A Life Saving SECRET For Introducing Dogs On Leash

If you have a friendly and playful dog, you’ve done the dance.

You know the one. Where your dog plays with another dog while you and the other person struggle to keep the leashes from getting tangled.

Honey the golden retriever shares a secret for on-leash greetings.

I’ve done it with flexible leashes where I worried that my wrist was going to be amputated. I’ve had fumbling dog owners end up in my cleavage. And I’ve even ended up on my butt more than once.

But no longer.

Because I know the secret for introducing on-leash dogs without risking my life (or virtue).

And here it is:

When your dog is playing with another dog on-leash, both people on the other end of the leash must circle.

If you do this, you’ll never have to pass leashes back and forth with another person. Ever.

Honey the golden retriever makes a friend in the water.

If you spin too fast, will you start a whirlpool?

You see, the reason the leashes get tangled is because the dogs whirl around each other while playing. In a circle.

So if the people circle in the same direction, the leashes never tangle.

Honey the golden retriever greets dogs on-leash.

C’mon boys. With three of us, we can make a huge tangled mess.

Try it for yourself. I guarantee you’ll be amazed.

And then spread the word. Because I never want to find myself with a flex-leash around my ankle while I’m sitting on my butt with some random dog walker’s hand stuck down my blouse.

Thanks to Rebecca who shared this tip for me at the Tompkins County SPCA.

Your Turn: Do you allow your dog to meet other dogs on leash? How do you manage tangles? Have you ever tried the circle technique?



  1. LOL…I will keep this in mind. Mostly, I have to keep Torrey calm while Roxy just likes to make noise at the other dog.

  2. I don’t allow Kelly to meet dogs on leash anymore because most of the time she doesn’t like the other dog and that’s never a comfortable situation. Ike generally likes all dogs so we can meet, but the other dog has nipped him a few times so now I’m leery. I’ve never tried the circle method but I think this would work great with someone you know in a park! What do you do when the other person with the leash doesn’t get it, or on a city sidewalk where there isn’t room to move in a circle?

    • I find I have to be really direct with the other dog person and sometimes they still won’t get it. And our sidewalks have pretty big berms so I haven’t run into the other problem.

      What I find a bigger issue is finding a gentle way to break off the playtime without pulling the leash which I find can instigate tensions where there weren’t tensions before.

      I wish we could introduce Ike and Honey. I bet they’d really like each other. And Honey might even be sensitive enough to allow Kelly to call the shots and leave her alone if your girl’s uninterested in meeting another pushy retriever. 🙂

  3. I need to keep this in mind! We always end up tangled…

  4. Mom does do the circle thing when possible. We greet when we are friends already, Bailie likes to greet new dogs if they are friendly. All we know is with all three of us on leash, it is nearly impossible to prevent a tangle because we all go a different direction.

  5. Meeting another dog on leash has always been a tense situation — I’m never quite sure what’s going to happen. That being said, I think your circle method is brilliant. I’ll be sure to spread the word to my dog owning buddies! Thanks for the tip, Pamela!

    • Ron–it’s only a good technique if you’re very sure of your dog and the dog(s) they’re meeting. You’re smart to use your own best instincts about whether to allow a meeting at all.

      That said, anything that keeps the tension level down will make any meeting better. And I find that a loose, comfortable leash with a circling person is far superior to tight, twisted leashes–no matter how friendly the dogs are.

  6. I will try to remember that. Although it’s very hard to do when the other pet parent has one of those retractable leashes. LOL

  7. You have just ruined a great dog game for humiliating humans.

  8. Perfect! I have two dogs, but they seem to already know the circle game. As usual, I’ve been slow on the uptake. Zoe stays in the middle of any pile, while Zack circles everyone. Now I just have to follow Zack while keeping my Zoe-leash-arm over-reaching everyone …

    • When you have two (or more dogs) on a leash, the method probably has to be adapted. Perhaps add in a little bit of double dutch work?

  9. Simple yet effective. Why didn’t I think of this? 🙂

    • When Rebecca first showed it to me I was blown away. All those years of school and I couldn’t figure out this simple technique.

  10. I worry I come across as slightly rude when either of my boys meet another dog as my focus is 100% on my dogs and making sure the leashes don’t become tangled. Sure I talk to the other person, but I am not fully focused on them!

  11. Yes–it’s like a dog walker Maypole dance! Fun for everyone, and keeps the pups safe.

    • On FB, someone compared it to a square dance. I saw it more like a Busby Berkley musical. Now if only I could get an overhead camera and everyone to wear fancy head dresses.

  12. Brilliant!

  13. That’s a great tip!

  14. Oh I wish. No, mostly I am the person sitting there trying to keep my dogs from busting over to the other dog. Then of course there are the times where they lunge like they were shot out of a cannon.

    I’d gladly take a stranger’s hand down my blouse. 😉