I like to walk dogs in pairs for a number of reasons, mainly because it’s just the right amount to make the walk relaxing and enjoyable, but it’s also a factor in the safety of the dogs as well. Obviously there is more money to be made by taking groups out but money isn't everything.
I have two hands, that’s one for each dog. If the dogs need to be quickly put on their leads, it’s much easier to do when there is only two. Getting a group of dogs back on leads in an emergency is not an easy thing to do. Even on footpaths and bridleways you can unexpectedly meet loose sheep, off-road vehicles, horse riders or an aggressive dog and when that happens you need to get your dogs gathered safely and securely around you as quickly as possible.
Travelling time becomes longer than walking time when you’re collecting multiple dogs, and pity the poor dog to be collected first, who has to wait ages while the others get on board before starting the walk.
The dogs I walk focus on me rather than racing about playing with each other and ignoring their walker, who has suddenly become invisible thanks to the manic group chasing session which they want to be a part of.
I can ensure that the dogs are compatible when there are only two, and make sure that we’re doing things that is enjoyable for all. There would be no point taking a dog who loves a slow walk with lots of sniffing out with a water baby who wants to play ball and go diving into the reservoir! It also means I can match older, calm and sensible dogs with giddy or nervous youngsters who are still learning the ropes and know that the older dog will be tolerant and a good influence on the other.
Two is probably nicer than one, because it gives friendly dogs a chance to enjoy a walk with another dog which they may not get to do otherwise. It also means that a walk is more affordable for the owner if their dog is happy to share.
Sometimes a group of three or four can be nice if the dogs are carefully selected, but then we always have an extra walker to provide another pair of hands!
And finally – the F word! Fouling is unacceptable and punishable by law. It’s impossible for one person to pick up poo from a large group of dogs without either missing some of it, taking your eye off the ball or keeping them all on the lead. We’re fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world and I for one am determined to keep it that way.