Harness the Power to Take Your Dogs on a Group Walk

Sparky Steps - Harness the Power to Take Your Dogs on a Group Walk

Harness the Power to Take Your Dogs on a Group Walk

Sometimes walking Chester isn't an easy task: he's sniffing at every blade of grass, he's tugging, he's pulling you toward fellow walkers, he's trying to chase squirrels...he's just really being a challenge! Now try walking three or four Chesters. Believe it or not, it's not impossible--if you do it right, you can successfully walk several dogs at once. The right gear, training and overall know-how are needed to pull it off. Let's find out how it's done!

 

Starting Out

Getting your dogs together, putting on their harnesses and leashes, and heading out the door for the first time...is NOT how you start taking dogs for a group walk. Whenever you're learning anything new, you start out slow, right? Well, taking dogs on a group walk is no different. Each dog needs to know walking etiquette, so you'll have to start off by taking each of the dogs for individual walks. Time-consuming, yes...but it's absolutely necessary to the success of group walks. Solo walks allow you to train each dog to stop pulling, walk close to you and get used to walking on one side or the other (trust us, it's ugly when you have a group of dogs out on their leashes and Daisy all the way on the right suddenly decides she wants to be all the way over on the left...) For pulling, what works best is just to stop as soon as it happens. Once the leash goes lax, start walking again. It's going to take more than several times...maybe lots of times...but eventually Rex is going to get the idea. Once the pulling habit is broken, your dog will get used to walking closely to you. PetMD suggests that you could also break the pulling habit by stepping away from your dog while holding onto the leash. "The backward movement is inviting, so your dog is likely to turn and follow," PetMD says. Treats and praise for every time the dog does what he/she is supposed to do, and after a dozen times or so the dog should follow you as soon as you step away. Repeat either of these methods with as many dogs as you have. We did say this was going to be time-consuming, right? Treats and praise, of course, are also needed for walking your dog on one side or the other. Choose a side, walk and continually praise and use small treats to reward the dog staying on the chosen side. As urged by PetExpertise: "Be very careful to feed the treat by your side" to avoid the dog from crossing in front of you. Once you've mastered these for all of your dogs, it's time for the moment of truth.

 

All Together Now

As mentioned earlier, start out slowly. If you plan on walking a large group, start off with walking two, then three, then four and so on until your reach the total number of dogs. How you choose to walk the dogs is pretty much up to you. Four on one side, one on the other. Two on one side, two on the other. All on one side. It's a personal preference, but choose a style and stick with it. Moving your canine crowd from side to side every time you walk is going to lead to mass confusion. Success could be more easily achieved if you choose to walk a group of the same size, strength and energy. Walking a bulldog, basset hound, Siberian husky and Great Dane is going to be much more challenging than walking a group of Schnauzers or two German Shepherds and two huskies. It all also boils down to the right equipment. Harnesses like those supplied by Ruffwear or PetSafe will be essential when it comes to walking a group of dogs. Leashes made of rope, nylon or leather are most recommended--if all the leashes are of the same material, it's actually much easier in the event of a tangle. Chain leashes should be avoided: they're harder to manage and, ouch!, they can pinch if they get wrapped around your hand or wrist. One tip: you might try checking out the route you plan on taking before you've got your doggies with you. Make sure it's a time of day, if possible, when there's not a lot of foot (and paw) traffic out. You want to start off with the least amount of distractions as possible, as least when you're a novice group dog walker. Group walking your dogs is fun and challenging...and definitely gives you and your tail-waggers a new leash on life. But even though group walking your dogs can lighten up your schedule since you don't have to walk each one individually, you still might lack the time necessary to give your dogs the walk they need. This is where your local dog walkers can help. Either way stay safe and have fun on your walk!

 

Written by Harrison Howe

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