Walking a dog and pushing a stroller

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Feb 2005

We have a very large dog and a baby. While the baby is small, I walk the dog on leash with the baby in a sling or Bjorn. At some point, though, she'll be too large for me to wear. And I can't always get to an off-leash park and our dog can't be trusted off-leash when not in a park (please don't recommend training--done it; his breed is simply a ''roaming'' breed and he's not always the sharpest pencil in the cup. Plus he's VERY big and it's better to have him on leash in case we come across kids, mail carriers, the like.). So, there must be someone who has solved how to push a stroller while walking a big dog, short of tying the dog to the stroller (nope!) and pushing the stroller one-handed (hard!). Thoughts? Thanks in advance. Nicole

I walk our big dog w/my 20 month old son in the stroller and it works pretty well. My dog is 100+ pounds and pretty good (but not great) on leash--I use a gentle leader which helps with his tendency to lunge after cats or get too interested in other dogs. The gentle leader works much better than a pinch collar because it doesn't rely on strength alone to keep the dog in check. I hold both the leash and the left stroller handle with my left hand (right hand holds the right stroller handle), and my dog walks on the left like he's always done. I too remember being nervous about walking the dog w/the stroller, but I haven't had too much trouble in the year or since my son got too heavy for the baby bjorn or sling. Now, trying to push the stroller, walk the dog and also drink a cup of coffee--that's a little trickier..... --dog walking mom

>From your message it sounds like an extend-a-leash wouldn't work (?) That's what we use even though it's far from a perfect solution. Is your dog a puller? There are a couple of leashes that I've seen that may work for you. Check out www.ruffwear.com. They have a leash that you wear around your waist. There is also a leash that we use for the dogs in the husky rescue that I volunteer for (where we sometimes need some serious control over some sled dogs). It is a relatively short leash that has a secondary ''handle'' much closer to the collar, that, if you don't mind wearing the regular handle around your wrist (assuming your dog isnt a puller) you can easily grab the second handle when needed. You could also try those devices geared for bikes that allow your dog to run next to the bike without running into it. If only our dogs would earn their keep and tow our strollers! Been there

I used a flexi-leash and attached the dog first to me and later to the stroller using a fastener for bikes called a Lock-Block. My advice is to make sure the stroller has a good brake that is easy to initiate and doesn't require your hand - there are moments when you may need to use both hands for the flexi. Also, if your dog tends to dash off, get the flexi with the wide leash through the entire length as then you can grab onto it. Don't ever grab the thin rope like part of the regular flexis as I have had it carve a trench through the palm of my hand. a dog walking mom

Although my dog is not large like yours, he's a roamer as well and we've also tried the training and nothing worked to turn him into a ''good walker''. My advice to you for the stroller walks is that it gets better with time. At first my dog was tangled up in the wheels, my legs, and I was constantly running over his poor paws, but after a few weeks of practice he got with the program. Now he happily stays to one side of the stroller and we've been walking tangle free for 2 years now. Good Luck. mchenry

It's definitely difficult to walk a dog and push a stroller at the same time. I have a Shepherd and a pre-schooler and have been there! My advice, based on my experience, is a back carrier rather than a front one. These back carriers/backpacks can hold your growing kid much more comfortably for them and for you, leaving both hands free. You also don't run the risk of falling on your child, God forbid, if the dog is out of control. I walked my dog and child this way from 6 months to 2.5 years, until I could trust my son to stay by my side most of the time during the walk. Happy walking... zanavush

I have spent many months walking our dog, who is not too large but is strong and stubborn, while also pushing our daughter in her stroller. It is a challenge, and the only way I have been able to do it is by pushing the stroller with one hand, while holding the leash in the other, and occasionally using the leash hand to help control the stroller. I have heard that there is a contraption that you can attach to your stroller to make it easier to push and steer with one hand, but I haven't seen it. Our daughter is still small enough to put into a Bjorn, but it's more practical to take the stroller when walking around doing errands, etc. If you really can't control the stroller with one hand and the dog with the other, you might have to go for a baby backpack. Good luck! Dragged around Town

Hi there! I have a medium-sized, high-energy dog and a baby. My dog loves walks, but frequently fell prey to the large front wheel on our jogging stroller! We solved this problem by purchasing an REI ''Tag-a-long'' hiking child carrier used on the BPN. I carry my little guy securly in the backpack (it comes with shoulder, chest and leg straps for him) and have both hands free to walk the dog on-leash in the front (and pick up poop). Our dog has a tendency to pull on the leash, so we use a ''gentle leader'' with her. I also prefer the backpack for off- leash parks as well, because my son seems to prefer riding a little higher than the dogs. Also, my littly guy is 22 pounds, so the pack is a great workout for me! Beth

We have a giant dog too and I encountered the same issue when my kids grew out of being carried. The best thing I found is called ''the gentle lead''. Our dog is a puller and this lead fits around the snout. It is not a muzzle and fits loosly but has been very effective. My children can actually walk him now. Any major pet store carries them and you can look them up online to see if this seems right for you. All the best. Rachel

When your baby gets too large for you to comfortably use the sling or Bjorn, try a wrap, mei tai or backpack (soft, like an Ergo, or framed, like a Kelty) to carry your child on your back. Any of those can easily carry a kindergartener, let alone a young toddler, and is likely to be safer in your situation than using a stroller. Holly

Depending on her size and your stamina, you might be able to carry your daughter in a baby backpack (the kind with a frame, like those made by Kelty) until she is old enough to walk. In any case, it's good exercise for you! They also make an add-on handle for strollers that is supposed to make one-handed pushing easier and safer, but I have no personal experience with it. David

I did the same thing - walked the dog with my son in the Bjorn or Baby Trekker - until he was just too heavy on my shoulders/back, when he was around 17 lbs. I like to go for long walks so this was a problem for me as well. Tried the stroller once, but that was of course a disaster, with the leash constantly getting tangled in the stroller. My solution was to get a backpack carrier - I got a used soft-frame one from a second-hand store for about $30. It's been great! I have no problem walking 3 miles or so (my son is now 18 months and about 25lbs.). You might give that a try. Good luck! Anon

I have the same problem- big dog who needs to be walked and baby. Rather than using a stroller, I carry my now 27 pound toddler on my back. I have an ergo baby carrier rather than a frame pack, and it distributes his weight so well that it doesn't hurt at all to carry him for an hour or more. It is a great workout for me too. Don't be intimidated by the weight- I started doing it when he was small, so the added weight has been very gradual. I could never figure out how to do the dog/stroller thing either, but I think this is a great solution. martha

hi there! as someone with a very large dog (and a couple of small ones!) and a toddler, I know where you are coming from! The best thing for me, in the middle period when they are too big for the baby bjorn but too small to walk much on their own, was the back carrier. I had a kelty tough traveller which worked well. I walked all the dogs together this way, though poeple laughed at me when they saw me:) If the baby is not ready for a back carrier and has to be in the stroller, you can loop the leash around your arm and push stroller with two hands. Obviously this only works if your dog's not much of a ''puller''. If he is, then I really would recommend the sensation harness- it's a humane and effective way to stop the pulling! or the halti the one that looks like a muzzle- but isn;t)or, of course, some good training classes...:P hope this helps! dilara

*disclaimer* - I don't own a dog, large, small or otherwise. But I do have a big ol' kid who quickly outgrew his sling and even more quickly outgrew his bjorn. There are times when, even without owning a dog, I didn't want to haul out the stroller.....and I found the solution. Sounds like you're ready for a hip hammock! I loved that contraption. It worked like a charm, you should give it a try. I think they've since been redesigned and there are several brands with subtle differences. I believe Rockridge Kids sells some. Or what about a backpack? That would work as well! tiffany