By walking together, we’re improving together
Our only rule: No nose-to-nose, on-leash dog greetings, please!
Who: Anyone can join us!
There are no breed restrictions and children are also welcome. Your dog might be relaxed and happy, mildly stressed, frustrated and wanting to play or even completely over threshold while on leash around other dogs and that’s OK! However, if your dog is so stressed out by humans that he could be dangerous to the general public, then we might not be the right group for you. Click here for more info.
What: Walking together as a “pack”
Quite simply, it’s a just a group of dog and their humans, giving them an opportunity to socialize without risk of forced interactions with other dogs and to practice everyday “good citizen” behaviors like not pulling on the leash, stopping at curbs, walking through crowds and being calm around other dogs. It is not a training class and there is no fee to participate.
Why: Socialization and exercise
We created our Packwalk in August 2013 for dogs of varying degrees of comfort with other dogs, but mostly for those who can be reactive. The members of our group know that stress, fear and frustration are the most likely causes of leash reactivity and certainly not because you have a “bad” dog who needs to be “punished.” We want to decrease negative emotional reactions!
Also, even if you’ve been working on desensitization and counter-conditioning with a training professional, it’s not easy to find opportunities to practice the skills you’re developing with new dogs out in the real world. And of course we also want to decrease YOUR stress if your dog gets reactive (bark-y, pull-y, lunge-y and/or generally “crazy”) around other dogs!
Mustard’s Last Stand parking lot
415 E New Haven Ave
Historic downtown Melbourne, FL
We typically walk from Mustard’s through downtown to the railroad tracks and back. Sometimes people arrive early or stay late to have snacks or drinks at some of the dog-friendly places nearby.
Fridays at 6:00pm
Rain or shine
Equipment: Retractable leashes can be not only dangerous but are the antithesis of keeping dogs near you so they don’t have the opportunity to invade another dog or human’s personal space. Did you know that they are technically against the law in Brevard County?! Instead we strongly recommend Gentle Leaders (can be aversive) and Easy Walk Harnesses
Sad but true:
Note: In the interest of public safety, those dogs who are stressed out enough to potentially be aggressive to humans (including growling, lunging, snapping) might not be right for our group. If you’re thinking, “But he’s never actually bitten anyone before!” that usually means you’ve already noticed some (and possibly missed several) crucial warning signs! If you think both you and your dog need help, contact a certified behavior specialist who is committed to force-free, fear-free, punishment-free and pain-free training programs. That means your trainer SHOULD NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES suggest that you use a choke/pinch/shock collar, forcibly hold your dog down (like an “alpha roll”) or indeed do anything that might increase your dog’s stress (or even yours!). This includes any and all types of verbal or physical corrections. Punishing stress only produces more stress for both human and dog!
“To maintain physical control the animal must be on a leash not to exceed six feet at its maximum extension.”