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I want a dog, but am I ready?!

I would hazard a guess that you found your way to this post because of one or both of these reasons:

1. You are a dog lover: Curious about all things dog, including the services we offer at Yorkville Dog Walking.

2. You’d really like to have a dog of your own, but you don’t quite think it’s feasible yet and want to convince yourself otherwise.

Well, let me attempt to satisfy your curiosity (and maybe nudge you in a certain direction) because I think you’re probably a lot more ready than you believe!

If you can say with certainty that:

You’re able to provide a furry friend with food, water, exercise & unconditional love;

You are patient and understanding - dogs can be a handful sometimes, especially when you’re training a puppy; And most importantly, you understand that owning a dog is a lifetime commitment; ..It is possible - even when you’re one person and are away from home during the day - to own a dog!

Dogs are a lot of fun and to be a dog parent is incredibly rewarding, but owning one is a big responsibility and requires a lot of patience, love & understanding.

If you’re up for the challenge (and even greater reward) but you’re still not sure, let me help eliminate your hesitations:

“I really want a dog, but I just don’t think I would be able to take care of him or her all by myself.”

I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not easy to take care of a dog on your own. In fact, there’s a lot of work involved for one person - especially when you’ve got a pup with a higher energy level or behavioral issues. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone and a little bit of help can make a big difference!

Have you talked to your friends and family about helping out? A lot of people want to spend time with dogs (especially those whose owners their close with) and would be happy to chip in. Be up front and honest if you need them to commit regularly and try to establish a trusted registry of those who are able and willing to take care of your dog when you’re out for the day or while you’re on vacation or away for a night. You’d be surprised how many people would love to help out.

The next step is setting yourself up with a Dog Walker. Yes, we’re slightly biased here at Yorkville Dog Walking, but it’s really important to ensure your pup is getting enough attention and exercise. So, if you are out all day (as most of us are, earning a living) and are unable to source the help you need from your circle of friends, finding a trusted Dog Walker is definitely the best solution. If you are in the area and searching for dog walkers in Yorkville, we would love to meet you!

When it comes to choosing the right service, you’ll need to consider a few things:

If your dog is social (with dogs), has never shown aggression towards people or other dogs, and is good walking on leash, they would definitely benefit from participating in a Pack Walk. During a Pack Walk (aka Group Walk) your pup is going to burn the maximum amount of energy. In the group setting, they’ll have the chance to establish proper leash walking skills, while socializing with other dogs in a safe & controlled environment.

We suggest searching for Services that offer smaller pack sizes (maximum 4 dogs) for the ultimate combination of one-on-one attention and group socialization.

If your dog is good with other dogs but is still working on their leash walking skills and is starting to make progress - or maybe just requires a little bit more one-on-one attention, you might instead consider a Semi Solo or Solo Walking Service.

If your pup has more serious and/or disruptive behavioral issues, working with a Professional Walker is going to be incredibly beneficial. With a solo style service, your pup will have the best chance to really focus on developing their leash walking skills and general obedience.

At Yorkville Dog Walking, we offer the option to introduce a bit of socialization with a Semi Solo service, which combines one-on-one walks with occasional 2-3 dog group walks. This option allows your pup to gradually learn the skills they need, with the option of transition into a Pack Walk once those skills have been properly established.

For those of you whose workdays are short, or you’re able to provide all the exercise that your pup needs, a Potty Break might be all your pup requires during the day. If you’re just looking for a quick visit during the day so they can do their business, have a snack/water break and stretch their legs, this is the service for you.

In all scenarios, it’s important to consider the safety and security of your pet. Professional services should ensure that measures are in place to keep your furry friend happy, safe and secure at all times. We recommend on-leash walking services, for safety purposes, but also because they tend to offer the best opportunity for obedience training and controlled socialization.

“I’m out all day long, so they’d be home alone and I live in a condo, so that would be cruel!”

I have two responses to this comment.

Consider adopting. I think this is the best response to this concern because that hesitation likely stems from a worry that your pup isn’t going to feel comfortable in a smaller space. If you’re committed to properly loving and caring for your furry friend, there’s absolutely no reason your pup should feel too confined. An adopted dog will be especially happy! They often come from terrible circumstances where they’ve suffered a lot. Your home, big or small, is going to be the most comfortable and safe place on earth to them. All you need to worry about is providing the right amount of exercise, love and attention for your pup - with enough exercise, any dog will be happy, wherever they live!

Also, many dogs are crate trained. Their crate eventually becomes a safe space for them - a “confined” place where they feel secure and comfortable. More space doesn’t necessarily mean that your pup is going to feel more comfortable. Dogs can even sometimes feel more insecure or stressed - getting themselves into trouble during the day - when they’re given too much extra space.

That being said, it’s still very important that your pup is given the opportunity to regularly stretch their legs and go potty in addition to their exercise regime. Too much time spent sedentary, in general, can cause your pup to develop negative behaviours.

Whether you choose to hire a dog walker or not, we would advise that your pup gets at least 1 hour of fast-paced walking or rigorous play per day. This recommendation, of course, is generalized and factors such as general health, energy level, breed and size should be taken into account.

“I really don’t think that I can afford it right now. Dogs are expensive.”

I’ll say it again: Consider adopting! Dogs are expensive, but you can save money right off the bat by adopting. And you’re doing good at the same time. A winning combination.

Not only is adopting cheaper to start (a few hundred dollars vs. $1000+ with a breeder) but adopted dogs typically come neutered/spayed and up to date with their vaccines.

Check out these great rescue agencies in Toronto, or visit your local SPCA/ Humane Society to learn more about adopting!

Rest assured, there are many ways to save money on pet expenses.

The Fun Times Guide is a great way to learn about clever ways to save money as a dog owner.

At the end of the day, getting a dog is a big commitment, and big commitments are always nerve-wracking. If it’s your first dog, you’ll never feel 100% ready, but that’s okay - there are a lot of amazing resources and organizations that can help you along the way. Make sure you think hard about the points at the start of the blog, and don’t take the decision lightly.


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