Have you ever found yourself wondering how much exercise your dog really needs? Should your dog be coming with you on your run or do dogs need a different type of exercise program? This past Monday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with Danielle Guetter, owner and operator of Puppy Love London and expert on dog walking, training, and overall canine health, to have these questions answered.
“Even though it’s overused these days,” says Danielle, “I do think #girlboss describes my title the best.” Danielle does it all: from accounting to dog walking to stoop and scoop, she is actively involved in every part of the business. With a business diploma from Fanshawe College, a BA from Western University, a Dog Trainer Certificate from Animal Behaviour College, and experience working at a doggy daycare and boarding facility, Danielle has the skills to provide her clients with the best possible care and education for their dogs.
Danielle began her business walking dogs one day a week. A friend created a logo and website for her and through word of mouth, more clients started appearing and asking for walks three days a week. “It happened fairly quickly as my name got circulated in the animal rescue community and soon I was working every afternoon of the week!” So began Puppy Love London.
Puppy Love London
Puppy Love London is a dog walking and training company based in London, Ontario, that focuses on building a strong, positive relationship with your dog. ”Our training methods and programs are science based and use positive, force-free methods to achieve results. Not only is this approach humane but it is the most effective in nurturing a loving, long term bond between our clients and their dog.”
The Puppy Love London Team
Now in its seventh year of operation, PLL has expanded to a team of talented dog trainers and walkers located across London. “Our team is comprised of professional, responsible, enthusiastic animal lovers. We strive for a practical approach to our canine relationships with training, exercise, positivity, and socialization as its core concept. With our team of dog trainers and walkers located across the city, we offer optimal flexibility and care in your busy schedule and assurance that your furry companion is having a great time and is receiving consistent care and training. Our trainers excel at motivating clients and enjoy working with all breeds, ages, and behaviours.”
“Even though people might feel like they are working with one dog trainer or have one primary dog walker, there is actually a whole small team behind each client. We check in on each other daily and give advice to each other if there is a particularly awkward dynamic between dogs, if someone needs training advice, or possible solutions for what to do if a dog is acting differently than normal. We are constantly brainstorming and chatting together about how we can offer more for our clients, and how we can continue to give outstanding care in different ways.”
The Services of Puppy Love London
Puppy Love London provides their clients with dog walking, dog training, and dog play dates. “Puppy care is individualized and tailored to meet each dog’s specific needs. There are some dogs that do better on walks or don’t live particularly close to other dogs, in which case, we will provide walks. But, depending on the group of dogs that we have, we do like to provide play dates as the dogs can often wear each other out better than we can out on a walk.
“Dog training is another service we offer. We run training classes that cover everything from basic to advanced obedience dog training, tricks, engagement and play, and loose leash walking. We provide our clients with private, in-home training sessions as well. Here, we can tackle issues in the house or on the property, such as barking when the doorbell is rung, counter surfing, unruly house behaviour, jumping, nipping, separation anxiety, reactivity, nervousness, and crate training.”
Exercise for Your Dog
Danielle uses her business to combine her two passions: dogs and being outside. “I love being in the sunshine, the changes of seasons, seeing plants in bloom, and then seeing those same plants covered in a layer of snow. I actually almost never walk my dogs in my neighbourhood because, quite frankly, it’s boring for them, and it’s boring for me. I like to choose slightly more fun locations. I hit trails and parks and walk up and down old country roads. This stimulates the dogs more anyway, and I get to admire the beauty around me.”
Being a nature addict and adventurer, Danielle finds herself often trying new things like skiing, Zumba, and stand up paddle boarding with LondonSUP. “We even run classes with LondonSUP called SUP PUP where people can bring their dogs on paddle boards. We have a trainer on hand to help with any dogs who might be nervous at first! It’s a lot of fun.”
Danielle’s Exercise Routine
From the time Danielle started her first job in the field at a cage-free doggy daycare and boarding facility, she’s known that staying in shape is key to her success as a dog walker and trainer. “The facility I worked at (before PPL) offered off-leash trail hikes with 10-12 dogs at a time, playtimes that lasted all day, trips to the dog park, one-on-one walks, dog training, dog grooming, and holistic health care approaches for dogs. I fell in love with working with dogs, being outside, and moving around every day. I lost fifteen pounds in the first month and a half of working there!”
To ensure she’s strong and stays fit for her job, Danielle participates in boot camps with Jessie Bicks Fitness and exercises six days per week in her home doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). “I magically transform my living room into my own personal gym complete with padded flooring, an adjustable bench, a variety of weights and kettle bells, medicine balls, bands, yoga mats, and foam rollers. Part of my job is being fit and active, so I definitely need to make sure I keep myself in good condition to be able to handle busy weeks!”
Quick Q & A
What’s your favourite outfit to wear while working?
Danielle: My work wear is totally seasonal, however, my favourite dog walking pants are either my Lululemon Wunder Under leggings or my Columbia Women’s Luminary Leggings because they are super comfortable, durable, flattering, and have a handy little cargo pocket where I can store my driver’s license, phone, treats and of course, poop bags. I typically wear either simple tank tops from Old Navy or Puppy Love London T-shirts or sweatshirts! I love to represent my company while out having fun with the dogs! Since I come and go from people’s homes, I love my Sketcher’s GOWalk 3 Balance Slip Ons. They are cushy and comfortable, easy to take on an off, and machine washable.
Outerwear is almost more important than what I wear because of the seasons. My favourite jacket is my Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Jacket. It’s expensive and worth every penny. I wear it three seasons, and after many years of not being able to find a truly waterproof jacket, I found it with this one! AND it’s insanely warm in the winter.
I have tried all sorts of rain boots and have had the best luck in terms of waterproof-ness and durability with my Hunter rain boots.
What’s your favourite brand of active wear?
Danielle: I’m not sure I have a favourite brand of active wear. I really love anything I’ve bought from Lululemon and Columbia from sports bras, to tanks and tees, sweatshirts, leggings, and jackets. I love the big sports names too, like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok. I love Old Navy’s active wear line as they are very inexpensive, are colourful, and fun, and fit well!
Where do you shop for your gear (clothes & equipment)?
Danielle: I prefer to buy good quality clothing for the business and I typically buy from Lululemon or Columbia. I like being comfortable but still feeling like I look presentable when I am out, despite being covered in dog hair and mud or drenched in rain half the time.
Fitness Depot in South London is the place I now refer people to go to for anything. The staff there are helpful, have a lots of stock, and offer competitive pricing! Before I knew about Fitness Depot, I bought most of my work out equipment from Canadian Tire. They often have fantastic deals on things like weights, foam mats, etc. My favourite purchase from there were the PowerBlock Elite Adjustable Dumbbells. I was able to increase my weights without having to spend loads more on different sets of weights.
What is your favourite exercise?
Danielle: Anything that works the whole body in one move is the best workout for me. Burpees are great as they engage and work my body from head to toe. Another one I love is 1-Arm Clean Squat Jerk. I do these at a high rep, low weight first and then I bump up to the heaviest weight I can handle for this move and do a low rep count. It is a full body move that makes me feel strong!
How important is nutrition to you?
Danielle: Nutrition is super important for me and I have a much different view of food than I used to. About a year and a half ago, I had been working out for a few months and I started learning about how I could change my nutrition. It wasn’t until I changed what I was eating that I really started noticing shifts in my body: I lost almost 15 pounds within a month and a half! Now I see food as fuel, and a significant contributor to how I feel and how much energy I have, since I need quite a lot of energy for my busy days! However, I really, really like food (and by food, I mean the food I used to almost exclusively eat: bread, cheese, donuts, perogies, wine, etc.). Those used to be my staples and are now my treats. I will never deprive myself, but I have definitely swapped the quantity of fruits and veggies for my old carb amount.
What do you normally eat throughout the day?
Danielle: I make sure I have a minimum of five cups of produce a day: at least two cups of fruits and three cups of vegetables (if not more), and only two small portions of carbs a day. I need carbs for energy to get me through my day, which I typically consume at breakfast (steel cut oats, with coconut, peanut butter and cinnamon, and a side of two eggs) and at lunch (a wrap usually), and then load up on veggies and protein at dinner. I snack on fruit and veggies and a healthy fat like nuts throughout the day. This routine fits my schedule for the most part, and I always make sure I have snacks and water with me. I tend to prep some aspects of my meals on Sunday, so that I set myself up for success for the week to come.
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