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Pack Walks in San Diego

  • January 2, 2019
  • By MaggieLovesOrbit
  • 1 Comments
Pack Walks in San Diego

San Diego Dog Meet Up – #packwalk

We host weekly pack walks which you can join through our meet up page.  You can look us up or click on the following link.  The name of our group is: SAN DIEGO DOG MEET UP

Pack walks are a great way to socialize your dog in a structured environment.  During this time they will:

  • Be exposed to balanced dogs in the pack who they can learn from.
  • Be exposed to what calm behavior looks like in a pack setting.
  • Be exposed to what walking as a pack looks and feels like.

When are the pack walks scheduled?

Our  pack walk schedule is as follows:

  • Sunday January 13, 9:30am – Carlsbad Batiquitos Lagoon
  • Saturday January 19, 9:30am – Liberty Station
  • Sunday January 27, 3:00pm – Lake Miramar
  • Saturday, February 2, 9:30am – Balboa Park
  • Saturday, February 9 (NO PACK WALK)
  • Saturday, February 16, 9:00am – Volcan Mountain – Julian (trail)
  • Sunday, February 24, 9:30am – Balboa Park
  • Saturday March 2, 9:30am – Marion Bear Memorial Park
  • Saturday March 9, 9:30am – Dinwiddie Preserve – Fallbrook
  • Saturday March 16, 8:00am – Kitchen Creek Falls
  • Sunday March 24, 8:am – Volcan Mountain Trail Walk
  • Weekend March 30: OFF
  • Saturday April 6 – Balboa Park 9:30am
  • Sunday April 14 – Star of India to the Pier and back 3pm
  • Weekend April 20: OFF
  • Saturday April 27 9:30am – Marion Bear Park (Clairemont)

Boston Terriers posing next to Star of India with graphic that says pack walks

Who can attend the pack walks?

This is a group for anyone interested in pack walking and socializing with dogs.

  • All breeds are welcome
  • All skill levels are welcome.  This means from puppy all the way up to your Canine Good Citizens

Whether you’re working on your dog’s reactivity or simply want to reinforce social skills, this is the group for you. We do ask that you give each member and their pup ample space when meeting – we do not encourage nose to nose interactions at all before any pack walk, even if your pups know each other. (After walks, playtime and interaction is acceptable as long as each owner’s dog is OK with it.) Our goal is to create a safe, structured environment for our dogs to feel comfortable in a group/public setting and not all dogs are fit to “play” in this setting.

NOTE: If a dog is sporting a yellow or red bandana, that means “I NEED EXTRA SPACE.”

Where are the pack walks held?

We choose different locations each week around town.  This is so that our dogs do not get used to a route, and learn and be desensitized to new distractions.  We announce the pack walks on our meet up page.  We scout locations ahead of time and we look for locations that have a wide enough sidewalk or trail.   Single track trails do not work because our dogs cannot walk as a pack.  Inability to walk close or next to each other defeats the purpose of the pack walk.

When are the pack walks held?

Our pack walks are always during the weekends.  We typically hold the pack walks on a Saturday morning with a start time of 9:30am.  In the summer we will move the start time to earlier at 8:30am.  Occasionally we will have the pack walk on a Sunday or during the afternoon.

Space is limited

We limit the size of our pack walks.  It’s important to RSVP weekly so that you can secure your spot in the pack walk.

How long or how far are the pack walks?

Our pack walks are 90 minutes long.  We gather for 15 minutes to orient any new members as well as establish calm energy.   We walk for about 30 minutes out and turn around and come back.  The last 15 minutes are to rest and if any dogs want to be introduced to each other – this is when we do it.

What can I expect at the pack walk?

Pack walks have multiple benefits with socialization, instilling good behavior and getting exercise.  Here are our tips to get the most of our experience.

END GOAL

To pack walk and coexist in harmony so that our dogs experience new sights, sounds and smells which is crucial in developing your dog’s ability to handle new situations. It desensitizes them to noise and distraction and helps them stay calm in crowded streets, or with other dogs.

THE OTHER END OF THE LEASH

Your dog looks to you for guidance. Have a firm but loose hold on the leash while standing calmly during stops or walking slowly and steadily.  These are prompts that establish the tone.

STANDING AS A GROUP

Maintain enough space between you and others so that your dog cannot have contact with another dog.  Ideally you want them to be standing or sitting.

PACK WALKING

Initially we may start off single file or have two dogs next to each other.  Maintain enough distance so dogs around you are not tempted to smell your dog’s nose or rear.  However you may notice as the walk progresses that dogs instinctually start to relax and there everyone is walking at the same pace.  You can start to get closer to your neighbors.  WATCH FOR DOGS WITH YELLOW BANDANAS – THEIR DOGS NEED SPACE.  ASK FIRST. 

BREAKS

We walk and break together.  If your dogs needs to potty – call out BREAK and we will stop.  During the stop breaks – again make sure there is safe distance.  When we start walking again after a break – find a new person and dog to walk next to.  This way your pup has a new social experience.

Things to look out for

Dogs feed off each other’s energy.  Typically those attending the pack take on a “pack” mentality and start to realize that walking next to each other in a calm way is the desired goal.   That said we will encounter non pack walk members.  Typical encounters will look like this:

  • A runner is with their dog(s) and coming up from behind at a faster pace than we are walking.  His or her dogs may or may not have impulse control and as they are running by try to smell one of our dogs.  Be aware of this in case your dog is reactive.
  • A tourist is walking with their dog and lack leash skills.  They are smiling and intrigued to see 20+ dogs walking so they walk up to us but their dogs is leading and pulling and trying to do nose to nose with our dogs.  If your dog is reactive we should immediately ask the person politely – we are in training please don’t greet any of our dogs.  They need space.
  • A family is walking with their children and their dog on a social outing and they are excited and want their dogs to meet ours.  We should tell them nicely that we are in training and not letting our dogs greet any others during the training session.

How can I organize my first pack walk?

We suggest you attend one first to understand the walk dynamic.  If one isn’t available in your area you could start one.  Go slow.  We were pack walking for a year and a half before we started to put our walks out to the public.

  • Do you have a dog friend you could walk with?  Start off with just the two of you.  Then invite another to the group and observe how the dynamic changes.
  • Pack walks do not have to be big.  At its basic form, you’re safely walking alongside other dogs with enough distance to respect each other’s space.
  • Mix up who you walk with if you can to expose your dog to new people and dogs.
  • Mix up the locations where you walk to expose them to new distractions and experiences.
  • Safety is ALWAYS priority number one.
  • A proper orientation to establish walking goals and rules should be done with each participant.

How can I reach out to the pack walk organizers?

The pack walks are hosted by us and Real Dog Box.

You can reach out to our instagrams:

REAL DOG BOX (Instagram: @realdogbox)

MAGGIE LOVES ORBIT (Instagram @maggielovesorbit)

Past Walks – Locations + Photos

Balboa Park Urban Pack Walk – January 5, 2018

We had 25 dogs in attendance.  23 had been to the walks previously and we only had one person with two new dogs.

We were able to capture a few photos during our water breaks.  We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

By MaggieLovesOrbit, January 2, 2019
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1 Comment
  • Jetta
    April 7, 2019

    I absolutely love this concept for safe dog socialization!! Wish we had something like this around the DC area. I’m always nervous about dog parks so we don’t go to them. One more (of many) reasons I keep saying we need to move West!

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