Some of my more astute readers might have noticed that there is a new little tab at the top of my page that says “Tallahassee WalkABulls”. This is something that I recently added but haven’t spent much time actually talking about so I figured hey, why not today?
There are quite a few different blogs that I follow and that have inspired me in different ways. One of them is Two Pitties in the City who started a group call Chicago SociaBulls. I just thought it was the coolest idea ever and started researching “pack walks” more in depth. Initially I thought it would be a great way to showcase pit bulls in a positive light, and it certainly is, but the more I read, the more I realized it has other huge benefits.
Many dogs, like my foster Maggie, come with their fair share of “issues”. For Maggie, among other things was meeting new people and dogs. When Maggie first came to my house she was terrified of the world. I worked and worked to gain her trust and my efforts paid off. She realized that we (Buddy, Tag, and I) were actually her friends and that she could trust us. This was all good and well, but Maggie was still scared of new people and dogs. If a dog came up to her to sniff and say “hi” Maggie would respond by snapping at them. Not because she was mean, but because she was scared. If a person tried to say “hi” to her, she would back away and cower as if they were going to start beating her at any moment. If we were outside the safety of my apartment, Maggie’s tail never came out from being tucked between her legs and she would basically crawl rather than stand upright. So you can see, she had “issues”. After reading all about “pack walks” I realized that this would be an excellent way for her to get some socialization and begin working her through these “issues”.
The idea behind pack walks is simple. Dogs are by nature pack animals and by getting together with other responsible dog owners, we help to simulate that “pack” feel for the dogs. I have a very strict rule with the pack walks: no dog to dog interactions. The dogs must stay a leash length away from each other initially and can slowly move closer as the dogs get into the groove of the walk. You’re thinking, “wait a second, I thought this was supposed to help with socialization?” Well it is! By not allowing the dogs to actually meet face to face, we eliminate that social pressure and the dogs very quickly relax and are able to comfortably be part of the pack.
Some dogs, like handsome Jango pictured above, have basically no issues. Other dogs that come to the walks have never even met another dog that doesn’t live in their home. We welcome dogs of all socialization levels to join us. I started this to have fun, exercise our dogs (and ourselves!), help dogs with “issues” and of course, positively showcase as many pit bulls as we can! No matter your dog’s personality type or socialization level, this is a place where you will be welcome.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me if only pit bulls are allowed to come. Of course not! How shameful of me would it be to deny a dog access to a fun and positive event just because it wasn’t a pit bull? Very. Pit bull owners routinely find themselves excluded from events just because of the way their dog looks. What kind of an advocate would I be if I did the same thing? No way Jose!
I am hoping to one day make this group popular enough that I actually attract volunteers that don’t own dogs so they can walk some of the foster dogs for the various organizations that I volunteer with. It would be a great way to get adoptable dogs more exposure and adopted quicker so that their foster could save another.
I really do believe that these walks have enormous benefits for the dogs, after all, I have have living proof in the form of Maggie! So, if you are in the Tallahassee area and own, foster, or would just like to walk a dog, email me and come on out! The more the merrier!
firstname.lastname@example.org or TallyWalkABulls@gmail.com