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How to walk and train two dogs at the same time

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.

Do you typically walk your dogs together or separately?

Cosmo the American Eskimo cute white dog up for adoption


Friday 13th of April 2012

I walk two dogs and usually I will cater to the higher-energy one's needs as I find the other one gets even more exercise that way - which makes her owner happy :) also if I am in a place where I'm confident about their safety, I'll let them off leash and throw the ball around or encourage them to chase each other while I'm walking or rollerblading nearby. I may only do 3 miles but the dogs are zooming around me for at least 5!

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 13th of April 2012

Sounds great!

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 14th of October 2011

With the barking in the yard, if you can keep them in a calm state of mind and focus on you, that would help take care of the problem. You can do this by working with one dog at a time and keeping a long rope on the dog to re-gain control as needed. Teach them a "watch" command and treat them for making eye contact. Use highly valued treats. Reward them whenever they remain calm when other dogs go by. The goal would be to get them to automatically remain calm even when you are not in the yard to keep them under control.

Now, that being said, this kind of work takes a lot of patience, time and discipline from the owner. And once you have two dogs together, they tend to get each other riled up. So, another approach I highly recommend is getting an e-collar for each dog. You can either get one with a remote so you always control the correction, or get one that is triggered by the dog's barking. The idea would be to give an immediate correction for barking and an immediate treat for being quiet. This is going to be the most effective way to get them to stop barking in your yard.


Friday 14th of October 2011

I have two permanent dogs and we always seem to have a foster - one at a time. I have a laid back chow/lab mix (we think) and a medium energy aussie that is a bit bossie. They both love, and I mean love, to go for walks. I usually walk them together without much difficulty. I was just reading your article, though, because meeting new dogs on our walk (or even the ones we've met before) seem to be a challenge at times. I was wondering if that's because we let them in the back yard and they can watch the dogs walk past and loose ones come up to the fence. They do still bark at them when they are loose in the fenced area (yes, we have those bad dogs that park at others going past. What can we do to stop the barking when others walk their dogs past the fenced yard? Then I hope to train each foster to do the same so they won't have issues when they leave us.


Tuesday 11th of October 2011

In an ideal world, I'd have individual walks for all my dogs. I'd give the fosters the training they need to walk better on leash, and give my dog one-on-one time so he feels loved and can relax away from those two!

But in the real world, I seldom have time for three separate walks, twice a day. So I generally let the two fosters play in the yard to get their exercise that way and walk my senior boy alone, and forego walks with my wacky fosters except on days off! When I'm feeling guilty enough about leaving those two home when I leash up my boy--and when I'm feeling adventurous and masochistic--I'll sometimes take all 3. This usually ends with me crouched on the pavement and thrusting cheese into one mouth while I wrest a leash from another mouth and apologize to passersby, but somehow I still do it :)

When I do have time, I love giving each dog a solo walk and giving personalized attention to their issues.

Lindsay Stordahl

Tuesday 11th of October 2011

Well said! I hear ya!

Jana Rade

Sunday 9th of October 2011

We always walk our dogs together. The only time we didn't was when Jasmine was after her surgeries. Then she'd get her modified therapy walk and I'd take JD to the dog park.

Still today, when Jasmine is at the vet's or at her physical therapist, or when she goes to work with hubby for the day, then I'll take JD solo.

Otherwise we always go together as a pack. And that's what they like the most too. Even dogs at friends' farm love joining on the common walks and they are all very excited about that.

We did some training with JD separately, usually in the yard and I do some when we got out just the two of us. Otherwise we just work with them together too. Here is the advantage of having an obedient hubby LOL

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 9th of October 2011

When Josh walks with the dogs and I, we do not work on training. So sometimes it's nice for him to go along and walk a dog, but he does not want to have to pay attention to the dogs at all. He is quick to point out when they pull, yet he has not spent a minute on training. So, you know ...