Virtual Training Classes & Consultations


Toronto Humane Society is excited to offer new dog and cat virtual training classes for those looking to continue their pet’s training and enrichment, while still practicing responsible social distancing. With the closure of many dog parks and training facilities now more than ever it is important to keep your pets life active, healthy, and always improving.

Have a feline friend? Not a problem! We have cat behaviour consultations and training available to teach new tricks or work through behavioural challenges, with options tailored to suit your needs!

Both virtual group classes and one-on-one sessions are available to help you and your pet bond and continue to grow together.

Private Class Descriptions

Dog Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Private Sessions

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  • $95
  • Private
  • 60-90 Minutes Each
  • Meet one on one with a trainer via video call for a training session.
Feline Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Virtual Consultation 2-Session Package

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 setting. Receive comprehensive, compassionate, and dependable care for the emotional and mental health and well-being of your dog.

A written management and training plan will be forwarded by email to you after the consultation and follow up sessions available virtually or in person with discounts offered on multiple session purchases

Dog Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Private Follow Up Sessions

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  • $75
  • Private
  • 60-90 Minutes Each
  • Meet one on one with a trainer via video call for a training session.

Follow up sessions are for purchase as single sessions or packages to help work through training plans, revise exercises and criteria, or to obtain virtual coaching on mechanical handling skills.

Feline Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Virtual Consultation 2-Session Package

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  • $125
  • Private (conducted virtually)
  • Booked on an appointment basis
  • 2 Sessions, 60-90 Minutes first session, 60 minutes second session

Our Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Consultations are specifically designed to offer training and support to you and your cat where needed the most. As we offer these services as virtual consultations, you and your cat are able to participate from the comfort of your own home. Common behavioural issues we can help with include:

  • Litter box problems
  • Scent marking (spraying)
  • Chronic hiding or fearfulness
  • Play aggression
  • Aggression toward people
  • Aggression toward other animals in household
  • Destruction of furniture or clothes
  • Loud and continual meowing
  • Obsessive grooming

You can expect your first session to take the form of a discussion with the trainer to determine the causes and functions of the behaviour. During this time the trainer will also be observing your cat via your video call session after which you will receive a management and training plan by email. You will then book a follow up session to review progress, practice any mechanical skills or training techniques prescribed in the presence of the trainer and receive follow up instructions where appropriate. Two sessions are provided within a flexible 2 month window from date of purchase.

Feline Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Virtual Consultation Single Session

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  • $80
  • Private (conducted virtually)
  • Booked on an appointment basis
  • 1 Session, 60-90 Minute Consultation

This service is a 60-minute consultation to determine the functions of the problem behaviour and provide you with a management and behaviour modification plan. You may work through your plan independently, or book additional follow up sessions to work through the plan with your trainer. As with all of our Feline Training Services, our sessions are conducted virtually so you and your cat are able to participate from the comfort of your own home. Common behavioural issues we can help with include:

  • Litter box problems
  • Scent marking (spraying)
  • Chronic hiding or fearfulness
  • Play aggression
  • Aggression toward people
  • Aggression toward other animals in household
  • Destruction of furniture or clothes
  • Loud and continual meowing
  • Obsessive grooming

Feline Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification 60-Minute Follow-up Training Session

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  • $60
  • Private (conducted virtually)
  • Booked on an appointment basis
  • 1 Session, 60 Minute Consultation

These sessions are available for cats and 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 trainers, or for cats that have been adopted from THS. This is so that we can ensure we are able to give you the best service by already knowing your cat’s history. These sessions will allow you and your cat to work through any new struggles that may have developed since that last time we saw you and still allow you to receive comprehensive and dependable care for the well-being of your cat! These sessions are also conducted virtually to ensure your cat can learn in the comfort of his or her home.

Feline Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification 30-Minute Follow-up Training Session

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  • $45
  • Private (conducted virtually)
  • Booked on an appointment basis
  • 1 Session, 30 Minute Consultation

These sessions are available for cats and 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 trainers. These 30-minute sessions are intended to provide hands on coaching and criteria setting for owners working through specific replacement behaviours. They can also be purchased and used for a bit of coaching while working on new tricks! These sessions are also conducted virtually to ensure your cat can learn in the comfort of his or her home.

Stress Free Canine Training for Veterinary Visits

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  • $95
  • Private (conducted virtually)
  • Booked on an appointment basis
  • 1 Session, 60 Minute Initial Consultation and Goal Setting Session, Additional Session Packages Available Through Consultation and Discussion With Your Trainer

If your dog is nervous and stressed out at the vet, or if you would like to train your dog to participate cooperatively in ongoing treatments, one-time treatments and/or husbandry care, our Fear Free Certified trainers can help you with a step by step plan and coaching to achieve your goals. 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. Your initial consultation will include a personalized training plan to achieve prioritized goals. During your consultation and based on your wishes, your trainer will suggest an affordable package of weekly or bi weekly follow up sessions or you may work independently with your dog through the initial goals and book additional 30 or 60 minute sessions as needed. We have a great deal of experience working with dogs 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

*Note: Some behaviours require consistent commitment and training by owners over time to achieve end desired goal in advance of procedures.

Stress Free Feline Training for Veterinary Visits

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  • $80
  • Private (conducted virtually)
  • Booked on an appointment basis
  • 1 Session, 60 Minute Initial Consultation and Goal Setting Session, Additional Session Packages Available Through Consultation and Discussion With Your Trainer

If your cat is nervous and stressed out at the vet, or if you would like to train your cat to participate cooperatively in ongoing treatments and/or husbandry care, our Low Stress or Fear Free Certified trainers can help you with a step by step plan and coaching to achieve your goals. The initial 60-minute consultation determines your cat’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. Your initial consultation will include a personalized training plan to achieve prioritized goals. During your consultation and based on your wishes, your trainer will suggest an affordable package of weekly or bi weekly follow up sessions or you may work independently with your cat through the initial goals and book additional 30 or 60 minute sessions as needed. We have a great deal of experience working with cats 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
  • Carrier Training
  • Dental Care
  • Various other behaviours/procedures
  • Low stress approaches to immediate care needs

*Note: Some behaviours require consistent commitment and training by owners over time to achieve end desired goal in advance of procedures.

Separation Anxiety Training

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  • $520
  • Private
  • Initial 15 minute call, 60-90 Minutes For Each 4 Sessions
  • Meet one on one with a trainer via video call for a training session.

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 triggers for the presenting behaviours and ensures that our Separation Anxiety Package is the best solution for you and your dog. Following approval after the initial consultation your trainer will develop your plan with you and you'll get started on training once a week for a total of four sessions.

Group Class Descriptions

Canine Foundation Skills Tier 1

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  • $120
  • Group
  • 6 Sessions - 40 Minutes Each
  • Group call with a trainer via video call for training sessions.

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!

Feline Group Tricks Training Classes

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  • $120
  • Group Classes (conducted virtually)
  • Weekly Consecutive Classes
  • 4 weekly classes, 45 Minute Classes

Join us and fellow cat lovers in our Virtual Training Hall from the comfort of your own home. Our Tricks Training classes are designed specifically to grow the human-animal bond and provide joyful enrichment for your cat in a virtual group setting. Through trust and team work you and your cat will face fun new challenges and have the opportunity to learn and practice impressive tricks that are great enrichment and can also be transitioned in some cases to practical use in cooperative care or conditioning applications. You will learn about targeting, shaping, luring and capturing and how these foundations make training that much easier. These sessions are conducted virtually to ensure your cat can learn in the comfort of his or her home and are structured in tiers to cover first some basic foundations and then more advanced tricks at the intermediate and advanced level.

Note: new group class sessions are scheduled regularly. If you don’t see it on our booking platform, check back regularly for new scheduled groups.

Feline Group Tricks Intermediate Training Classes

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  • $120
  • Group Classes (conducted virtually)
  • Weekly Consecutive Classes
  • 4 weekly classes, 45 Minute Classes

Our Cat Tricks Intermediate Skills class is designed to help you do more with your cat. We invite you and your cat to join us in our Virtual Training Hall for the opportunity to learn and practice impressive tricks that are fun and can be transitioned to practical use in cooperative care or other applications. You will learn more about targeting, shaping, luring and capturing and how these foundations make trick training that much easier. *You must have completed Cat Tricks Foundations or similar class

Feline Group Tricks Advanced Training Classes

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  • $120
  • Group Classes (conducted virtually)
  • Weekly Consecutive Classes
  • 4 weekly classes, 45 Minute Classes

Our Cat Tricks Advanced Skills class is designed to help you do more with your cat. We invite you and your cat to join us in our Virtual Training Hall for the opportunity to learn and practice impressive tricks that are fun and build on tricks taught in Cat Tricks Intermediate. You will learn more about targeting, shaping, luring and capturing and how these foundations make trick training that much easier. *You must have completed Cat Tricks Intermediate or similar class.

Puppy Socialization

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  • $80
  • Group
  • 4 Sessions - 40 Minutes Each
  • Group call with a trainer via video call for a 40 minute training session.

These classes focus on teaching puppy friendly basic polite behaviours from the comfort of your own home. Homework is provided weekly to practice situational socialization experiences. Best of all, these classes are modular, so you can join at any time. Simply register for the next available module, and remember to register for the other 3 as well based on your schedule, making sure you complete all three by the age cut off above.

Puppy Manners

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  • $80
  • Group
  • 4 Sessions - 40 Minutes Each
  • Group call with a trainer via video call for a 40 minute training session.

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 ass crate training, house soiling, and more. Puppies should start this class between the ages of 8 to 14 weeks. But you can begin this class at any time as long as your puppy is under 6 months of age.

Tricks, Rally-O and Tier 2, or Speciality Classes

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  • $120
  • Group
  • 4 Sessions - 40 Minutes Each
  • Group call with a trainer via video call for a 40 minute training session.

Our speciality classes are fun and challenging follow up classes for those who have graduated from our Tier 1 classes. These classes include Tricks Training, Tier 2 and Introduction to Rally Obedience with other speciality classes offered throughout the year as well. During your classes you will work as a group in the comfort of your own home through 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.

Trainer Bios

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 the 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 the 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.

Caitlyn Jerome
Feline Enrichment Specialist

Caitlyn joined the Feline Training Team in September 2018 as a Feline Enrichment Specialist. She has since been working on many different courses to help her further her knowledge on cat behavior. She has earned her International Associations of Animal Behaviour Consultants (IAABC) Shelter Behaviour Affiliate designation and Silver level low-stress handling certificate. Over the 5 years Caitlyn has worked at THS she has worn many hats until finally realizing her true calling was working with cats. Now she works to help to change the stigma that cats are “untrainable.”

Caitlyn shares her home with THS feline alumni Majora and her hedgehog Babs. Along with her own animals Caitlyn is an avid foster parent for THS and has now housed over 80 foster animals.

Dr. Jacklyn Ellis, PhD
Director, Behaviour

Dr. Ellis is the Director, Behaviour at the Toronto Humane Society. Prior to joining the Toronto Humane Society 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.

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. She started at the THS as an Animal Care Worker in November 2017 and couldn’t decide if she more enjoyed working with the cats or dogs. Jess 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 the THS Jess completed a BSc at the University of Guelph in Zoology. She worked for a small CAZA accredited exotic animal shelter doing 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 farm.

Kassie Dickson, CPDT-KA

Certified professional Dog Trainer

Kassie Dickson is a CPDT-KA certified trainer with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. Working professionally in the industry for 10 years she has completed many self study courses and attended many seminars including those from Dr. Ian Dunbar, Michael Shikashio, Karen Pryor, and Ken Ramirez. Kassie started working with dogs at a very young age as a junior CKC Handler as well as with Seeing Eye dogs and working dogs in training. She is committed to finding the most humane and effective solutions to both client and shelter dog training needs. She continues to learn and grow through her fellow trainers and continuing education. When Kassie isn’t at the shelter or working with clients and their dogs, she is training her own dogs Norco and Bernie in agility, dock diving and disk!

Kyla Guercio, KPACTP

Certified professional Dog Trainer

Kyla Guercio has been working within the animal industry since 2015. She has worked as a dog walker, daycare attendant, an assistant in training classes, and a certified trainer since receiving her Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner designation in May of 2019. Since then, she has owned her own dog walking and dog training company, completed Michael Shikashio’s Aggression in Dogs course, her Fear Free shelters course and is working though her Fear Free Trainer course. Kyla shares a home with two husky mixes, an orange tabby cat, and an eyelash crested gecko. She has been passionate about animal welfare for as long as she can remember and is thrilled to be a part of the THS team so she can help improve the lives of many more humans and animals.

Louise Lawrence, CPDT-KA

Certified professional Dog Trainer, Fear Free Animal Trainer Professional

Louise Lawrence started her career volunteering at The 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, and Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer credentials, while becoming a leader in the Toronto dog walking community.

In 2020, Louise joined the THS 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.

Melissa Shupak, CPDT-KA, SBA

Assistant Manager, Training

Melissa Shupak joined the Toronto Humane Society (THS)’s Training team in July 2017. Melissa started at the 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 which then led her on her journey towards being an Canine Trainer. Melissa became assistant manager of the training department with an in-shelter focus for both canine and feline training in February 2019.

Melissa strives to continue to educate herself in the most current humane, trust building methods of training to implement in-shelter and with clients. Melissa holds certification as a trainer through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers as well as earned her International Associations of Animal Behaviour Consultants (IAABC) Shelter Behaviour Affiliate designation. Melissa is also in process of receiving her Fear Free Animal Trainer certification.

Melissa shares her home with a rescue cat, Russo, a senior rescue beagle, Molly, and from time to time a THS foster animal!

Shannen McNee
Feline Enrichment Specialist

Shannen began her career working with cats in our 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 group training classes. Shannen is an Affiliate member of 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.

Policies

Registration and Payment

Virtual Setup

  • It is recommended that you download and install Skype and Zoom to your digital device to allow for the highest quality possible for the virtual consultations.
  • Be sure to be online and signed into the conferencing software designated by your trainer no less than 5 minutes before your session.
  • Have all treats, leashes, toys, and other training materials on hand prior to beginning your consultation session.

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.

Contact Us

If you would like more information on our training services, please email training@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.