Dog Training Classes

The Toronto Humane Society is proud to offer a variety of training classes for you and your canine companion. Our purpose is to advocate for, and educate 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!

Class Descriptions

Puppy Socialization

  • $160 + applicable tax
  • Group
  • 1 Pre-Class Online Orientation Video, 30 Minutes
  • 4 Consecutive Weeks, 60 Minutes Each
  • Puppies may enroll between 8 to 12 weeks of age, and should be graduating between 12 to, and no later than, 16 weeks

Our Puppy Socialization Classes are specifically designed to allow you and your puppy to start as soon as possible. Each week features a specific focus, is packed with fun puppy activities, best practice and positive reinforcement-based training information, and opportunities for socialization in a safe and structured environment!

  • Online Orientation Video – Register for Puppy Socialization Classes and access our online orientation video! This video will help prepare you with the basics in order for you and your puppy to get the most out of classes! Once you have completed the online orientation video, you and your puppy can attend your first class.
  • Health and Handling – Focuses on creating positive experiences around handling your puppy, as well as helpful tips on how to make vet visits fun and rewarding. Learn how to problem solve when it comes to issues such as crate training and elimination training.
  • Outfits and Appearances – Focuses on meeting familiar people who might be dressed in unfamiliar attire! From lab coats to baseball caps, adventure and lots of treats await puppies for this week’s focus. Learn how to problem solve issues such as jumping up to say hello and chewing on people or items.
  • Obstacles and Sounds – Focuses on fun and exploring around novel items! Your puppy can traverse new and interesting surfaces and will have the opportunity to build positive associations around the presence of every day house hold items, as well as objects they might come across during regular walks and adventures. Learn how to problem solve issues such as resource guarding prevention, and collar handling.
  • Wheels and Motion – Focuses on items that may be in motion. Puppies will have the opportunity to get the scoop about skateboards, scooters, strollers, and more! Learn how to problem solve issues such as pulling on leash, independence training, and counter surfing.

Foundation Skills Tier 1

  • $220 + applicable tax
  • Group
  • 6 Consecutive Weeks, 60 Minutes Each
  • Dogs may enroll at 16 weeks of age and up

Our Foundation Skills Tier 1 classes emphasize the importance of trust and teamwork for you and your dog! Learn how to support your dog through the learning process with positive reinforcement-based training practices. Discover the basics of learning theory, and how to recognize constructive learning opportunities in everyday situations! Grow together with your dog while building foundational skills and strengthening the human-animal bond!

  • Week 1 – Discover the basics of learning theory, and how to apply positive reinforcement-based training practices to your training journey and then some! Learn about alternative behaviours, and how to offer your dog opportunities to make good choices instead of just telling them “no!”
  • Week 2 – Build name response and focus with your dog.
  • Week 3 – Learn how to teach sit-stay to your dog.
  • Week 4 – Learn how to teach down-stay to your dog.
  • Week 5 – Learn how to teach your dog to touch a specific target, as well as basic loose leash walking skills.
  • Week 6 – Conclude all of your hard work with an opportunity to ask questions and brush up on any of the exercises that you might have additional questions about!

Foundation Skills Tier 2

  • $220 + applicable tax
  • Group
  • 6 Consecutive Weeks, 60 Minutes Each
  • Pre-requisite: Foundation Skills Tier 1
  • Dogs may enroll at 22 weeks of age and up

Our Foundation Skills Tier 2 classes expand on the skills you and your dog acquired during Foundation Skills Tier 1. Continue strengthening the human-animal bond by building trust and practicing teamwork with your dog! Further refine your skills and learn how to keep training interesting, fun, and motivating for the both of you!

  • Week 1 – Review the basics of learning theory, and how to apply positive reinforcement-based training practices to your training journey and then some! Build on the alternative behaviours discussed in Foundations Tier 1.
  • Week 2 – Begin the first steps for teaching recall with your dog, as well as engage and disengage exercises.
  • Week 3 – Learn how to teach leave it to your dog.
  • Week 4 – Learn how to drop it to your dog.
  • Week 5 – Learn how to teach your dog place and stationing behaviours.
  • Week 6 – Conclude all of your hard work with an opportunity to ask questions and brush up on any of the exercises that you might have additional questions about!

Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification

  • $250 + applicable tax
  • Private
  • 2 Sessions, 60 to 90 Minutes Each

Our Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification classes are specifically designed to offer training and support to you and your dog where needed the most. If your dog struggles with issues relating to anxiety, fear, or aggression, we can help by providing a full evaluation, as well as a thorough management and behaviour modification plan. Your dog’s individual history and needs, as well as realistic goals will be discussed in a private class setting. Receive comprehensive, compassionate, and dependable care for the emotional and mental health and well-being of your dog. Two 60-90-minute sessions are provided at our shelter location within a flexible 4-month window from date of purchase, as well as additional correspondence by email or phone between sessions, and up to one month after the second session. This ensures that we can allow for appropriate adjustments to management and behaviour modification plans where needed, as well as being able to track any new developments and progress.

Trainer Bios

Beverley McKee, CPDT-KA
Certified Fear Free Professional

Beverley McKee joined the Toronto Humane Society’s Behaviour and Training team as a Certified Animal Trainer – Canine in May 2018. Beverley holds animal training certifications through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers and through the cooperative care husbandry initiative Fear Free Pets. She is also a Canine Training Professional member of the Pet Professional Guild.

Prior to joining the team, Beverley was the owner of a boutique dog walking and dog training company in Toronto and was a founding partner and instructor in a dog walker continuing education initiative called EduCanine. In her spare time, she enjoys trick training her two Australian Cattle Dogs, Travis and Petunia.

Catherine Collins

After 10 years of volunteering with dogs at the Toronto Humane Society, Catherine Collins decided to devote her career to canines in need. She joined the THS K9 Training Department in 2011, working with the shelter dogs to modify a variety of behaviour issues, from fearfulness to reactivity. In addition, she has coached adopters, foster parents and members of the public in problem-solving classes, building the understanding and skills needed for more harmonious relationships with their dogs.

Cathy has had the great fortune of learning from a few extraordinary mentors, including former K9 staff and a master dog trainer with whom she has studied for several years. She is a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC) and is a Fear Free-certified professional.

Cathy has learned from experience that lasting behaviour change in dogs begins with their owners’ willingness to make changes in themselves. She lives in Toronto with her THS adoptee, Percy, a seven-year-old German shepherd/collie who teaches her every day to be a better human.

Kassie Dickson

Kassie started working with dogs at a very young age; initially as a junior CKC handler, with seeing eye dogs and working dogs in training. She has spent years teaching and assisting classes at a facility in her hometown. She works closely with several rescues in her area consulting with fosters and forever homes.

As a pet owner herself Kassie understands the importance of a well-mannered, well socialized and confident dog. Her ultimate goal is to help provide pets and owners with a safe and stimulating environment and to help invoke trust and companionship with your furry friends. She continues to learn and grow through programs as well as the help and tutoring of her fellow employees.

She has shared her home with several dogs over the years, she currently lives with two high energy pooches; Norco: an aussie, hound and lab cross and Bernie: a golden retriever, both of which are involved in dog sports because they love the action!

Melissa Shupak

Melissa Shupak joined the Toronto Humane Society (THS)’s Behaviour and Training team in July 2017. Melissa started at THS as an Animal Care Worker (ACW) in 2015 and later took on the role of Canine Enrichment ACW. This position enabled her to further educate and expose herself to the world of canine behaviour and training. This opportunity is what led her on her current path of studying to become a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CCPDT) and to her position as an Animal Trainer at THS. Melissa strives to continue to educate herself in the most current humane, trust building methods of training. Melissa is a supporting member of the canine and shelter divisions of the International Associations of Animal Behaviour Consultants (IAABC).

After graduating the Animal Care program, Melissa started her career as an ACW and Adoption Counsellor at another rescue organization. She then spent a year as a Veterinary Assistant working in a veterinary clinic but it was after returning from her trip volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary that she knew she needed to get back to her passion: working in a shelter environment to advocate for humane practices that support the welfare of the animals she has the pleasure of working with.

Melissa shares her home with two rescue cats, Russo and Calcifer, a turtle named Lucy, a one-eyed bearded dragon Darla – a THS alumni! – and a senior rescue beagle, Molly.

Price Menu

Class Type Duration Price*
Puppy Socialization Group 4 Weeks – Consecutive $160
Foundation Skills Tier 1 Group 6 Weeks – Consecutive $220
Foundation Skills Tier 2 Group 6 Weeks – Consecutive $220
Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Private 2 Sessions $250

Policies

Registration and Payment

  • Register for training classes by contacting training@torontohumanesociety.com
  • Modes of payment accepted are: Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Debit

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 the THS 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 the 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 Socialization

  • 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

How to Register

  1. Pick a training class suitable for yours and your dogs needs.
  2. Email training@torontohumanesociety.com for more information, or to begin the registration process.
  3. You will receive an email in return with information regarding any questions, and/or which spots are still available for the class you would like to register for.
  4. Respond to email with confirmation of the class you wish to register for.
  5. A Trainer will then reserve and confirm your spot and will send an email back to you with a "registration package" for you to fill out and instructions on how to pay.

Contact Us

If you would like more information on our training services, please email training@torontohumanesociety.com or give us a call at 416-392-2273 ext. 2145.