Tuesday, 17 September 2013

The Benefits of Social Dog Walking

Those of us with “Dogs In Need of Space” 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!
So whether you have a dog that is a social butterfly, but prefers calmer, on-leash socializing (like a senior dog) or a dog who needs exercise in a more controlled environment than a dog park (like a dog recovering from an injury), groups walks might be the perfect fit for you.
Before joining a group, you need to do two things:

Know your dog and their limitations. These groups aren’t every dog’s cup of kibble.

Know the rules of the club. Every group is different.

Many dog walking groups follow the rule that dogs do NOT need to interact during the hikes or walks and openly encourage all dogs to attend their events. But please check first. Some groups allow more interactions between dogs and might not be the right fit for your pup. You’ll also need to know if your dog is up for the challenge of being around a potentially large group of dogs. You may need to start small and work up to joining this type of social outing.

That being said, Bear (who isn't at all a dog in need of space) and I happily joined our first "Pooch Posse" on Monday.  I will admit that it took a little while to get him settled into the walk - especially with so many tails available for chasing and all the new scents on the trails we were taking (most of which he had never seen before), but by the end of the hour, Bear had settled wonderfully. 
Social dog walking is a happy occasion for both dogs and dog-parents.  You get the benefit of meeting and networking with other local pet-parents within your community while your dog is given ample opportunity for socializing and exercise.   It's like the dog park - only (in some cases) better

Bark back at us!  Would you ever join a Pooch Posse (or a social dog walking group)?

Keep your tails wagging,
Bear's P4ws

1 comment:

  1. If you do not exercise your dog enough, you can try to train all you want and get nowhere. Daily walks provide your dog with positive attention from you and a chance to be with you doing something he loves. Dogs do not self-entertain. If you put your dog outside in your fenced-in yard, he will not exercise himself. But he will love It if you take him for regular walks and it is with other dogs, it will surely be a day out for him. It is good if you can take him for a walk since it will also benefit us. Otherwise if you are running short of time, hiring a dog walking service will also help .