful training but I think bonding close can do alot too.
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