Sunday, March 23, 2014

Two Dogs, One Human

The husband is off scuba diving in the Bahamas...who said it's rough being a teacher?! Just kidding, he works very hard all year so this is a special trip for him.

BUT that means that it's just the pitties and me all week. He had them last week while I was away at a training so now I get some quality time with my little shmush heads.

Uh oh, she's got the clicky box out again...
So far, we have spent our time together cuddling on the couch and finishing season 2 of House of Cards (Maggie loves it, Nigel thinks it's "just okay" and doesn't really get the hype).

Is it just me, or is there a little 'tude in this look!?
In the last few weeks, we have been taking the pooches out for short walks for the last few weeks now instead of just letting them in the backyard. First, we did it because it was raining and the dogs needed more exercise anyway, but the other and more pertinent issue is that the doggies next door are outside in the their backyard most of the day and night, if not all day and night. They seem very sweet but our two really want to play with them and pace frantically by the fence and bark like demons. Then, Nigel starts eating the leaves and branches that cover our fence and scratching it up like nuts!

Since we moved last May, walks are much easier (no second floor walk up!). We also know that the pups love to get outside and see the world for 30 minutes throughout the day and look forward to the summer when we have time to take them for longer walks. We have found that we work on their obedience more when we take them for walks (by virtue of being outside and having space to practice 'heels' and 'sit stays' as well as necessity to offer commands when they get distracted by kitties, dogs, people, birds, almost anything else in Maggie's case).

Being alone with the pooches means that it takes a little more time to fulfill the walking duties but the pups and I have worked out a system. Maggie waits inside very patiently while I take Nigel out and then we trade. Easy peasy. Sometimes, Maggie goes first. They also work on their "not ripping apart the house when the people leave" skills since they are inside the house alone for short periods (about 5-15 minutes).

I would take them both out together BUT we tried that a week ago and Nigel got so excited about a nearby dog that he pulled me (on my knees) across part of our yard. I have the bruises to prove that though the pooches are MUCH better than they were one year ago, we are just not quite there yet! I'm fine but a piece of my dignity is still smeared on our front lawn.

How do you manage walking two (or more!) dogs on your own? Any tips or tricks to share?

7 comments:

  1. I've walked two dogs at one time when dog-sitting gigs overlapped, but neither were prone to out-of-control excitement. I did, however, walk them at night after dark. This was because it was a last-call-before-bedtime potty situation, but it did cut waaaaaaaay down on distractions. Until you've mastered the excitement levels, there may not be much you can do. (Are you walking them with head halters or front-clip harnesses? I highly recommend either one. It also reduces/eliminates their ability to pull you over.) I must admit, even though both dogs are easy enough to handle, I still felt like a boss walking down the street with two dogs.

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    1. The funny part is that they're really GREAT on leash...until another dog walks by. Maggie is leash reactive and Nigel is overly friendly and not so great about controlling his impulses. We tried harnesses and head halters with Maggie and a harness with Nigel but the only thing that has worked well is a prong collar (with lots of training, never misused). It's pretty great when I can walk them both and they're in control, I totally get that "boss" feeling too!

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  2. I'm not a fan of walking two dogs at once, Boomer does OK unless he sees a cat or bunny but Dottie wants to pull the entire time. So if it's just me, it's a one dog at a time kind of walk and honestly I think they enjoy the one on one time with their mama!

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    1. I agree, sometimes it's just nice (and way more calm) to be one-on-one!

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  3. After a lot of practice, I've fine tuned walking my trio of dogs but I must say none of them are reactive or excitable. Kaya heels on my left side off leash, Norman heels on my right side and Zoey does whatever she's gonna do. The only problem I still have is when Zoey falls behind and then walks forward again, her leash gets caught behind Kaya or Norman's butt and they don't really know what to do because they know they are supposed to stay next to me. We usually have to stop so I can rearrange her leash. I tend to just walk around like a dork holding her leash up high to avoid it:/

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    1. That's AMAZING, Rachel! I'm impressed. I understand what you mean about leash tangles...they're the worst!!

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  4. This is the bane of my existence! Tess is generally great on leash, but Ed is...well, not. He has come so far. I practiced with him a lot just the two of us before trying them together. It is definitely SO much harder together. Even though we have mostly successful walks when I walk them both, I still like to make sure I take them for separate walks to really work on training -- which just isn't possible when we're out as three.

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