Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicago Dog-Walking Club: Our Inaugural Trek

We had written before about our struggles to find ways to comfortably socialize our dogs in the city with other dogs, and how happy we were to get advice from HikeaBull, a group  in California who uses group walks for positive socialization, so we could start a dog walking club in Chicago. Knowing dogs have different levels of socialization, excitement, dog tolerance, and fear it is important to know how to bring them into a group comfortably.I will admit, I was a bit nervous being in charge of starting a dog walking group in Chicago, but after many conversations with Lark at HikeaBulls and understanding what works, we had a very comfortable and successful first walk!
We had a great starting line-up of dogs, including Buddy:
Torre and Jack:
Maize and the pooches:
All of the dogs were working on a variety of issues: from leash reactivity to over-excitement to being fearful to learning good dog manners. To make the walk a positive and comfortable experience for everyone, we let everyone know the issues we were working on beforehand, and we made sure to give everyone a lot of space so the dogs weren't overwhelmed: 
The natural rhythm of the pack walking is very social and calming for the dogs. During the walk they were able to come a bit closer, though we did go back to having a lot of space when we stopped for water breaks.
 We picked the lakeshore path which is a beautiful scenic stroll with views of boats in the harbor, Solider Field, the museum campus, and, of course, our beautiful city skyline:
 We did see a storm rolling in, so we had to cut our walk a bit short, but we had a great experience and several smiling pooches:
Thanks again to  HikeaBulls for helping us understand how to structure a positive group hike, and to Jack, Torre, Buddy, and Maize, and their people, for being the 'pioneers' on our first group hike. And to Kelsey for walking Miss M, giving me a chance to walk around and talk to everyone.

32 comments:

Two Crazy Coaches said...

I'd say the first time was a success! Is that Miss M with her ears up? I don't think I've ever seen her like that! She's too cute!

goosie mama said...

AH-Mazing!

I give you so much credit for doing this! I would love to find something similar around me that would understand each dog's unique "personality" in the pack walk.

So cool - congrats on a successful first outing!

Darwin said...

what a success and wonderful idea for dog walks in the city!

road-dog-tales said...

Yay to you for getting this started! Looking forward to more hiking pup pics!

The Road Dogs

Of Pit Bulls and Patience said...

Looks like it was a great time! You must have put a lot of planning into this- I'm so glad it was a success!

Froggy said...

YAY!! We can't wait for next Sunday!

Mr. Pip said...

Sure looks fun! I wish I could join you, but I don't think I would be able to keep up.

Your pal, Pip

loveandaleash said...

This is fantastic. When you have time, can you send me some notes on what you learned from Hike-a-Bull? I would love to do something like this where we live.
Also- awesome photos. You are learning so fast.

Kate@TwentySixToLife said...

That looks like so much fun! It's great that everyone was able to work on obedience, etc. too in a controlled way. And what a great looking group of dogs!

Kari in Vegas said...

sounds like its a great group!

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Kim @ Yellow Brick Home said...

Jackie Boy had a great time! Even with the rain, we got in a solid hour walk.

Thank you so much for hosting and coordinating - we'll definitely be back again and again!

Patty said...

Glad to hear it went so well! Thanks for sharing photos with us. :-)

A&A Friese said...

Great work, looks like a smashing success! I love seeing some dogs from other blogs I follow join in on the fun :)

Nic said...

You might consider Humboldt Park for your next trek. It's beautiful and huge. Two bodies of water for dogs to swim, as well as lots of grass and paths. I used to live right off it and moved a bit East and Betty (my pit/lab mix) misses it a lot.

Tucker The Crestie said...

Congratulations on your inaugural walk! Looks like everyone had a good time! I hope things continue to go well ... wish we could join you!

brooke said...

Congrats! It looks and sounds like it all went off without a hitch!

pittiefullove said...

It sounds like you did such a good job leading this group! And seems like all the pooches enjoyed it. Give yourself a pat on the back!

waldobungie said...

I so wish we lived in Chicago so we could do this!! Maybe I need to organize something like this in KC....

Kristine said...

What an awesome group. It looks like you had the perfect weather for your first walk together. Everyone looks so happy, including the dogs. Congratulations on finding success! I really need to work on this here.

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Congratulations on the Dog Club's first walk ! Looks like a lot of happy dogs :)

Emma

houndstooth said...

It's always better to end early on a positive note, anyway! It looks like you guys had a great walk together, and all the dogs are adorable!

HP said...

awesome! i wish we lived closer so we could join!

Benny and Lily said...

Sounds like a great club..thanks
Benny & Lily

jen said...

That is just wonderful!
Hats off to you for doing such a wonderful thing. I am sure a ton of effort went in to planning this and it looks like it was all worth it!

Roo said...

Well how cool is this?!!! I'll tell Mom to look into doing this here! Great idea! Wonderful! Yay! Thanks!

Waggin at ya,
Roo

Roo said...

I went to the HikeABull link. It seems they're only on facebook. Is there any other way to contact them? Or is there another resource for info on how to start one of these clubs? Your input would be greatly appreciated :D

Waggin at ya,
Roo

Shane Kent Louis said...

wow! that was so awesome bonding time! and I really like you photos you enjoy that event and I enjoy viewing your blog! keep it up! :)

Dog Fence

In Black and White said...

Looks like a great start! Hope to join you when you're on the west side (no car ;-)

http://bwpaws.blogspot.com

rustbeltrebel said...

Congratulation...awesome that you guys are doing this. I cannot tell folks how important it is to get dogs together and just walk.

We do this every weekend on Sunday mornings. It is the most powerful teaching tool that the husband and I have ever been a part of. There is every type of dog known in the walks we participate in - lots of pit bulls/mixes ;o)

The motion of migration - it's a beauty of wonder. For those looking for meet ups use the words "Pack Walk", "Hiking". Use Meetup.com and start your own group. Just remember the most important rule NO Retractable Leads and give space.

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

I love the research you guys do before any big project!

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wewalkdogs said...

Love for animals is the prerequisite for dog walking jobs. Those who are not kind towards animals can't continue this job for long. Dog is a friendly animal but it expects care and affection from its caretaker.

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