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Two dogs on the same walk.

How To Walk Two Dogs At Once

The Bad About Walking Two Dogs At Once

Below I describe how to walk two dogs at once. I start off describing the difficulties of walking two dogs at once. Then I describe why you would need to walk both of your dogs and what equipment is ideal for each purpose. 

Two dogs on a splitter lead

Why You Should Not Walk Two Dogs At Once

Off leash dogs can send your dog to the hospital. Most off leash owners do not have control of their dog. If this is the case you are going to be stuck dealing with three dogs instead of only two. It is more likely that one of your dog will be taking a trip to the emergency vet.

It is hard enough to control one reactive dog. If both dogs are reactive you should walk them separately. But even if one of the dogs is not reactive they may pick up bad habits from your reactive dog. Walking two dogs at once might make one become reactive.

When you walk two dogs at once the dogs pull harder in order to be the leader. Thus,  walking two dogs at once will encourage pulling.

A dog’s behavior might become worse when they are in a pack. Dog’s tend to shy away from danger when they feel vulnerable. They feel less vulnerable when they are together. So, walking two dogs at once might make them act more aggressive. 

If one of your dogs is reactive they may redirect the aggression to the other dog. Frustrated dogs who can not run towards or away from an object tend to bit or growl at what is closest to them. This is usually the other dog. Learn more about the types of aggression here

If walking two dogs at once stresses you out then your dog will pick up on it. They will begin to understand that walking is a stressful experience. This is not ideal if you use your walks as decompression time.

Having two leashes in your hand makes it difficult to carry other objects. For example, phones, poop bags, gloves, hats, and so on

Two familiar dogs might try to use their walk as play time. This is frustrating when you are walking your dogs to go potty or for exercise.

It is common for one dog to keep walking when the other is squatting. This is stressful for the squatting dog. Pooping is a vulnerable position. Also, you might struggle to pick the poop up when both dogs are pulling. You don’t want to fall face first into the ground (or the poop).

This is actually caused by not rewarding or enforcing cues. You say sit to one dog. The other dog hears it, sits but doesn’t get rewarded. Or you say sit and one dog does not not sit but the other does. Therefore you continue walking which is a reward for both dogs. The only way around this is to have different words for each dog. For example “sit” v.s “but” or “drop it” v.s “mine”.

When walking dogs solo you bond with that dog. Bonding with your dog increases the chance your dog will listen to you when training.

You Still Want To Walk Your Two Dogs At Once?

There are two main reasons why you would want to walk two dogs at once.

1. Dog Bonding Time

The only time we recommend walking two dogs at once is for dog-on-dog bonding time. This is the least common reason why people want to walk their two dogs at once. Walking two dogs at once creates a bonding experience between the two dogs. In fact, we recommend tandem walks for unfamiliar dogs. However, they are not walked by the same handler. You walk the dogs with different people, 6 feet apart, one in front of the other. After about block, you switch who is front. This helps the dogs get to know each other. They start to get use to the smells of each other and learn how to take turns being in front.  

2. Save Time: Exercise, Potty, Enrichment

Owners want to save time on walking their dog. There are 3 reasons to walk your dog. These reasons are: for exercise, for reliving themselves and for enrichment. Each reason has its own hurdles when walking two dogs at once.

What You Should Know When Walking Two Dogs At Once To Save Time

Walking type describes your dogs pace. Is he a sniffer, puller or meanderer. When you combine a sniffer with a puller you speed up the sniffers pace. However if the difference is large you could result in one dog dragged behind. Meanderers usually go well with both pullers and sniffers. 

Do not walk smaller dogs with large or active dogs. They could injured especially if the larger dog reacts to something.

Be cautious when pairing an older dog with a younger dog. Having a young dog with a geriatric dog could result in injury to the older dog. Please remember to walk your elderly dog at his pace not yours. If you are walking your dogs for exercise it is unlikely your younger dog will get much out the experience. It would make more sense to walk them separately.  

9 Alternatives Forms Of Exercise

In fact most canine sports dogs do not receive daily walks. These dogs receive their daily fitness goals elsewhere. This includes trick training, canine fitness, canine massage, play and dog sports.

Swimming is a great outlet for dogs of all ages. There are indoor pools that your dog can swim at. The best reason to do swimming is that the prices are usually for the hour (not per dog). Therefore you can bring all your dogs to the pool and save time and money.

There are two types of treadmills. Motor operated treadmills and manual treadmills. Many sports dog owners use motor treadmills. This is because we are training our dogs to become faster. If this type of treadmill worries you can get a manual treadmill. A manual treadmill moves as the dog moves.

A flirt pole is a stick with a rope attached. It encourages the dog to chase the lure.

Many dogs who are older can not move like they use to. Canine massage uses passive range of motion to get the dogs muscles moving and oxygenated. This is a form of light exercise and is ideal for owners who have geriatric dogs.

Canine fitness is like yoga for dogs. It teaches them to shift weight between their four legs. In addition it teaches them to use their core. Exercises include: Standing on Yoga Balls, Fitpaws, or having the dog move around objects on their hind or front legs. This is a great option for those looking to exercise their dog.

Most trainers do not recommend dog parks. This is because of how pet parents use the dog park. The dog park is not for dogs to play with each other. Instead it is a space for you to be off leash with your dog. Play fetch, chase, or frisbee and ignore other dogs. The dog park is a great way to exercise your dog if you live in the city or near suburbs.

If you have a yard you can play fetch, frisbee, and lure coursing. A home lure course can be found here

Dog sports include agility, herding, and flyball. These three sports are great ways for dogs to burn off extra energy. You can enroll two dogs in the same class and work them in the same hour. While this does not save money it does save time. 

If your walking both of your dogs at once to get exercise it might be beneficial to hire a dog walker. Since you are trying to save time it might be worth it to pay the $15-$25 to not deal with the stress of walking two dogs at once.

Walking Two Dogs At Once For Potty Time

Walking Stimulates Defecation

If you need your dog to “go” before you leave then walking is your best bet. Motion stimulates bowl movements.

Dogs Will Usually Pee Where The Other Goes

People want to walk their two dogs together because a pack that walks together is a pack that pees together. Many times a dog will “me too” when a dog relieves themselves. This speeds up the process of pottying your dog before work. However the down side is that the “me too” does not empty their bladder. This is because the “Me Too” behavior is a marking behavior. Their goal is to mark the area with their pack. Even one drop of pee leaves thousands of scent receptors behind. Therefore this is only effective for those who walk long enough to empty their bladder.

Why Walking Two Dogs At Once For Potty Is Not Ideal?

While motion stimulates bowl movements. Dogs struggles to go when the environment is over simulating. The excitement of walking with their pack might fight against your aim for a speedy walk. 

Recommended Equipment

The gentle leader is a face harness that guides the dog like a harness does in horse back riding. It prevents a dog from pulling or sniffing. There is much greater control with gentle leaders but you do not use it with a splitter. It is not ideal to use gentle leaders for exercise or enrichment walks.

A splitter is a leash that divides in two. Splitters are nice because they prevent tangling up. However, they are usually way too short. Make sure to get a long enough one. This one is 30 inches long. Otherwise the dogs are on top of each other. Dogs have a hard time pooping when they feel crowded.

A long lead or a recall leash comes i20ft, 30ft, 50ft, and 100ft long ropes. Those of you without fenced yards can leash your dog and watch them run around.. Remember, motion stimulates defecation, so, there is a high chance that once your dog settles down from the excitement of being outside they will go potty.

A teether is a rope attached to a pole that is stuck in the ground. These links are great for large-small dogs. You can buy extension leashes that make the teether longer. Some people will wake up and put their dog on the teether.  This way they can check their mail, sip coffee or get the kids ready while the dog is going the bathroom. Another benefit is that the poop is near the teether which makes cleaning up easy.

A fenced yard makes for easy morning and evening potties. However, this is the most expensive item on the list and therefore the last.

Advice For Walking Two Dogs At Once For Enrichment

Summary of walking two dogs at once for enrichment

Some people walk their dogs to provide them with mental stimulation. This involves stopping to sniff everything. Similar to exercise you need to consider the Size, Age, and Energy Level of the two dogs you are walking at once. If you want to enrich your dog consider the following equipment.

Recommended Equipment

If you decide to do two leashes I would recommend having the leashes being the same leash. They should be made of the same material and length. This makes them easier to handle.

Having one leash in each hand allows each dog to sniff independently to each other. I would ditch the splitter in this case. Having two leashes allows you to resist one dog from setting the pace. However, a disadvantage to having two leashes is that they get tangled. I recommend a traffic nylon leash. 

Waist leashes are my personal favorite for enrichment walks. I usually put my older dog on the waist leash as I need less control. My younger active dog goes on the regular leash. This prevents them from pulling each other. However, it does not prevent them from pulling me  in two different direction. This might not be a good option for older adults, kids, owners with big dogs, and owners with untrained dogs.

How Do Other People Walk Two Dogs At Once

I usually do not advise walking two dogs at once because it takes a lot of training. So much training that there are dog trainers who fail at it. However, I have trained many dogs over the course of 15 years. I personally walk my two dogs together.  This is the method I teach my dog walkers.

How To Train Two Dogs To Walk At Once

You start by training each dog a focused heel individually. Then I teach the no pull method. Learn more about teaching heel and the no pull method. 

A focused heel differs from a regular heel because it requires the dog to “watch you” while you walk. The no pull method is where the dog is the to left of you and is to not foraging but can look forward

Between 3 months to a year.

When walking two dogs at once you should be mindful of the route. Is there a dog who barks viciously at the fence on that block. Avoid it. Are there deer on that forest preserve, avoid it. Avoid all issues until you are ready to train in distraction mode.

Because of the “Pack Mentality” described above you need to practice the half heel & no pull method with distraction. Otherwise you are going to be pulled by the dog in the “no pull mode”. However, this is only done after a month of practice in no distraction. 

This should be the case for all walks. However, this is especially important in walking two dogs at once. I recommend this pouch. It is magnetic and easy to clean. In addition, it is pretty chew proof compared to fabric pouches.

I recommend walking the dogs on the same side. This will prevent them from puling you in two different directions. In addition, when we train heal we tend to favor one side over the other. If you ask your dog to heel on the opposite side they may forget their training due to their inability to take what they learn on one side and apply it to the other.

6 Steps To Teach A Focused Heal

You teach a focused heel by teaching your dog to look at you.

  1. Place your hands in a T (you do this to prevent cookie watching)
  2. Say “Look”
  3. The minute their eyes meet yours, say ‘yes’ and reward
  4. Keep repeating.
  5. Once they are consistently looking at you on cue, you move to a ‘watch command’.

Teaching A Watch

  1. Say “Look”
  2. When your dog looks say “watch”
  3. If he holds it for even 1 second say “yes” and reward
  4. Gradually increase how long he holds the “watch for”
  5. Try to get up to 30 seconds

Adding The Swing

  1. Have your dog sit in front of you
  2. Take a cookie and lure them in a J away from your body
  3. Reward
  4. Gradually bring your chest up and eliminate the lure
  5. Once your dog is swinging into your side, wait for a sit. 
  6. Reward

Adding The Walk

  1. Once your dog can hold the “watch” for 30 seconds
  2. Leash him
  3. Request a watch and start walking forward
  4. If he continues to watch, reward.
  5. Build up how long he can hold the watch
  6. Reward intermittently

Teach The Look & Watch In The Following Locations:

  1. Inside your house
  2. In your back yard
  3. In your front yard
  4. On your block
  5. Outside of your block

Once both dogs know how to do a focused heel and the no pull method you need to start practicing the half heel. This is where one dog does the heel and the other does the no pull method. This method is ideal for walking two dogs at the same time without getting pulled in two different directions. It also prevents the “Your Talking To The Other Dog Syndrome” discussed above. I alternate who is in the heel and who is in the no pull method through out the walk. This way both dogs get exercise and enrichment. 

Should You Walk Two Dogs At Once?

No. If you insist on it I recommend using a waist leash for enrichment walks. Use splitters for exercise walks and two leashes of the same size and fabric for potty walks. Otherwise, I recommend you walk them separately. Remember you can use another form of exercise, potty or enrichment. Walks are not needed. 

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