Walking Two Dogs: Mastering the Art of Leash Training

Walking our furry companions is not only crucial for their physical exercise but also for their mental stimulation. Numerous studies have shown that dog walking provides immense benefits, not just for our dogs but for us as well. However, the challenge arises when we need to walk two dogs simultaneously. It may seem like an impossible task, but fear not, with the right strategies and techniques, you can conquer this feat. Let’s explore some effective tips to help you walk two dogs like a pro.

1. Lay a Strong Foundation

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of walking two dogs, it’s essential to ensure that each dog has a solid foundation of loose leash walking skills. Teaching your dogs to walk on a loose leash is crucial for a harmonious walking experience. While online tutorials can provide a good starting point, nothing beats the assistance of a qualified trainer or behaviorist. Even if only one of your dogs has mastered this skill, you’ll be in a much better position than if both dogs struggle with pulling.

2. Three Leashes and Four Hands

Start by recruiting a friend or a patient significant other to act as the “secondary walker” for one of the dogs. Choose the dog with less reliable loose leash walking skills. Outfit that dog with two leashes – one on the collar and one on the harness, or two on the collar alone. Walk side by side, with the second person holding their second leash more than you’re holding yours. As you progress, the second walker can gradually drop their leash, intervening only if needed. The goal is for the dogs to walk side by side calmly, eventually allowing you to handle both dogs confidently.

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3. Ensure Good Gear

Using identical leashes for both dogs makes the task of walking two dogs much easier. Opt for leashes made of the same material, texture, length, and shape. Additionally, having both dogs walk on the same type of harness, whether front-clip or back-clip, provides better control and minimizes the risk of entanglement. However, if one dog has mastered walking with certain equipment, it’s best not to compromise their comfort and stick with their preferred gear.

4. Time and Plan Your Route

Especially during the initial walks where you’re outnumbered by the dogs, it’s crucial to choose a route that minimizes potential distractions and unwanted triggers. Consider walking early in the morning to avoid school traffic or opt for quieter hours at night. Planning a route that steers clear of known triggers, such as a fence with an excitable dog behind it, will help make the walks as uneventful as possible.

5. Master the Art of Focus

Maintaining the dogs’ focus throughout the walk is key to a successful multi-dog walk. There are two primary ways to achieve this: firstly, drain some of their energy before the walk through a quick session of tug or fetch. Secondly, walk them when they’re slightly hungry and use treats as rewards throughout the walk. Partially feeding your dogs before the walk, along with a pocket full of kibble mixed with high-value treats, will help keep them engaged and attentive.

6. Start Small and Build Up

Building up to long walks with two dogs takes time and practice. It’s important to be patient and prepared to continue walking each dog individually as you transition to multi-dog walks. Initially, your walks may be limited to just your block, and that’s perfectly fine. Gradually increase the distance and duration of your walks as your dogs become more comfortable walking together.

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7. End on a Positive Note

When things are going well during a multi-dog walk, it’s crucial to recognize the positive and end the walk on a high note. By concluding the walk on a positive experience, both you and your dogs will feel motivated and optimistic for the next outing. Remember, it’s better to end a successful walk sooner rather than later, avoiding any potential setbacks and maintaining focus and enthusiasm for future walks.

8. Practice Makes Perfect

Consistency is key when training two dogs to walk on a leash. Regular practice and persistence are vital for your dogs to learn to walk harmoniously together. Expect setbacks along the way and be prepared to revisit the basics. Progress is not always linear, but with dedication and patience, you’ll achieve a seamless multi-dog walking experience.

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Remember, walking two dogs on a leash is an art that requires time, effort, and understanding. By following these tips and staying consistent in your training, you’ll soon be able to enjoy peaceful and enjoyable walks with your beloved furry companions. So, grab those leashes, put on your walking shoes, and embark on an adventure with your dynamic duo!