5 Hidden Gems to walk your dog around Toronto


As these uncertain times of the covid pandemic continue well into the year, we look for more ways to entertain ourselves while social distancing. As pet parents, we also need to look for ways to engage our pets without going to the dog park so often. With limited options, we’re looking for more ways to spend outside before the Winter season comes along. If you’re a pet owner that’s tired of walking the same route every day with your dog(s), please check out these hidden gems in and around Toronto for some new adventure plans.  


Sherwood Park 

Sherwood Park is located in Midtown Toronto and can be a great outdoor escape for the entire family. This park offers beautiful wooded hiking trails and even an off-leash area for your fur babies to run around freely. Whether you spend a couple of hours here or the whole day, this truly is a great little local gem within the city to go out and enjoy with your dog. 


Cherry Beach 

Cherry Beach, found on the city’s outer part, should be explored before the Winter season comes around. Located on the north shore of the Outer Harbour at the foot of Cherry Street, this beach has a dedicated off-leash dog park so that you can bring your pup to. This hidden gem has a cottage country atmosphere that can create the illusion of escape within the city. Your dog is sure to love to run around the wide-open treed and take a dip in the water to cool down before doing it all again!


Crothers Woods

Another hidden gem in Toronto is Crothers Woods. This beautiful hiking trail is located in East York in the Don River valley in Toronto. Although this trail is not off-leash, it can offer a great outdoor adventure for you and your pup. This trail offers about 10 kilometres of various hiking difficulties to explore. With the range in hiking difficulty, this trail can be a walk in the park or a challenging workout for you and your pup. Whichever path you select, you can enjoy the outdoors and the beautiful scenery this trail will provide. 


Hinder Property 

The Don River valley has another hidden gem in the Toronto area. The Hinder Property located at Bathurst and Shepard offers a scenic hiking route and bike trails. This beautiful forested hiking trail is not off-leash; however, it provides a nice quiet trail to walk or run along with your furry friend. This trail can be explored as an outdoor activity, or you can make it a full day adventure and bring a picnic to snack on and relax with your dog in the park.


Moore Park Ravine 

The Moore Park Ravine is another scenic gem in Toronto where you can escape a busy city life. This trail is a 6-kilometre loop trail that’s easy to navigate so you cannot get lost. This trail is excellent for walks, hikes, bikes, and runs, so remember to keep your dog on a leash. The Moore Park Ravine is an easier trail that’s easily accessible to you and your dog year-round. Whenever you’re looking for an inner-city escape, this hidden gem is ready to provide a nature escape to you and your pup. 

This season, take advantage of the beautiful fall colours and social distancing protocols and enjoy the beauty of nature. Toronto may seem like a concrete jungle, but there are quite a few hidden gems in and around the city to escape to. Pack your bags and bring your furry friends along for an adventure they are sure to enjoy!

5 Things To Do With Your Dog During COVID-19


This year has brought about many different changes in the way we care and exercise our pets. Our pets went from going out regularly, socializing and interacting with everyone to going out once in a while and significantly limiting their social interactions. This must have been quite a confusing change for our social and attention-seeking fur babies. 

But as the restrictions loosen, and life returns to a new normal, our pets can start enjoying the outside world and socializing more often. Here are some ideas for physical activity and socializing you can do with your pets during COVID.  


Trail Hikes for Solid Exercise 

If you’re still hesitant to be out in public around too many people but are looking for some challenging and good exercise, you can check out Toronto’s and the surrounding area’s various trails. Hiking, walking, running, or biking a trail is an excellent exercise for both you and your dog. In addition to physical activity, you’ll get fresh air and the chance to take in all the nature around you. After an outing like this, you’ll both be feeling the burn and ready to kick back and relax for the rest of the day. 


Swimming for playtime together 

For those warmer days in the month, taking your dog swimming would be a great physical and social outing for both you and your dog. This can be an afternoon event at a neighbourhood park, or a day trip or weekend away to a beach! Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for dogs and a perfect form of exercise for older dogs with joint issues. If you have access to a pool, this activity can be done regularly in your own space’s comfort and safety. For other ideas of places to swim, please read our blog listing pet-friendly areas to take your dog swimming: Top 5 Places to Take Your Dog Swimming in Toronto.  


Picnics for socialization and together time

For a low-key hang out with your furry friend, a picnic can be the perfect afternoon or weekend activity. At a nice local park, your dog can run around and play and socialize with other dogs and people that may be around. You can even invite some friends for a small gathering of dogs and people and catch up to mix for the day. This is sure to be an enjoyable activity for humans and dogs alike! 


Toronto City walks for socialization and exercise

If you’re looking for more colour and noise with restaurants and shops as your backdrop, then a walk in the city might be better for you. A walk through the city can expose you and your dog to all sorts of sights, sounds, and smells. This can be an excellent exercise for physical and mental stimulation with some entertainment along the way. While being out and about, your dog can also meet other dogs in the neighbourhood and get the social interaction they need. This activity is just a significant mood changer for both humans and dogs. 


Parkour for brain training and exercise 

Some of us may still be more hesitant to leave the house very often. But this does not mean that the fun stops inside. If you and your dog are stuck inside, you can still bring an exciting and fun environment to your home so that your dog can get some moderate exercise and psychological stimulation. Some websites and facilities offer online or private training programs or classes to do with your dog from home. If interested, you can do a Google search for a particular course or check out Helicopter Tail Co.’s page for more information about these at-home services.


This year has caused us to get creative with the way we exercise and socialize our pets. Although it’s different from what we’re generally used to, these activities and moments will only bring you and your furry friends closer together for memories to last a lifetime. 


Top 5 Places to Take your Dog Swimming in Toronto


There are only a couple of weeks left of summer, but with all the heat waves this year, Summer doesn’t look like it’s coming to an end anytime soon. Even though we enjoy the hot weather, we also enjoy finding ways to cool down in the summer too. Our dogs are no different in looking for ways to cool down in the summer heat. And what better way is there to cool down than splashing about in some water!

Although Toronto may seem like a concrete jungle, there are many options in and around Toronto to take your dog. From pet-friendly beaches, parks, creeks, and lakes, listed here are a few places to take your furry friends swimming this summer: 


1. Cherry Beach

Cherry Beach is located at the end of Cherry Street in Toronto and is known for its designated off-leash dog area on its Western boundary where dogs can swim on the beach. This beach is open to the public to regularly enjoy with the City testing the water to ensure safe water quality. The beach is also a little rocky so that it may be more comfortable on your dog’s paws, instead of hot sand. At Cherry Beach, you can splash around with your pup, spend a whole afternoon or evening at the park with your pooch, and bring a picnic or a barbeque to your hangout overlooking the water. For more information about the beach, click here.


2. Balmy Beach/Silverbirch Park

Balmy Beach/Silverbirch Park is located on 2 Silver Birch Avenue in Toronto. This beach and path have great reviews as a dog-friendly space with beautiful views. This beach is an urban space, so a walk with your dog through the shops can bring you straight to the beach to cool down in the summer. From the beach, you can enjoy the water with a great view of the City. The area also has a nearby park and benches so that your dog can run around and dry off in the sun. For more information about the park, click here.


3. Etobicoke Creek Valley 

Etobicoke Creek Valley is located a bit outside of Toronto but a great dog-friendly place to visit if you’re looking to get out of the City. This area includes a beautiful nature path to walk, run, or bike on with your dog. Since the trail is alongside a creek, your dog can hop in to cool down after a day of activity. This would be a great little road trip to spend some quality time in nature with your furry friend. For more information about the Valley park and trail, click here.


4. Sherwood Park 

For a small scale adventure with your dog, you can visit Sherwood Park in the midtown neighbourhood of Toronto. Although this isn’t a beach, your dog can still have a great time going out for a walk and swimming in the nearby creek to cool off before heading home. Sherwood Park would be a great little local adventure for you and your pup to enjoy anytime!


5. Humber Bay West 

Humber Bay West is located on 2225 Lake Shore Boulevard West in Toronto. This place is a lakeside park that offers trails, paths, and areas to picnic and relax. During the day you can enjoy riding your bike or walking the trails and paths with your furry friend. You can even pack a picnic or afternoon snack to recharge for more adventure afterwards. Along with a beautiful view of the lake, you can take a dip in; you get a beautiful view of the Toronto City Skyline to enjoy as well. A day at Humber Bay West would be a day your pooch will surely remember! For more information about the park, click here

With Summer still in full swing, it’s not too late to take your pup out and explore these places in and around the City. Air conditioning isn’t the only way to keep cool this summer! Visiting parks, beaches, and lakes can keep you and pooch cool while having fun in the sun at the same time! Make sure to visit the websites linked for more information about the area you’re visiting. 

Why you should still use a dog walker, even though you are working from home.

Why you should still use a dog walker, even though you are working from home.

2020 has been a really confusing, stressful and scary year so far.  Many people are working from home, and will be for the foreseeable future.  You can walk them whenever you, or they, want.   You can spend all day with your beloved pup.   

The off leash parks have reopened, and dog walkers are allowed to restart their businesses.  But you’re home all day now….why would you need a dog walker?  There are a lot of really good reasons to continue using your dog walker.  Today’s topic:

Social Distancing: 

  1. We can bring 6 dogs with us:  Dog walkers can manage and are allowed to bring up to 6 dogs with them into the off leash parks.  This means one person for every six dogs, two people for every 12 dogs or 3 people for 18 dogs.    If 18 people brought 18 dogs in to the off leash park, social distancing would be harder to maintain—and that’s just assuming every one dog comes with only one person…many times they are coming with an adult and some kids, or two adults—so it’s entirely possible that there could be more humans than dogs in the off leash area.
  2. Our dog behaviour knowledge:  Dogs have their own language.  It’s there if you understand it.  Unfortunately, many people don’t.  This could lead to two or even more owners having to step in when behaviour escalates.  As dog walkers, we are knowledgeable in dog behaviour.  We’ve already recognized a dog to avoid even before they start playing with our dogs.  We can step in before they start interacting and redirect our pup to someone more suitable without any involvement of the other owner, thereby maintaining social distancing. 
  3. We come prepared:  Managing multiple dogs is our job.  It’s what we do day in and day out—we’re experts at it.  And as such, we come prepared for it.  We bring treats and toys.  These tools allow us to facilitate recall and redirection without physically managing the dogs. 
  4. Dog Walking is our job: We’re at the park to work, not socialize with our friends.   Our eyes are on the dogs, and we’re engaging with them.  

How to Make a Snuffle Mat for Your Dog

dog with enrichment toy

For Toy Tuesday, we are sharing a video on how to make a snuffle mat from an old towel.  What’s a snuffle mat, you ask?  Think of it as a shaggy carpety mat type thing that you hide some small treats in and then your dog has to spend time sniffing them out and eating them. Basically, it’s a toy that provides some mental stimulation, which is especially great since some of our pups aren’t getting their usual physical exercise.  For this mat, you only need: a towel and scissors.  You can use multi coloured towels, too, if you like, but it’s not necessary. 

The video is from our good friend, Nicole, at We Work for Treats.  

Step #1 Build your Snuffle Mat:

Step #2 Prepare your Mat for your dog:

You’ve got your mat ready, now comes the fun part.  For this, you’ll need some treats. (These could be special treats, or they could even be their regular kibble.  Use whatever your pup is willing to hunt for.)  Scatter the treats in the mat.  Make sure to get them right down into the mat.  The better you do at hiding them, the harder your dog will have to work to find them.  

Pro Tips: 

  1. If you’re putting your mat into a box, like shown in the video, hid some treats under the mat.  Actually, you could do this regardless.  If so, just make sure your pup is locked up in another room, so you can prepare the mat without them hovering over you.  
  2. Make some of the treats REALLY delicious….like toss in a couple pieces of chicken or cheese.  But make those ones really hard to get to.  
  3. You can make this mat larger depending on how long you would like your pup to be working on it.  It doesn’t have to be small like shown in the video.
  4. If your dog likes squeaky toys and if you have squeakers (the small plastic replacement ones) you can hide those under the mat, too.

We hope you and your pup enjoy this snuffle mat!  Let us know how it goes. 

Don’t forget to share you pictures and videos with us at: #playtimewithcitizencanine