Two Pitties in the City shared a post with us about managing a leash reactive dog in the city-- one of the suggestions happened to be joining a dog walking group as a way to work on leash reactivity!
Leash reactivity is actually one of our concerns for joining a dog walking group at this time. Athena REALLY wants to meet every dog that she passes. She has had successful meetings with other dogs where it has been very uneventful. However, she has also had some dog meetings that made her EXTREMELY excited where she jumps up and whines and wants to play with the other dog so badly. When we see other dogs while out on a walk, Athena will pull so hard on the leash to get to the dog as quickly as possible. We don't reward this pulling behavior and so we turn in the opposite direction.
Our Waldo Bungie helped to found the KC Pittie Pack in Kansas City, MO. She writes about how "the best way to socialize your dog is to be social with your dog" and discusses how a dog walking group provides dogs and their owners an opportunity to practice their social skills. B and I don't think that Athena had much socialization in her first year of life before we adopted her. We are now trying to slowly provide her with positive socialization with other dogs-- but, it's hard to find other dogs and owners that we trust to practice with! Maybe a dog walking group is a good way to start?
We want to give Athena the opportunity to have successful meetings with other dogs so that we can approach another dog calmly. I just don't want Athena to be the only dog in a dog walking group that can't handle herself and interrupts all of the good behavior from the other dogs! Another great blogger from Notes From A Dog Walker wrote a similar post to this one about dog walking social groups and how they can provide great socialization for dogs outside of the dreaded dog park. I'm starting to think that we need to get in a dog walking social group ASAP!
Whether or not we are ready to join a dog walking group right away, we know that in the future we would like to join the Portland Pit Bull Parade. This local dog walking group meets once a month in different locations around the city to show off the good nature of bully type breeds. The next walk is being held on September 9th....so, 14 days from now.
B and I are also interested in attending Strut Your Mutt with the shelter that we adopted Athena from. This dog walking event is being held on September 29th...24 days from now. I think that this might be wishful thinking. This event will most likely be HUGE and way too overstimulating for Athena. But, it's definitely a goal that we would like to strive to achieve in the coming years!
Some great bully breed walking groups that we have read about include:
Chicago, IL- Chicago Sociabulls
Kansas City, MO- KC Pittie Pack and Friends
NYC, NY- Big Apple Pittie Pack
South Bay area, CA- HikeABull
Cleveland, OH- Pit Bull Zen
Phoenix, AZ- ExploraBull
Seattle, WA- WalkaBulls
Hoboken, NJ- Positive Pittie Pack
Washington DC- Pittie Trails
Toledo, OH- Lucas County Pit Crew
We would love your advice and knowledge about joining a dog walking group! When did you know that your pooch was ready to join a dog walking group?
-A & B