HikeABull's Facebook page and lament that we didn't have anything like that in our city. It was only after making this comment on one of their photos that their organizer asked "Why don't you start your own?".
Which made sense.
While it seemed a bit daunting at the time, we have figured out how to make it work for us (we wrote about it extensively in this post here.)
We are always so excited to hear about other people taking the plunge and starting groups in their areas. Though it seems like the biggest question is how to find like-minded members to join the group. While we were lucky that we already had a strong on-line community through our Two Pitties blog, we realize not all cities work the same way and it may be harder to find a dog-community in some areas. We had written this original post about ways to find members.
If those ways don't seem to work where you live, here are some additional thoughts we had for finding members specific to your city:
Finding the Formula for Your City
most of us who own dogs don't have backyards. Chicago has a strong walking-culture where we are all used to taking our dogs on several walks per day. Part of the attraction to the group is that since we have to walk our dogs anyway, in all types of weather, it's much more fun to do it with a group of friends.
If you you live in an area that doesn't have a strong walking culture, think about what would make people want to come out and walk.
Is it having pride in your dog and wanting to meet new people? Is it a breed-specific club? Could you have a focus on hiking and have a hiking with your pup group? Maybe it's a focus on exploration and discovering new areas in your city. (I originally wanted to start our group as a city-exploration group!) Regardless of the main focus, the pups will still get the socialization benefits from the pack-walking and no-greeting structure you set up.
Finding the Dog People
Meet-up is another way people search for things to do. Having a Meet-up is a way to attract members and set up walks. We also meet people while we are out walking our own dogs, or on our SociaBulls walk, and we carry Moo cards directing people to our Facebook page so they can get more information about the group. Maybe you are at the pet store and you run into someone with a new dog, you can start talking to them and give them one of the cards with your group information.
We know it can sound a bit daunting, but starting our Chicago Sociabulls group was one of the most rewarding things we've ever done. We would love to hear from everyone else out there.
For those of you who started groups, how did you find members?
For those of you who joined groups, how did you find out about the group?
And those of you thinking of starting groups, what obstacles are you encountering?
Read how other cities made it work with guest posts from Seattle WalkABulls, Twin City Pack Walks in Minnesota, Positive Pittie Pack Walks in New Jersey, and HikeABulls in the Bay Area.
How we found our members.
Check our Two Pitties in the City Facebook page for further comments.
To learn more about our group, join our Chicago SociaBulls page for more photos and updates.