Monday, June 11, 2012

SociaBulls: The Secrets of Dogless Walkers

 Since we've started our group, we've been learning things as we go along. Last time we revealed a bit about some things we do behind-the-scenes to manage the walks, and here are some ways our group leaders and dogless walkers are helping ensure successful walks.

Able to Approach
Since we do walk in urban areas, we meet a lot of people who are curious about the group; since they see all the dogs walking so well together, they often assume it's ok to approach with their own dogs. Luckily, our dogless walkers and group leaders are able to intercept them before they approach the group (we want to make sure all of our dogs from differing socialization levels are comfortable). Just a simple hello, a compliment about their own pooch, and strategically positioning yourself so the pooch can't slip by makes sure we don't have any uncomfortable dog meetings. Plus it's a good way to explain a bit about our group.

Keeping a Lookout
The dogless walkers are great helping the group with an extra pair of eyes. They let the group know if there are runners, bikers, children or balls about to enter the path, whether we are straying too far from the path, walking with newer walkers and reminding us to keep space, and helping us watch for broken glass and items to avoid. We also have walkie talkies and position the dogless walkers and group leaders at the beginning and end to make sure the group isn't walking too fast and that no one falls behind.

Rotating Responsibility
Dogless walkers are essential to the group, and it's been nice having everyone alternate the responsibility to allow others to walk. Plus. it does give a different perspective of the walk and it allows you to talk to, and meet, more people and dogs within the group.

Join our Chicago SociaBulls  Facebook page for more photos and information about group walks. And check this link from the DINOs (Dogs in Need of Space) group to read more about the benefits of dog-walking groups and to see if there is a group in your area.  

Please Note: As the weather has warmed up, bikers, runners, dogs, and kids have come out in full force in many of the areas that we walk. While we had previously been introducing new members a few at a time to each walk, we've decided that in order to continue to keep our group safe and make our walks a positive experience for everyone, we are putting new members "on hold" for the summer. You can still submit an application, and it will go on our wait list in the order it is received. Once things quiet down a bit more in the fall, we will resume introducing new members a few at a time to each walk, and will be contacting people on the wait list in a first-come, first-served manner.

6 comments:

Kirsten (peacefuldog) said...

Dogless walkers--great idea! You have these dog walks down to a science.

Two French Bulldogs said...

Do you find you know and remember the doggies names better than the humans?
Benny & Lily

waldobungie said...

Dog-less walkers are so important! We even had some group business cards printed up so we could hand anyone who approaches our group a card with our info so our dog-less walkers wouldn't get stuck with approaching people and potentially lose the group.

Keri said...

I don't know if I've ever told you guys how jealous I am of your walking group, but I am. I would love to meet with like minded dog owners and get some exercise while doing it. Here in Mass it seams that every time I look for a dog walking group all I come up with is someone who wants to walk my dog for me. That's not what I'm looking for. Maybe one day I'll find one.

willowwonderbull said...

We recently started a Pack Walk gruop in our Area and I am going to utilize these ideas. We do it some what natually but I need to define the roles a little more and encourage some additional dogless walkers to come out. What a great concept!

wewalkdogs said...

Walking your dog in the city requires a special level of attention and awareness. If you're a first time dog owner in the city, it's worth reading a few words advice regarding what kind of things to look out for.

Dog Walking Markham

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