The On-Leash Pack Walk is the foundation of everything that we do. It is the groundwork for developing meaningful relationships with each dog based on mutual trust and respect.
What is it?
Simply put, it is an on-leash walk with the pack.
In our pack, we work with each dog so that they can maintain a loose leash while walking beside or behind the handler.
What makes this different than me taking my dog out for an on-leash walk?
It can be a huge mental exercise for the dogs to remain focused on the walk with all the other dogs around them. The environment can be a very exciting one so it may require your dog to develop their focus, patience and self-restraint to practice good loose leash skills with the pack around them.
What does On-Leash Pack Walking do?
When we practice On-leash Pack Walking, we are accessing a deep migratory behaviour in the dogs. A happy pack-walking dog will have their head slightly lowered, ears back and relaxed, tail low and relaxed. This is such a calming and wonderful state for them to be in, and it is the state that I want the dogs to be in when we work on any other activities.
Some dogs may not fall into the calm migratory behaviour as easily as others, and that's ok. For example, if a dog is pulling forward on the leash, or bouncing back and forth, you will see that behaviour mirrored in their body language: ears might be up and alert, head high, tail stiff or alert. The beauty of the pack is that the calm ones will help the excited ones settle in by showing them their calm state.
Why do you do it?
There are a multitude of reasons that we focus on the On-Leash Pack Walk, and I will name a few key points here.
1. It helps us establish a good handler-dog relationship.
When a good On-Leash Pack Walking behaviour is established with the dog, we are able to move forward with different exercises with ease.
Alternatively, if we have built no trust or respect with the dog through the On-Leash Pack Walk, other exercises (including off-leash and recall) will be more difficult.
2. We are teaching the dogs to exercise with other dogs around them with a calm state of mind.
This is so important to achieve a well-balanced and well-rounded dog capable of self-managing their own energy level as well as being able to calm down when asked.
Alternatively, if the dog is getting super amped every time they are exercised they may not be able to self-regulate their energy level to be able to calm down when asked or needed.
3. We are able to walk anywhere around the city.
Walking in new surroundings while maintaining a calm state of mind can be a real challenge for your dog. By bringing the calm pack energy to the new surroundings, the dogs are able to take in the new sights and smells without getting overly excited.
Alternatively, your dog may become bored with the "usual route" and not need to use their brains at all during your walk, or become overly excited when they know that they are at their "walking place".
4. We bring home an exercised dog that has been challenged mentally and is in a calm state.
Exercising a dog isn't all about the physical, it is also about the mental. The On-Leash Pack Walk ensures that your dog is being well exercised in both capacities.
While the On-Leash Pack Walk is the foundation of what we do, we use it in conjunction with Pack Training Exercises and Off-Leash Activities to provide a well-rounded experience for your dog.