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3. Product Use

3. Product Use

Use of Product:  How to use the UTurn Handle for walking 3 or 4 untrained dogs at once. 
Untangle all leash tangles in seconds by rotating/flipping the handle while walking.



3_Tangled_Leashes_Dogs

 

3 Entanglements, 3 Leashes, 3 Dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn red leash, turn blue, turn orange.
3 Half turns and it is untangled, all within seconds
(each half turn moves one corner in-between the other two corners)

 

 

 



This chapter provides information about:
1) using the U-Turn handle for walking three dogs (or other animals or even toddlers for safety reasons)
2) using the handle for walking four dogs using the three leashes attached to the handle and a separate
    leash for the fourth dog

3) attaching and detaching various leashes
4) cases where (too) many entanglements may be building up
5) what to do with the less frequently occurring 'handler' and 'external object' entanglements

We hope this is helpful. It is based on our own experience with the handle (also see FAQ). However you, the owner or handler, will know your dogs best. Always find your own way, use your own judgement and use what works for you and your dogs!  Use caution, be smart, be alert and be safe.
 

1.  How the Uturner works
As shown in the videos on the Home Page, the triangular 3-point handle with the three upper leash ends (hand loops) attached to it is rotated by the handler whenever one or more entanglements occur.  The rotation is half a turn or 180 degrees around a side of the triangle per entanglement.

When done in the right sequence and in the right direction, these rotations will untangle ALL ‘internal’ leash entanglements (see explanation below) and free the leashes. It works 100% of the time. As mentioned earlier, current 3-way double-coupler, tripler or other leash systems with swivels help with untangling but do not work in all cases or constrain the dogs to walk closely side-by-side which is hard on the dogs.

   1.1  Entanglement Types
       
There are three types of leash entanglements that can happen: 

  •  'Internal‘ or (forward) leash entanglements (see pictures below)
    These are the common entanglements between two or three leashes and dogs themselves, sometimes multiple times, but not with anything else. These are called 'internal' or 'leash' entanglements.

These leash entanglements are so common they may occur many times during a walk, sometimes even every 5 or 10 seconds!  That's why not too many people dare to walk three or four dogs by themselves as it is so difficult. We all know it's nearly impossible with untrained dogs. The entanglements keep coming and the frustration (also of the dogs) becomes unbearable!  With the Uturn handle the handler resolves these leash entanglements 100% of the time, no matter how many times a leash is wrapped around another one.

‘Handler’ entanglements or entrapments
One or more leashes may block the handler at the back or even  entrap/encircle the handler.  These occur much less often, maybe less than one in four or five entanglements. They are often just simple blocks that are easy to overcome. Full encirclements occur less often. Having the handle helps with ‘escaping’ these entrapments (see sub-chapter 5 for details) and leashes are never dropped.

‘External’ or 'object' entanglements
One or more dogs or leashes get entangled with an external object such as a tree, a post, a shrub, another person, another person’s dog on a leash, a loose branch, etc..  These are rare. Having the Uturner helps with freeing the dog(s) (see sub-chapter 5 for details) and leashes are never dropped.

 

As mentioned earlier, the Uturn handle makes it possible to untangle all internal/leash entanglements.  However NO SYSTEM can undo handler or object/external entrapments. For those, an additional action by the handler is always required.
 

1. 2  Rotating the handle/resolving internal entanglements

o   What is the 'right' SEQUENCE for untangling?

The handler observes the overlapping leash ends near or on the handle and stays aware of where the dogs are.  Each overlap means an entanglement. The untangling by the handler basically follows the reverse sequence of the leash overlaps which is very easy to observe.  The handler will see the leash with the uppermost overlap and rotates the handle half a turn to untangle that one, then the next uppermost one, etc., until all leashes are untangled. Different colors, patterns, widths or even thicknesses for the leashes help distinguish between them. That makes it easier to see which overlap is on top, which is next, etc., and which leash leads to which dog. Having different leashes makes untangling easier but is not absolutely necessary.  


 

Entangled-Leashes-Few-Dogs

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two entanglements; overlaps in sequence: White - Red - Blue
Turn corner with white leash first, then corner with red leash = two half turns and it is untangled




What is the 'right' rotation DIRECTION for untangling?

To untangle each entanglement, a corner of the handle (with its entangled leash) is either rotated up and forward 180 degrees (half a turn) around the opposite side of the triangle, OR the second corner (with entangled leash) is rotated down and forward 180 degrees (half a turn) around its opposite side. With this rotation, the selected corner (with its entangled leash) is always being moved in-between the two other leashes. Either turn-direction can be used and untangles.  These rotations are called 'in-between' rotations, i.e. one leash end is rotated to a position in-between (and maybe a little past) the two other leash ends.  The other type is 'same-direction' rotations (see below).

This rotating effort sounds complicated but it is not - when you actually do it! Anybody can learn this untangling in minutes. The untangling is hard to describe but becomes clear from watching the video on the Home Page. With a little practice, the untangling will become fast ... and the challenge makes it fun!



Entangled_Three_Leashes-Many
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Many entanglements; overlaps: Red - blue - white - etc.
Turn red, turn blue, turn white, then look again which color is on top and just continue the half turns until all entanglements are gone.

 

 

 

 

'Same-direction' rotations:
This is really a special case of the above-mentioned in-between rotations. If two or more successive entanglements with two or even three leashes are all in the same direction, the solution is much simpler.  Then the whole handle is counter-rotated one or more turns around a forward axis in the opposite direction of the leash entanglements.  Leashes twisted this way around each other in the same direction happen fairly often and the described counter-rotation is simpler and faster.  It is not always noticeable but sometimes looking at the overlaps and just trying this counter-rotation first may often resolve a few entanglements and overlaps. This gives the user quickly a better view of the remaining overlaps.


 


2.  Using (your) regular leashes
In this sub-chapter we provide recommendations for using, attaching and detaching your existing regular leashes. The design of the handle is kept one-piece on purpose to make it robust and extra safe. The three corner holes in the handle therefore are closed holes. They cannot be opened to attach or detach a leash. Occasionally (but rarely) a leash may need to be detached from the handle during a walk.  The table below describes attaching and detaching various regular leash types.

Regular leashes
Hand or leash loops, also sometimes called 'loop handles' or 'loop ends', at the upper end of a regular leash come in two main types: 

 

a.  Fully closed loop (most common, over 75% of all leashes)


_wsb_240x180_Handle-BlueKnot1

 

Blue and red leash have a fully closed hand loop without a clasp in it.

 

 

 




The safest way is not to use any (hardware) connectors between the handle and a leash. The leash hand loop does not have a quick-release clasp. In that case the closed loop is inserted  half-way through a corner hole. Then the lower end of the leash with the swivel snap hook is threaded through the hand loop at the other side of the handle to make a simple knot. Then the leash is tightened. This makes for a 100%-safe connection.



b.  Quick-release loop


Handle-Loop-Clasp

 

Leash has a quick-release clasp in the hand loop. The loose clasp end is inserted through a corner hole of the handle, then connected with the other clasp end.

 

 




Most existing leashes of the above types with a regular hand loop can all be used with the handle. The width of the elliptical attachment hole in each corner of the handle is 1.06 inches (27 mm). This is large enough for most leashes and quick-release clasps.  There are exceptions such as very wide leashes.  These may have a clasp, buckle or leash material that is too bulky to fit through this corner hole. Other exceptions are special leashes without a clasp such as rope, tube, or braided leashes where the material is too thick, or special leashes that have a closed handle or reinforced hand loop that cannot be pulled through a corner hole.


Recommendations:

Hand Loop

Leash Material

Attach Leash

Detach Leash

Fully closed

Narrow/thin enough

Push hand loop through hole, insert lower leash end, tighten knot

Detach leash from dog, open loop at handle, pull leash out

Buckle too bulky

Narrow/thin enough

String other end of hand loop through hole, close buckle

Open buckle, remove leash

Buckle too bulky, or material too bulky

Too wide/thick

Add narrower dog collar with clasp, insert collar through hole and hand loop

Open clasp in dog collar, remove collar and leash

Clasp end(s) narrow/thin enough

Narrow/thin enough

Push thinnest clasp end through hole, close clasp

Open clasp, remove leash

Both clasp ends too bulky

Narrow/thin enough

Close clasp, push hand loop halfway through hole, insert lower leash end through both sides of hand loop, tighten knot

Open clasp, pull leash out of other end of hand loop, pull hand loop out, remove leash

Both clasp ends too bulky

Too wide/thick

Add narrower dog collar with clasp, insert collar through hole and hand loop, close clasp

Open clasp in dog collar, remove collar and leash



 

_wsb_240x180_Handle-BlueKnot1

 

 

 

 

 

Blue hand loop is inserted through hole. Lower end of leash with swivel snap hook is inserted through hand loop. 

 

 


 

Attach_Blue_Leash_Knot

 

 

 

 

Leash is pulled through

 

 

 

 

 

UTurn-Handle-for-3-Dogs

Blue leash is tightened. Knot is complete. Red leash same.
Patterned hand loop has a quick release clasp in it (see below)
 

Handle-Loop-Clasp


 

Safe leashes.  As shown above, leashes with a fully closed hand loop without a quick-release clasp in it and when knotted around an opening in the handle as shown above provide a 100%-safe connection. There is no connector that can fail. Occasionally but rarely a dog may have to be detached from its leash during a walk which, for example, can happen when an external/object entanglement occurs. Therefore leashes with a quick-release hand loop as show above, having at least one clasp end that is narrow and thin enough for a corner hole in the handle, are the preferred ones. These are also very safe and they are very easy to attach and detach. Other names for quick-release clasps are side release clasp, safety buckle, snap buckle, quick side release buckle, safety snap, etc.
 



Attach_Retractable_with_Collar-240
 
 
 
 
 
The clasp ends of the orange leash on the right are too bulky to fit through the corner hole of the handle. A used or new dog collar (or similar strap) with a quick release clasp in it is added as a safe connector between the handle and the leash. This also works for rope, tube, braided or padded hand loops that are too thick.

 

 

 

 

Buying a leash. In some cases it is better to buy a more suitable leash (see also sub-chapter 6 below). When buying a leash with a quick-release clasp in the hand loop that is wide, it is recommended to take the handle to the store and try to push either end of the quick-release clasp through the corner hole. The male and female clasp ends often differ in width and thickness. They may also be flat or contoured.

Openable features. A U-Turn handle could be designed with corners that are openable or with sides that are openable links or with slots that are open to the attachment holes. However that would make the handle more complex, more expensive and much less safe. The opening feature may come loose or the handler may forget to close or lock it or the hand loop may slide out, or the overlapping leash ends may get caught up in it.

Tieing objects to the handle. In general it is recommended not to tie or fasten any objects to the handle, such as doggy bags, a stick, a hand bag, clothing, metal connectors, etc..  Of course it is OK to do this but it can be a nuisance when manipulating and rotating the handle, or it can sometimes interfere with the overlapping leash ends.  The three-dog handle should also never be connected to the handler with a tether or strap.  Then the handle cannot be rotated in the required directions for untangling.  Also when walking four dogs, the fourth leash should NOT be attached to the handle as it will always block the untangling.

Parking the dogs.  Occasionally a handler may want to ‘park’ the dogs for a short time, e.g. by putting the handle over a short, thin post using the central opening in the handle.

For tall thin posts, a small tree, a wire fence or a cable between posts, etc., one of the quick-release hand loops (if at least one of the leashes has one) can be opened and closed around the object while still keeping the loop through the corner opening in the handle. For bigger posts, horizontal fence boards or bigger trees, or if parking the dogs is needed, the handler could carry a long strong strap with a suitable end connector or quick-release clasp in it if desired.
 

Pulling (the) dogs.

Mar_Walking_3_dogs_behind_handler

Untrained dogs will usually pull YOU.  But when they finally get tired, you can do it this way!

Harnesses
Many users attach the leash to the metal ring on the dog's collar.  However we prefer to attach each leash to the metal ring on the back of a harness. It prevents chafing, makes untangling easier and protects the dog's throat better. Attaching the leash snap hook to a collar may work OK if the dog does not pull wildly or starts choking easily.  Due to the untangling the collar may rotate more around the dog's neck and this can lead to chafing.  If you do not have harnesses for your dogs now, we recommend trying it first with the leashes tied to the collar, then observe and make a judgement on maybe stepping up to harnesses.




3. Using (your) retractable leashes

Recommended:
Use a used or new dog collar (or similar short strap) with a quick-release clasp in it as a very safe connector between the handle and the hand grip of the retractable/extendable (or Flexi) leash.




  Attach_leashes_2       Attach_leashes_3


In general, using retractable/extendable leashes with the three-dog handle is NOT recommended, although they can be used.

One reason is that the housing with hand grip is rather bulky, may interfere with rotating the handle or may bounce around a lot. Collars are adjustable so a shorter setting may help reduce this bouncing.  Another reason is that most retractables are of the thin-cord type and are also mostly black.  To see the overlaps clearly to aid the untangling, 'all-tape' or 'all-belt' type retractables, preferably in different colors if you use more than one, are much better than black cord types. Thin cords are not very visible, can burn or cut on contact, and are more difficult to push out of the way when many overlaps accumulate on the handle. 

If a retractable leash is used, it is recommended to always lock the retractable at a fixed length setting of e.g. 4 to 7 feet, depending on the size of your dog and your preference. A fixed setting is much safer. In a panic or with traffic there often is not enough time to pull the retractable leash in quickly while also paying attention to the other dogs.  That is also another reason why retractables are not recommended:  The locked setting may easily come undone inadvertently. When pulling in a dog quickly there may not be enough time to activate the lock which then forces the handler to grab the cord instead.

It is further recommended not to fasten the housing or hand grip of the retractable to the handle as the upper leash ends may get jammed in-between or become blocked against it. It's also recommended not to use hardware connectors between the handle and the housing or hand grip. Hardware connectors are generally not fail-proof.  The flexible connecting collar with a quick-release clasp in it as mentioned above is much safer and can also be attached or detached quickly.




4.  Many internal entanglements building up

As mentioned earlier, the handler can untangle all internal entanglements with successive half rotations of the handle. These internal entanglements happen when one or more dogs cross the path(s) of the other dog(s) and the leashes become entangled among themselves. This crossing can even happen multiple times. The entanglement can be in front of or to the side or behind the handler, depending on where the dogs are relative to the handler and the handle relative to the handler’s body. None of these entanglements is around something else. 

If the entanglements happen multiple times but all of them are in the same direction, then the whole handle can be counter-rotated around a forward axis in the opposite direction of the leash entanglements. This happens fairly often and resolution is simpler and faster than with the usual half turns in-between two leashes where there may be less space.
 

Entanglements-Untangle-Often

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many entanglements: It is highly recommended to untangle frequently, e.g. after one or two or three entanglements, and not wait till many (e.g. 5 to 10 or more) overlaps have built up.

 

 




 

The leash overlaps tend to travel toward the handle due to the pulling forces of the dogs. Untangling becomes harder and harder when more and more overlaps clump together and become tighter and tighter near, around or over the handle.

When the handler is distracted and does not untangle, the dogs may continue to move around and add more and more entanglements. They may also add handler entrapments/encirclements. This often happens when the handler stops and starts talking with another person.  All entanglements can still be resolved but it gets harder to rotate the handle in-between two leash ends. Sometimes overlapping leash ends then need to be pulled or pushed away to create a large enough opening for a corner of the handle to rotate through or to be pushed through.


Avoiding entanglements
It sometimes helps to hold the handle high(er) to keep the number of entanglements lower.  The handler can bend his/her arm at the elbow upward and keep the handle at roughly shoulder height, supporting the handle in an upward direction on a grip's inside.  This keeps the leashes from the ground and often in a more or less straight line upwards from the dog to the handle.  It may depend a lot on your dogs and their size if this will reduce the number of entanglements but it may be worth a try.




5.  Resolving handler or object entanglements

Entanglements other than internal entanglements as discussed above are with something else than the leashes themselves. These are handler or object entanglements and they are very different! No system can resolve these and special action by the handler is always required.

5.1  Handler entrapments
These happen when a dog moves to the other side behind the handler’s back or encircles the handler around the handler’s back or front. Any of the dogs may do this at any time, with the handler holding the handle in front and with the other dog(s) in front or to the side of the handler not involved in the encirclement. If the handler does not react in time, the dog may continue to encircle, tighten the entrapment or entangle again with another dog and its leash. Two dogs can do this at the same time, e.g. one from the right, one from the left.

 

As mentioned, there are two kinds of these handler entrapments:

1. Blocks

This is the simplest kind and happens when a dog stays somewhat behind, then crosses over to  the other side behind the handler and then wants to move or starts moving forward again. In the picture the blue leash is behind the handler and the dog wants to move forward.
How_to_untangle_Jan31B-_203

This happens fairly often during a walk. The handler should lower the handle and in this case step over the blue leash sideways to avoid a possible tighter entrapment. Otherwise the handler will be positioned between two forward leashes. The handle may then push into the handler's back which generally is not comfortable.  Also for ease of untangling it is best to keep the handle  in front. The block can also lead to a full encirclement. On the other hand the block could resolve itself if the dog moves back again behind the handler to the side it came from.



2. Encirclements
The second kind is a full encirclement around the handler’s back or front, with one or more leashes getting pulled tight(er) around the handler’s legs. This happens less often. An encircling entrapment however is harder to escape from so a handler should prevent these as much as possible. The handler needs to ‘escape’ quickly by lowering the handle with the leashes and stepping out or by lifting the handle with leashes overhead and escaping that way. The handler needs to be alert and have some agility to do that. The tighter the encirclement, the more difficult it is to escape.

 

How_to_untangle_3_Tangled_Leashes_                                                                                    

 

 

 

Encircled by red leash and partially blocked by blue leash. Lower the handle and step out of the small space left. If the space is still large enough, another option may be to lift the handle overhead and then 'duck' out.

 

 

                  
Most often the easiest way is to lower the handle and step out and over the encircling leash(es) and do this quickly before the encirclement becomes too tight. The tighter it gets, the harder it is to keep your balance while pushing the handle with leash ends down and away from under your feet (or lifting your leg(s) out of the encirclement or doing both at the same time) and stepping out. After getting out of the entrapment, the handler untangles any remaining internal leash entanglements in the usual way.


 

5.2  Object or external entanglements

These are relatively rare.  They may happen when one or two dogs on the team split ways around an external ‘object’ such as a tree, a tall post, another person, another handler’s dog on a leash, etc..  Posts interconnected with cables or chains are also a problem.  Standalone short posts or obstacles, e.g. with a height up to the handler’s waist, are not a problem as the handle with leash(es) can easily be lifted over them.

 

 How_to_undo_External_Entanglements

 

 

Dog on the right is getting entangled/blocked by a metal post

                                                                          

 

Object entrapments should be anticipated and be avoided as they may become more difficult to resolve than handler entanglements. The handler needs to restrain and pull the dog(s) away gently but quickly before it happens. Many dogs don't like to be pulled back at all after they have passed an obstacle. They always want to march ahead! However when such an entanglement does occur, the dogs stay safely attached to the handle, and there is no danger of dropping a leash and a dog escaping. The best way is to pull the dog back calmly but firmly or use one or both hands to help him or her if needed.

If a dog cannot be pulled or lifted back, it becomes necessary to detach its leash from the handle (which is safest) or the dog from the leash (which is not very safe). That's when a quick-release hand loop (or the connecting quick-release collar) and the central opening in the handle to free both hands come in handy.




6.  Recommended leashes

As discussed, most existing leashes with regular hand loops can be used with the 3-dog handle, even retractable leashes. Only very wide leashes, leashes with very big quick-release clasp ends, and special leashes with thick handles or hand loops may not be usable. In that case a connecting dog collar can be used (see below).

General recommendations:

  • Leashes of approximately the same length (may not always work for dogs that are very unequal in size)
  • Stretchable leashes  (also called stretch, elastic or bungee leashes).
    Bungee leashes are relatively hard to find. For our small dogs we use one Spindrift Max Walker 412 5/8" x 6 ft, with a clasp in the hand loop, unstretched L=46 in, stretched L=72 in (available at Amazon and other online stores) and two Genuine Dog Gear small bungee leashes 6 ft, no clasp, unstretched L=39 in, stretched L=67 in, from PetExpertise.com. If the handloop has a clasp, make sure the clasp is small enough to fit through the elliptical attachment hole in the handle. Size of the ellipse is 1.06 in x 0.60 in (major and minor axis).
  • Different colors or patterns; preferably over the full length of the leash
  • Not too narrow, not too wide; e.g. 0.25 - 0.75 inches (6 to 19 mm)
  • Each leash has a hand loop with a quick-release clasp in it.  If there is no clasp, that's OK, then use a hand loop knot to connect the leash to the handle; avoid hardware connectors (see below).
  • Sturdy swivel snap hook at the lower end of each leash
  • Leashes attached to harnesses with the leash-to-harness connection on top on the back of the dog behind the head. Leashes attached to collars will work but the collar will rotate more (if the dogs entangle a lot).
  • For the fourth dog, use a regular leash with a large enough hand loop to put an arm through it to free up a hand. This hand loop preferably has a quick-release clasp in it. The fourth leash is about the same length or a little longer than the other three leashes but this depends on the size of the four dogs.  A regular leash is more visible than the thin cord of a retractable and is also much easier to pass around any of the three leashes on the handle for untangling. It becomes even easier if the hand loop of the fourth leash is large enough and semi-rigid or padded or has an added contoured grip to keep it mostly open. That makes passing it around the other leashes (to untangle) and then grabbing it again even easier.
  • If a retractable is used for the 4th dog, use a new or used dog collar with a quick-release clasp in it as a safe connector between your hand and the retractable.  Hold this collar as you would a hand loop, with a locked setting on the retractable. This collar is also large enough to put an arm through. This way you can free one or both hands if needed by putting an arm through both the collar and the handle, or one arm through the handle and the other arm through the collar.Flexi-Dog-Collar-UTurn-Handle
  •  

  •  
  •  

 

 

 

 

 

Used dog collar with clasp to hold flexi = fourth leash

 

 

 

We recommend three stretchable (bungee) leashes of about equal length, even for a mix of small and large dogs. The stretch exists preferably over the full length of the leash up to the hand loop.  Stretchables are safe and drag on the ground less. The stretch in the leash may also help the untangling, especially when occasionally many tight overlaps accumulate near or on top of the handle. The stretch makes it easier to push or pull leash ends out of the way when needed and rotate the handle through this enlarged opening.  For the fourth dog a stretchable also works well as it will stay off the ground more.  Stretchable leashes work well with untrained dogs that pull a lot. However you need to be careful if your dogs often lunge or when walking in crowds.  In that case the stretch can become a safety concern as it may give the dogs too much space.   The remedy is that it is very easy to 'choke' the leashes, i.e. shorten the roaming range for all dogs at once, with one hand holding and pulling the handle up and the other hand grabbing and sliding down the three leashes.

Instead of having to 'choke' the leashes often for safety reasons, a user in Houston decided to use 3 shorter (4 ft) mesh leashes on the handle which work perfectly for him.  Not too long for his 3 King Charles Spaniels to get off the sidewalk and into the street or trip joggers but long enough for his dogs to move around.

If a leash is much longer than the others, it tends to drag on the ground more often. However for a larger dog a longer leash, and not necessarily a stretchable, may work well or even better. It really depends on the size of the dogs, the habits of each dog, how the team walks together and your personal preference. For example, a large dog may always walk upfront or one dog may often walk behind the others, etc..

We recommend using flat webbing (all-tape, lint, strap, belt) type or all-tube type leashes (not cords or strings) over the length of the leash and different colors or patterns so that the overlaps are easy to see. When walking dogs at night, very bright or reflective colors or reflective safety tape may be needed to aid the untangling. Otherwise a flashlight may be needed to see the leash overlaps and the dogs, which is cumbersome.

As mentioned earlier, for an existing leash that is too wide for the elliptical corner hole in the handle or for an existing retractable, a flexible connector with clasp such as a quick-release dog collar or similar strap between handle and leash is recommended. If this strap is short, it reduces the bouncing of the housing. 

No hardware connectors.  A flexible collar or strap with a quick-release clasp is very much preferred over hardware connectors. The main reason is safety as the connection between handle and leash must never fail.  Hardware connectors such as split rings, quick links, anchor shackles, carabiners, swivel snap hooks, etc., are all considered NOT safe enough. They may rattle, damage the handle, hurt the handler’s hand or interfere with the leashes and the untangling. They can come loose unexpectedly, may not be locked, or are suddenly opened by the entangled leashes sliding around or over the handle. Especially swivel snap hooks, and there are various types, are notorious for suddenly being pulled or pushed open. Swivel snap hooks are rather safe at the dog’s end (at the collar or harness) but cannot be trusted at the handle’s end.

The attachment of the leash to the handle does not need to have a swivel or be pivotable (as in the case of a 2-way coupler or 3-way tripler leash) as the handle itself must be rotated for each entanglement. Leash upper ends with swivels and various handles with built-in or pivotable corners were tested and were also covered in the patent application. However they lead to a more complex, more expensive, less robust handle and a less safe connection, without enough gain.


 

7.  Walking four dogs

 

 

Z_Walking_4_dogs_is_easy

 

 

 

Fourth dog.  As shown in the video on the Home Page, a good way to walk 4 dogs with the Uturner while giving them space to roam is to use the UTurn handle with 3 dogs AND to hold a 4th leash separately in the other (right or left) hand. 

 

 

 

 

 

Z_Walking_4_dogs_on_4_leashes_mar1

 

 

 

 

 

Red leash on the handle and separate fourth leash are entangled
Untangle by moving the fourth leash first, then turn the handle

 

 

 

 

 

Whenever the fourth leash gets entangled, the handler quickly moves this fourth leash under or over and around the tangled leash(es) tied to the Uturn handle to untangle.  The handler is using both hands when passing this fourth leash around.  If desired one can put an arm through the handle temporarily to free a hand to help but that is not necessary. Next the handler untangles the leashes tied to the Uturner (if they were entangled as well) and the hand that is holding leash 4 helps with turning the handle.
 

'Best' dog.  Although not necessary, it's usually better to select the 'best' dog for the fourth leash.  'Best' here means the dog that is least likely to dart around and entangle with the other 3 dogs.  Doing this reduces the work load of the handler.  The handler always needs to pay special attention to the fourth leash and untangle it as soon as it gets entangled once or twice. The more the fourth leash gets entangled, possibly with the other 3 leashes getting more entangled among themselves as well, the harder it becomes to untangle all four. This usually happens when the handler is distracted, stops and starts talking with another person or on a cell phone and does not untangle while the dogs still keep moving around.  A few of these occurrences and you, the handler, will become a lot wiser!
 

Freeing one or two hands.  When picking up dog waste, giving a treat or taking "stuff" out of a dog's mouth, we put the three-dog handle on one arm as shown below, and the hand loop of the fourth leash on the same arm or on the other arm (not shown). This frees both hands while still holding all leashes. 


Z_Walking_4_dogs_treatsFreeing both hands when walking 4 dogs
 


Do not tie 4th leash to the handle.  As mentioned earlier, the fourth leash cannot be attached to the handle as that would prevent the rotation of the handle for untangling.  An option is to attach a suitable hook to the hand loop of the fourth leash. Then insert this hook temporarily in one of the three corner holes or the central opening of the handle. This fourth leash needs to be unhooked whenever it or any of the other three leashes needs to be untangled.  Such a hook is somewhat of a nuisance and is not recommended unless one expects very few entanglements, e.g. when walking with 4 trained dogs.
 

 

8.   Safety/Caution Warnings

We cannot emphasize safety enough, for you, for the dogs and for other people or animals around you, and near traffic.  Please also view FAQ or the combined Safety chapter.  A summary of the warnings is repeated here:

  • Use by responsible adults only
  • Do not use with dogs that cannot be controlled
  • Do not use in environments that present or may present a danger
  • Avoid encounters with uncontrolled dogs
  • Do not let children use the handle
  • Use leashes, collars and harnesses that do not break or come loose
  • Restrict the roaming space when needed by 'choking' the leashes
  • Be careful and keep your balance when one or more leashes get wrapped around your legs
  • Do not put a finger in a leash attachment hole of the handle as a sudden pull by the dogs may break it
  • Do no tie the handle to your wrist or waist

 

9.  Some other background information about walking 3 or 4 dogs

It's nearly impossible to walk 3 or 4 untrained dogs with one person. Even professional dog walkers shy away from this and usually walk trained dogs or just one untrained dog at a time for the purpose of training.  When the leashes get entangled and you can still walk, the leashes become wrapped around each other more and more, the roaming space for each dog gets less and less and you cannot direct each dog any longer. When it gets bad enough, you have to stop and face the very unpleasant task of unraveling the tangled mess, without dropping a leash.  And - what a pain - within half a minute or sooner it may happen again!

When reviewing 2-way coupler leashes and US patents, we find many solutions for walking TWO dogs with one person. However we find very few solutions for the much more difficult problem of walking THREE dogs at once. The 3-dog solutions are 3-way couplers, variations of these or fancier versions with multiple swivels and leashes. These often are not tangle-free despite the claims to the contrary.

Training your dogs to walk nicely next to you is always the best solution.
However training all dogs is hard and we offer the UTurn handle as an interim solution. The handle is simple but very unique.  Instead of months of training, or struggling with 3 leashes, a 2-way coupler leash and one extra leash, or a 3-way coupler leash, this simple handle makes it possible to walk THREE untrained dogs easily with one person using your own 3 leashes.  Or a team of 3 with at least one untrained dog.  And there are no swivels, just the handle and your 3 leashes.

As shown earlier, the solution is a one-piece handle with 3 separate leashes safely attached to it. It has 3 curved grips, one along each side of a triangle. This 3-point arrangement makes it possible to untangle all leash entanglements with half turns of the handle as shown in the videos, within seconds. The half turns are easy to do and the handle is strong enough for 3 large dogs. It works 100% of the time: All leash entanglements/tangles are resolved while walking.  Each dog has plenty of space to roam on its own leash and you can still direct each dog individually when needed! You use your own leashes; no other parts are needed. No need to buy a 3-way tripler plus the main lead with handle or a complex leash system with multiple swivels. No dropping of leashes. No frustrating tangles that cannot be resolved. No unhappy dogs baffled by repeated entanglements and stops.

As shown in the videos on the home page, it's true: U Turn It - U Untangle It - While Walking.  This simple untangling capability makes it possible to walk 3 dogs with confidence. It does that by removing the fear of entanglements. Instead of relying on a multi-lead swivel system that still gives entanglements, the handler resolves all entanglements. The untangling is done with one half turn of the handle for each entanglement between two leashes. This half turn is done by rotating a selected corner of the handle in-between the other two leashes. That half-turn (180 degrees) motion frees one entanglement. The handler continues with half turns until all leashes are untangled. Yes, it gives the handler work to do during the walk. But the handler will enjoy this challenge while continuing the walk AND keeping the dogs happy!

A disadvantage of a 3-way coupler leash is that they constrain the dogs to walk (too) closely together. If the end leashes are made longer to remedy this, then the coupler will always give entanglements. With the UTurn handle you can use a much longer leash for EACH dog, giving them lots of space.  Another drawback of a 2-way coupler leash, a 3-way tripler leash or a similar multi-dog leash system is that they all have a single main lead. A handler cannot easily communicate direction to each dog and hold or pull a dog to the left, right or back when needed. With the handle, you can.  A third drawback of coupler leashes is that the dogs pull or jerk each other around much more than with the handle. The handler with the handle is in the middle and the pulling forces of the dogs are mainly on the handle (not on each other) so the handler can easily compensate for or protect a weaker dog or a dog that stops or stays behind or needs to do its business.


First walks

The handle always works. You, the handler, will take care of all leash entanglements before they become a problem. You and the dogs need some patience and maybe a few walks to all getting used to walking this way together. It works better when the dogs get along with each other and are already used to walking on (separate) leashes. Always remember: Untangle often, preferably as soon as one or two tangles appear.  Then the untangling is by far the easiest.

We use the handle ourselves daily to walk our three active cairn terriers with one person. We could NOT do that without the handle, we tried! With every week of use, it became easier. Now two years later there are still entanglements (dogs stay dogs!) but walking and untangling is much smoother. Our dogs like to sniff and stop a lot so for us it's often a stop-and-go stroll instead of a fast walk but we don't mind. We prefer to make it an outing with lots of fun for the dogs.


When going for a walk, we feel completely confident about entanglements
The light work involved in turning the handle is worth it!  And the dogs love it; there are no more nasty entanglement stops. The handle can also be used for walking 3 toddlers or a triplet safely. As shown in the videos one person can even walk FOUR dogs or any team or mixed team of 4 pets or other animals. It's a bigger challenge, a slower walk and more work than with three but still do-able.  Not too many people have ever been able to walk 3 or 4 untrained dogs at once.  When they do walk so many it's often only possible by keeping all dogs on a very tight short leash so they cannot entangle. That's not much fun for the dogs.

 

ZZ_Walking_4_doggies_at_once

 





 

 

Walking four untrained smaller dogs at once and enjoying it!  All get lots of space and the 'boss' takes care of all leash entanglements :-)