Things to do in Berlin: Walking in the Woods with a Pack of Dogs

1 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Google+ 0 Pin It Share 1 LinkedIn 0 Email -- 1 Flares ×
That's Me! It's Pure Joy Watching the Dogs Play During the Airbnb Experience in Berlin - Walk with the Dog-Whisperer. Thank YouThomas Dornbusch of Hunde-Mobil for the Photo and Walk!

That’s Me! It’s Pure Joy Watching the Dogs Play During the Airbnb Experience in Berlin – Walk with the Dog-Whisperer. Thank You Thomas Dornbusch of Hunde-Mobil for the Photo and Walk!

A walk in a German forest with a man and his pack of dogs sounds like the beginning of a Lifetime movie and not necessarily the one with a happy ending. Meeting a man I have never met in a forest, in another country really seems like a bad idea. Add to that 15 dogs I never met and it seems like an even worse idea. Doing this goes against all common sense as a solo traveler. But, this is one of the things I did in Berlin and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life!

Thomas Dornbusch of Hunde-Mobil and Some of His Pack During my Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

Thomas Dornbusch of Hunde-Mobil and Some of His Pack During my Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

Airbnb Experience: Meeting the Dog Whisperer
I met up with Thomas Dornbusch of Hunde-Mobil, a dog walking service, through Airbnb Experiences. Thomas is a professional dog walker and trainer and walks a pack of 15 dogs each day in the Grunewald Forest in the west side of Berlin. Some of the dogs are with him daily, some are with him only two days a week while others are only three days a week. Basically, the pack varies each day.

This is a dog-friendly area where dogs can run free off the leash. This experience is limited to two people and the other person who registered was not able to make the trip so it was just me, Thomas and 15 dogs.

This Dog Looks Like a Loner But is Protecting the Back of the Pack. My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

Only one dog is Thomas’s and the others belong to individual clients. She’s the alpha dog because she has the strongest personality after spending time on the streets of Sarajevo. Each morning, he picks them up and they find their place in his van.

The hounds barked and wiggled with excitement as they piled out of the van. Thomas called out their names as they jumped out.

“Tommy!”
“Bella!”
“Einstein!”

The pups ranged in size, from a small terrier mix to a Rhodesian ridgeback, and age, from 2 to 12 years old. Each has their own personality, story, and role in the dog pack.

“I need to tell you,” he told me shortly after meeting, “I do not whisper with the dogs.”

Thomas Dornbusch of Hunde-Mobil and Some of His Pack During My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

Thomas Dornbusch of Hunde-Mobil and Some of His Pack During My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

Jedi-Magic and a Dog Pack
Songbirds sang during this chilly March morning while we walked through the woods and I watched in awe how the canines obeyed Thomas’s every command, especially since none of them were on a leash. When he called them over, they stopped what they were doing, ran over, and took a seat in front of their human leader.

Thomas told me Berlin has more than 130 professional dog walkers and it’s common to meet some of them during a walk in Grunewald Forest. When the pack met another pack, the alpha (or lead) dog greeted the alpha dog of the other pack to ensure all was okay. Individual dogs within the pack greeted each other while passing through then carried on with the walk.

Two dogs stayed close to me during the three-hour walk and it turns out, their job is to stay in the middle of the pack and keep the pace. Two dogs seemed to be loners and were always behind us.

“Are they loners?” I asked Thomas.

This Is Probably My Favorite Photo of the Experience. This Dog Looks Like a Loner But is Protecting the Back of the Pack. My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

The alpha dog leads the pack and there are a couple of other dogs who stay in front as the leaders. Thomas explained the duty of those dogs that looked lonely is to protect the pack from any threats that may come from behind.

Do I Have What it Takes to be a Dog Whisperer, Too?
After watching Thomas work his Jedi-like obedience magic on these pups, it was my turn. First, he gave me a handful of dog treats to toss and share with the doggies so they would associate me with good things. Next, he instructed me to call to the dogs.

I let out a pitiful yelp then called out, “Here doggies!”

This is What This Dog Thought of My Lame Call. My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

This is What This Dog Thought of My Lame Call. My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

A few dogs looked at me, and maybe one showed up at my side, but, politely, Thomas basically told me my call was lame. And, I admit, my call was lame. It lacked enthusiasm and I didn’t give the dogs a reason to come to my feet or even within my sight.

After a few minutes, I tried to restore my dignity and called out more enthusiastically and peppy and it worked! Four out of 15 dogs came to see what the commotion was about.

Words matter but even more important is tone, almost like communicating with someone who does not speak your language. Although you may not speak the same language as someone else, you find a way to communicate. Much like me getting by in Germany. Tone and body language matters.

Thomas Dornbusch of Hunde-Mobil Definitely Has a Way with Canines. My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

Thomas Dornbusch of Hunde-Mobil Definitely Has a Way with Canines. My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

Watching and listening to Thomas, I took what I learned and attempted a couple of obedience exercises. One with placing a treat behind me then sternly telling the dogs “no.” I used my body, and not violence, to block them. The other exercise involved placing dog treats in the nooks and crannies of tree bark while keeping the dogs away.

Well, I wasn’t very successful because these dogs were quick! Especially Bella the boxer.

Was it Worth It?
As the three-hour walk wrapped up, we headed toward the car, with a stop for some of the dogs to play on the ice of a frozen pond. What I had just experienced was pure magic. I observed how dogs with individual personalities work together in a pack, saw a sneak peek into the dynamics of a dog pack, and saw how their leader, Thomas, can take control.

Dogs Nibbling on Treats Placed on the Tree. My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

Dogs Nibbling on Treats Placed on the Tree. My Airbnb Experience in Grunewald Forest in Berlin, Germany, March 6, 2018.

In addition to the entertainment value, I learned during this experience, not only to communicate with my own dog and other canines, but the importance of communication with other people.

This trip to Berlin was the first time I have used any Airbnb product and this Airbnb Experience was excellent and before leaving Germany I have been telling people how amazing it is. If/when I return to Berlin, I hope to take the walk with Thomas and his pack again. And if you are looking for things to do in Berlin, consider joining Thomas for a walk in the woods.

Sidebar: As a solo traveler, I rarely take photos of myself taking part in activities, other than a selfie here or there. I am very appreciative Thomas snapped photos during the experience not only of the dogs but of me enjoying my time with the dogs.

Interested in booking a walk with Berlin’s dog-whisperer? Check out Airbnb.

View more photos of the Berlin Dog Whisperer Experience on Flickr

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to support this blog, my traveling habit, and my special-needs dog.

Author: Solo Travel Girl

Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led Jennifer Huber, aka: Solo Travel Girl, to a career path in tourism. She has worked in the tourism industry for more than 20 years including 10 years with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley and Everglades National Park. She currently lives in Southwest Florida, and maintains this travel blog with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely.

Share This Post On

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Outdoorswoman Journal: Southwest Florida Fishing Resources for Female Anglers | Solo Travel Girl - […] This post contains affiliate links to support this blog, my traveling habit, and my special-needs […]
  2. Travel to Germany: Walking Tour Uses Five Senses to Discover East Berlin of Yesteryear | Solo Travel Girl - […] jump on the train to leave. It was a similar story to what I heard during my walk in…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *