Dog Training Classes

Due to the current development of COVID-19, Toronto Humane Society has cancelled all on-site group classes and private in-person training sessions.

We are continuing to offer virtual group and private training options as alternatives to ensure your safety during these times.Please follow our social media for regular updates and news. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

View below for our available online classes.

Toronto Humane Society is proud to offer a variety of training classes for you and your pet. We are passionate about advocating for, and educating pet owners about humane, compassionate, and trust building training practices. We pledge our commitment to providing you and your best friend with a constructive, supportive, and inspiring environment for strengthening the human-animal bond!

Private Training Single Sessions

Virtual Dog Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Consultation with Supporting Behaviour Handouts

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  • $125
  • Private
  • Sessions will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting

This service provides you with an opportunity to meet with a certified trainer for a consultation and assessment of your animal’s problem behaviour. During this session, you’ll arrive ready to take notes while your certified trainer outlines management strategies, realistic goal setting and training approaches to help your animal learn alternative behaviours. You will receive handouts written or recommended by our staff addressing behaviour modification approaches by email as well as some initial training exercises to get you started after your session. This service will appeal to those seeking evidence-based information to help understand and modify their animal’s behaviour.

Virtual Dog Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Private Follow Up Sessions

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  • $95
  • Private
  • Sessions will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting

These sessions are available for dog owners with a pre-existing relationship with our training department. For example, these sessions are available to those returning for additional sessions to work through a training plan after completing a consultation session with our certified trainers, or for dogs and cats that have been adopted from Toronto Humane Society. In these sessions, you will come prepared to train as your certified trainer coaches you through your new training exercises as you progress, or provides coaching on mechanical handling skills. Brief written notes follow each session. Please remember to have plenty of bite sized training treats and your clicker ready for these sessions.

Virtual Dog Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Private Follow Up Sessions – 30 Minutes

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  • $65
  • Private
  • Sessions will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting

These short training sessions are available for dog owners with a pre-existing relationship with our training department. For example, these sessions are available to those returning for additional sessions to work through a training plan after completing a consultation with our certified trainers, or for dogs and cats that have been adopted from Toronto Humane Society. In these sessions, you will come prepared to train and will work on a maximum of 2 training exercises that you might find challenging to work through on your own so your certified trainer can help clarify the exercise and the mechanics of teaching it to your animal. No written instructions or training notes are provided following these sessions. Please remember to have plenty of bite sized training treats and your clicker ready for these sessions.

Private Training Class Bundles

Virtual Canine Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Consultation and One Month Training Support

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  • $520
  • Private
  • Sessions will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting

Our training packages create excellent value in the form of a personalized plan and weekly certified trainer led training sessions to set you and your pet up for optimal success through systematic progression through training exercises. The package includes a behaviour consultation, a personalized training plan and 4 consecutive weekly training sessions for pet owners with animals who struggle with behavioural issues such as but not limited to anxiety, destruction, fear, reactivity or aggression. During your consultation, your certified trainer will obtain a detailed history so that the functions of the problem behaviour can be assessed and will create a personalized training plan focusing on training your animal to substitute desirable behaviours in place of the problem behaviours. You will then meet weekly with your certified trainer for the next four weeks in a standing appointment where you will work together training your animal to default to the new replacement behaviours. Follow up sessions are booked by your certified trainer during your initial consultation. Additional monthly packages are available to existing clients who have completed their first package at a rate of $300 for four weekly sessions.

Virtual Separation Anxiety Training Consultation and One Month Training Support for Dogs

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  • $520
  • Private
  • Sessions will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting

Separation Anxiety is a medically diagnosed condition that can be helped through systematic behaviour modification along with medical intervention. Animals with separation anxiety can suffer acute distress and poor welfare when left alone making the condition very hard on both owners and their pets. Some behaviours that might look like symptoms associated with Separation Anxiety may be in fact be caused by other triggers in the animal's environment. If your dog has not been formally diagnosed by a vet, we will conduct a brief phone call with one of our certified trainers to help us eliminate potential non-Separation Anxiety related triggers for the presenting behaviours to ensure that this package is the best solution for you and your dog. Following approval, you may then purchase the package, and schedule your initial consultation. During the consultation your certified trainer will schedule your remaining sessions with you. This package includes a pre-consultation to rule out non-separation anxiety related behaviour, an initial consultation and four consecutive weekly training sessions. Existing clients may renew their training packages after completion of the first month package at a rate of $300 for 4 weekly sessions (1 session per week).

Virtual Canine Stress Free Training for Veterinary Visits Consultation and One Month Training Support

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  • $520
  • Private
  • Sessions will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting

If your pet is nervous and stressed out at the vet or if you would like to train your pet to participate cooperatively in ongoing treatments, one-time treatments and/or husbandry care, our Fear Free and Low Stress Certified trainers can help. The initial 60-minute consultation determines your dog’s baseline comfort level at the vet office or during at home husbandry care and provides an opportunity to review your cooperative care training goals and break them down into manageable chunks and priorities. You will then meet weekly with your certified trainer for the next four weeks in a standing appointment where you will work together training your animal new replacement behaviours. Follow up sessions are booked by your certified trainer during your initial consultation. Additional monthly packages are available to existing clients who have completed their first month package at a rate of $300 for four weekly sessions (1 session per week).

We have a great deal of experience working with animals in our clinics, and we can help with:

  • Desensitization and counter conditioning to handling and light restraint
  • Desensitization and counter conditioning to injections
  • Desensitization and counter conditioning to routine blood draws
  • Desensitization and counter conditioning to glucose panel draws
  • Desensitization and counter conditioning to eye drops and ear drops
  • Cooperative Nail Trims
  • Cooperative Stationing Behaviours
  • Muzzle Training for Fearful or Reactive Dogs
  • Dental Care
  • Various other behaviours/procedures
  • Low stress approaches to immediate care needs

Group Training Sessions

Virtual Puppy Socialization

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  • $80
  • Group
  • 4 Consecutive Weeks
  • Handouts, homework, graduation certificate
  • Group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting.

This class focuses on socializing your puppy by guiding you through how to provide new experiences to create a healthy and happy puppy ready to take on the world. You will learn how to condition your puppy to husbandry care, equipment and other experiences or items encountered in everyday life. We will also discuss when and how to socialize your puppy with dogs and people. Puppies should start this class between the ages of 8 to 12 weeks. *If your puppy will be older than 12 weeks before the next scheduled class begins email publictraining@torontohumanesociety.com to be registered for an earlier class.

Virtual Puppy Manners

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  • $80
  • Group
  • 4 Consecutive Weeks
  • Handouts, homework, graduation certificate
  • Group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting.

This class focuses on puppy manners and common challenges new puppy parents experience. You will learn how to teach your puppy basic training exercises and work through issues such as crate training, house soiling, and more. This class may be started as early as 8 weeks of age, and is open to puppies under 6 months of age.

Virtual Canine Foundation Skills Tier 1

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  • $120
  • Group
  • 6 Consecutive Weeks
  • Handouts, homework, graduation certificate
  • Group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting.

Our Foundation Skills Tier 1 class is one of our most popular classes. This class emphasizes the importance of trust and teamwork between you and your dog with a focus on learning and practicing solid foundational skills such as walking politely on leash, handler focus, leave it, come when called, relax on a mat, sit and down stay. Learn how to support your dog through the learning process with positive reinforcement-based training practices. Foundations Skills Tier 1 is a prerequisite class for Tier 2, Tier 3 and specialty classes such as Introduction to Rally Obedience and Tricks Training.

Virtual Canine Foundation Skills Tier 2

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  • $120
  • Group
  • 6 Consecutive Weeks
  • Handouts, homework, graduation certificate
  • Group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting.

Our Foundation Skills Tier 2 class builds on the skills learned in Tier 1. This class introduces fun new exercises and focuses on practicing new and existing skills in the presence of distractions to generalize your dog’s ability to behave politely in everyday life. We will also focus on appropriate rates of reinforcement and will explore different types reinforcement and when to use them. Prerequisite: Foundations Skills Tier 1 or equivalent. This class is offered periodically throughout the year. Please check our scheduling page for availability.

Virtual Potcakes and Street Dogs – Acclimatization and Integration Into New Homes

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  • $120
  • Group
  • 4 Consecutive Weeks
  • Handouts, homework, graduation certificate
  • Group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting.

This group class focuses on some common challenges international dogs used to living on the street, the beach or quieter environments may face as they settle in to their new Canadian homes. We’ll cover strategies to address flight risk, stranger danger and low stress greetings, environment fearfulness, leash reactivity, resource guarding and alert barking. This class is offered periodically throughout the year. Please check our scheduling page for availability.

Virtual Specialty Classes – Introduction to Rally Obedience, Introduction to Scent Detection and Tricks Training

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  • $120
  • Group
  • 4 Consecutive Weeks
  • Handouts, homework, graduation certificate
  • Group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting.

Our specialty classes are fun and challenging follow up classes for those who have graduated from our any of our Tier 1 classes. These classes include Tricks Training, Introduction to Rally Obedience and Introduction to Scent Detection along with other specialty classes that are offered from time to time. These classes provide new and increasingly difficult exercises that will continue to grow your dog’s engagement and skills in day-to-day life and provide joyful enrichment to increase your human-animal bond. Recommended Prerequisite: Foundations Tier 1 or equivalent. These classes are offered periodically throughout the year. Please check our scheduling page for availability.

Group Training Class Bundles

Virtual Perfectly Prepared Puppy Group Class Platinum Bundle

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  • $684
  • Group (Virtual consultations and training sessions hosted at Toronto Humane Society)
  • Puppy Socialization Class & Puppy Manners Class
  • Four weekly private meetings with a certified trainer to address individual challenges for the duration of group class enrollment
  • Weekly certified trainer led puppy play dates or buddy walk socialization experiences for the duration of group class enrollment
  • Handouts, homework, graduation certificate, feature post on Toronto Humane Society Instagram
  • In the event of COVID-19 restrictions, in person group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting. Puppy play dates or buddy walks may be cancelled or other activities substituted as required by civic and/or provincial law pertaining to COVID-19 restrictions.

This premium bundle provides the discerning puppy owner with everything your puppy needs to get a perfect start on his lifetime of adventures with you. This package includes a full complement of group training classes, private support to help work through any particular challenges your puppy present, and weekly trainer led playgroup and socialization opportunities. Take advantage of this full-service support package during your puppy’s critical socialization period when every experience counts. Puppies should enroll in this package and complete the Puppy Socialization component before 16 weeks of age. Puppies up to 6 months old may register in Puppy Manners.

Virtual Perfectly Prepared Puppy Group Class Gold Bundle

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  • $520
  • Group (Training sessions hosted at Toronto Humane Society)
  • Puppy Socialization Class & Puppy Manners Class
  • Weekly trainer led puppy play dates or buddy walk socialization experiences for the duration of group class enrollment
  • Weekly certified trainer led puppy play dates or buddy walk socialization experiences for the duration of group class enrollment
  • Handouts, homework, and graduation certificate
  • In the event of COVID-19 restrictions, in person group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting. Puppy play dates or buddy walks may be cancelled or other activities substituted as required by civic and/or provincial law pertaining to COVID-19 restrictions.

This value bundle includes registration in our Puppy Socialization and Puppy Manners classes as well as an invitation to participate free of charge in our weekly trainer led puppy play dates or buddy walk socialization experiences so that your puppy gains lots of positive experiences to set him up for success as he develops into a well-mannered and well socialized adult. Puppies should enroll in this package and complete the Puppy Socialization component before 16 weeks of age. Puppies up to 6 months old may register in Puppy Manners.

Virtual Ultimate Dog Group Class Platinum Bundle

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  • $739
  • Group (Virtual consultations and training sessions hosted at Toronto Humane Society)
  • Foundations Tier 1 and choice of Tier 2 or any specialty group class
  • Four weekly private meetings with a certified trainer to address individual challenges for the duration of Foundations Tier 1 group class enrollment
  • Weekly certified trainer led puppy play dates or buddy walk socialization experiences for the duration of group class enrollment
  • Handouts, homework, and graduation certificate
  • In the event of COVID-19 restrictions, in person group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting. Puppy play dates or buddy walks may be cancelled or other activities substituted as required by civic and/or provincial law pertaining to COVID-19 restrictions.

This premium bundle provides enrollment in our Tier 1 6-week group class and in our 6-week Tier 2 or 4-week specialty class of your choice to keep that training momentum going. This package also provides a month of weekly scheduled private meetings with a certified trainer to help work through any particular challenges unique to your dog and participation in our fun and enriching monthly trainer led adventure or buddy walk. Take advantage of this full-service support package to go beyond the basics and support your pet through his journey towards becoming the ultimate dog.

Virtual Ultimate Dog Group Class Gold Bundle

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  • $469
  • Private and Group (Virtual consultations and training sessions hosted at Toronto Humane Society)
  • Foundations Tier 1
  • Four weekly private meetings with a certified trainer to address individual challenges for the duration of Foundations Tier 1 group class enrollment
  • Monthly trainer led adventure or buddy walks for the duration of group class enrollment
  • Handouts, homework, and graduation certificate
  • In the event of COVID-19 restrictions, in person group classes will take place as scheduled via virtual meeting. Puppy play dates or buddy walks may be cancelled or other activities substituted as required by civic and/or provincial law pertaining to COVID-19 restrictions.

This value bundle provides enrollment in our popular Foundations Tier 1 6-week group class along with four weekly scheduled private meetings with a certified trainer to help work through any particular challenges unique to your dog. You will also receive an invitation to participate in our fun and enriching monthly trainer led adventure or buddy walk. This package will appeal to those who wish to take advantage of our Tier 1 group class curriculum along with personal training support as they work with their pet towards becoming the ultimate dog.

Meet Our Team

Dr. Jacklyn Ellis, PhD
Director, Behaviour

Dr. Ellis is the Director, Behaviour at Toronto Humane Society. Prior to joining the position she served as Nestlé Purina’s leading authority on feline behaviour in her role as a Behaviour Scientist in their research and development division. She earned her PhD in Animal Welfare at the Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, where she conducted research on methods for reducing stress in shelter cats. Her work has been published widely in peer reviewed journals and she has presented at many national and international conferences, particularly on feline stress and elimination behaviour. She is currently in the process of writing a chapter on feline behavioural assessment for a new edition of the leading textbook on the behaviour and welfare of shelter animals.

Beverley McKee, BA, ACDBC, CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer
Manager, Public Training Services and Care Support

Beverley is the Manager, Public Training Services and Care Support at Toronto Humane Society. She is an Associate Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She is also a Fear Free Certified Professional, holding an Animal Trainer Certification through Fear Free Pets. Prior to joining Toronto Humane Society, Beverley owned and operated a successful dog training and dog walking company in Toronto’s west end, and chaired an informal 600-member strong collective of professional dog walkers with a focus on professional and positive reinforcement handling skills development. She currently serves as a Member at Large on the Board of Directors of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

Jessica Tartaglia, CPDT-KA

Certified professional Dog Trainer

Jess joined the Canine Training Team in October 2018 as a Canine Enrichment Specialist. She has since worked hard to become certified through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers and completed the Fear Free Shelter Program. She started at Toronto Humane Society as an Animal Care Worker in November 2017 and quickly discovered her love for working with the more challenging dogs as she built a bond with some of the long stay dogs at the shelter.

Prior to starting at Toronto Humane Society Jess completed a BSc at the University of Guelph in Zoology. She worked for a small CAZA accredited exotic animal shelter conducting public education programs. She has a passion for educating the public about responsible pet ownership and training practices. When she has extra time she also helps out with the cattle and goats on her family’s farm. Jess has worked with a variety of species and is continuously looking to learn more about animal behaviour and training.

Jess shares her home with a tabby cat named Arthur and a shepherd mix pup named Peyton.

Louise Lawrence, CPDT-KA

Certified Professional Dog Trainer, Fear Free Animal Trainer Professional

Louise Lawrence started her career volunteering at Toronto Humane Society while also growing a successful dog walking and training business. During her six years in business, she earned her Animal Behaviour College Dog Trainer certificate, Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed designation, and Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer credentials, while becoming a leader in the Toronto dog walking community.

In 2020, Louise joined Toronto Humane Society training team as a Certified Animal Trainer. She is excited to use her knowledge to empower dog owners and their dogs to make great choices.

Shannen McNee
Certified Cat Behavior Consultant

Shannen began her career working with cats in-shelter as a Feline Enrichment Specialist, providing daily enrichment, conducting assessments and carrying out behaviour modification training for some of our more challenging cats to set them up for success in their adopted homes. In her current day to day, Shannen meets with cat owners virtually both locally, nationally, and internationally via video conferencing to provide thorough assessments, management and training solutions to cat owners from the comfort of their homes. She also provides plans for low stress cooperative veterinary and husbandry care training and coaching, and runs our fun and enriching virtual feline group training classes. Shannen is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a Fear Free Shelter Graduate, and holds a Low Stress Handling Silver Level Certification from Low Stress University which carries on the legacy of Dr. Sophia Yin.

Nicole Barnett, CTC

Certified Professional Dog Trainer

Nicole is a graduate of the Academy for Dog Trainers and brings over 9 years of professional pet care experience to her position with Toronto Humane Society. Nicole is a strong advocate for humane and evidence-based training and has played an active role in the pet care community, providing engagement and continuing education opportunities to dog walkers and other pet care professionals while developing business models for affordable and accessible training for pet owners. Nicole lives in Toronto with her adorable rescue pup Peanut.

Erika Ehrenreich, CPDT-KA

Certified Professional Dog Trainer

Erika began her career at Toronto Humane Society in the Shelter Care Department, working hands on in the care and husbandry of shelter animals including cats, dogs and special species. After moving to a Training Assistant position, Erika obtained certification through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Erika’s experience with multiple species led her to an interest in cat behaviour and she currently works with cat owners providing humane strategies to overcome behavioural challenges as a Certified Animal Trainer.

Policies

Virtual Setup

Virtual Setup

  • We conduct our training sessions via video calls using free and easily accessible video conferencing platforms. After you schedule your session, your trainer will send a link to access your training session.
  • Be sure to be online and signed into the conferencing software designated by your trainer no less than 5 minutes before your session.
  • Have bite-sized training treats or any other equipment recommended by your instructor on hand prior to beginning your consultation or group class session.

Owner Responsibility

  • By registering for training classes, private behaviour consultations or practical training sessions with the Toronto Humane Society you acknowledge and recognize that the role you play in your animal’s training is integral to achieving desired results. You acknowledge and agree that there is no guarantee that your animal will achieve the desired level of training despite the best efforts of Toronto Humane Society. You further understand and agree that any service or product recommended by Toronto Humane Society is not a guarantee of satisfaction with that product or service.

Equipment

  • It is recommended that you bring a treat pouch along with your pets` favourite pea-sized treats. (Treat pouches and treats are available for purchase in our lobby if needed).
  • For the comfort and safety of your pet, a fitted flat or martingale collar coupled with a non-retractable leash is required. Harnesses may be worn if preferred.

Group Classes

  • Dogs must be healthy with proof of vaccination. Please see our Health and Vaccinations Form for our general health guidelines and vaccination requirements.
  • All group classes run for approximately 60 minutes.
  • The amount of hands-on training that occurs during each class is determined at the discretion of the trainer; factors such as but not limited to class size, comfort and energy level of the dogs, type of exercise being taught, etc. may be taken into account
  • Female dogs in heat may not attend group classes
  • Dogs/handlers that display aggressive or consistently disruptive behaviours towards other dogs or people during class may be asked to leave.

Cancellations and Rescheduling

  • Private classes may be cancelled and rescheduled with your trainer within 4 months of the date of purchase.
  • Group classes run on a week to week basis. Unfortunately, we cannot provide make-up classes if a session is missed.

Health and Vaccinations

At Toronto Humane Society, we strive to do our best to protect you, your pet, and the animals that live at the shelter from illness and disease. Please ensure that you carefully review our General Health Guidelines and Vaccination Requirements before registering for our classes.

General Health Guidelines

Your puppy/dog must be healthy, bright, alert, and free from contagious disease. Please contact your trainer and do not attend class if your puppy/dog develops any of the following:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Coughing and/or sneezing
  • Nasal and/or eye discharge (that is yellow or green in colour)
  • Skin lesions or hair loss
  • Ticks and/or fleas

Vaccination Requirements

You will be required to provide proof of vaccination and any other specified preventative treatment upon registering for classes. Please bring these records with you on your first day of class. It is recommended that you arrive at least 15 minutes early prior to your first class to make payment at our front desk and submit your registration paper work and proof of vaccination to the trainer.

Puppy and Adult Group Sessions

  • Minimum first set of core vaccines (DHPP) at least 7 days prior to attending first class*
  • First deworming at least 7 days prior to attending first class

Foundation Skills Tier 1, 2, & Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification

  • Up to date DHPP vaccination at least 7 days prior to attending first class
  • Up to date rabies vaccination

*Please continue to follow your veterinarian’s recommended vaccination schedule

Contact Us

If you would like more information on our training services, please email us at publictraining@torontohumanesociety.com


SHELTER HOURS

COVID-19 Update: Toronto Humane Society is currently open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm Monday through Sunday. We encourage you to visit our service webpages for updates and/or new safety protocols that have been put in place. We are currently still closed for animal viewing at this time, we apologize for this inconvenience.