Walking multiple dogs at the same time on multiple leashes is a tricky, tangled mess. With only two hands, multiple leashes can easily escape your grasp before you can figure out which pup made the move. Investing in a multi-lead leash can make the experience easier, safer and more enjoyable for everyone.
Multi-lead leashes allow you to walk multiple dogs on one leash. These leashes feature a coupler -- a metal ring with several attached leads for walking multiple dogs. Couplers are also sold individually, giving you the option to transform a current leash into a multi-lead leash. Multi-lead leashes come in familiar materials such as nylon, poly and leather.
You’ll want to consider your dogs’ sizes when shopping for a multi-lead leash. Some come with adjustable couplers, making them perfect for owners with both a tiny Yorkshire terrier and large golden retriever. Other varieties come in more distinct sizes such as small, medium and large. These are best for owners of multiple dogs of the same relative size.
Most multi-lead leashes can withstand a lot of pulling and pressure, however, it’s important to check the weight restrictions on your particular leash. For example, Dogg Starr poly cord multiple-dog leashes can withstand 500 pounds of pressure, or roughly a maximum of three, 80-pound dogs. Most multi-dog leashes recommend no more than four dogs on board at once.
Preparation and Practice
Even the most well-behaved, friendly dogs can get a little wild when brought together in new situations. To avoid a public meltdown, practice multi-dog walking in your home or backyard before setting off to explore downtown. Group your dogs according to size, pace and temperament. The easily distracted, happy-go-lucky Boston terrier may be well served in the inside position, closest to you, while the steadfast schnauzer leads on the outside. Try a variety of placement combinations and proceed with the one that works best for your group.
While multi-lead leashes can make walking multiple dogs a much more streamlined affair, it can also afford you less control. It’s important that the dogs on a multi-lead leash are leash trained and friendly with each other. Each dog should be able to walk calmly on a leash both individually and together before you consider a multi-lead leash. It’s also important to be aware of the pack mentality when out on walks. Keep a keen eye out for distractions -- the three S’s: squirrels, skateboards and sirens can send dogs into a frenzy. They’ll have much more strength as a team than they do individually, therefore you must remain vigilant and authoritative.
Christina Stephens is a writer from Portland, Ore. whose main areas of focus are pets and animals, travel and literature. A veterinary assistant, she taught English in South Korea and holds a BA in English with cum laude honors from Portland State University.