Sunday, August 9, 2015

Product Review: Guardian Gear 24" 3-Way Coupler

The Guardian Gear 24" 3-Way Coupler by Pet Edge is a leash accessory for walking three dogs at one. It consists of three 2-foot leashes attached to a central ring, to which a regular leash can be attached. This coupler is currently available in eight different colors and also comes in 4" and 12" lengths.
Photo by Erin Koski

I'm not a huge fan of couplers for anything but sedate walks with well-mannered and slightly-oblivious dogs of similar size and strength. I just don't like the idea of dogs walking other dogs, and the last thing I want is for one dog to move suddenly and give the other an inadvertent leash pop. I've started seeing stretchy couplers recently, and I like those a lot better because they insulate the dogs from each others' movements a bit.

My good experiences with couplers are mostly limited to walking a friend's pack of senior Labradors along with my cocker spaniel. Four of these dogs could be coupled together with minimal issue because none of them pulled hard or was prone to lunging. The fifth (and sometimes sixth) dogs were never walked on couplers because they tended to pull hard and needed feedback from my end of the leash. These days I only attach couplers to harnesses because I like to be able to use very small movements to communicate when the leash is attached to a collar.
Photo by Erin Koski

I found this super-long three-dog coupler at a thrift store and immediately thought "well there's a terrible idea!" So of course I bought it. I can walk a whole bunch of dogs on individual leashes without too much trouble because I can remove a single leash to untangle someone. With this coupler I can't do that nearly as easily because the leashes are permanently attached at one end.

Pros: Sturdy, well-made. Available in a variety of fun colors. Long 24" length gives dogs plenty of independence from each other.

Cons: Lots of length for dogs to get wrapped around their legs or my legs. No easy way to untangle them if two dogs decide to spin circles around each other.

Bottom Line: The only three-way coupler I've ever seen work really well was one with 4" stretchy lengths attached to a 4' leash and three miniature dachshunds. It never dipped close enough to the ground for them to step over it, and they could just sort of swarm along together. I did see this weird leash handle thing recently that seems pretty useful, but it's $40 and I can do the same thing with my giant carabiner.

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