How to walk two dogs at the same time
It's important for me to dedicate individual time each day to my own dog Ace and to my foster dog Cosmo.
Ace and Cosmo have different needs as far as attention, exercise and training, but I usually end up walking them together to save time. Or, I walk one dog and the other doesn't get a walk that day.
For those of you with two permanent dogs (or three or four!), how do you find the time for each dog? Or maybe you don't. Maybe you hang out as a group most of the time. Are you OK with that?
Like most dog lovers, I am always thinking about adopting a second dog. Before I do this, I have to reach some kind of acceptance about how much time I actually have for a new mutt. Ideally, I would find another easygoing, fairly mellow dog like Ace.
Walking with two dogs
Ace and Cosmo are not on the same level when it comes to training and socialization, but I usually end up walking them together anyway. We walk in the morning and again most evenings for about 25 minutes per walk.
When I walk the clowns together, both benefit from the exercise and walking as a “pack,” but it's nearly impossible to work on their individual training needs. They both wear training collars so I am able to keep them under control. Cosmo pretty much pulls the whole time, and Ace is not challenged at all. Plus, it's not always fair to work on training if the dog's basic exercise needs have not been met.
Walking the dogs individually
Lab mix Ace generally has very good leash manners. I would like to work on more off-leash training with him. Sometimes he behaves even better without a leash because it forces me to use a different kind of energy. I want to focus on rewarding Ace for remaining calm when we visit his favorite people or places. I do not want to rely on any type of training collar with him, and he is the perfect candidate to take almost anywhere. I trust Ace to be gentle around all people and animals, as long as they don't mind the drool and tail whips! With a second dog around, Ace and I have had very few opportunities to work at this level.
American Eskimo Cosmo needs a lot of work on loose-leash walking. Ideally, I should stop moving forward every time he pulls. But when I walk two dogs at once, Cosmo gets away with a lot of pulling. I want to get to the point where I can walk him on a loose leash, at least when there are no distractions. I would also like him to focus on me when we pass kids and dogs. He and I are preparing to take the AKC Canine Good Citizen test in a few weeks, which tests whether the dog can remain under control in various public situations. Whether or not The Cos passes this test is going to depend a lot on how strict the evaluator is!
How can I find time for each dog?
I've been thinking about how I can find time for each dog. I am very lucky that Ace and Cosmo do not require a ton of physical exercise. A half-hour walk per day seems to be enough for each dog.
I'm going to try a new routine where I walk one dog in the morning and the other in the evening so they each get individual time with me. But every other day I will take them running together so they get enough exercise. So, the first day I will walk them individually. The second day I will run them together. The third day I will walk them individually again, and so on.
When we head out for a walk, it also helps if I decide ahead of time what the goal of that walk is going to be. Are we focusing on getting some exercise? Is the goal of this walk to work on not pulling? Am I going to take Ace somewhere new today?
No matter what, I choose not to feel guilty. I know Ace and Cosmo are spoiled and happy. They never complain. They have it pretty good. They don't seem to care if I walk them together or separately or even not at all.
I am curious what other people do when they have multiple dogs with very different needs.