A pack of dogs enjoying socialization on a dirt path.

Is Adventure Dog Walking in New Zealand the Next Big Thing?


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Adventure dog walking is an incredible way to cater to a dog’s inner explorer and to dog socialisation needs. It’s an updated version of dog walking where dogs can learn, explore and play in a dog pack under the supervision of a senior dog handler. Today PD Insurance talks to CityPets Canine Adventures to find out more.

Dogs are pack animals by nature. However, because they’re also humans’ best friend, adventuring in a dog pack is something they seldom have safe access to. In this article we learn about what happens on adventure dog walking and what safety measures can be used to keep everyone safe.

A pack of CityPets adventure dogs walking in a grassy area, engaged in dog socialization.

Adventure dog walking added to the pet services fray

Over the past few decades our understanding of companion animal behaviour has evolved massively. As a result, the pet services industry continues to expand to cater to cats’ and dogs’ social, psychological and health needs more comprehensively.

Adventure dog walking is one of these incredible offerings.  

Nestled in the heart of Auckland is a company offering this service, CityPets Canine Adventures. Over the past decade it has built a sterling reputation with dog parents for bringing home happy dogs. One glance at their social media and it’s easy to see why – so many smiling dogs!

The company makes it part of its mission to document all the enriching adventure dog walking it does so that dog mums and dads can see what their canine companion got up to while socialising.

This makes for heart-warming social media stories any of us can scroll at any time…

Three canine companions explore a dried out water reserve while adventure dog walking with CityPets.

About CityPets Canine Adventures

CityPets Canine Adventures was established in 2010 at a time when hiring a dog walker meant paying a teenager to walk your dog around the block or to some local park. From the outset CityPets recognised that dogs need more.

“We aim to quietly revolutionise the Adventure Dog Walking industry, one balanced pack adventure at a time.”

It’s clear from watching farm dogs who live socially and are given an opportunity to work and exercise, with strong leadership, that this is where many dogs thrive.  CityPets drew on this inspiration and set about recreating a country experience for city dogs.

What happens on adventure dog walking?

Everyday, CityPets takes carefully curated packs of dogs to rural and isolated locations around Auckland. These dogs get to visit beaches, farmland, streams and more; nature’s playgrounds for city dogs.

“At CityPets Canine Adventures, we’re dedicated to pioneering the reshaping of conventional norms of dog walking.”

Exploring Auckland’s rural landscapes creates the perfect backdrop to develop respectful pack etiquette, recall and other basic commands. This taps into the innate instinct of a dog to be part of a well balanced pack.

A dog pack having an adventure in the ocean with CityPets adventure dog walking.

Dog socialisation with safety in mind

Risk management is also a significant focus of the company’s resources. For example, every dog wears a Garmin Tracking Collar for their first five adventures and training is done to ensure recall is possible before they’re allowed off lead.

“Our commitment to providing city dogs with a genuine rural experience is not only about fostering physical well being but also nurturing essential social skills.”

While dogs are given ample opportunity to run, swim, dig and play, a proportion of their adventure time is dedicated to focused engagement, recall and attentive sit stays. Packs are almost entirely silent as barking is simply not allowed on adventure dog walking.

Improving dog socialisation through training

The few dogs who are struggling to adjust to pack life are taken aside and offered one on one training. Then they’re reintroduced to pack life under the careful supervision of CityPets senior handlers.

Training for the trainers

Handlers wear GoPros during adventure dog walking as a training and upskilling tool. The company has teams dedicated to dog training, handler training and upskilling.

Our emphasis is on training, safety and pack dynamics.

It may come as no surprise there’s a waiting list to become a CityPets handler. This allows CityPets to cherry pick from those eager to make the most of the extensive training and experiences that CityPets offers.

A pack of dogs walking through tall grass under the supervision of CityPets dog handlers for adventure dog walking

Benefits for dogs and owners alike

Beware – as CityPet’s website says:

“Side effects include, but are not limited to, improved social skills, improved engagement, reduced nuisance chewing and digging, reduced nuisance barking, improved recall, improved lead behaviour, and a contentedly sleepy pooch when you get home.” 

If you’re not in a position to bring a dog to work, you might have wondered “should I get a pet if I work fulltime?” Thankfully, there are more and more pet services available to help you provide a balanced life for your fur baby. Like adventure dog walking!

Here are more ways to help your pet stay socialised:

Also watch our PD Pet Care vlog with Dr Cath Watson for vet advice on keeping your dog entertained when you’re out:

Award winning protection for the pack

Besides keeping dogs happy and safe through learning basic commands, exposure to dog socialisation and enjoying the likes of adventure dog walking, you can provide another safety net with pet insurance.

Dog insurance (and cat insurance) provides your pet and your pocket with a soft landing when they need an unexpected vet visit. Your pet plan can help pay for a wide range of vet bills for prescribed medicine, surgery, X-rays and many other diagnostics and treatments.

With PD Insurance’s multi-award winning cover, you get to choose between three different levels of plan, each with different benefits and annual limits! Plus, get one or more months free pet insurance when you buy your policy online.

Click below to start a quote.

*All photographs courtesy of CityPets Canine Adventures

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