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Q. How can I comfortably take two dogs on a walk without feeling pulled in multiple directions?
A. Walking two dogs at the same time is not always easy. Unless both dogs have been trained to walk calmly on leash individually, bringing them together on walks can be hazardous and can leave you feeling pulled in multiple directions — literally. But taking multiple dogs for a walk can save time and can be a bonding experience for you and your canines.
Only dogs who are calm and relaxed should be walked together, as dogs can pick up behavior problems from other dogs. If you have one barking and lunging dog, you can soon have two dogs with this behavior after walking them together, as they pick up behavior from other dogs. Only once the behavior problem has been addressed should another dog be added to the walk.
The right tools can also help you to manage multiple dogs. A double doggy leash that swivels and has one handle for both dogs lessens the chance of tangling, while a front clip harness can minimize pulling and make walks easier. But the best solution to this problem is some simple training.
If both dogs are friendly and relaxed but lack leash manners, leash training can make a dramatic difference. Teaching your dogs to walk on a loose leash and heel on command make walks more comfortable and controlled, whether you're walking your dogs individually or together. When both dogs understand loose leash walking and heel, they can more easily be walked together.
Pulling on the leash is natural for dogs because they have an opposition reflex, which causes them to pull back when they feel pressure on the leash. Even though it’s natural behavior, however, you can still train your dog that pulling on the leash doesn’t pay off. To combat this behavior, start your dogs' training with loose leash walking; work with each dog individually before bringing them together. Each time your dog pulls on the leash, stop walking; as soon as there is slack in the leash, start moving forward again. This teaches your dog that the walk only continues when he stays at your side, rather than lunging ahead.
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