The new school year is almost upon us; schedules will be busting at the seams with meal prep, homework, extra-curricular activities and getting to school and work on time.  Being a parent myself, I know these hectic mornings very well and I’m always looking for creative ways to multitask, so I can complete two or three jobs at once.  One of those was walking my dog and my son to school together.

Taking your dog to school can be a great way to exercise and socialize your dog; if they enjoy it and it doesn’t add extra work for you.  If your dog is already calm and Zen around a melee of people and children, doesn’t mind being approached and petted by people of any age, and is able to match your walking pace to the school, then you are all set to go!

My previous dog Lola was well-known by students and staff at the school because she would accompany us every day for pick-up and drop-off, unless it was raining.  Sometimes she would take her stuffy on the walk to show everyone at school.  She loved the attention, was great walking in crowds and could slow down and speed up when I needed her to.  She knew when we were running late and would be ok with missing out on her sniffs until my son was dropped off.  It worked out very well for everyone!

Here are some signs that your dog is very comfortable making the walk to and from school:

  • Able to focus on you and watch everything calmly.
  • Able to sit or lie down when asked.
  • Soft body language such as squinty eyes, mid-height tail wag, relaxed ears and mouth, perhaps a slight pant.
  • When people approach and pet, your dog remains comfortable and may often elicit more attention by turning towards them, bumping their hand with their nose or head.

If your dog is shy or anxious around people, especially children, then this would not be the best opportunity to help your dog gain confidence.  The school yard in the morning and afternoon is just too chaotic for dogs who are uncomfortable, and it may increase fear and anxiety because it will overwhelm your dog.  If you see a few of the following signs, it would be best to leave your dog at home:

  • Stopping along the way to school and refusing to move forward.
  • Trying to get away from people or hiding behind you.
  • Turning away from people when they approach or pet.
  • Showing whites of the eyes, yawning, or licking their lips often while at the school or when people approach.
  • Lunging, barking or growling.

Even if your dog loves and gets really excited about people, children, or other dogs, it is best to wait to take your dog to school.  These trips to the school can reinforce pulling, jumping and barking.  These are attention seeking behaviors, and very often get rewarded directly by people coming over to pet your dog when they exhibit these behaviors or indirectly by you trying to stop the behavior.   Any attention can be good attention for some dogs!

I know this personally and professionally because of our newest addition, Galaxy; a young socialite who makes her presence known to every dog and person with a funny “roo roo” sound, pulling at the leash or, if you get too close, a little lick or a jump.  After the third time taking Galaxy on the walk to school, I realized that it was just too much for her.  Although multitasking made my life easier, it was not an ideal time or environment to train my young pup, so I made a training plan to set her up for success.

Here is what I did, with a few additional tips:

  • Get your dog used to the route when there is less activity going on.
  • Practice the route at different speeds in case you are running late! A cue like “let’s go!” can be useful to teach.
  • If you have a stroller, practice walking your dog with the stroller at different speeds.
  • Walk by the school when everyone is inside, or on the weekend and praise and reward your dog for looking at the school calmly.
  • Go to a park and, from a distance, have your dog watch the children while feeding your dog something yummy as a reward for being calm. Over time, you can slowly move closer to the activity.  This may take a few days or maybe weeks, depending on your dog.
  • For your first couple of trial runs taking your dog on the walk to school, see if you can have someone come with you to pick up your child(ren) so that you can work on calm behavior from a distance and slowly move closer. This will set your dog up for success, reinforce calm behavior and avoid having your dog repeat unwanted behavior.
  • Have lots of treats ready for “treat bombs.” Take a handful of treats and drop them on the ground to get your dog sniffing.  Your dog will easily associate the school with this fun, calming game and will give you time to chat to other parents and wait for your child(ren) while your dog is calm.

Galaxy can now calmly walk to school and wait for her human brother and will often just sniff around.  She does still give a good “roo roo” to the kids she knows, but I don’t mind that.  It took a couple of weeks, but by taking time and helping Galaxy to understand what is expected of her by making it easy and practicing, we have a dog who can walk to school with us for many years.

Andrea Dinan, CPDT-KA, LFDM-T, FFCT

In addition to the certifications above, Andrea is certified through the Karen Pryor Foundations and Kids Around Dogs, and she has also taken the Masters Course in Dog Aggression through  She is the founder of EduCanine and City Dogs Training & Behavior and also created “The Rescue Plan.”


Have a great photo of your furry best bud you’d like to share?  We’d love to include it in the 2024 Speaking of Dogs Rescue calendar!  It could be a photo of your pup having fun in the sun, chilling out a home, out on an adventure, enjoying the snow, or any other shot that warms your heart and makes you smile.  Photos should not include people but can include a four-legged friend.  There is no charge to submit, but please only send one photo per dog.  Photos should be between 1 and 2 MB in size.

Please email your favourite snapshot to, and then keep an eye out for the calendars in November!

Can you Lend a Paw?

Speaking of Dogs Rescue benefits from:

People purchasing gift certificates from FundScrip. Go to FundScrip using our link.

BarkBox sales – use code SPEAKING OF DOGS at checkout and the rescue will receive a $15 donation from BarkBox. Plus, you will receive 10% off your subscription!

Gifted – is an online invitation, RSVP management, cash registry and fundraising platform that allows hosts to donate any portion of their cash gifts to a charity of their choice. Speaking of Dogs Rescue can now be chosen as the charity that will benefit from a GIFTED party.

Visit our donation web page by clicking here.

Recall Alert

The FDA has warned pet parents not to feed their dogs Darwin’s Natural Pet Products raw dog food.

Click here to learn more about this recall.

Meet our August Feature Dogs: Benji & Fifi

Benji and Fifi are delightful little dogs who are attached to one another – where he goes, she goes. Benji is a lovely 10 yr. old, neutered male, shih-tzu mix and weighs about 20 lbs. Fifi is a sweet 11 yr. old, spayed female, chihuahua/pug mix and weighs about 20 lbs. They are a joy to love and live with.

Fifi is fine with handling and loves to be cuddled. While Benji doesn’t like to be handled much, he does tolerate being picked up when needed. He likes to be petted and will turn over to make sure he gets his belly rubbed. He will lie beside you on the couch.

They both eat well and enjoy a treat each time they come in from being outside. The treats are liver training treats or tiny biscuit bones. They tend to grab at the treats so need to be told “easy” and it works. Feeding with an open hand is best.

Medications – Benji is taking a liver supplement daily, and both dogs are on the flea and tick program which is given once monthly June through November.

Benji and Fifi sleep together on a blanket on the floor in the bedroom. They are early risers but will settle back for a bit longer if asked to.

Benji is good about doing his business outside in the yard, or on walks. Fifi needs to go outside more often as she drinks more. They are let out at least every 2 – 3 hrs. Initially, they had a few accidents but that no longer happens now that they have a good bathroom routine.

They are not left alone very often – an hour at most. They are left in the bedroom to nap and are quiet until they hear us come back in.

Benji and Fifi bark when excited and if someone passes by the house however overall, they are not overly vocal. They are both good at walking on leash and often will sit patiently if their human stops to chat with someone. They usually bark when they see another person or dog. Neither of them has shown any sign of being destructive and haven’t shown any interest in toys.

They are both friendly when approached by strangers coming into the house (after a bit of initial barking). From what we know, they don’t have experience with children.

If you are interested in giving these two cuties a place to call home, please

fill out an application for our consideration.

Click here to visit our adoption application.



Short Coat



German Shepherd



Maltese / Poodle (Miniature) / Mixed

Long Coat



Maltese / Poodle (Toy) / Mixed

Short Coat



Maltese / Poodle (Miniature)

Short Coat



Maltese / Poodle (Toy)

Short Coat



Catahoula Leopard Dog / Labrador Retriever / Mixed

Short Coat



Black Labrador Retriever / Mixed

Short Coat


Pearl & Gizmo

Shih Tzu’s

Short Coat’s

Female & Male


Yorkshire Terrier “Yorkie” / Mixed

Short Coat



Beagle / Mixed

Short Coat



Husky / Mixed

Medium Coat


Simcoe County Readers’ Choice Awards

Please Choose Speaking of Dogs Rescue!

It’s Readers’ Choice time again, and we’re delighted and grateful to be nominated for Best Animal Rescue. Speaking of Dogs Rescue is a registered charity run solely by volunteers, and this year we’re proudly celebrating 21 years of promoting responsible pet ownership and caring for and rehoming dogs in need. We’d be very grateful if you could take a few moments to help spread the word about the wonderful dogs in our care by voting for our rescue by the September 11th deadline.

All you need to do is Click Here, sign in, and cast your vote for Speaking of Dogs Rescue!

Dear Speaking of Dogs,

Rosie is doing very well and after a year, has finally totally settled in.  She is such an awesome dog and I am so very happy that she has come into my life.

She recovered well from the mass removal and apart from recurring itchy ears, which I have had to medicate, she seems to be healthy.  Last summer she was terrified of rain and thunderstorms, but this summer I can tell how ‘at home’ she feels because she hardly notices them.  She and the cat get along okay; she doesn’t pay the cat much attention but they are on completely peaceful terms.

The mosquitoes up here have been so bad this year that it is difficult getting her out for out longer walks, and she also does not like the heat and humidity when it gets high, and neither do I, so we have not been getting as much exercise, but that will change once the mosquitoes are gone and fall is in the air.

Glad that you do check-ups with the dogs.

Please say hello to Lorraine for me, and many thanks to Speaking of Dogs for allowing me to adopt Rosie.  She is truly in her forever home.  I love her so much.














Adopted May 2021

Loved by the MacInnis family


Forever in Foster

Love by Donna, Jennifer and family


Forever in Foster

Loved by Shannon Price and family


Adopted June 2022

Loved by Lisa Walsh and family


Adopted May 2013

Loved by Debbie Furniss and family

About Speaking of Dogs

Speaking of Dogs Rescue Program is a Canadian registered charity established in the Greater Toronto area (with foster homes across Ontario). Launched in 2001, we are a foster-based, all breed rescue with a focus on senior dogs. We are run solely by volunteers with a mission to help homeless dogs in need by providing shelter or sanctuary, necessary medical care, adoption and education.

Newsletter Team

Contributors: Kim Gladding, Lorraine Houston & Corey McCusker

Editor & Design: Sarah Kapp

Contact Speaking of Dogs

P.O. Box 8058
RPO Hurontario
Collingwood, ON L9Y 0H1
705-444-SODR (7637)


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