Are you an owner of two dogs? Have you ever questioned how you can possibly walk them at the same time? No worries! I am here to discuss everything you need to know to overcome the exhaustion and challenges of walking two dogs at the same time.
Like many owners, I have two dogs that both have quite a lot of energy amongst them. While a fenced in backyard can be great, there is only so long before you and your dogs get sick of playing catch.
Walking your dogs can be a great option to get them moving, and to burn off some energy. Let’s take a deeper look into ways to successfully walk two dogs at the same time.
Benefits of Walking Your Dog
When a dog may be cooped up in the house all day, and the owner can easily run the dog through their yard with catch, walking dogs mentally helps them get out of that “zone,” and allows them to see the outside world.
Other reasons include:
- Your Health Benefits: Not only is your dog going to get a great exercise, you will get moving too! Wit most doctors recommending 20 minutes of activity per human, this will be a great opportunity to get your steps in.
- Controls Dog Weight: Less activity and more eating will probably mean your dog will gain weight. In order to keep a good weight and healthy status for your dog, a good walk will help you accomplish that.
- Helps Digestive System and Overall Health: Believe it or not, your dog needs to get moving to avoid possible constipation or other stomach and food issues. Going for a walk can provide this for a dog.
- Builds a strong bond: Walking your dog really helps the owner and dog connect. They are able to get excited and spend time with their owner.
- Builds Trust: During your walk, you will see other animals and people, and your dog will need to trust you, and show that you can trust them to react accordingly to those that you may pass.
Tips For the Multiple Dog Owner
When we look to walk our dogs, we must plan out our walk beforehand. Walking two dogs at the same time is going to be much more challenging than walking solo with your dog.
Our dogs are four and a half years old, and one and a half years old. Surprisingly, the four year old dog is a worse walker. However, the one year old is a Boxer mix, which is a much larger dog, and takes more strength to keep in control on a walk.
The expectations you need to look to accomplish are that the dogs must be ready to walk at your pace. This is easier said than done, but if you don’t set the goal, than the walk will quickly turn into the dogs controlling the pace.
Next, look to map out your route. If you hear a lot of distractions, such as other dogs barking, or people outside, maybe head the other way.
When you set an expectation accordingly, you are now in control of the walk.
Treats and a water option are crucial when walking dogs
Bring Treats and Water
This idea allows you to be ready for your dogs when they get highly distracted, and they will. Bringing a few training treats is a great preparation tactic when walking your dogs. When the dogs get distracted, simply mentioning “Leave it,” and guiding them away from the distraction with a pocket treat will help them stay focused.
Water is simply a great way to keep your dogs hydrated. Often times, we walk our dogs on a hot Summer day, and water every couple of blocks will keep them from overheating.
There are multiple options for dog water bottles. While I prefer bringing a sports squeeze bottle, the below item is one of the more popular options for dogs.
Bring a plastic bag for cleanup
Early into owning our first dog, we got used to something most dog owners weren’t. Our dog never pooped on a walk. It was glorious! Then, one day when she was close to three, she did it.
Always attach a bag(or two) to your leash for cleanup. While you may think that your dog would never do so, they will. Having that prepared so you can cleanup messes will just make your two dog walk that much easier.
Usually, when you go on longer walks, the risk for this event to happen will likely increase, as dogs bowels become weaker as more energy is put in as they begin to get worn down.
Get a harness for both dogs
With your dogs most likely having different personalities, being different sizes, and weight, they are sure to drag you along if you do not have a tight grip harness for their leashes. The harness not only gives stability, but allows you the freedom to not have to worry if a stand alone leash allows your dog to escape.
Below is a harness that I recommend, and is similar to the brand that I have for both our Black Lab mix, and Boxer mix.
Plain and simple, when I tried to walk my dogs on two seperate leashes, it was a disaster. One would pull one way, the other a different way. Both of them would drag me along for a ride when they got excited. My wife found an amazing invention for helping guide your walks with two dogs.
The link connects right to both leashes through a loop and allows a triangle hookup to both of the dogs harnesses. Below is a great look at how the process works, and allows you full control to keep the dogs closely together.
A dual link setup for your leash
Most likely, your dogs are going to challenge you during your walk. Be ready to be patient. Dogs sniff, stare, chase pretty much everything on walks. While some dogs may not, they are rare.
Building an expectation, and realizing your first few walks with two dogs might not go great will go a long way in keeping your patience. After a while of controlling the walk, and not getting anxious, you will start to become more and more patient.
Avoid Distractions, at first.
One of the toughest obstacles for dog walkers is when other dogs, squirrels, animals and people are approaching you and your dogs.
If training two dogs to walk at the same time together in unison, these items need to be avoided at first. If dogs or people are on the same side of the street as you cross the street. Keep your dogs preoccupied by using clickers, treats and other distraction tactics.
Once you begin training the dogs, eventually, you will want to test them staying on the same side of the street and walking by others properly. You should judge that based on your own visual.
Walks wear down your dogs
Wear the right shoes
This adventure isn’t going to go well if you wear your crocs or sandals. Both dogs will most likely drag you around, and cause some issues for your feet.
Wearing the appropriate shoes, such as walking shoes or tennis running shoes will give your the mobility you need when your dogs take you for an adventure.
While running your dogs consistently is not recommended, having running shoes to be able to give them a workout real quick will help them burn off some food and energy.
Bring A Partner
When you bring another human, your walking adventure can be much more simple. Depending on the length of your walk, your arms are bound to get tired. Having a backup walker there to take the reins can be crucial in your physical abilities.
WIth our dogs, my wife and I make it a contest to see who can walk them with the most control. Alternating arms and persons helps keep the dogs guessing as well, while giving the other person a break throughout the walk.
Dogs must understand leash rules first
Teach them the Leash First
All the steps above will do you no good if your dogs do not understand leash walking. Training your dogs with a harness and leash in the backyard first will be crucial in building your dogs understanding of the concept.
Once your dog trusts you and understands the leash properly, then they are ready to go for a walk.
Yanking backwards on the leash, and turning the dogs completely around on the walk can be useful in containing them.
Shorten The leash
Once your dogs start to pull or constantly refuse to listen on your walk, shortening the leash is a great trick to get them more in control.
If the leash is short enough, the dogs will have no choice but to walk tightly near their human counterpart. While this sounds nice, it will not happen automatically. You will need to severely train your dogs into this stage, and it will take time.
Walk your dogs individually first
Getting the dogs to individually see how to walk with you will be the key to taking control of the walk. Practicing with the dogs are important as both dogs most likely have different learning curves, energy and overall attention spans.
Once you have found a good balance, and have seen the dogs begin to understand the importance of walking at a good pace, you are now ready to walk both of the dogs.
Keep the dogs close to your body
This step is crucial in being successful with your joint dog walk. Once you begin the walk, make the dogs understand that they will be by your side during the entire walk, and not to let them get used to a loose leash.
When they start to see distractions during the walk, tighten the grip and distract their faces the other way, opposite the distraction causing them the issue.
After they get the hang of it, let them sniff around
Your dogs deserve a break after being disciplined for the entire walk. Once they have got through most of their walk without any real trip-ups, let them explore a little.
Showing good energy to the dogs after a successful walk will show them that you appreciate their efforts, and potentially, they will learn to walk well in the future as well.
Reward your dog after a good walk
Reward them after a good walk
While not every walk is going to go great, eventually they will. After a lot of training, walking together as a family, and constant reinforcement, the dogs are bound to become pretty good walkers.
When those walks do go well, a fun reward of a treat or dog peanut butter will go a long way in showing your dogs that their positive walk deserves to be rewarded.
What are some other tricks you use for walking your dogs? Comment below!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.