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.
Pups won't run out of things to keep them busy during daycare sessions at The Woof. The indoor play area sprawls over 2,500 square feet and two floors, and outside, dogs have 600 square feet to play in. But they don't just chase each other around and practice their multiplication tables; they splash around in a dog-size water park, and are kept entertained by a Pet First Aid?trained staff. While pets are at The Woof, owners can schedule them luxury grooming sessions or even hour-long nature hikes. Overnight guests enjoy cage-free boarding with 24/7 supervision by actual humans?not just a well-trained doberman.
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.
Since 1969, dog-loving groomers at Tiffany?s Grooming Salon have served the area's pets with baths, trims, and even hand-scissored specialty cuts. Their doggy paradise is outfitted with specialty shampoos for all types of hair and skin, custom safety equipment, and hydraulic tables to accommodate larger breeds or older pets. To thoroughly pamper and calm canines, they can treat dogs to a four- to six-hour spa day complete with a massaging bath, blow-dry, pedicure, and custom hairstyle that suits their needs.
At Jonah's Ark Doggie Playcare & Training, play is the key term. In this 2,000-square-foot indoor playground, dogs romp freely, toss toys into the air, and clamber on and off agility obstacles. Plenty of lounge space offers tired pups quiet time as well. According to co-owner Saro Boghozian, wrestling and chasing other dogs not only teaches pups how to behave better, but also aids in their mental development. For further canine education, owners can enroll dogs in the center's training courses. During classes, the staff appeals to each dog's natural intelligence; owners are taught to train their dog with praise, rather than coax them with treats or discipline them with a rolled-up newspaper.
Christie Sharpe can read dogs' minds––well, maybe not directly. But after 11 years as a professions dog walker, she certainly understands their needs. Christie is licensed, insured, and fully first-aid certified to take beloved pooches on invigorating dog hikes, and can even teach them basic commands, such as "sit" or "do my taxes.” Clients can also solicit Sticks and Bones for in-home pet-sitting services.