Do you know which one is right for your fur baby?
If you have strolled around the City at least once in your life, chances are you have
seen a dog walker walking multiple dogs at once. Have you ever wondered if your small fur baby would do well in pack walks? Well you came to the right blog! We are breaking down some factors that you should consider before throwing your pup to the wolves (ok ok, other domesticated pups but descendants of wolves!)
For starters, if you came here for a direct Yes or No answer, you may be disappointed. A direct answer for a question like this is not practicable (and if any dog walker says otherwise, pick up your pup and RUN!). The choice between a dog pack walker or a solo dog walker will always depend on a lot of things. Let's get into it!
So what are pack walks? Pack walks are normally defined as one dog walker walking multiple dogs at once.
Solo walks? Well just how it sounds, Solo walks is one dog walker walking one dog alone.
Before you make your decision on the two options above make sure you have put some thought into what your dog's preferences are and how they react to changes.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Your dog’s temperament,
Your dog’s body type,
The pack walker’s style,
….and so on.
And just in case you thought that was it, these categories have even more subcategories to think about.
The time of day
The location (known or unknown)
The time of day - Are you a morning person or a night owl? Guess what? Dog's can be selective too!
The weather - A beautiful spring day can be a nightmare for an allergy-prone pooch and a gloomy day could be their saving grace. Know which one works best.
Noise level - I envision walks to be a calm/energizing time for your dog. This might not be the case if noises are triggers for distractions or anxiety.
The location (known or unknown) - A creature of habit feels safe in their regular spots. An exuberant energizer bunny might twitch at the possibility of discovering new adventures. Figure out which one your fur baby is.
Dog or human friendly
Prone to anxiety or fear-aggressive
Dog or Human Friendly - If your fur baby is selective on who he allows in his inner circle, he might be a selective about who he wants to walk with. Think about it.
Prone to anxiety or fear-aggressive - A tired fur baby is not always a happy fur baby, make sure they are not exhausted from the stress of walking with too many unfamiliar dogs.
PS: Pack walks have been found to encourage dogs to walk together and learn from observation. Over time, walking together can build trust and assist with various kinds of socialization (i.e., dogs who pull observe dogs who do not or dogs who bark are around dogs who do not bark at every stimulus). The amount of lessons that a dog can teach another dog is astounding and could be beneficial for your pup.
Stature (in comparison to the rest of the dog pack)
Short nose breeds and their breathing limits
Energy levels - High energy dogs can thrive in pack walks, they can interact with other dogs and keep on moving to meet their exercise needs.
Short nose breeds - It may be hard for these type of breeds to keep up with a pack. Their breathing style is different and walks must be adjusted to accommodate them.
Overall health - Any medical reasons that would impede their ability to walk in a group? (Think: healthy paw pads, potential muscle strains, stress levels, heart conditions, etc.)
Exercise routine - If you opt for a dog pack walk, make sure your pup is accustomed to the tempo of the walk. Slowly build up to it if needed but never throw them in without making sure it's at their speed.
Pack Walker’s Style
Number of dogs allowed per walk
Pack selection variables
Fast pace vs. slow pace
Designated Walking Areas
Number of dogs allowed per walk - What are you comfortable with and most importantly what is your fur baby comfortable with?
Pack selection variables - Ensure the dog walker takes time to get to know your dog and selects a group that fits them the best.
TIP: Introductions to new dogs should be done slowly.
Fast pace vs. slow pace - Monitoring pack energy levels should be priority. Ask your dog walker how they manage this.
Designated Walking Areas - Is there a regular location that will be used for pack walks every time or will locations change? Determine what style is best for your fur baby.
Is your hamster wheel turning yet (or perhaps spinning out of control?) It's ok, it is a lot to think about and the reality is some things are just not part of our daily thoughts. This is why it's important to take a step back and take a deeper dive into these factors before making your decision. So take out your note pad, contact a few professional dog walkers, and get to work fur parent!
Need tips on what to ask a potential dog sitter? Head to: TOP 10 Questions You Need to Ask a Pet Sitter & Why to get those deets!
Talk to you soon, Jay