Bio & Testimonials

First and foremost Joanne is a huge pet lover. She was the kid in the neighbourhood who had so many pets housed in her room that the neighbourhood kids would come knocking at the door asking to come in and see the “menagerie”. When Joanne wasn’t busy “zoo keeping”, she could be found horseback riding at a local stable. Her all-time favourite job, where she spent six years, was at an animal clinic where she obtained hands-on experience working with dogs, cats, horses and sometimes exotic animals.

Joanne is certified in Pet First Aid.

Over the past 15 years, Joanne’s professional background had been in Human Resource Management.  As well as loving animals she also loves working with people, coaching, motivating and helping them to develop their strengths and skills.

Joanne has prepared and delivered numerous training sessions and loves public speaking.

Joanne has now been able to combine her animal and people skills and experience with one of her other loves – photography.   We now offer pet photography services.  Please check out our photography website Your Dog’s Photographer!

Her combined experiences and love of working with animals make Joanne an ideal dog walker and pet sitter!



“Joanne has looked after my precious cat for me when I travel across Canada. She provides me regular updates on Sophie and gives that extra time when need be. She left me a beautiful photo of Sophie which I treasure. When she became concerned over the behaviour of my cat she contacted me and even took her to the vet. Sophie has kidney disease which adds the challenge of medication and special food. Joanne was reassuring since this diagnosis occurred two days before my trip. I was impressed that she updated my vet on Sophie. Not only do I highly recommend Joanne she is now a valuable friend and Sophie adores her.”  Janet H. 2019 (Cat Sitting)

Jo and Wendy were amazing to have. I do not know what I would have done without them while I was completing my Master’s. I always knew my dog was in good hands and getting all the love he deserved. He also became so good on leash thanks to Wendy! Bridgett C. 2018 (Dog Walking)

The “Top 10 Reasons Why We All LOVE Jo and “Your Dog’s Coach””

1. The first time Jo came to our house, she walked in, then sat on the floor! Us Westie furkids got the lovies first!
✅ for Jo!

2. Once we were done barking, licking, smothering, jumping on and giving her TONS of kissies, then – and only then – did Jo say “hi” to Mom and Dad!
✅ for Jo!

3. But, as you know, it’s one thing to “meow the walk,” but could Jo “walk the meow?” Did the “feline contingent” of the Clan think she was as “pawmazing” as she seemed at first sniff? After MUCH staring, sniffing and playing purrrrrrrrfectly nonchalant . . . we, too, gave Jo “4 paws up!!”
✅ for Jo

4. The entire “Clan” agree. NONE of us can figure out how the heck Jo keeps us all straight! She feeds, plays, cuddles, medicates, gives belly rubs, walks, talks, scratches heads, and gives treats . . . all the while staying cool, calm and collected!
✅ for Jo

5. We are all embarrassed to admit it, but Mom leaves a veritable novel of instructions for Jo whenever she and Dad go on vacation. Mom thinks Jo is the best ever, ‘cuz she actually reads them!
✅ for Jo!

6. Jo has a certain “magic” with animals. Us “furkids” call it “empathy.” Whatever it’s called, Jo has it and when she’s around . . . Mom and Dad do not exist!!!
✅ for Jo!

7. Jo is super, super organized. She’s SO organized that we think she’s “pawsomely purrrrrfect!”
✅ for Jo!

8. Jo actually DOES “sweat the details” and for that we are ALL so appreciative!
✅ for Jo!

9. The well-being of Jo’s “furkids” always comes first and when we are in Jo’s care, Mom and Dad don’t need to “sweat ANY of the details!”
✅ for Jo!

10. And Jo’s Final Grade? A+++++++ ad infinitum!
The ” Clan” ALL agree that Jo pawsitively aced this review! xoxo
✅ for Jo!

Starley C. 2017 (Dog and Cat Sitting)

Thank you for Kramer’s “last walk” gift, he loves everything in the bag! As always, you guys are so thoughtful.  We are so glad we decided to use Your Dog’s Coach for our goldendoodle Kramer.  We knew Joanne and Wendy were the perfect fit from day one.  They are true dog lovers and Kramer was always so happy on the days he went on his afternoon walks.  They are reliable, flexible and detail oriented.  My favourite part was coming home and reading about his afternoon adventures with his friends!  We also loved the adorable gifts at various times during the year.  We are sad to have moved away from the London area and know Kramer will miss the amazing love, care and attention he received from Your Dog’s Coach.  I have already recommended them to my neighbour and would not hesitate to do it again!  You will not be disappointed! An extra thank you to Wendy – you and Kramer had a special bond and I know he misses you already!” Rachael G. 2016 (Dog Walking)

“Thank you and your staff for being so reliable, accommodating and friendly. Moving to a new city, not knowing anyone and having a hectic work schedule, one of my biggest concerns was finding the right person to watch Rufus. Coming home to read the handwritten notes about the visit was always reassuring and the times I was able to encounter you or your staff coming to pick Rufus up for a walk he was always so excited to see his friends. I especially appreciate the times I got delayed and you were able to get to him for an evening walk and feed.  I hope I’ll be able to find someone as dedicated and caring to watch Rufus in Toronto and thank you again.”  Ellisa M. 2016 (Dog Walking and Overnight Pet Sitting)

“I am beyond thankful for finding Joanne and Your Dog’s Coach!!  Having my first rescue dog (Great Dane, Belle) Joanne has coached her to now to actually walk with another dog!! Building trust, especially with a rescue dog, takes patience and Joanne has groomed Belle to be able to meet another dog with Wendy and, in a very short time (on the same day of meeting!), finish the walk together!!  It was incredible!  So, so grateful. Joanne knows her stuff!  Thank you!”  Sue S. 2016 (Dog Walking)

I’m so thankful for Your Dog’s Coach. Walter was the first dog I’ve ever raised on my own; so I wanted to make sure I found the right walkers for the little guy. As soon as I met Jo, I knew her crew would be great for Walter. She knew to assign Wendy to my dog, which was a perfect fit for this puppy!  Jo and Wendy (and Jennie on the off days!) have always been available during my new journey through puppyhood and have been invaluable resources. They are so generous with their treats and cuddles and I believe they treat every dog like their own. I can tell they have a passion for pooches, and I would recommend them to anyone hands down.”  Krupa I. October 2015 (Dog Walking)

“I couldn’t imagine puppy training without the support of you and your team. I felt comfortable immediately upon meeting you, Joanne and Jennie, and was confident Penelope was in good hands with your visits. It was a huge help to me knowing Penelope was getting a bathroom break, exercise and a little love while I was at work. And it definitely made my day more manageable. Now that Penelope is a little older, I know the bathroom break isn’t as critical, but I know how much she loves her walks, and it makes all the difference knowing you’re able to be there to break up her day. I would definitely recommend you to anyone looking for dog walking, or dog care, services — and I have already done so! Thanks so much for your help! Maureen S. September 2014 (Dog Walking)

““I had always feared that my work and travel schedule would prevent me from getting a dog, as the thought of my dog being alone all day was unacceptable to me.  Finding Joanne was the key that allowed me to bring my wonderful girl Sable into my life.  The peace of mind I have knowing that Joanne is seeing her at lunch time and is available to stay over when I need to travel is priceless.  Joanne is caring, knowledgeable, flexible, responsive and responsible.  She obviously loves dogs, and they in turn clearly love her.  I gladly give Joanne my highest recommendation.” Joe V. September 2013 (Dog Walking and Overnight Pet Sitting)

“My dog Lucy is a rescue with fear aggression and she has made incredible progress with Joanne, the owner of Your Dog’s Coach.  As a result of her daily walks, Lucy is more confident in her interactions with other dogs and is better at handling new situations.  I have been fortunate to have Your Dog’s Coach provide overnight care for Lucy while I have been out if town and the service is outstanding.”
Janice A.  September 2013 (Dog Walking and Overnight Pet Sitting)

“We have been working with Joanne for several years now. Without exception she has been: reliable, extremely conscientious and accommodating. But equally important: She loves our dog and he loves her. “ Brenda W.  September 2013 (Dog Walking)

“I cannot possibly say enough positive things about Jo both professionally, as well as personally. I have known Jo for several years now. She is definitely one of the sweetest and most genuinely wonderful people you can come across. Over the past two years, Jo has been walking my dog Winston while I’m at work and on evenings when I have plans. During this time, Jo has gone above and beyond my highest expectations. Jo’s passion and sincere love of dogs, comes across in her daily work. Not only does Jo diligently shows up on time everyday, but she leaves a detailed reports about what happened that day, as well as any important information that I need to know. This has been particularly important for me over the past two years because Winston was diagnosed with encephalitis. During this period, Jo took extremely good care of him. In addition, to letting me know about his day to day health, she also made herself available for veterinary appointments. One of these appointments was in Guelph and involved her rearranging her schedule to drive him there for me because I couldn’t take the day off work. Jo also offered, out of the kindness of her heart, to take Winston with her for the day when my furnace and air conditioner was being replaced at no extra cost. This gave me peace of mind, in that Winston wouldn’t be subjected to the stress of the noise / strangers, or accidentally be let out while the workers did their job. Furthermore, Jo has taken Winston on special trips to various wooded areas, trails, as well as to a variety of different places. It is obvious how much Winston loves her by his reaction to her whenever he sees her. I am eternally grateful for all that Jo has done for Winston and myself. I would recommend her services to anyone with complete confidence. Jo is simply the best!!! ”  Leslie H. November 2012 (Dog Walking)

“Joanne is very knowledgeable about dogs and more importantly dog first aid, safety and obedience. She goes above and beyond for the dogs on their walks and takes extra precautions during extreme heat waves. Joanne leaves detailed notes after every walk about any concerns or things she has observed. She has excellent control of the dogs which is no easy task as one dog is 95 lbs.!! The dogs never enter or leave the house without her going in or out first!! It is so easy being a dog owner with Joanne on board. Our dogs are very content thanks to Joanne. They love her.” Janette W. September  2012 (Dog Walking)

“Hi Joanne, I cannot thank you enough for the amazing way you cared for our dogs this weekend! They were so happy to see us! We had a really great time away, and I was able to enjoy it because I knew the dogs were so happy….all the text messages were greatly appreciated.” Beverley N. February 2012 (Dog Sitting)

“Caring animal lover, reliable, trustworthy and fun loving are all characteristics that describe our dog coach Joanne Merner….from the moment we met Jo we felt comfortable with the idea of her caring for our family treasure “Licorice”. Dogs are intuitive and are a great judge of character so our best measure of success was seeing how happy he is to see Jo and how settled and content he looks when we return home.”  Bernice M.  March  2012 (Dog Sitting)

“Hi Jo, thank you for all the support. I know Cedar is a better dog because of you!” Bonnie W.  March 2012 (Dog Walking)