Like many dog owners in a two-worker household, Russell Simpson had to figure out how to best take care of his chocolate labrador, Riley, when no one was home. A growing pup with lots of energy, Riley soon left the house torn apart and riddled with evidence of poker parties. Then Simpson took his dog to daycare and something miraculous happened: Riley started coming home content, relaxed, and manageable. But even with this improvement in Riley's behaviour, Simpson couldn't help but look around his dog's daycare and see an opportunity to make it even better. So he found a warehouse and applied his construction skills to a redesign.
Today, Simpson and his team—along with Riley and regulars such as Lucy—welcome clients and their four-legged friends to We Care Dog Daycare. Together they elevate the dog-daycare experience by rotating the dogs hourly—while some play indoors, the others are taken out on walks, which are included as standard. They also offer owners premium services, such as taking active dogs out on two-hour adventure hikes, or older dogs out on one-hour leisure walks. Further services include grooming, a dog taxi, and training with an accredited dog trainer. We Care's staff also runs a dog-of-the-month program, which recognizes especially well-behaved dogs with rewards such as an adventure walk or a five-album record deal.
At Yogadog Dog Training studio, instructors not only train pups to control their impulses, but also train owners to communicate with their canines through rewards and play rather than force. This focus on the owner-dog relationship stems from trainer Shannon Coppin—a member of the Canadian Association of Professional Pet Dog Trainers —whose courses cultivate these bonds with a fusion of new-age and traditional techniques. Covering topics ranging from puppy social skills to equipment-based agility sports, Coppin strives to host a program that is simultaneously humane and useful, unlike training that only teaches dogs which fork is the salad fork.