When you have more than one dog, everything is a little more complicated.
You juggle multiple dishes at meal times, pull double duty with training sessions, and more dogs always means more mischief. And while they enjoy romping around the backyard with each other, walking your dogs is still an important part of their daily exercise routine.
If you enjoy walking with your pups one at a time, your life would be easier if you could take all your dogs out at the same time. If you want to have a successful trip, consider these tips.
Test Them on Their Own
Before you all head out the door, you need to know how each dog reacts to the leash individually. If she pulls, reacts aggressively toward strangers, or chases everything that moves, adding other dogs into the mix will only complicate the situation.
Each dog in the pack needs to have good leash manners. That means the dog needs to be good at walking with a loose leash, staying calm around other dogs, and obeying commands amidst distractions.
Walking with several untrained dogs at once, or even one untrained pooch within a group of others, puts you, the dogs, and any bystander in danger. If you have big dogs, this becomes especially important. If something happens, you need to be able to regain control of the situation quickly.
Get the Right Gear
Whether you're walking one dog or four, they should always have proper collars or harnesses. This rule becomes paramount when walking in a pack. You need to consider each dog's temperament and choose equipment designed for their particular needs. If your dog is a seasoned pro who walks confidently by your side regardless of what happens, a sturdy collar will be sufficient. But if you have a young pup who likes to pull, a durable harnesswill be a better fit.
When choosing your leashes, stay away from the flexible and retracting ones. You need each leash to be strong and easy to manage. Lupine leashes are strong, durable, and if yours ever rips, they'll send you a new one for free. If you're worried about leashes becoming tangled, you can also invest in a coupler. This nylon extension separates two leashes to reduce tangling.
Think About Physical Ability
Size, age, and breed of the dogs in your pack doesn't matter, but physical ability does. You could walk a prancing little Pomeranian with a bounding Golden Retriever as long as they can both handle the distance and speed. If a small dog has the energy, their short legs can carry them just as far as their taller pack mates. But dogs with injuries, heart conditions, or low energy levels might not be able to keep up.
You should always base your walk off of the physical capabilities of the least athletic dog in your group. You never want to overwork a dog, but that might mean another, more active dog doesn't get all the exercise they need.
Evaluate Your Own Abilities
Before you take your two 150-pound Great Danes out for a trip around the block, think back to high school physics class. If you're an 130-pound woman, what do you think will happen when your two dogs decide to dart after a stray cat? It's safe to say the result wouldn't be good. In a case like that, walking both dogs at once may not be feasible.
You need to consider your weight, strength, speed, and fitness level before taking your pack beyond your property line. If you're up for the challenge, remember to scan the area for possible threats, and consider walking during off-peak hours when you're less likely to run into other dogs or people. If you're not 100% confident that you can control the dogs in every kind of situation, it's best to ask a friend to hold the other leash or take your dogs out separately.
As long as your dogs are properly trained and you're physically able to lead the pack, walking your dogs all at once is a great opportunity to bond as a family. Whether you have two dogs or six, no one needs to be left at home.
In my experience, this is the best way to ensure all your dogs bond as moving in sync in a forward motion is important for their mental health! This is what dog training is all about! I wouldn't ask your dog walker to do this immediately but instead would identify a hands-free dog leash or two separate leashes you feel comfortable holding easily that you can manage.
Walking two dogs can be fun!
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