Added: Racquel Fennell - Date: 25.11.2021 18:22 - Views: 48069 - Clicks: 4890
S ome things are worth getting out of bed for. Many, as we know, are not, especially on a Sunday morning. Last weekend, just when I fancied a lie-in, I was woken by my month-old miniature schnauzer yelping and scratching at the bedroom door. Get up, the beast was surely saying, today's the day, we've got our first dog-walking group. Pepper and I had arranged to meet almost a dozen dogs and as many friends at a cafe near my local park. Our aim was to walk, talk and repair to the cafe for coffee, all within an hour and a half.
Dogs do have to be exercised but it can feel a bit of a task. Lonely, even. Turning it into a social activity makes it easier — and reassuring, as you get to share experiences with other dog owners. It's a real mood-booster watching your dogs running around together, and chatting with other dog-obsessed people. We all kept our dogs on le for this inaugural meeting, starting off in a tight group as we headed uphill, the dogs clearly excited by finding themselves in a huge pack. But people soon splintered off into smaller groups to chat. I loved the experience, and it's a simple thing to arrange and do regularly.
Here are a few tips:.
Agree timings well in advance. Fix a time, and work in a half-hour leeway, as in 9am for a 9. State the finish time — say 11am.
It is unrealistic to meet up and be off on your walk within five minutes of your meeting time; the half hour allows for latecomers and means you're not waiting around. You also need to plan a route to suit the dogs' abilities as well as the fitness of the whole group. Do a trial run first, then agree the next meeting's route in advance.
Anyone should be able toas long as they bring a dog. James Stone, who loves dogs but works long hours as a shipping co-ordinator, borrowed Frieda, the photographer's miniature schnauzer, for our inaugural meeting. It wouldn't be fair on the dog.
It's good to know there's a group I could hitch up if I do ever get one. The talking is the thing.
While it may be dog ownership that draws you together, you'll hopefully find, like us, that there is lo to talk about besides rip-off vet bills, and canine bowel movements and how a dog mine can end up being microchipped twice. Also, it's cross-generational — you meet people you wouldn't ordinarily have a connection with.
Better still, you don't have to talk about yourself; for me, it was therapeutic to focus on the dogs. Like humans, dogs don't always gel. Temperaments clash. If a dog bullies or worries other dogs, say something to the owner before it's too late. A basic canine club rule: good behaviour all round, or you're out.
Simon Holmes, an actor who came along with his elderly dog, Billy, rightly suggested that owners need to be prepared to walk at the pace of the slowest dog. A potential stumbling block is a dog in the pack that won't come back when it's off the lead; that could slow the whole walk down. The reward for us, the Roaming Rovers, was gathering at the cafe at the end of the walk.
If it is the dead of winter, choose a pub or cafe that lets dogs inside. Once the dogs settled at our feet,we debated the merits of our new pack. We all agreed it was great for the dogs to socialise with each other and get to know other breeds, and energising for us. As Estelle Rubio, owner of one-year-old Chewy, a Chesapeake Bay retriever, says: "This morning has got me out into the fresh air and I've met new people, which I love.
It's made dog-walking a social pursuit. Are you already a member of a dog-walking group, or have you been inspired to set up your own? We'd love to hear how you got on, and see pictures of your pack. You can share your photographs or videos by clicking on the blue "contribute" button on this article or you can download the free GuardianWitness app if you have a smartphone.
Alternatively, us at do. Do Something social Dogs. How to set up a dog-walking group. Going walkies is better in a pack, so why not make the daily walk into a social outing? Ways to get out and have fun with your pet A morning stroll with a dog-walking group. Walking in a group means you get to share experiences with other dog owners.
Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian. Genevieve Fox. Here are a few tips: Allow enough time Agree timings well in advance. Who to invite Anyone should be able toas long as they bring a dog. Keep it social The reward for us, the Roaming Rovers, was gathering at the cafe at the end of the walk.
Over to you Are you already a member of a dog-walking group, or have you been inspired to set up your own? Reuse this content.Looking for a dog walking partner
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Canberra dog walking groups – how to meet up