Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SociaBulls: By the Numbers

We know well-socialized dogs should always have the chance to be exposed to new places, people and other dogs. And while we are often taking our dogs out-on-the-town, we did crave another opportunity for our dogs to be socialized in a positive way. For the longest time we would enviously follow HikeaBulls group in California, watching them go on their amazing hikes, until we finally realized, we should start our own group. After many conversations with the amazing Lark of HikeaBulls, through her help we were ready to start our own group: Miss M and Mr. B were the only members.
Flash forward 4 months: we have already grown to over 50 members through only Two Pitties Facebook, blog and word-of-mouth! Here is how SociaBulls looks by the numbers:

Number of Members we Knew Before we Started SociaBulls: 1
With the exception of 1 person (who we knew through dog rescue) we didn't know any of the people who joined the group. We met some people who had emailed us through the blog, some people we met on the street, some people who had seen us walking as a group, and some who heard about it through word-of-mouth. I love that the group is organic and people 'happen upon it'. It's also great to meet so many like-minded people from all walks of life.

Number of Chicagoland locations visited: Nine!
We rotate our walks throughout the city and we've walked several paths along the lakefront with lake and skyline views, visited historical urban parks, nature trails within the city, a sculpture garden, Wrigleyville, historic neighborhoods and grassy boulevards:
Furthest Distance Traveled to Participate: Suburbs & Nashville
We have several active members who commute from the suburbs, early on a Sunday morning, to walk with the group. We also have a member who recently moved from Nashville and joined the group the first week she was in town.

Number of Non-Pitbull-Type Dogs in the Group: 14
We aren't just a "pitbull group", and we know all dogs need socialization. We have big dogs and little dogs, mixed dogs and purebred dogs. They're just all dogs walking together.
Number of Skills Being Worked On: Numerous
We have leash reactive dogs, timid dogs, overenthusiastic dogs, dog-selective dogs, fearful dogs and young pups. The dogs never meet face-to-face, but they are socialized through the pack walking experience. The structure HikeaBulls has helped us set up works!
Number of Fashionistas: Several
Even the Chicago winter isn't stopping us from walking. We all have been coming bundled up, including our pooches in an assortment of coats, hoodies and sweaters. We are going to try to keep going as long as the temperatures don't dip too low.
Number of Adoptable Dogs Walking with the Group: 4
We've had 4 adoptable dogs who have walked with the group to brush up on their leash walking and socialization skills to prepare them for their forever family. Two of them have been adopted! Estelle, black and white below, is one of the current adoptable dogs in the group walking with her foster mom from It's a Pittie rescue. She is tiny--a 'teacup' pitbull--and is AMAZING with kids. You can even see for yourself in this cute video here. We know this is such a great way to work on skills to increase their chances of adoption, and we love having them in the group.
Number of Reactions to People Seeing us Walk: Several
Besides being great for socialization, our group is raising awareness for responsible dog ownership and pitbull-type dogs. We've had several people stop and ask what we were doing, and how we get our dogs to walk so nicely. We even had a policeman tell us he couldn't believe all of the dogs were walking so well together without barking or having problems.

Best Comment Heard Last Week: "SociaBulls is so great. I wish it could be 5 days a week!"
We have been overwhelmed that our little experiment has become such an amazing group of people. We are taking a short holiday hiatus, but join our SociaBulls Facebook Page for updates on future walks and activities.
If you are interested in joining SociaBulls in the future, email us using the envelope on the sidebar of our blog. (I do apologize in advance that I've been a bit slow the past few days getting to emails).


Anonymous said...

I love your Sociabulls group! It was so fun to participate when I came to visit and I hope to start my own group here! Glad to see it's grown so much in such a short time!

Alanna said...

Maebe and I so wish we could join! It would be hard not to be distracted by all the puppy cuteness though :)

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

It truly is so great - thanks for a quick review and showing how it works!

SherBear said...

Nala and I are excited to participate in more group walks next year!!

mrajcox said...

My husband, my dog and I so love the walks that we get to go on. The pitcures and stories are always the highlight of the next week for us. I know how much work you all do to keep this group running. The organization, communication and information are SO valuable to all of us who participate-for here to afar. Thank you for all the work you do in running and maintaining the group!!

Mary said...

This post makes me want to take a trip to Chicago with the boys to participate! it must be so fun meeting so many great dogs and the people who love them. It's crazy how big your group has grown in such a short amount of time.

I love the dog Estelle! That was on our baby name list-it was my grandmother's name. We decided to keep it in the "E" family.

Claudia said...

@Alanna, it is SO hard to not play with all the other cuties. I had to have my husband hold both our dogs' leashes for a while on Sunday so I could play with sweet Ferris. And I have a cat named Maeby!

We love love love being a part of Sociabulls. We've met such great people and dogs. And are amazed by A&E's commitment and generosity of time and spirit.

Anonymous said...

We are so proud of you guys, and dream of doing something similar in Austin someday.

Unknown said...


brooke said...

That is so great! I wish we were closer so Darwin could walk too!

Marji said...

Great job, I love reading updates on the Sociabulls group!!!

Corbin said...

I always enjoy seeing your walk posts! Such a wonderful thing you guys have started up!

Tucker The Crestie said...

Love these photos! What a great time for everyone, and I'm sure it is doing these dogs so much good!

Two French Bulldogs said...

what a cool bully group
Benny & Lily

parlance said...

Congratulations on making the world a better place for both dogs and humans.

I'm in a sociable walking group with Penny, and I know what a difference it makes to dogs to walk with others.

Lindsay said...

So glad your group is going so well! That's awesome! I have thought about starting a similar group in my town (Fargo ND). So far, my energy is dedicated to other projects. But I know who to ask for help if I change my mind.

Love all the pics, too!

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