Hi there! I love animals and I'm a lifelong pet owner (you name it, I've likely lived with one!), My 17+ year old dog died in 2016 and my 13+ year old dog Tank died recently (January 2017). I miss having dogs around! *UPDATE: I've opened my home and heart to a foster dog in-need. Barney was found as a stray in Mexico, and brought to Toronto by a local rescue group. He's learning how to live in a home and become a companion animal. He's a quick learner who is recovering from an ACL (knee) surgery and we haven't had much opportunity for him to interact with other dogs yet. I'm not sure how this will affect my ability to accept dogs for vacays, so it looks like, as dog owners, we'll have to decide with each interest/booking request! Barney would do best with a very chilled-out (possibly older?) dog with lower energy, that it absolutely non-aggressive, even in a playful way. Barney is curious when we see dogs on our outings, and he wants to approach them. If a dog is barking at him, he barks back. For dogs who pass by quietly, he simply watches them. Because I'm a renter, I would like to only book with dogs who are not barkers! Barkers in the past have gotten complaints from neighbours, and unfortunately this puts my tenancy at risk.
I'm great with dogs because I try to understand what they're experiencing, and being creative, I find the best way to connect with each dog based on their individual personality and needs. I tell them what I DO like with tons of praise (verbal and physical) so they will repeat that behaviour, and what I DON'T like (sharp "NO" with hand clap) paired with an immediate re-direct to reduce the behaviours, then praise on the successful redirect. Doing this immediately and consistently is how I've trained all of my dogs - it's very effective. They feel confident, safe, and their self-esteem stays intact. I'm constantly studying and learning about dogs, Once I know a dog better, I'm even able to stop unwanted behaviours *before* they happen - simply by interrupting a thought and correcting/redirecting, just by reading their body language. (For example, stopping the thought to run after a squirrel is much more effective than trying to stop the dog once he/she's already running after it!) I read all the time and this has helped so much in understanding how dogs think, what they need, and what makes a good caregiver. We have a lot of fun, and dogs feel safe and relaxed because they quickly understand their role and my simple rules. I'm fair and loving, fun and caring.
I'm able to work with your dog during his/her stay to curb unwanted behaviours (ex: whining, barking, pacing, pulling, excessive licking, aggressive reactions to other animals, specific fears, etc.) We'll be spending lots of time together, why not make the most of it by trying to create more balance? I will share with you what worked (and what didn't) so that there can be the option for continuity.
Tank (my dog that just died) was given to me 4.5 years ago by a couple who could no longer care for him. Tank and I were able to work together to improve his manners and leash skills, as well as working on fears (rain, squeaky toys, etc.) and successfully overcoming his extreme separation anxiety. We came a long way!
I've hosted many dogs for friends and family over the years, and every time the owners return, they notice how calm and happy their dogs are, and how silky their fur is (I add fish oils and coconut oils to their food - but wouldn't do this for Clients dogs without checking first!). I can bathe your dog, and trim nails as well.
I love dog guests. My home is comfortable, with a few large dog beds, a large dog chair, and dogs are also allowed on the sofa, or anywhere else they please. I have a giant dog crate that can fit a dog up to 100lbs. My home is dog-proofed for safety and quiet. It's filled with sunlight and fresh air. I even set up dog beds on the balcony, weather permitting. Dogs can rest, play, or wander around my home. It's a relaxed environment.
A typical day looks like this: I wake up and feed Barney right away, then right out for a walk in our beautiful nature-filled area. Then Barney sleeps and I work on my computer, and/or run errands. Around 2pm we go for another walk, then play time at home (snuggles, toys, treats, etc.). A quick out around 7pm, then dinner and more relaxing, then out again for another walk before bed, It's a simple life, one easily adapted to the needs of most dogs. I have a flexible schedule and would be happy to work around your dog's needs as much as possible. I have a large dog stroller so dogs with mobility issues can enjoy/join longer outings.
I live right next to an (un-fenced) off-leash dog park, on the Humber River Trail, just 2.5 kms north of Lake Ontario. It's such a beautiful nature walk along the Humber River trail, with lots of singing birds and greenery. It leads pretty far north, and south to the Lake.
My rates may be a bit higher than other sitters, but from my experience with sitters for my dogs in the past, I've found that skimping on dog care was not our best bet. If I can afford to have a dog, I can afford to provide that dog with a quality experience when I'm not able to be with him/her! I have high standards for my dogs' care, and will provide that same level of care for yours. Your dog is worth it! I'm worth it!
I'd be happy to speak with you and/or set up a "Meet-n-Greet" to see if we're a match for your dog's care. Thanks :)
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