The UK has seen a huge boom in dog ownership since the start of the pandemic in early 2020. Professional dog walkers are in demand and are a necessity for many to make modern dog owning work. Here’s why Pack Walks are dangerous.
There are some wonderful individuals who go above and beyond to ensure the happiness and wellbeing of your dog, but as an unregulated industry there are also some who would think nothing of putting your dog in with a daunting amount of other dogs who are entirely unsuitable and risk public safety, your dogs safety, the dogs mental wellbeing and in doing so their behaviour.
We Love Pets have held a strong ‘No Pack Walking Policy’ since they started back in 2008, which means that their dog walkers never walk a group of more than four dogs (from a maximum of three households) at any time. In an industry that is largely unregulated, We Love Pets have worked hard to increase awareness of the dangers of pack walking while advocating for the welfare rights of animals in the UK.
Public safety is a large concern for pack walking.
It can be a struggle to control just one dog. Imagine if a walker had six plus dogs at once. How on earth would they control them all? What if a testosterone-fuelled fight broke out? We have seen the devastating consequences of losing control of a pack walk in recent news.
All dog owners know that even in the best of conditions, it can be difficult to keep a constant eye on your dog! Add another five dogs to the mix and it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Not only are there busy roads, livestock, other dogs, cyclists, people, and children to contend with, but it’s important to observe what’s going on in the pack at the same time. We Love Pets cap their walks at four to ensure maximum supervision and attention for each dog!
Walking dogs in large groups opens the door to infection and disease transmission, and the larger the group, the harder illnesses are to trace – which puts dogs in the wider community at risk too.
The second largest worry is the welfare of the dogs.
You want your dog to have the right amount of attention and the walker to be able to manage them appropriately. Recent research has shown that dogs are not the pack animals that we once thought they were. Dogs are sociable and form flexible bonds, but that sociability is on a spectrum. Some dogs do like all other dogs and have good social skills, some dogs do like other dogs but have poor social skills, some dogs simply do not like other dogs and there are dogs that only like some individuals. Many dogs find large group situations stressful.
Socialisation amongst dogs needs to be monitored carefully. Play should be reciprocal, dogs should be taking activities like chasing in turns, there should not be any dogs mounting each other, pushing each other over or continual chasing of one dog.
The bigger the group, the more likely it is for fights to break out. Pack dynamics can change quickly, without warning, and even dogs who wouldn’t normally show aggression can become involved in a fight. Breaking up fights can be dangerous for a walker and the surrounding people and dogs in the area, so it’s best to avoid the situation altogether and walk in smaller groups.
Injuries can happen in the blink of an eye, and the more dogs in the pack, the more difficult it becomes to avoid and protect them from environmental and behavioural hazards. And if one poor pooch suffers an injury, it’s especially tough to maintain care and attention for all of the healthy dogs. Since accidents happen, We Love Pets have all their dog walkers trained in pet first aid so they can respond appropriately in an emergency. We Love Pets also have a Vet at head office, “as a part of the We Love Pets team, I am able to support franchisees in first aid training, behaviour advice and give other veterinary advice. This ensures that there is always support available when it’s needed.” – Dr Eloise Quince
We Love Pets Vet
Dogs who get on with all other dogs is extremely rare! Walking a dog with a large amount of other dogs there’s a chance that your dog may start to find being around other dogs stressful, it may be very probable that not all those dogs will have good social skills and your dog may end up getting bullied, very importantly if your dog is a small dog and is put in with larger dogs, especially those with high prey drive, your dog could end up being easily injured or worse if another dogs prey drive is triggered.
Never be afraid to ask your dog walker about what relevant qualifications they hold or about any organisations they may be affiliated with and how many other dogs they plan on walking alongside your own. A good dog walker will always be happy to tell you!
Want to book a trusted We Love Pets walker? Head over to welovepets.care today!