Tuesday, August 19, 2014

City Dog: Learning to Walk Multiple Dogs at the Same Time

We are always talking about how walking a dog through the city can be like an obstacle course complete with excited on-coming dogs, entire discarded gyros, and ubiquitous day-drinkers who try to put  sombreros on your dog. Which can become twice as difficult if you are walking a second dog.
While I have figured out how to balance our two pups, when we add a foster dog to the mix I'm back to taking the pups on separate walks. And what was once 2-3 walks a day quickly becomes 4-6 walks. Which is basically my entire day.
As we've been fostering foster dog Feeney, things have been a bit different. Feeney is a slower walker who matches Miss M's walking style perfectly. So I've been walking them together.
And since I already know how to walk Miss M and Mr. B together, I can sometimes walk all 3 pups together.

If you haven't read this really, really good post by Willie and Nabi's person already, read it first. I've been using her advice about check-in's and perfecting the single-dog walk to walk our pups together.
These are some additional things I've learned about walking all of our pups together:

Make Every Walk a Training Walk
Even though we've had Miss M and Mr. B for so long, we learned it's important to keep consistency by treating every walk like a training walk. We have a routine where the pups know to sit when I'm locking the door, opening the gate, stopping at corners or picking up poo. We use the check-in's to make sure the dogs are still paying attention to us on each walk. I will spontaneously stop the walk and ask them for other commands ("Down", "Wave", "Shake") just to make sure that they are staying alert. This routine has helped both of our dogs recognize the routine and look to us for guidance instead of making their own decisions to jump or get excited.

Create an Order:
I've learned that each of our dogs walks better in a certain space. Miss M is slower, so she generally likes to walk on the outside. Mr. B takes the check-in's literally, so he walks next to me.
If I know something exciting is coming up (Mr. B's kryptonite is dogs barking behind windows) I will move one of the dogs to the side with me in-between them as a buffer. This way if one dog gets over-excited, this generally won't translate to the other dog because they aren't right next to each other.

Colored Leashes:
Before our pups became fashionistas, our trainer told us we should have different colored leashes on each of the dogs. This way if we saw a trigger, it's easy to hold or move that dog to another spot.

Know Your Pup & Anticipate:
Multiple-dog walking is always a work-in-progress, and I usually only do it on familiar routes where things are already familiar to the dogs and I know the route so well I can avoid most of the triggers. I've also taken our pups on so many walks that I can recognize their triggers.

This is something that will always be a work-in-progress for us.
Does anyone else have any additional ideas on how to make walking multiple dogs easier?

Walking like a city dog
How dog walking is like dating.
The odd couple.
Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and storylines beyond the blog.


Two French Bulldogs said...

We are impressed. The best advice, make every walk a training walk
Lily & Edward

Debra@Peaceabull said...

We're slowly beginning to walk Ray and Julius together. Ray has been doing so well that I thought he could help me with Juli's manners. It is working, but we did have one reactive situation, where I should have separated them in anticipation of a situation. Good reading!

Heatherkay said...

I think I'm most amazed that you are able to manage that walk in flip-flops

OG said...

Petey is a humper so when I walk him with my father's dog that's always a challenge.
Great advice!
Love Heatherkay's comment!
And your dress!

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

Early on Kaya was the speed demon who wanted to power ahead and Norman was the putz who always wanted to stop and sniff. Walking them on the same side, I had a lot of trouble making sure I was pulling the right way on the right dog and Kaya always felt she was racing Norman even though he was so slow so I started walking them on either side.

They're pretty darn easy to walk now but I still usually walk them this way when they're leashed.

KS said...

That's an impressive three-dog walk! You go, girl! Our new foster-fail puppy is pokey, and we realized Vinnie has been packing on the pounds due to our shorter/slower walk...so while walking them together is good behavior practice, we can't slack on the big guy's more strenuous solo outings :)

Kelly_g said...

I walk my 2 pitties too. Definitely different colored leashes, and one of the most valuable commands I've taught them is "to the left" or "to the right" depending on the side of the street we are walking on. It helps keep them from stopping right in front of me/having me fall on my face! Also "hold on" is another command we use for picking up poo/tying shoes, etc.

Julie said...

Thanks for the great advice! I have one more addition. Although it may not be too much of a problem for city walkers, the Port-a-Poo comes in very handy when I'm walking my 3 pups!!

Sending love to Miss M, Mr. B and Feeney,
Julie, Jameson, Guinness and Indie

t said...

I also use different textured leashes, so I can manage the dogs by feel.

But, yes, also impressed your three dog, flip-flop, walk skills!

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