“Dear Buddy:

I’m a first time foster, with my own pup at home.  I’m having trouble walking both my pet and my foster on a lead at the same time.  How do I get my pack around the block without getting tied up in the process? 


Tangled in Toledo”

Dear Tangled,

As in any new environment, your foster dog may show signs of discomfort around your baby for the first few weeks.  This is perfectly normal, but you should be aware of the body language your dogs may be communicating to you before trying to  walk them together on leash.  If your foster dog is showing any of the following signs to your pet, you should not walk them together until they are better acclimated:

  • Whale eye: showing the whites of the eyes and looking sideways is an indication that your foster may still be anxious around your pup.
  • Mouth closed, tail down: If your foster pet seems more reserved around your pet, it may be a sign that they need more time to get to know each other.
  • Aggression: If your pet or foster pet are baring teeth and growling, please contact PACT immediately for further training/assistance with your new house guest.  Safety for your family and fosters are paramount to our program.

To warm up a new foster to your family pet, try positive reinforcement techniques such as introducing the two and providing a treat that each likes, or a fun toy or game that each may enjoy together.  The dogs should associate each other with something fun over time. Pack walking, AKA walking the dogs together, is a great way to acclimate the dogs to each other.  You can make it easier by introducing another handler, so the dogs can be near each other, but can also be separated if they begin to show any of the signs listed above. Additionally, if one of your pets is lacking leash manners, you should walk them separately until their training is improved upon.  For dogs who walk nicely separately, but are just walking in different directions, a tandem leash that attaches to one lead can be really helpful to minimize tangling.  I hope this helps!  Thank you for being an awesome foster!

Keep on Barkin’,