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Why Dogs Hate Walking in Packs.

Updated: Jun 7

There was a steady increase in the number of injuries associated with dog-walking in packs, most of them fractures to the limbs.


There are laws and regulations that have been set up in different cities across the country to prevent dog walkers from taking out their pets in packs. The number of incidents associated with walking dogs in packs has been on the increase throughout the country, affecting every large city. According to Kevin Pirruccio, the co-author for a study in “JAMA Surgery” about the hazards of dog-walking in packs, several older Americans were drastically affected by this fact. There was a steady increase in the number of injuries associated with dog-walking in packs, most of them fractures to the limbs.


In this study, Pirruccio states that dog-walking related fractures increased in number from 1,671 to 4,396 between 2004 and 2017. Consequently, different neighborhoods, particularly in New York, have enforced strict leash laws as well as rules preventing dog walkers from having more than four dogs on a single walk. In fact, the recommendation for pet owners is to have at most two of their dogs going out for walks at a time. There are valid arguments to this approach, such as the associated costs and the time it would take, but this would guarantee the safety and security of everybody.


One simple fact that most dog owners might fail to recognize is that dogs actually hate walking in packs. One of the reasons for the increased injuries affecting several Americans as a result of dog-walking in packs is failing to recognize that the animal does not like it. According to David Mech, a wolf researcher and scientist, wolves and dogs live in families and do not necessarily associate with a pack or an alpha wolf. This means that dogs do not like the idea of being in packs particularly when going out for walks as this only breeds tension among them.


While studying wolves in captivity, Mech discovered that the creatures had a dominance hierarchy but did not live in multi-family packs. Families are important for the pups for security and nutrition until they can go off and fend for themselves. This applies for dogs living in human families because they do not need an alpha-male or the pack mentality. Therefore, when dog walkers take out their dogs for walks in a pack, they are doing something that the pet does not prefer. The dog would prefer an individual walk of their own as this would make it most comfortable.


Dogs like to sniff about their environment and see everything they can around them. This becomes a real difficulty if they have to walk in packs and cannot fully sniff about or even have their vision blocked off. This makes the walking exercise more of a chore than a joy for the dog because they truly cannot enjoy themselves and take in the air around them. Dogs need space to sniff about, particularly if they are going out for walks and the change of environment is usually good for them, but not when walking in packs.


There are a number of ways that one can discover if their dog is not comfortable when going out for walks, particularly in packs. The dog has tell-tale body language that can easily reveal their comfort levels when going out for walks. For instance, when the whites of the eyes are showing, when the dog is constantly lip licking, ears back, own tails and even panting, it is a sign that your dog is not entirely comfortable. Usually, the animal is enthusiastic about going out for walks, taking in fresh air and exploring a new environment, but this all changes if they have to do it in packs.





Another factor to consider about dog walking, according to Dr. Sophia Yin, is that the means of transport selected for the dog walking exercise adds to the experience. According to her, dogs hate being crammed up in vans, cars or even on the train because they have to be restrained. In New York, there are strict laws that pet owners must enforce when riding on a train in the subway; dogs must be restrained in crates and cannot occupy a seat, with the exception of service dogs. This means that whenever the dog is being transported, it is uncomfortable, cramped and cannot fully utilize all its senses.


Dogs that can be leashed and get to immediately enjoy the street without having to endure transportation will be much happier. This experience is usually made worse if they are being transported in packs. Just like human beings, dogs do not like being crammed together and they need their space. It is important that only a few of them are taken out for walks at a time to ensure that the pet is truly comfortable and does not present any forthcoming risks.


It is nice to ensure that the pet is not on a leash for long durations during the day. When in-doors, the animal can get to enjoy the freedom of moving about within their space. They can coordinate better even f they are a number of them, but it all changes when they have to go out for walks. Pet owners should consider utilizing parks where there are no leash laws for specific hours. In New York, there are numerous parks that have no leash laws for certain durations, and this would be an excellent chance to find regular intervals for walking at most four dogs at a time.


However, pet owners present valid arguments about the strict leash laws that prevent them from walking in packs. New York resident John Reed states that in the past, somebody could be seen taking as many as fourteen dogs at once for occasional walks. It was not a big deal until people around the neighborhoods started being affected by this “pack mentality” and strict laws had to be put in place. However, he does state that the harm caused to others was justification for finding an appropriate solution to end the menace caused by pack-walking.


According to Jill Breitner, author of “Dog Decoder,” a smart-phone app, most pet owners are resistant to taking their dogs out for walks in fewer numbers because it is an expensive process for them. Statistics show that the expenses associated with dog-walking and general dog maintenance has been on an increase in the past decade. However, this can be attributed to inflation that has affected the prices of everything, and it is now more expensive than ever to own a pet dog in the country. These costs are particularly steep for those living in cities as compared to the countryside.


If cost is not an adequate reason to attempt to convince pet owners to continue walking their dogs in packs, there is the problem of time consumption. Walking different sets of dogs during different times of the day or the week can prove to be exhausting and time challenging. It might not be possible for the dog owner or their walkers to find adequate time to ensure that each dog gets the proper hours it needs walking outside and experiencing a new environment. The challenges of balancing time will continue to deter some dog walkers from maintaining a “pack mentality.”


Nick Hof, a certified professional dog trainer states that walking dogs in packs should not be viewed from the point of view of socialization. Pet owners will argue that allowing their dogs out in large numbers helps them socialize and become friendlier. When they are in larger numbers, they are likely to have twice the fun because they can engage in different activities and even hang out with other dogs that share similar interests. However, the professional dog trainer Hof disagrees with this notion, stating that it is very far from the truth.


According to him, the socialization process is a delicate activity for dogs, particularly when they are still young. Dog owners should be wary of taking their pups out for walks, particularly if they are anything between 6 and 12 months. The socialization process can be much challenging for them, particularly if they have to walk in packs with other older dogs, and this can have a long-term impact on its development. Pups will not be able to adequately endure the process of walking in packs, particularly over a long duration of time, and it will become more difficult to manage the dog when going out for walks as they grow older.


Socialization for the younger dogs is a process that will involve patience and actually keeping them away from older dogs. Nick Hof states that the puppy’s early months are sensitive and they need to have positive interactions strictly. This might not be possible if they have to walk around in packs or interact with other packs, particularly dogs from other households. This, instead, is an important time to individualize the puppy and expose them to other experiences before allowing them to socialize with other dogs. Pack-walking should be avoided because they do not like it, and it also makes the other older dogs sensitive and uneasy.


According to the American Animal Hospital Association, walking dogs in packs is a critical reason for the spread of diseases among them. Dogs do not like being in packs because sometimes they end up catching sicknesses that can catch the pet owner off-guard. When a large group of dogs have to interact, it is imperative that they are vaccinated with the Bordetella vaccine that is responsible for preventing the “kennel cough.” This disease can easily spread particularly when dogs are out walking in packs and it is something that all pet owners should take into consideration.


There are other important vaccines that should be given to the pet to ensure their full health. The vaccine against leptospirosis is critical for any dog that goes out for walks to prevent against the spread of the leptospira bacteria. They should also be vaccinated against rabies and a year-round vaccine against heartworm, fleas and ticks. These are all hazards that face dogs when they walk in packs and it is something that should be the top of any pet owners agenda when caring for their dogs. Another risky condition that can be hazardous for the dog is canine influenza that they can easily catch when out for walks.


Therefore, dogs do not like walking around in packs as they prefer their own individualized time to enjoy the outside surroundings. Dogs would very much prefer if they can be on their own as they get to enjoy their surroundings with more freedom and the assumption that there are no threats from other pets. A pet owner should consider putting the interests of their dog first and realizing that pack walking is harmful not only to the dog, but to the walker, as well.


There are a number of solutions that dog walkers can consider as an alternative to walking their pets in large numbers. The recommended number of dogs that a single walker should have at a time is four. However, for households that have more than five dogs, taking a training or general obedience class with the dog is an excellent solution. This allows the dog to actually have something to look forward to as they learn new tricks, open up their minds and get to appreciate their owners even more. This can be an excellent alternative particularly for puppies that might not interact well with older dogs in the households when going out for walks.


Similarly, the pet owner can also consider trying a new sport with their dog. Most pet owners are familiar with this simple trick that is cheaper than a general obedience class and will ensure the animal gets as much exercise as they need. Trying out new sport is a physical experience both for the pet owner and the dog, and it eliminates the need for a dog walker as the pet owner develops an even closer relationship with their animal. Dogs are emotional animals and always appreciate a close bond between them and their owners.



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