Metro explores the latest trends emerging on the West Coast of Canada.
Vancouver trending: The dog days of summer
From baseball games to yoga, an increasing number of dog owners are looking for unique activities for their pooches. Businesses are more than happy to oblige.
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With close to 40 off-leash parks and an enviable proximity to beaches, mountains and forests, Vancouver is a dog owner's utopia.
From the chic Yaletown condo-dwellers with their well-coiffed dogs to weekend warriors with equally athletic canines, an increasing number of owners are on the hunt for unique activities. And businesses are upping the game with an ever-expanding array of dog-friendly options.
At Nat Bailey Stadium, for instance, the annual Dog Day of Summer offers baseball fans the chance to bring their dogs along to a Vancouver Canadians games. Hundreds of dogs join their owners, filling the stands with a cacophony of barking and cheering. Pet-a-Palooza, happening this August in Yaletown, is Western Canada's largest outdoor pet festival. The highlight is the Running of the Bulls, an always-amusing race for English and French bulldogs.
For those with a holistic West-Coast approach to their dog's health, Jet Pet at YVR is a luxury cafe focussed on mind-body-bliss philosophy, and the Bark Lounge offers Doggy Zen, relaxation classes for dog and owner. Yogadog, run by dog trainer Shannon Coppin, specializes in training to create a " sense of oneness" between dog and owner, using both traditional and new age training methods. Yogadog also offers several outdoor classes including agility classes, Ashtanga Loose Leash, and puppy classes.
For the adventurous, canicross is gaining momentum in the Lower Mainland. Originally created as a way of training sled dogs during snow-free months, it involves dogs pulling a runner instead of a sled. The dog wears a special harness for pulling, and the runner wears a canicross belt attached to the dog by bungee leash.
Stand up paddle boarding with dogs is also rapidly gaining popularity in Vancouver. Thomas Leuvekamp and his wife Tasha own and operate dog-friendly Liquid Lifestyle out of their home in North Van, with rentals, lessons, tours, and paddleboards for sale. They also "offer training to speed up the process of paddling with your dog," he said.
"Dogs pick it up really quick and it's a great mental workout for them," he said. "It's great to see an animal experience an unfamiliar environment and how quickly they accept it."
Perhaps most importantly, it creates a "strong trust bond" between dog and owner.