Walking more than one dog at a time? Take a look at these tips.
You’ve seen them–those people out walking multiple dogs at once, with a huge latte in one hand that they sip calmly, a cell phone in the other, somehow texting or taking pics for their dog-walking Insta account, but also keeping every single dog in check.
How are these people walking multiple dogs like this and not even breaking a sweat? Do you have to be a professional? Do you go to classes?
The truth is that anyone can learn how to walk multiple dogs, even if you are not great at multitasking. You just have to put in a little effort and follow these tips!
Walking Multiple Dogs Starts With Walking One Dog
It makes sense if you think about it. Start with baby steps–if you can walk one dog successfully, you’ll be walking multiple dogs soon after. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. You will need to do a little bit of work before you become one of those people you’re jealous of.
If these are your dogs that you’ll be walking, you know their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to leash walks. So you’ll have to work more with dogs that like to pull and get distracted on walks before walking multiple dogs.
For dogs that have never walked on a leash or don’t like it, you’ll need to get them used to wearing it around the house for short periods first. Teach them that good things happen when they’re on the leash, like playtime, lots of attention, and treats.
Next, teach your dog a secret word, or cue, that means for them to pay attention to you. Say the word, and if your dog looks right after, reward them with a small treat. Once they have this down, you’re ready for a walk.
When you go outside to walk, carry tons of treats. Never yank or pull your dog by the leash or scold them. Patience is key for both of you while they learn this new skill.
If they start pulling or lag behind, use the cue word and reward them. Wait for them to come to you, then start walking a few steps, and reward them if they stay close and focused on you. It will take a lot of practice, but they will eventually get it.
Gear for Walking Multiple Dogs
Now, if you’re ready to try to take multiple dogs walking on a leash, be prepared with the right gear:
- Treat bag full of treats: Make sure these are small treats that all the dogs like!
- Harnesses: You’ll want to use harnesses instead of collars that can end up pulling on a dog’s neck. Check into no-pull harnesses for dogs that may still have a tendency to pull sometimes.
- Leashes: Always use fixed-length leashes when walking dogs, not retractable leashes. These can be very dangerous and cause all sorts of injuries, plus they don’t teach dogs to walk properly on a leash if they have free rein.
Different dog walkers prefer different setups, so you might want to try some out and see which works best for you. There are two-way, three-way, and even four-way leashes that have fixed-length leashes attached to a single padded handle. According to reviews on these, dog walkers complain of them tangling even though they say they are “tangle-free.”
One way to resolve this is to try a couple two-way leashes, and pair up dogs of the same size and walking speed. You don’t want to put a chihuahua next to a German Shepherd, or a hyper puppy next to a slow, senior English Bulldog.
If you like to get in some exercise while walking multiple dogs, or you want to run with them, you can try a hands-free belt that you can attach a two-way leash or multiple single leashes to. You might reserve this for dogs that are pretty good on leash to start with.
Take Multiple Dogs Walking on a Leash
Now that you have the gear and all the dogs are fairly good on leash, you can try walking multiple dogs at once. Don’t get frustrated if it doesn’t go like you thought on the first try. Just think of it as a practice run and make mental notes:
- 1. See if your leash setup works or if you want to try another way.
- 2. Note which dogs pair up well together, if you will be walking the same set of dogs the next time.
- 3. Are all the dogs responding to the cue word?
- 4. Which dogs seem to be faster or slower?
- 5. Are any dogs pulling ahead or lagging behind?
- 6. Are they all getting tangled up?
Next time you go out, revise your plan and gear according to your notes. If any dogs were pulling or not paying attention to their cue words, you might need to work with them one on one before heading out with the other dogs again.
Tips for Walking Multiple Dogs
Keep these tips in mind to make sure everything goes smoothly, especially if you’re walking new dogs each time:
- 1. Walk in a quiet residential area, if possible, rather than busy streets.
- 2. Try to avoid other dogs and people coming up to your dogs. It will cause excitement and leash tangling!
- 3. Keep the leashes and dogs in front of you to avoid major tangles.
- 4. Stay vigilant. Be aware of possible dangers, like cars or scraps or bones. Also beware of distractions like birds and squirrels, anything on wheels, or joggers coming too close.
- 5. Reward good walking behavior with treats!
- 6. Start slow, with just two dogs at first. Don’t go out with four on your first try!!
Stay patient and positive, and you’ll be walking multiple dogs with ease in no time!