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:
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.