We pick the dogs up from your home or office in Southern Novato, Ignacio, Marinwood or Terra Linda and drive the small groups, usually 3 or 4 dogs, to the fire road trails on the hills we hike on. All the dogs are expected to stay on the trail and those with excellent recall and listening skills are allowed to be off leash. They get wet, they get dirty, they get foxtails, they get ticks, they don't care! We brush them off, towel them off, pick the ticks off, the best we can, and bring them back tired and happy. You know what they say, a tired dog is a good dog! I say the same thing holds for teenagers, but that's for a different page.
Why Group Walks?
Everyone knows dogs love exercise and they are pack animals. They thrive on using their native language - body language - with other animals that use and understand that same language. They learn proper dog etiquette and build their confidence.
I am such a firm believer in the power of the group walk because I've seen the affects first hand. When Cooper was an adolescent dog, he started to get assertive, noisy and nervous sometimes when he met new dogs. Within 2 months of group dog walking, he learned from the pack and I stopped worrying about his greeting manners. He became a confident, well-socialized dog's dog.
Whenever we encounter a dog on the trails, I encourage the friendliest, most well-socialized dogs to greet it first. You know who the most well-socialized dogs are? They are usually the ones who have been group walking since they were puppies.
It's not magic, but it almost feels like it to me. We take great dogs on our group hikes and being in that group helps them all continue to be great dogs all the time!