The Joys of Group Walks

A response on why we stand by group walks:

By Adam and Tyler

Recently we received an email from a concerned neighbor, who had an issue with our group walks and our ability to care for four dogs at the same time. This argument has been directed at us since we started walking dogs many years ago. The following is our response to our concerned neighbor and anyone else who may have questions about our methods and practices.

What is it that you don’t like about our group walks?

Is it safety? Our dogs are tethered to our walkers with climbing strength gear and paracord reinforced leashes that we bring to each walk. Each dog is walked with a slip lead to prevent any dog from backing out of their collars or harnesses. Keeping all the hazards of the big city in mind, we carefully choose and maintain our gear. You can find the company we get our leashes from here: http://www.stuntpuppy.com, and the company that makes our carabiners here: https://www.petzl.com

Is it knowledge? Three of our employees hold their CPDT-KA certificates (http://www.ccpdt.org web address for reference) the other three are actively studying for the next exam. Which means our staff is more credibly knowledgeable than most obedience schools; We do all of this to ensure the safety of the dogs we walk.

Is it the lack of attention? The addition of each dog to a group adds that much more attention needed to guide them through the city safely. Think of it like a classroom, a good teacher can handle many students properly. Each of our dogs is viewed as a student, and our walkers are the capable teachers. The dogs get to learn the rules of the city and walking on the leash properly, all while hanging with their friends.

Is it that the dogs aren’t having fun? Many dogs will pull on the leash to meet another dog they encounter while on the walk. Our walks come with the enjoyment of friends, along with the safety of the dogs not having to dangerously pull to socialize. Each day the same group meets up for lunch and shares the smells they’ve gathered from the night before. We’ve introduced plenty of dogs that have been anywhere from a little nervous to severely anxious. We’ve found that with daily routine, these dogs start to not only show a decrease of their anxiety but really start enjoying their walks and socialization. Countless owners will testify the difference they see in their pets, all because of our group method. According to professor John Webster’s book, Animal Welfare: A Cool Eye Towards Eden, dogs have 5 fundamental rights or needs: freedom from hunger, thirst, discomfort, fear, and the freedom to mix with their own kind. His conclusions are that socialization is one of the most important factors in a domestic dog’s well-being.

Is it accountability? Controlling a single dog for 30 minutes is a monotonously boring task. This leaves the walker with much time to check social media, talk to friends on their phone, sit down, or just circle one block slowly; all of which detract attention from the task/dog at hand. Our routes are designed so there is little time for sitting around and lots of time for attention and exercise. We wear our logo with pride because we never neglect the dogs or sit down while we are supposed to be walking. Transparency gives the public the option to check our system, which holds us accountable to the high standards that we set in place.

“I’d take my business to [other business]…” That is alright, we understand that our methods are not for everyone. There are plenty of great businesses to choose from in any neighborhood. We are not greedy. This business is not about the money to us and dogs are not a product. We often refer clientele who might not be a good fit for us to better suited companies and/or individual walkers. We understand the difference and benefit to each. We don’t do what some people do, but nobody does what we do. Make no mistake, we’re not slamming individual walks, they certainly have their time and place. Our passion and niche happen to be the group walk.

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