Training Tips



Like all dog owners this time of year, I start to really appreciate those dry days of fall. With November in full swing, it’s darker earlier, which means your daily after work walk with your pooch can be wet and dreary. I wanted to share a few helpful tips for dog owners to assist in getting ready for the winter season in Vancouver.

1. INVEST IN A WATERPROOF JACKET – Who wants to walk in the pouring rain and get soaked? No one. If this is your first winter with your new dog, you will want to invest in a waterproof jacket. Ask any dog owner in Vancouver and they will agree, it’s worth every penny. Make sure its waterproof, and not water resistant! Speaking from my own experience, a water resistant jacket will not hold up in the pouring rain for more than 10 minutes.

2.  A MUST – WATERPROOF SHOES OR BOOTS – You will be thankful you invested in this essential dog walking gear, the waterproof shoe! There are more and more options on the market that offer Gore-Tex lining on shoes and boots. I invested in a mid cut walking trail boot and it works like a charm in the rain and snow. My feet stay dry and warm and they are light and comfortable. The right shoe makes your dog walk much more enjoyable. For those who love rubber boots, go for it! They will keep your feet dry, but be warned, you will need a nice thermal sock to go inside as those buggers can get cold quick.

3. SHINE A LIGHT ON THINGS – How many times have you tried to find your dog’s poop in the dark? It’s almost impossible. It seems to be that very last bathroom break of the night where I’m making a fool of myself in my most ridiculous outfit (some random pj’s or misfit mismatch duo) staring at blades of grass or piles of leaves trying to find those few little terds my dog dropped. And the silly thing is, I know I’m not alone! Most dog owners have flailed late at night trying to figure out where Mr. Poopers dropped it. I’ve reverted to two options to solve this issue; a mini flashlight stored in my pocket, or my flashlight app that I downloaded onto my smartphone. Both work like a charm! And best of all, not only will you will save yourself time and energy, you will reduce the shame factor by minimizing the time outside in that crazy dog walking outfit.

4. WEAR REFLECTIVE GEAR, SAVE A LIFE – Let’s face it, with the clocks going back, it gets darker earlier. When you consider this and the fact that in Vancouver we have a wet and very low visibility environment, you and your dog are at risk of not being seen by traffic. I realize that not every dog owner can walk their dog in a ‘heal’ position, and for this reason, you must have reflective gear on your jacket and on your dog. I had a client tell me that after she completed the Leader of the Pack training sessions with me that I had inadvertently helped save her dogs life. See, they weren’t wearing reflective gear and as they went to cross the road on a dark November night in the rain, a car turning the corner didn’t see them and just missed them by an inch! She had learned how to master the walk and have her dog beside her. Had the dog been out in front, he would have been hit head on and it could have been fatal. Avoid unnecessary vet bills, get anything reflective NOW and put it on your dog. There are also glow in the dark collars and leashes on the market as well. Be preventative as this safety measure could save you or your dog’s life.

5. BUY A DOG JACKET – Dogs can get chilled easily in our climate. Help keep them warm with a protective layer. There are rain jackets now that have a fleece lining that can snap on and off. As well, for colder climates, you can simply purchase a fleece lined jacket for your dog. You want to keep their bodies as warm as possible. For those long haired dogs (retrievers, setters, shih tzu terriers), a jacket will help keep their fur from soaking up the rain and from matting.

6. FIND PLACES TO WALK WITH LOTS OF TREES – Like any good Vancouverite, I know a relentless rainy day when I see one. You know the one I’m talking about… where the sheets of rain just keep flooding the streets and you have trouble seeing more than a few feet in front of you. When I know it is extremely miserable weather, I will find places to walk that are covered by trees. Trees can provide some shelter from the rain. If you have a really active dog that needs a lot of exercise, you may want to go to the trails in Pacific Spirit Park or Lynn Canyon for example. These trails are heavily lined with trees and help protect from the rain.

7. DON’T WANT TO WALK YOUR POOCH IN THE RAIN? Or perhaps your pooch hates getting wet? Try this solution – train and play indoors! A lot of dog owners I come across underestimate the power of draining energy thru psychological challenges for their dogs. Play hide and seek, practice the place command, get a treadmill, fetch, or puzzle games. All of these activities will help drain your dog’s energy. My clients are always amazed how doing one training session with me completely knocks their dog out for the day. Your dog needs mental stimulation. Not only will you have a tired dog after your done training, you will have a stronger bond. And who doesn’t want their dog to love them more than they already do?

Remember, rain or shine,  your dog needs to walk. Keep the above tips in mind next time you head out. Stay safe and keep moving.

Posted by:  Andrea Warner, Dog Trainer.

For more tips and advice, feel free to email Andrea Warner Dog Trainer at or visit their YouTube page for training videos here: