A long time ago, I gave up walking two dogs at once. I stopped even trying after our (late) Penelope Grace and our (late) Cody got their leashes so tangled up around my legs that I could not walk. Over the summer, however, I decided to try walking Clover and Tori at the same time. It worked out better than expected. I’m not saying it’s the prettiest or most coordinated thing you’ve ever seen, but it’s not half bad — and often kind of fun.
Memorial Day Weekend 2016, the unofficial start of summer, marked the beginning of this experiment with walking two dogs at once. My strategy is to hold both leashes in my left hand so that I can have my right hand for giving out treats and as an emergency back-up for leash security.
Yes, the puppy-girls pulled quite a bit because they were super excited to walk together. It really did, however, go better than I thought it might.
Bonus! I learned that Tori has amazing / natural rattlesnake smarts. On our very first walk as a threesome, Tori leaped like I’d never seen her leap before. When I looked to see what the deal was, I realized that Clover and I had just walked past / over a curled up snake on the side of the road.
She repeated this advanced warning system several times over the summer, which helped keep us all safe. I’ll write more about this extremely snake-y summer soon.
Challenges of Walking Two Dogs at Once
So, the challenges of walking two dogs at once (at least for me) include the following:
- Sore wrists, hands, and thumb from wrangling two leashes in one hand — especially if the dogs decide to lurch two different directions at once
- Tangled leashes from the dogs changing sides often
- Lower back and knee tweaks from both dogs deciding to pull hard at the same time
- Inconsistencies in their abilities to match my pace that make it hard to praise one (walking nicely at my side) while the other pulls ahead
- The occasional sprained ankle from an unexpected jolt (usually downhill)
- Trying to get both of them to sit when cars pass us on the road since there are no sidewalks where we live (Clover sits automatically because I trained that as at least a small measure of self-control since she has shown interest in chasing cars. Tori doesn’t yet seem to get that any cue like SIT applies to them both, but she does get off the road, usually moving so that she is on the other side of me and Clover.)
And, yes, sometimes … I’m sure we look like Shriners in a parade. (See the video below if that analogy makes no sense to you.)
Joys of Walking Two Dogs at Once
Sometimes, however, Clover and Tori move like a school of fish, a flock of birds, two uniquely in-sync dogs who are simply thrilled to be doing something together.
I jokingly call our daily walks “3 Girls, 3 Miles.” Clover and Tori have gotten so used to the summertime routine that they begin campaigning for walks about 30-45 minutes before we usually go.
They love it so much that:
- Both have gotten much better about letting me put their harnesses on. I’ve found that it’s better to harness Tori first.
- Both sit and wait when I open the front door until I release them to run up to the gate, which they do at top speed. I’ll have to get video of it. It’s pretty funny.
- Both will sometimes walk nicely, right at my side, for long stretches of the road.
- (Most of the time) Both sit and wait for me to open the gate when we return before going through with permission.
- Both sit automatically once the gate is closed, and they are safely inside. This is the only way the leashes come off.
- Both sit and wait after their leashes are removed until I give them the cue that they can run up to the house.
Just like with Lilly, where we were such a fixture on the road that people stopped me long after Lilly died to ask about where she was, the puppy-girls and I are becoming famous for our regular walks.
I had a neighbor who lives over the mountain stop his car
next to us on the road recently to tell me that I’m
a “conscientious” person for walking the puppies as much as I do.
I can’t say that it’s always relaxing or well coordinated, but all three of us come back to the house happier and (a little) tired.
The puppy-girls tend to play (sometimes wildly) for another 30-60 minutes when we get back from our walks, but then they settle down while I work.
Dog Walking Ideas?
I don’t particularly like the idea of any dog-walking tools that hook them together, but let me know if you have any dog-walking or dog-training equipment that you think helps manage two wild ones at once.