Group Dog Walks
Group dog walks are made up of 2 or more carefully introduced pets - they can be a great opportunity for your pet to use their social skills, develop friendships and be mentally stimulated which leads to a fulfilling walking experience.
What is a Group Walk?
Group dog walks are our most popular service! In these sessions, we bring together pooches from different homes in small, manageable groups where they can interact, play and explore.
When introducing dogs to groups for the first time, we will usually buddy them up slowly with others that we know are calm and well socialised. If we feel they have managed the interaction well, we will slowly introduce them to the other dogs they will commonly meet. This is handled with a mixture of on lead and off lead interactions, positive reinforcement and feedback to clients - we will always let you know what has gone well, and what might need working on! Feedback to clients only ever comes from a place of love - we want every pet in our care to get the most out of their walks and sometimes a little additional training is needed to make that happen,
Is my dog suited to Group Walks?
We love sharing time with group walk pets, however not every pet is suited to a Group Walking scenario. Because the relationships and interactions between pets can be complex and need to be managed, we have some rules for pets that can be walked as part of a group:
1 - Dogs must be up to date with vaccinations
For the health and wellbeing of all the pets in our care, we ask clients to ensure that their pets are up to date with vaccines, or are titre tested regularly to ensure they have immunity. We also encourage clients to regularly use worm and flea treatments out of respect for the other pets their animals are interacting with.
2 - Dogs must be well socialised
We don't expect every dog to be perfectly well behaved all the time - even humans can't manage that! But we do ask that clients honestly assess their own pet and ask themselves - is my dog going to get on well with unfamiliar faces? If your pet is nervous, anxious or has behavioural quirks that might mean they can't mix with other pets, they might be better suited to solo walks instead. Please note that we reserve the absolute right to make the final decision on mixing animals from different households - we must always consider the safety and well being of the entire group and will remove dogs from group settings if needed. If your pet is not used to walking with other dogs, we can slowly introduce them in a way that makes them comfortable - this can take time but it can be done, so please be honest about your pet's personality and behaviours when making contact with us. It is really important to note that group walks are not a substitute for puppy classes or private socialisation training - if you want your dog to develop their socialisation skills, please ask us to refer you to a local trainer who will be best placed to assist you. Dogs who come to our sessions should already have good social skills and it will be very apparent immediately if they do not!
3 - Dogs must walk well on lead as well as off lead
There will always be times when group walk dogs must walk on lead - sometimes it is to cross a car park or sometimes for their own safety. When you have multiple dogs on lead, it is really important that they are comfortable walking alongside other dogs in close quarters and have good on lead etiquette. No dog's behaviour is perfect! But group walking dogs do need to have a solid base to work from. If you are concerned that your pet's lead walking behaviour might not be suited to group dog walking, have a chat with us and we can assess the situation further!
4 - Dogs should be comfortable being transported in vehicles
We take an adaptable approach to transporting the dogs in our care - though in most cases group dogs are transported to location in suitably sized crates. This is for their own safety, as well as others - we have a strict policy of not mixing pets from different households in vehicles. This means we have to separate pets using crates or car guards - if your pet is not going to manage being transported while restrained in this way, they may not be suited to group walks.
You can see more examples of the things our pooches get up to on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/littlecritterspetcare