Monday, May 7, 2012

SociaBulls: Integrating into the Pack

 The biggest concern we hear from prospective members is guessing how excited their own dog will be among so many other dogs.
We too had the same concerns back when we started our small group with Miss M and Mr B. Since there are so many different dogs with different characteristics, we've added a structure to make it a positive and comfortable experience for everyone. Here are some things we do to positively integrate everyone into the group

New Members Attend their First Walk without their Dog
 We know how exciting and confusing the walk can be for new dogs. We ask prospective members to attend their first walk without their dogs to allow them to understand the structure, ask questions, and observe the group so when they do come with their dog they already have a sense of the group.

Define a Pack Order
 We ask that everyone RSVP by Wednesday which allows us to create a pack order. We usually have our most excitable dog in the front, and the dog who needs space in the back. We use solid 'buffer dogs' around other excited dogs to keep the excitement at a minimum.

Limit the Amount of New Dogs Per Walk
We only have 4 new dogs on each walk. Since the other dogs are all regulars and they are accustomed to the structure, this allows the new dogs to enter a stable pack. It also helps us evaluate how the new dogs do on the walk to help with pack order for the upcoming walk. We cap our walks around 20 dogs (this post actually has many more dogs because they're photos from both weekend walks).
This has created a waiting list, but it's most important to us to be able to confidently integrate everyone into the group in a positive way.

Maintain our Structure
 We love the structure we learned about from the Hikabulls group, and we know how important it is to respect the space between dogs and limit excitement during water breaks. This helps dogs of all socialization levels to be comfortable in the group.

PS. We also had 2 adorable adoptables join our walks. Meet gorgeous Lola from Chicagoland Bully Breed Rescue and Hossa from Project Rescue.


Unknown said...

I love the walks...
I wish that there were something here like that, because we dont take our dogs out near as often as we should.. We have a yard, but we know that socializing them in public places is very important too. Having walks and gatherings for owners and dogs, like this, is brilliant.

Claudia said...

especially great pictures this week! So many special, wonderful, beautiful dogs.

A Wonderful Dogs Life said...

Your walks look like so much fun. I wanna go too.


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