Casual dog mom with basset hound in sunglasses

by Apostolos Vamvouras via Unsplash

Overall Philosophy

As a free-range mama, you love everything about your fur-baby, including the fact that he lives life to the fullest. While you’re not about to let your pup run into the street, you’re also not a hovering worrier who makes her pup afraid of his own shadow.

Your Vibe

Because you’re so chill, your pup likely is too. He learned early on that loud noises and new things probably mean “adventure,” something he’s always up for. Like you, he’s curious about his surroundings and pretty independent. While he knows he can count on you, he doesn’t run to you for every little thing or constantly look to you for reassurance.


You likely believe that dogs develop important skills through tearing up their toys, running through the house with toilet paper, or discovering things through trial and error. With your free-range parenting style, you’re sure to have plenty of tough toys in every room or a shovel outside to fill in any holes fido starts in the yard. You’re happy to let your dog be a dog!


Outdoor play in a contained yard or dog park is one of your favorite ways of watching your dog let off steam. And you’re not a helicopter parent – unless it looks like someone could get seriously hurt, you let your pup eat grass, sniff butts, and sort out his own pack sitch.

Training Style

Free-range mamas don’t feel the need for rigid obedience training–as long as he isn’t hurting himself or others, then you want him to enjoy life and follow his instincts.

That doesn’t mean you let him run amok. Instead, you work to foster independence and a sense of accomplishment for your dog. You’ve taught him “sit” and “down” and he of course knows not to jump on people. But otherwise, you’re not really into expecting him to do party tricks or obey your every command.

At Home

Your home is a warm and welcoming bit of chaos, and that’s more than ok with you. Someone is always dropping in to say hi and enjoy a glass of wine, and they’re the type of friends who don’t mind shoving aside a dog toy or two (or three) to clear a place to sit down.

What are the Pros and Cons of being a Free-Range Dog Mama?


🐶 Your pup knows how to self-sooth and likely has considerable confidence, because he knows he can figure things out on his own

🐶Your pup enjoys life and rarely seems bored, sad, or stifled.

🐶Your pup is usually enthusiastic about anything you want to do.


🐶Your pup sometimes exasperates you, because he’ll get into something when it’s the least convenient time to deal with a mess.

🐶 Your pup isn’t always ready for prime-time. Sometimes, you leave him behind because he’s not as well-behaved as others expect him to be.

🐶 You’d be happier if he didn’t pull quite so much on the leash.

Are you a Small Dog Free-Range Mama?

If you want to capitalize on the pros and minimize the cons of your parenting style, please join our email list, where we’ll keep you in the loop on all things small dog.

Hi there! We’re the team at downward (sizing) dog.

My name is Karen. I’m a writer, a long time dog lover, and the founder of downward (sizing) dog, a lifestyle brand that takes small dogs seriously.

Although we love dressed-up Instagram pupfluencers as much as the next #dogmom, we’re all about showing others that small dogs are as canine as the golden retriever or lab next door. We’re literally writing the book on small dogs, and we’re deeply committed to helping small dog families live their best lives.

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