Training your dogs that you can walk multiple dogs at once in the heel position can be a huge time saver!
As we mention in this video, you need to make sure each dog can be walked calmly with control in the heel position before attempting walking multiple dogs! So if your dog has excitability or reactive issues, those issues should be addressed first!
It is recommended to walk both of your dogs on the same side for a variety of reasons! This allows you to be able to have one hand free which is good for shaking hands, answering your phone, or even picking up poop! Having a dedicated side, (we prefer the standard left hand side), also allows you to safely pass a variety of distractions and reducing the risk of your dogs crisscrossing you! If you're ever walking on a road without sidewalks, as a pedestrian you are supposed to walk on the left against traffic. If your dogs are on your left it puts you in between them and the cars and is safer as well.
We also recommend the larger of the two dogs to be between you and the smaller dog. This makes it less likely the larger dog will step on the smaller one and will help prevent the leashes getting tangled up. While we don't typically recommend walking a dog on each side of you, it can make sense if one of the dogs has had a history of aggression.
Which position you walk them in is less important than consistency. Using the same side and orientation each time gives your dogs a touchstone to remember to stay calm if you come across distractions.
How you hold the leash is important! There are a ton of ways to do this, but you need to make sure you are not tugging both dogs at the same time. This is extremely unfair to the dog who may be heeling well. We recommend holding each leash between different fingers and using different size leashes as you will know what leash you are correcting with.
We recommend using leather leashes, especially if you are regularly walking two dogs. The leather will get worked from use and become soft and easy on your hands, like a worn in baseball glove. Typical braided nylon leashes have a tendency to be rough on the hands if you're using them a lot.
If your dogs are not ready for this, that is ok! In the beginning, it just means you need multiple handlers or it will be more training time overall. If you're having trouble, it may be because the dogs need to brush up on the heel command and become less reactive to distractions. Identify the problem and try to specifically work on that before you go back to try to walk both dogs at once. Remember training sessions should not be too stressful, they should have more positive experiences than negative! At the end of the day, we just want to make sure you and your dogs live the best lives ever!
If you are currently looking for training, our Dog Boot Camp and our In-Home dog training programs are highly customized and designed to give you and your dog the best life possible. For those looking for the absolute best training packages, check out our One Year In Home Training Packages and Board and Train Plus Package. We focus on obedience commands, leash walking, off leash training, in-home behaviors, socializing, and many other training goals. For more information, please visit our website today!