Organising a social dog walk can be a LOT of fun for all concerned. But there are a few things you'll want to consider.
1. Who To Invite?
In my experience, grouping like with like is a good way to go. Large, boisterous dogs who love to play don't mix well with smaller, more fragile little dogs - and it's stressful for their owners to be keeping an eye on them all of the time too. And bear in mind not all dogs wish to be social - some like their own company and would find a social gathering stressful.
2. What To Prepare?
Social dog walks are a little bit like the canine equivalent of children's birthday parties - a little thought about refreshments and people and dogs comfort goes a long way. If you're hosting it at your own venue, having tea/ coffee and soft drinks at the ready with some biscuits or cake is a good idea.
Otherwise if you're out and about, checking ahead to see if cafés or pubs accept dogs along your chosen route. As for the dogs, I'd leave all toys out of the mix - too much chance of over-excitment ending in cross words, but having some tasty treats such as the liver cake I make up is a great idea.
3. Where To Gather?
You need somewhere that has adequate car parking for owners to leave their vehicles, and you may want to check out whether they need change for parking. Having either an address or directions will make it easier for people to find, and make sure they have a mobile number to call should they need to on the day.
Also consider what paths might be like for the people you're inviting - are they flat and easy walking, or bumpy and harder going? Plus what will paths be like if the weather is bad - mountains of mud might be a bit off-putting!
4. When To Organise?
Traditionally I've organised these at times when people might be off work - at the weekends, and over seasonal holidays such as Christmas and Easter. Of course you can't guarantee the British weather, but most dog walkers are used to going out in all weathers - just see if you can't order good weather from the weatherman in advance! :mrgreen:
5. Why A Social Walk?
In my opinion, one of the reasons that the vast majority of dog owners own their dogs is because of the social element that is fostered through meeting up for walks and training. It is a great way to meet like-minded folk who understand how precious your dog is to you, and can empathise with the inevitable naughty and entertaining stories our dogs create.
Check out the montage video clip below of some of our small and medium sized dogs having fun at our recent social dog walk - happy dogs and happy owners :-)