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Did you know that over 38% of households in the United States own dogs? As you can imagine, many of these households probably have two or more dogs.
If you own two dogs, have you ever wondered if you should walk them together or separately? Both of these options have their pros and cons. Walking two dogs together can be a big time saver, but on the other hand, it can detract from spending quality one-on-one time with each dog separately.
In addition, every dog has their own distinct personality and needs. Some dogs may be great walking companions, while others might be a bit more challenging with a feisty personality.
So you may be wondering, should you walk your dogs separately?
If your dogs walk nicely on a leash and are well-behaved together on walks, then walking them together is a good option. If one dog has behavior issues and requires more training or one-on-one time with you, then you should walk each dog separately so you can devote your attention to their behavior.
Since there are pros and cons to walking your dogs separately, let’s unpack this topic to determine what will be best for you and your dogs.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Walk Your Dogs Separately
As we mentioned above, if your dogs walk nicely on a leash and are well-behaved together when you’re out on a walk, then there’s no reason that you can’t walk them together.
Let’s discuss why you shouldn’t walk your dogs separately and instead keep walking them together!
Exercise Both Dogs At Once
It’s no secret that in today’s day and age that we lead busy lives. Sometimes it isn’t easy to squeeze in time to walk your dogs after working, running errands, attending social events, and even trying to get your own workouts in. Walking or running both dogs at once is a time saver, so you and your dogs can get a good amount of exercise simultaneously.
Extra Bonding Time Between Dogs
Walks are a nice structured way for both dogs to spend more time together to increase their bond. Walks are a time for the dog to take in a lot of information about the world around them through seeing and smelling new things, and it can be nice for them to do that with their housemate.
Do you ever ask your friend to go on a walk or go to the gym with you? It can be nice to share an activity with a friend; that same thought applies to dogs too!
Change The Behavior Of One Dog
In full disclosure, when you scroll down, you’ll see this reason also listed underneath the next section as a reason why you should walk dogs separately. Dogs often feed off the energy of other nearby dogs, which can be both good and bad, depending on the dogs involved.
If one of your dogs is particularly timid or shy, sometimes being near the other confident, strong dog can help bring them out of their shell on a walk. The confident dog almost acts like a security blanket and helps the timid dog feel safer and more secure. This allows your nervous dog to enjoy his walk more!
Similarly, if one of your dogs is calm but the other is reactive, walking the reactive dog with the calm dog may help the reactive dog become more confident, calm, and quiet on their walk. They may learn through observing your calm dog that not everything requires such a big reaction from them.
Reasons You Should Walk Your Dogs Separately
Like most things in life, there are both pros and cons to walking your dogs separately. Since we’ve covered some reasons you should walk your dogs together, let’s discuss why you may want to walk your dogs separately.
Prevent Undesirable Behavior
As we mentioned above about how a calm dog can often help a timid dog, the energy from one dog affecting the other dog can sometimes be a bad thing.
If you have a dog who has a tendency to react to certain situations, like seeing another dog or squirrel, that energy can sometimes cause your other dog to react as well. This can cause undue stress for you and your dog that is usually calm.
Easier and Safer To Manage
There’s no doubt about it – it’s much easier to manage walking one dog at a time. You can focus all your attention on them and not worry about your other dog. It’s also easier to only handle one leash and not be worried about them getting tangled.
Suppose you’re worried about safety problems, like an off-leash dog running up to you. In that case, it’s always easier to handle those scary situations with only one dog to focus on and prioritize keeping safe.
Increase Bonding Time
If you have multiple dogs, it’s still essential to spend one-on-one time with each dog. Spending individual quality time with each dog improves your bond and helps ensure you maintain a healthy relationship with your dog.
Walking one dog at a time is the perfect time to spend quiet, quality time with your dog. This provides a quiet time to talk and communicate with your dog. Walking in new environments with your dog also allows you to watch them closely to understand them better, how they handle new environments, and what they do and don’t like.
Increase Training Time
All dogs benefit from regular and consistent training, but if you have a dog with behavior problems, like leash reactivity, walking them by themselves is the perfect opportunity to work on training. You’ll also have time to focus on loose leash walking skills if one of your dog needs extra help. Loose leash walking is especially important if one of your dogs is stronger than you are so it can be worth the extra time to focus on.
When you only have one dog on a walk at a time, you can focus on avoiding situations that push your dog over threshold and rewarding good behavior. Noticing subtle behavior changes in your dog and preventing your dog from reacting would be much more complicated and challenging if you also have to walk and focus on a second dog.
How To Walk Two Dogs Together
If you have two well-behaved dogs and have decided to walk them together, there are some tips that can make your walk easier and more enjoyable.
While the video below is geared towards giving tips to dog walkers, if these tips are geared towards someone walking three or more dogs, they’ll be helpful tips for you when you’re only walking two dogs!
Now let’s discuss in more detail some of these tips that will help you walk two dogs together!
Train at Home First
Before you walk both dogs together outside, it’s crucial to ensure you’ve put in some time at home to train each dog individually.
Loose Leash Walking
You’ll want to make sure that both dogs are good at loose leash walking together before you hit the streets. There’s nothing worse than having two dogs pull one or both of your arms!
Train Them To One Side
In addition to teaching both dogs individually how to loose leash walk, you should consider teaching them how to stay on one side of you when walking instead of zig-zag in front of you to get to each other. This will give each dog their own separate space while ensuring that everyone has a nice walk without getting tangled.
Teaching your dog to ignore distractions is essential to having a good walking buddy. You’ll want to teach both dogs how to ignore distractions, like squirrels, other dogs, or even skateboarders.
As we mentioned above, dogs often feed off the energy of other dogs. Teaching both dogs to ignore distractions will ensure that you have a peaceful and calm walk. Otherwise, if one dog begins to freak out over a distraction, your other dog may join in. This can quickly become a chaotic mess and even be a safety concern.
Choose the Right Gear
Since walking two dogs at once is pretty common, dog gear manufacturers have taken notice and created walking gear to make it easier on you. There are many options to choose from, like a double dog leash, leash couplers, or even walking belts for you with attachments for multiple leashes.
Choose high-quality gear that keeps your dog safe and secure while making you feel confident and safe while walking two dogs at once.
As you can see, there are good reasons why you should walk your dogs together and also good reasons why you should walk your dogs separately. If you have two dogs that walk well together, consider alternating their walks so some walks are with both dogs together and some are with each dog alone. This will ensure that you and your dogs get the best of both worlds!