Set Up A Social Dog Walking Group

Let’s All Walk Together!

Dogs are social animals. In the wild, they spend a significant portion of their day walking together as a pack, which is a very satisfying experience for a dog.

That daily social event can be mimicked for your pooch by taking a walk with you, of course! But to further enhance the experience, consider trying a dog walking group.

Your pup will absolutely love the experience of walking through the great outdoors with a bunch of his pals, and it also enhances the experience for you, giving you a chance to make new human friends and enjoy the company of your dogs together. Let’s take a closer look at tips for dog walking groups!

Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Talking and walking

The talking is the thing. While it may be dog ownership that draws you together, you’ll hopefully find, like us, that there is loads to talk about besides rip-off vet bills, and canine bowel movements and how a dog (mine) can end up being microchipped twice. “It’s a bit like speed-dating,” said Sue Breen, a lawyer who came with her whippet, Poola, and her daughter, Mimi, nine. “You can only talk for a short period of time as there is always a dog crisis, so if someone is boring you can move. Also, it’s cross-generational – you meet people you wouldn’t ordinarily have a connection with. Better still, you don’t have to talk about yourself; for me, it was therapeutic to focus on the dogs.”

Dog dynamics

Like humans, dogs don’t always gel. Temperaments clash. If a dog bullies or worries other dogs, say something to the owner before it’s too late. A basic canine club rule: good behaviour all round, or you’re out. Simon Holmes, an actor who came along with his elderly dog, Billy, rightly suggested that owners need to be prepared to walk at the pace of the slowest dog. A potential stumbling block is a dog in the pack that won’t come back when it’s off the lead; that could slow the whole walk down.
– via the Guardian

Socialize Your Dog, Even If He Needs Space

If something as wild and unpredictable as a leash-off dog park wouldn’t work for you and your dog, you might consider group walking as a great alternative that’s a lot more structured, and therefore, more secure, for dogs who need it.

When everyone’s on a leash and walking together, you can enjoy each other’s company while also maintaining your own space, and you can easily get control of any situation that looks like it might get out of hand. Here’s a closer look at how to approach dog walking groups with a shy or nervous dog who needs a bit of space!

Those of us with DINOS™ definitely want our space, but that doesn’t mean we never want our dogs to enjoy the company of other dogs. We simply want or need more structured socialization opportunities where we can count on other dog owners to respect our space.

This is especially true for reactive dogs who are learning to stay calm around other dogs.

If you’ve ever been in a reactive dog training class, you know that one of the best ways to increase your dog’s skills around other dogs is to practice, practice, practice. But that can be really hard to do once class is over and you no longer have a set time and place to meet up with other responsible families who are working on their dog’s leash skills.

That’s where dog walking social groups can really come in handy.

If you have a reactive dog and you’ve laid down the foundation for your leash work in a group class, a great way to continue working on your skills and exposing your dogs to other canine pals, is to join a dog walking group.

These groups are a terrific opportunity for any dog, reactive or not, to socialize with canine pals. Contrary to popular beliefs, off leash play isn’t the only game in town when it comes to socialization.  Side by side walks on leash and training classes are social activities for your dog too!
– via notes from a dog walker

Have you ever tried dog walking groups?

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