Getting out of the house and going for a walk with your two lovable canines is supposed to be enjoyable. But reality quickly sets in and your pups have managed to tangle themselves in a way that you thought was only possible with headphone and video game controller wires. You can make walks fun and relaxing again by opting for some new gear and teaching your little guys the proper way to walk.
Tip #1- Buy two nylon or leather leashes. Retractable leashes might give your curious pups more feet of freedom, but that also means way more room to cross one another and get tangled up.
Tip #2 - Teach your pups not to react to stimuli that send them into a frenzy. If your furry pair decide to spin around, lunge forward and act crazy when they spot another dog, you're not only dealing with two tangled pups, you're also in a situation that's difficult to gain control of. When you know what causes each canine to react negatively, take each one for a walk separately. With lots of treats in your pocket, look out for the stimulus in question. Try to keep your pup at a distance from which he can see it but isn't yet reacting, then pop a treat in his mouth. Move forward a few steps and act like a treat dispenser again. When he reacts negatively, walk backward and start again. If he won't stop pulling, barking and whining, walk away and find another target. Keep doing this until both your pups barely react to their specific triggers.
Tip #3 - Train each pup that pulling is bad. Canines that don't match your pace are destined to get ahead of you, get tangled and cause you plenty of headaches. There are a few ways to stop each pup's pulling habit. "Red light, green light" is simple enough. When your pup pulls, you stop. When there's some slack on the leash, you start walking again. Your little guys learn that a tense leash means they don't reach their destination. Keeping a treat in your hand and showing it to your pup is another strategy. Keep your hand by your side. Your pup follows the treat, you pop it in his mouth as he keeps next to you, and he realizes that sticking by you means he gets to swallow down some tasty snacks. Always train each pup separately.
Tip #4 - Hold one leash in your left hand and the other in your right hand. Once your four-legged friends have put their pulling habits behind them, it's finally time for a nice and hopefully relaxing walk together. When you have a leash in each hand, your pups should stay on their respective sides, and if they don't, give them a little coaxing by directing them back.
Tip #5 - Purchase a coupler. If your double-leash efforts haven't yielded positive results, a coupler may be right up your alley. A coupler consists of two miniature leads that attach to the primary lead. The miniature leads are usually around 9 inches long and come with swivel clips that prevent tangling.
Warning: If you have larger dogs who react aggressively upon seeing other people or animals, and if counterconditioning hasn't help, do not attempt to walk them together. We recommend you get help from a qualified trainer to address the issue first.
By Chris Miksen
Happy Tails Across New Jersey: Things to See and Do with Your Dog; Diane Goodspeed
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Teaching Your Dog Not to Pull on a Leash
VCA Animal Hospitals: Behavior Modification—Implementing Desensitization and Counterconditioning
About the Author
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.