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If you enjoy jogging and have two dogs, you will naturally wonder whether your dogs can both accompany you on a jog.
Do you need to take them separately, or can you run with two dogs together? And how do you train them to run with you in the first place?
Running with two dogs is absolutely possible and can be a great opportunity for all three of you to bond, exercise, and have fun together. To set your dogs up for success, train your dogs separately at first and make sure you’re using the right gear to make things easier.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about how to successfully run with two dogs, from the potential issues that can come up and how to solve them, to how to train two dogs to run together, to the equipment that you will need.
Pros and Cons Of Running With Two Dogs
It takes some effort to teach your dogs to run together so before we get into the how to, let’s review the big picture pros and cons of pulling this off.
Advantages of Running With Two Dogs
- Tire them both out at the same time
- Reduce the amount of time and effort that it takes for you to exercise your dogs
- Increase bonding between your dogs by running as a pack
- Dogs sometimes tend to match each other, which can help them to run in a more synchronized way compared to running with you one at a time
Potential Issues Involved in Running With Two Dogs
- Twice the potential of tripping over your dog
- Dogs can get tangled up together, resulting in panic or even a fight
- Dogs may tend to want to play with each other while they’re running, which can make them very disorderly and hard to control
- If dogs are of different sizes or fitness levels they may struggle to run together
- Controlling two dogs is twice as hard, especially when there are distractions or problem behaviors
- If you run a significant distance more than your dogs can run, you may not be able to complete your run with a dog companion
- For dogs that are overly attached to one another or have littermate syndrome, they may benefit more from time alone during a run
How to Run With Two Dogs
Now that we’ve covered the big picture overview, let’s break down the steps to training your dogs to happily run side by side.
Train Them Separately
Before you attempt to go out on a run with both of your dogs, it’s a very good idea to train them to run with you alone.
It’s usually much easier to train one dog at a time than to try to train both. If you try to train both your dogs to run with you simultaneously, you’re less likely to notice problem behavior in each individual dog that needs to be corrected. Furthermore, the potential for losing control of your dogs if there is a significant distraction increases dramatically if they haven’t been trained individually first.
Training each dog first before you try to run with them together allows you to see how each dog does, what problems may come up, and gives you the opportunity to train basic running behavior. Running with your dog separately also gives you time to gauge how good they are at running and match them to one another.
Some dog breeds may be better suited to running than others, and individuals within a breed may do better than others as well. For instance, boxers are generally great running companions, but some may have health issues that prevent them from running as long or hard.
Here are some of the basics you will want to teach each dog by themselves before you start running with both dogs at the same time.
Loose Leash Running
You probably don’t want to be dragged down the road by your dog. Pulling creates strain and potential injury for both you and your dog, as well as producing a very uncomfortable run and making it more likely that you all trip. A great way to train loose leash running is to change directions whenever your dog puts strain on the leash. This will teach your dog to look to you for direction during the run instead of trying to set the pace themselves.
It is very common for dogs to bark at other dogs or people on the run, stop to try to smell anything interesting along the way, etc. Some dogs will become obsessed with acorns while others won’t be able to resist looking up at every squirrel they spot.
You can teach your dog commands like “Go sniff” and offer breaks during the run for them to sniff or confine sniffing to the walk portion of your jog. This is a better option then trying to prevent your dog from sniffing altogether.
Using treats to keep your dog’s attention in the face of distractions is a great way to get them to focus on you instead of whatever else they see. Changing directions and going in the other direction from a distraction is another good tactic.
Sit Before Crossing Roads
One of the most common ways to run into trouble when running with a dog is actually when you aren’t running. When you stop at an intersection, your dog may tend to go in circles around you, which can wrap the leash around your knees. Needless to say, this will be an even more serious problem when you run with two dogs at the same time.
Your dog may also continuously strain at the leash or try to cross the road ahead of you, causing you to take your attention away from the traffic and creating a very dangerous situation if you let go of the leash on accident. Therefore, it’s a very good idea to teach your dog to sit while you wait to cross the intersection. Treats are a great way to reward your dog for sitting as you wait.
Stay On One Side
If your dog continuously crosses from one side of you to the other, you are much more likely to trip over them. Furthermore, this will create serious problems when you are running with two dogs at once.
Teach your dogs to always run on one side of you at a time. It can be helpful to teach a command when you want them to switch over to the other side. Your dog can learn left side vs. right side and obey your command when told to run on the appropriate side. Simply control them with the leash to get your dog on the proper side. Reinforcing with treats is also a good idea.
If anything should go wrong and your dog gets off the leash or you drop the leash, you want your dogs to have superb recall. You can practice recall by attaching a long line to your dog and then pretending to drop the leash.
This way, your dog will be under the impression that they have complete freedom but you really have control in case they decide to not come back. Call your dog back to you with a simple straightforward command like “come” and then reward them very generously when they return. Practice this until you are confident that your dog would come back to you if they should get loose on the run.
Make Sure Your Dogs Are Well Matched
While you’re training your dog separately, pay attention to how far they comfortably run before they seem tired. Look for signs of tiredness like falling behind you, excessive panting, or needing to drink a lot of water.
Also, pay attention to how quickly your dog tends to run with you. Do they settle into your pace easily or do they seem to want to go faster or slower? Compare the dogs to make sure they are well-matched. Dogs run best together when they both like to run at about the same speed and get tired at about the same time but there can be a huge amount of variation between the running abilities of different breeds.
Beyond running ability, you’ll also want to consider heat tolerance or cold tolerance depending on where you live. The biggest differences in heat tolerance usually come from skull shape (shorter snouts mean worse heat tolerance) but the color of your dog can matter too.
Don’t assume that dogs of different sizes can’t be well-matched. Sometimes larger and smaller dogs have similar levels of energy and speed despite their varying sizes. For instance, even a very large dog like a Rottweiler may actually only need about the same amount of exercise as a smaller terrier breed, which means they may be great running companions despite how different they are in size.
Here’s an example of two well-matched dogs walking side by side on a joint leash:
Get the Right Gear
The right gear can make all of the difference between a comfortable run with those dogs and a serious headache. Here is some of the essential gear that you’ll need in order to enable your dogs to run with you comfortably:
This leash offers a couple of key features which I absolutely love and honestly offers everything we’re looking for. I’m not the only person that likes this leash and there are more than 7,000 five-star reviews on Amazon which you can check out here.
But if you don’t want to purchase this particular leash, make sure you keep your eyes open for the following characteristics in whatever leash you do choose:
- Bungee between you and the dogs and between the dogs. Bungee enables the dogs to pull against you and one another without causing excessive strain or sudden jolts. The bungee will help to buffer everybody against one another and make the run more comfortable across the board.
- Handles at the attachment points. The downside of using bungee is that it causes you to have slightly less control over your dog. However, handles at the attachment points enable you to grab both dogs at the attachment point when necessary so you have complete control over them without engaging the bungee.
- A closer and further handle. A handle where the leash attaches to the double leashes lets you get closer control of your dog while the one that is further away gives you room to let them run further from you, which is great when you are alternating between walking and running.
- Swivel in the connection between you and the dogs. The swivel allows the dogs to move around one another without causing kinks in the leash between you and them.
- Hands-free attachment. This leash has a waist attachment for you with a comfortable padded portion at the back so that even if your dogs put strain on it you will be comfortable. The hands-free attachment is great for allowing you to jog with your arms free, but it also is important because it lets you take control of individual dogs as needed without worrying about dropping the longer leash. You can either use the attachment or disconnect the leash from it to use the leash without it as you desire.
I’m a big fan of using a harness to run with your dog and I think this is even more important when you’re running with two dogs. A harness avoids putting pressure on the delicate organs in the neck and prevents choking. These are important features even when you walk your dog, but since running makes it more likely that your dog will put strain on the leash, it is even more important to use a harness. This harness has a couple of key features which makes it a great option for jogging:
- Rear attachment point. If your dog doesn’t tend to pull, the rear attachment point is a great place to attach the leash. It allows the leash to come off from the dog’s back, which makes it very easy to control them and avoid getting tangled up.
- Chest attachment point. The chest attachment point is ideal for dogs that tend to pull. This harness has a martingale attachment on the chest harness so that when dogs pull from this area they feel the tension all the way through the girth of the harness. This responsive correction makes them less likely to keep pulling.
- Handle. When you want total control over your dog, having a handle directly attached to the harness on the back is extremely convenient.
- Highly adjustable. This harness comes with a number of adjustment points which makes it very easy for you to create a customized fit for your dogs that will keep them comfortable on the jog.
Again, I’m not the only fan of this harness and you can check out the more than 4,000 five-star reviews and today’s price on Amazon by clicking.
Practice in Low-Stakes Areas First
No matter how much practice your dogs have had running separately, you’ll want to practice running with them together somewhere that the stakes aren’t particularly high. If your dogs tangle you up and you fall, if one gets off the lead, or if anything else goes wrong, you want to be somewhere without major traffic, excessive distractions, or potential dangers like loose dogs.
Work out all of the kinks as you practice in this low-stakes area. Keep in mind that you probably won’t actually accomplish much of an effective jog during this stage of training. There will be lots of stopping and starting, detangling dogs, and checking to make sure all of the equipment is working properly as you get the hang of running with both dogs.
Make sure that problem behavior like dogs trying to play with each other, running from one side of you to the other, etc are taken care of at this stage. Ideally, both dogs will run on the same side of you so that you are all in a line. If you tend to have more of a problem with one dog sniffing or being distractible, it may be best to put them next to you so you’ll have more control over them and so that the other dog will serve as a buffer to keep them from being as distracted.
Practice Training Techniques
The best time to practice what would happen if you should drop the leash, stop at busy intersections, or face distractions is when you plan these scenarios. Deliberately run by a safely fenced-in dog so that you can see how your dogs will respond and train them appropriately.
Use long lines to practice dropping the leash so that you can make sure dogs have good recall together as well as when they are alone. Approach a small intersection and ask for both dogs to sit and take time to make sure they are calm and focused on you in this situation before you ask for them to sit at a major intersection. In general, practice all of the things that you think may come up during a run so that you will be fully prepared.
Issues That May Come Up and How to Deal With Them
Even if you’re done your best to train your pups one-on-one, issues can still come up so let’s talk about how to deal with them.
Leash reactivity can be very confusing for many people since it doesn’t necessarily correspond with aggression in other areas. Some dogs are perfectly sociable with other dogs or people when in an off-leash space but show significant aggression when they are on the leash.
Some dogs may even be fine on the leash by themselves but then show leash aggression when they are walking with another dog. If one of your dogs is leash reactive and the other isn’t, you may find that both dogs become leash reactive when they are together. The leash reactive dog can even redirect aggression onto your other dog or onto you even if they otherwise never display aggression. Serious leash reactivity may need the help of a certified animal behaviorist or a great trainer.
However, you can also work on leash reactivity yourself. The trick is to find the time just before your dog is triggered to react. This is a time when the dog seems to be aware of whatever they are reactive to but has not yet started to bark or hyper-focus. At this time, reward your dog for being calm and focused on you and then take them away from the situation that is causing the reactivity.
Keep working your way closer to the stimulus, rewarding along and along for calm behavior, until you can safely pass by the stimulus that previously caused reactivity without any issues. If your reactive dog redirects onto your other dog, you may want to walk them on either side of you to prevent this problem from happening.
Playing While Running
It is very natural for dogs play together. If your dogs typically love to run and play together, they may try to play while they are jogging with you even though this is not an ideal time for this kind of behavior.
Don’t ever allow dogs to play while they are running with you. Teach them from the beginning that this is not an appropriate time for playing. You can shorten their leashes or take them by the handles on their harnesses to prevent them from playing.
You can also ask for calming commands like “Sit” or “Down” and then reward with treats. If playing while running is a serious issue for you, you may want to have dogs run on either side of you for some time until you can eliminate the behavior.
Pulling and Lunging
Even if your dogs run very well next to you when they are separate, they may tend to pull and lunge when they are running together. Dogs can feed off each other’s energy and since they outnumber you, they may try to pull you along.
Changing directions is a great way to stop a dog from pulling and lunging since they will learn that they cannot change the direction in which you’re going or make you go faster and that they need to follow your lead. It may also help to slow to a walk when your dogs are behaving in this way so that you have more control over them and to prevent yourself from being pulled over.
Never tolerate pulling or lunging or allow your dogs to pull you along since this will reinforce that this kind of behavior will get them what they want.
It is perfectly normal for a dog to enjoy sniffing while they are on a run. When you go for a walk, you probably slow to let your dog sniff as much as they like. However, when running, you cannot allow your dog to slow or stop to sniff since they could trip you and will tend to slow down the run.
It may be easy enough to encourage one dog to keep going when they encounter a smell, but when you are running with two dogs, you may find that one is determined to sniff whatever the other one has gotten a whiff of. Whenever your dogs slow to sniff and you don’t want them to, encourage them forward and give them a treat for ignoring the smell and continuing to run.
It can be very helpful to teach the command “Go sniff” during walks so that your dog will learn when it is appropriate to sniff and when it isn’t.
Have Fun Running With Your Dogs
Running with two dogs can be a lot of fun, a great bonding experience for all three of you, and an opportunity for training and exercise. By keeping these key pointers in mind and making sure that you have the right equipment, you will likely find that you have a good time running with both of your dogs and that runs go smoothly.