If you’ve ever read our blog or perused our Instagram, it’s obvious that my wife and I love dogs. I mean, we live with three of them. But as much as I love them, having three furry roommates is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are many challenges that come with dog companionship. For one, they like their walks. Don’t get me wrong, I like them too. But, with three dogs, and only one or two humans things can get a little… hairy.
How do you walk multiple dogs at once?
Not easily… even after years of practice, I’ve yet to perfect the technique of proper dog walking. But, I can give you some great dog walking tips. So, if you have more than one dog. Or, if you’re just an aspiring dog walker. Here are a few things to think about before you head out on your next excursion.
Know Your Dogs
Obviously, no one knows your dog better than you. But, when walking more than one dog at a time you need to know what each dog likes. More importantly, you need to know what they don’t like. For instance, growing up I had a very cute little terrier who was not cool with strangers. If someone approached us asking for a pet he would either yap wildly or take off in the opposite direction. I knew it was best to walk him at night when we had the streets to our self.
Now, Hazel and Zeus, they love to sniff. Once they get on the trail of a bunny or opossum they want to yank my arm off. Teaching them to properly heel has been a necessity. One active dog can be a challenge but throw two or three into the mix and you might have a disaster brewing.
That’s why knowing what sets your dog off in advance, can go a long way to making your walk smooth and leisurely. If your furry friend gets nervous around children avoid the park. Or, if they like to chase cars then stay out of the street. Which brings me to my next point…
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
If you live in the suburbs or an apartment complex you know that stray dogs are an unfortunate part of life. Several times, while out walking my dogs, I’ve had a stray dog charge at me. Not only is this terrifying, but it’s pretty dangerous.
You can’t always avoid these situations, but being observant can help. Spotting strays from a block away can save you from putting yourself and your dogs a risk. The same can be said of small children who can be as unpredictable. Or, just shady characters. Not everyone understands proper dog walking etiquette. They may approach you, or pet your dogs without asking. Again, this can put you and your dogs at risk. So, know where you are and who’s around you.
Get the Right Equipment
There are several tools that can help you while walking more than one dog. Things like a dog lead splitter, which allows you to attach one leash to two or more collars. You may also want to look into a collar harness combo. A sturdy harness will give you a lot more control over your dog compared to an ordinary collar.
Personally, I like to use a waist belt to which I attach all three leashes. This allows me to keep both hands free to deal with tangles. Because believe me- there will be leash tangles. With my big dogs, I use Weiss Walkies. They’re a type of leash that wraps around your dog’s mid-section and attaches to their collar. Weiss Walkies can help reduce your dog’s pulling.
Start with One Dog at a Time
Walking one dog at a time is not the most efficient method of dog walking, but it can be beneficial, to begin with. It’s good to learn how your dog behaves on a walk. Also, it’s easier to train one dog at a time. That way when you’ve got all your pups on a leash they’ll know exactly what you expect from them.
Teach each dog to walk by your side or as close to you as possible. This will pay off when walking multiple dogs. There’s nothing worse than walking three dogs traveling in three different directions. Trust me, I know.
Expect and Train for Challenges
I mentioned training in the paragraph above, and this is really the key to ensuring a good walk. I don’t have the most behaved dogs in the world. But, I have at least trained them on the basics. Commands like ‘heel,’ and ‘sit.’ Being able to get their attention while walking is key. You might want to train your dog to stop and look at you with a single word or noise. Clicker training is great for this.
The most important thing is to have a method to get your dogs’ attention quickly. This is helpful when dealing with a tangle, avoiding a hazard, or when you need to change direction.
And last, but not least.
I like to walk with a pocket full of kibble to reinforce good behavior. It’s also useful when you need to get your dogs’ attention or motivate them to stop and sit for a moment.
Like anything, walking multiple dogs takes practice, and it will never be perfect. In fact, it can be downright frustrating at times. But, when you get it right you’ll find it very rewarding, and even be relaxing… sometimes.