We all know that sometimes it’s just more fun to work out in a group. Whether it’s Zumba, yoga, or a cycling class, it can be so motivating to share the experience with your friends. After all, we are pack animals. So what about dogs? They’re pack animals. Is there any benefit to them enjoying walks in a group?
Do you wish your dog had more opportunities to socialize? Do you have a young dog that could benefit from a little more canine interaction? Maybe you should consider if structured pack walks are right for your dog!
Every dog is different, and some dogs do better solo, but maybe a group walk is just what your dog needs. We’ll help you decide if your dog would benefit from being part of a pack and if structured walks are just what the vet ordered.
What Are Structured Pack Walks?
Structured walks are loose leash walks with your dog sticking by your side and ignoring distractions. These walks focus on your dog accepting their environment with a calm state of mind. They’re calm, but they’re also attentive. Throughout the walk, they’re in tune with you and ready to listen to your cues. Structured walks are an opportunity to reinforce your dog’s training and work on behaviors like impulse control. If you’re curious about all the benefits of structured walks, you can learn more about them here.
So if structured walks are done one on one with your dog, what are structured pack walks? Structured pack walks are done almost the same way… with extra dogs thrown in. The goal is for all of the dogs to walk together harmoniously, keeping loose leashes, and paying attention to their walker.
Ideally, the group of dogs are the same energy level, size, and have compatible personalities. They shouldn’t be tangled or jumping around wildly. They should be kept in an organized group with every dog maintaining the same pace. For an in-depth look at structured pack walks at Cosmic Home & Pet, you can read more here.
Why Would Your Dog Need A Structured Pack Walk?
Dogs are social animals. That’s part of why they have been able to live with us for thousands of years. Humans are also inherently social. Unfortunately, many dogs don’t get the chance to socialize with other canines as frequently as they should. This can actually be detrimental, since younger dogs learn social cues and “dog etiquette” from older dogs.
Becoming part of a structured group is a great way for a “teenage” or young adult dog to learn how to “dog”. Your dog will be in a group of 4 or 5 dogs that are thoughtfully assessed and considered to be compatible with your dog. Unlike the dog park, this isn’t just a free for all. At a dog park, you have little to no control over the other dogs present. So it’s no surprise that dogs can pick up some bad habits at a dog park. The chaos and overexcitement in a dog park environment can lead to fights as well as traumatic experiences. Ditch the dog park, and put your dog in calm, relaxed situations where they can build positive experiences with other dogs!
While walking together, dogs are less reactive, since no one is charging up at high speeds. The dogs in the walking group have a chance to get used to each other and learn how to read body language and signals from other dogs.
But it’s not just younger dogs that need structured pack walks. If you have an only dog, no matter what their age, giving them the chance to socialize with other dogs is just what they need to enrich their lives. Your dog will learn how to function as part of a group, listen to commands, and follow the leader. Your dog will have more confidence in situations with other dogs, and you may even see improvements in how they behave at home.
What Makes Cosmic Home & Pet Structured Pack Walks Different?
Not all group walks provide much “structure”. Often, dogs are grouped by location, so dogs that live in proximity are put in the same walking group… whether they blend well or not. You may have seen some of these uncontrolled groups walking down the street, dragging their walker. That’s not how Cosmic Home & Pet structured pack walks are conducted.
With me (Brea, Cosmic Home & Pet’s certified trainer), structured walks are about more than just getting your dog some exercise. They are carefully thought out and incorporate training opportunities. Your dog’s group isn’t under the care of someone without experience with structured walks. They are being walked by an experienced trainer who is familiar with every dog in the group.
These walks aren’t forced marches. The opposite… they’re meant to be enjoyable for all of the dogs involved. I get that dogs will be dogs! During their pack walk, the dogs are allowed monitored play sessions. These are conducted on a long line and are never allowed to get out of control. Skills like recall are practiced during these play sessions, and any training skills your dog is working on are also taken into account during these walks. Structured pack walks really are the best of both worlds! Your dog is getting socialization and training all while having a total blast!
My structured pack walk groups are put together thoughtfully. Your dog won’t be put in a group just based on your location. I get to know your dog first! Your dog will be taken out for up to 5 solo walks. This not only establishes a relationship with your dog, it helps me determine which structured pack walk group will be the best fit for your unique pup. Personality, size, temperament, and energy level are all considered.
In addition, your dog’s training goals and areas they need to work on come into play, too! Every dog has their quirks. Maybe your dog is reactive or pulls on the leash. Whatever your training goals, I’ll find a group that can help them work through these quirks. The goal is for all of the dogs in the group to form a bond and enjoy their time together.
If you haven’t booked your dog for a structured pack walk yet, there’s still time! Just head over to the Cosmic Home & Pet dog walking services page, and fill out the form for more information.