What goes into making the perfect pack?
If only I knew the answer....
While I might not be able to tell you straight off the bat, let's chat about how a Kuri K9 pack is created, and what is considered.
First and foremost... availability
This wasn't originally a huge concern, but 3.5 months into full time hiking and we are now booked out on our standard 2 hour, Take to the Trails, hikes. Is there a spot available?
Which ties in with... location
Where are you living, how does that fit into the route? Driving to collect everybody for the hike is the largest expense, both money and time-wise. Ultimately, everybody would live in the same area. In reality, there can be a bit of driving around.
Then there are.... client schedules
If everybody was asked their ultimate day, the majority would say Wednesday. It's smack in the middle of the week, and breaks it up for both dog and human.
Who knows how to make a functioning clone? I know someone in need.
If you think about it, Friday's can be nice - right before the weekend! For two-day a week clients, something like Monday-Thursday or Tuesday/Friday is a nice split too.
Let's not forget... the dogs
There are many factors to consider here, all of which affect how well our hikes run. The main things which go into consideration include:
Level of training - ideally, most of the pack has an excellent understanding of behavioural expectations on a hike. This allows me to really focus on the one or two newer pups still solidifying their skills. Starting from scratch as I did in October, leads to a lot of trainees on one hike!
Personality types - this can be influenced by breed. There are the hunters, the runners, the party animals, the heel walkers, the policers, nervous Nellies, confident Carls.... the ideal pack has a good spread of personalities. Too many hunters or runners lead to a pack that is distant and spread out. A whole bunch of party animals leads to well, a party!
Spayed/neutered vs. intact - we do take intact dogs, with priority given to younger puppies. How well they handle being in a pack depends on each individual. At the time of writing, we have 3 intact males from 9 months - 1.5 years doing just fine, and a 7 month old who is pending a time out! There are several intact females in the mix too. The full discussion about why will be saved for another article.
Quirks - Dogs have besties, frenemies and those they happily coexist with. Sometimes they just don't get along with one pack, but do totally fine in another. Kind of like us and friend groups! Sometimes they get along TOO well, and forget to pay attention to the human.
Ultimately, the dogs come first
I have made compromises in my routing, to get a dog into a pack they need to be in. Several clients have also adjusted their schedule preferences to make sure their dog is having the best experience possible.
Just one dog can change the entire way a pack functions. I can make my best guess about how it will go, but sometimes you just don't know til you try it!
There are probably more considerations to be discussed, but my double-hike addled brain is ready to rest for the day! It didn't intend on getting carried away with an article.
As always, questions and feedback are so welcomed. This blog asks you to sign in to do so... but you can always contact me through Facebook, Instagram or even the contact form on the website if you wish.
Feet up, have a wine!