Why Do Pack Walks Work?

Why Do Pack Walks Work?

The Value of Pack Walks for Your Dog

Pack walks can safely and effectively provide your dog with exercise, training, and socialization. Here’s what you need to know about pack walks: why they work and what they can do for your pup.

An Instinct to Walk Together

Domestic dogs are descended from wolves. Wolves are intensely social animals that roam together in packs. The instinct to stay together in a pack and the bond formed from traveling together is still in domestic dogs.

In fact, walking together seems to form positive relationships in dogs more readily than most other activities. Dogs who are reactive to other dogs may form a sense of solidarity with the dogs they’re walking with, even if they’re still reactive to new dogs that they encounter.

Consistent Positive Reinforcement

Walks are inherently rewarding for the vast majority of dogs. Dogs love to smell their surroundings, encounter new things, and get some exercise. Most dogs also enjoy one another’s company.

Therefore, pack walks are naturally positively reinforcing. It is much easier to train dogs when a constant reward is available. Dogs learn not to pull on the leash, to keep up with the group, and generally to behave so that they get to keep walking.

Structured Socialization 

Pack walks encourage dogs to walk along together without often interacting face-to-face. Over time, walking together builds trust. Walking together tends to avoid competition and insecurities that come with other kinds of socialization.

Dogs who frequently play together in free play, like at a dog park, may begin to show aggression overtime. However, dogs who are walked together in a pack rarely develop new problem behaviors.

This is because pack-walked dogs are consistently socialized in a structured way that doesn’t allow for problematic exchanges. Even dogs who have done very poorly at a dog park can do great on a structured pack walk.

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