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Dog Fun

05/09/2023

Pack Walks

There is nothing more enjoyable for a dog than a walk with its human; one-on-one walks with your best furry…

There is nothing more enjoyable for a dog than a walk with its human; one-on-one walks with your best furry friend are a great bonding experience. But if dogs could talk, they might tell you that sometimes they would like to go out with the pack!

That’s why our Professional Dog Trainers meet with a group of Holiday Barn Pet Resorts training graduates for a pack walk twice a month. (You may have seen postings for our pack walks on our social media pages.) Pack walks are always a great time for our Trainers and dog owners, but the dogs really love it!

What Is A Pack Walk?

A pack walk is when a group of dogs and their owners, led by our Trainers, participate in a structured walk. The term “pack walk” is sometimes used interchangeably with “group walk.” One refers to multiple dogs and their owners all walking together, and the other is multiple dogs with only one person walking them. Our pack walks always include the dog’s owners.

Our Trainers meet and walk with participants at preplanned designations which include multiple parks, attractions, and other enjoyable venues throughout the Richmond area. Some of our more popular pack walks are at Hollywood Cemetery, Mid-Lothian Mines Park, Pony Pasture, and Byrd Park. Sometimes we meet at community events such as the Annual Richmond SPCA Dog Jog, or the Glen Allen Day Parade, and walk together.

What Are The Benefits Of Participating In A Pack Walk?

Aside from being one of their favorite things to do, walking is very therapeutic for dogs.  Walking dogs on a leash in a group is a great way to help them achieve a calm state of mind, even during what would normally cause them to react. One by one, the dogs begin settling into the rhythm of the walk. The “calm energy” is contagious.

Pack walks are particularly beneficial to dogs with reactive tendencies. The organized walk gives them a positive, non-confrontational experience around dogs and people – two of the worst reactivity triggers. Encountering other walkers, runners, squirrels, bikers, and other occurrences is particularly helpful in teaching reactive dogs self-control and developing social intelligence. They also learn to listen to the leader.

While in a group, dogs learn naturally in association with other dogs. It’s called a pack mentality. Innately, dogs crave exploring as a group. They are social creatures and enjoy the company of other dogs. They will do what most of the pack is doing under the direction of its leaders.

If a new dog is introduced into the pack, they learn quickly and start to model the rest of the pack’s behavior which, in the case of our Training Graduates, is generally more experienced, well-behaved, and socialized.

Bystanders are often amazed when they witness the level of cooperation and cohesion among the dogs during a pack walk. As the dogs move together as a group, they become one “unit” and bond as pack mates. They understand their boundaries and the rules of the pack.

Other Pack Walk Benefits

Another benefit of pack walks is the introduction of new experiences; dogs get to visit interesting trails and recreation areas all around Richmond. New sights and sounds mentally stimulate your dog and walking with a pack helps them focus. At the end of the walk, they will be physically and mentally tired.

Socialization, while certainly realized as a benefit to walking in a pack, is different from socializing your dog at Dog Day Care or at a dog park. A better way to think of it is “structured” or “controlled” socialization for your dog. Face-to-face interaction is not encouraged, but the dogs are able to socialize in a secure, non-competitive, and non-threatening setting. Problematic exchanges are rare. The dogs learn to safely coexist with other dogs.

Pack walks provide our dogs with fun, excitement, and a sense of well-being, leading to a more well-behaved dog in any situation. Walking with a pack will bring more enjoyment and fun into their relationship with you, too.

What Happens During A Pack Walk?

Upon arrival, our Trainers take a few moments to make introductions. Brief instructions are given before the walk begins. At some point during the walk, our Trainers will break for an engaging obedience refresher lesson. Most pack walks last about an hour.

Pack walks are different from a “casual” walk with a group of dogs. Specific rules need to be followed.

1. No nose-to-nose greetings.
2. No butt-sniffing.
3. No on-leash greetings.
4. No retractable leashes.
5. Allow for plenty of space between each dog.
6. Make sure your dog has a well-fitting collar and ID.
7. Of course, clean up after your dog.
8. Bring fresh water for you and your dog to drink.

Pack walks occur on Saturday and are posted to our Facebook page generally on the Wednesday or Thursday of the week before the walk. To participate in a Holiday Barn Pet Resorts’ pack walk, your dog must be a graduate of our Professional Dog Training program. Call the location where your dog was trained to make a reservation to attend the walk. The cost of the pack walk is $20 per dog.

If you would like more information about our pack walks or our Dog Training Program, please contact our Professional Dog Trainers in Midlothian by calling (804) 794-5400. For our Glen Allen location, call (804) 672-2200.

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