Dog Training Classes

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

Class Descriptions

Puppy Socialization

  • $160
  • Group
  • 1 Pre-Class Orientation
  • 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

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

  • 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.

Puppy Playgroup

Begins April 25, 2019! Monday, 6-7 p.m.

  • Pay as you go / $15.00 per session
  • Group/Drop In Format
  • On Going, 60 Minutes Each

This fun drop in playgroup provides an opportunity for puppies up to 6 months of age* to meet some new puppy friends, obtain important socialization and dog/dog communication skills and most of all have fun and burn off some puppy energy in our clean and safe environment. While you will be supervising and managing your puppy during the play sessions, our knowledgeable enrichment specialists will be on hand to guide you through appropriate conspecific play and troubleshoot any general concerns. Simply show up early on your first class, fill out a registration form and pay for your drop in at front desk, then come down to the training hall and provide your instructor with your vaccination certificates (Puppies must have their first vaccines to participate – please see our policies document for requirements) and proof of payment. Subsequent visits, simply provide your proof of payment. Drop ins start on April 25!

*at our discretion there may be from time to time older puppies with appropriate play styles who will benefit from these drop ins. Note, this is an open drop in session for puppies of all breeds. Playgroup leader will separate puppies based on size and/or weight and/or play styles at leader’s discretion.

Foundation Skills Tier 1

  • $220
  • 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!”. Start teaching cued eye contact to build engagement
  • Week 2 – Learn targeting and start practicing loose leash walking skills.
  • Week 3 – Learn how to introduce release cues, practice sit-stay and controlled recall.
  • Week 4 – Learn how to teach down, down-stay, leave it and go to place.
  • Week 5 – Learn how to teach stand, take it and drop it.
  • 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 and then have fun with end of session training game challenges!

Foundation Skills Tier 2

  • $220
  • 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! Remember to bring a clicker, a mat and your dog’s favourite toy.

  • Week 1 – Review and building on Tier 1 behaviours.
  • Week 2 – Learn how to teach attention, moving exercises and stationary cues.
  • Week 3 – Learn how to add the “3 D’s” to your training.
  • Week 4 – Learn how to teach loose leash manners recalls and retrieves.
  • Week 5 – Learn how to teach moving cues, tricks, retrieves and stations.
  • 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!

Tricks Training Drop In

Saturdays 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

  • Pay as you Go: $15.00 per drop in class
  • Group/Drop In Format
  • On Going, 60 Minutes Each

Our Tricks Training class is designed specifically to help you do more with your dog. Through trust and teamwork you and your dog will face fun new challenges and have the opportunity to learn and practice impressive tricks that are both fun and can be transitioned to practical use in cooperative care or conditioning applications. You will learn more about targeting, shaping, luring and capturing and how these foundations make trick training that much easier. You and your dog will be the talk of the town when you show off these fine tricks! Simply show up early on your first class, fill out a registration form and pay for your drop in at front desk, then come down to the training hall and provide your instructor with your vaccination certificates (please see our policies document for requirements) and proof of payment. Subsequent visits, simply provide your proof of payment.

Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification

  • $250
  • 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.

Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Follow-up Consultations

  • $100
  • Private
  • 1 Session, 1 hour each

Our Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Follow-up Consults are designed for a dog with a pre-existing relationship with our training department, whether that be from attending a group class, a private consult or your canine companion is adopted from THS. This is so that we can ensure we are able to give you the best service by already knowing your dog’s history. These sessions will allow you and your dog 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 dog!

Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Phone Consultations

  • $50
  • Private
  • 1 Session, 30 minutes each

Our Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification phone consults are specifically designed for a dog with a pre-existing relationship with our training department, whether that be from attending a group class, a private consult or your canine companion is adopted from THS. This is so that we can ensure we are able to give you the best service by already knowing your dog’s history. One 30 minute session is provided at your convenience, to speak with one of our Certified Trainers to address any new challenges that may have developed. We will help to point you down the best path possible for you and your dog!

Trainer Bios

Beverley McKee, CPDT-KA
Certified Fear Free Professional
Assistant Manager, Training

Beverley McKee joined THS’s training department in May, 2018. Beverley is an Associate Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (ACDBC) through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a certified dog trainer (CPDT-KA) through the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers and a Fear Free Certified Animal Trainer Professional through Fear Free Pets. She also holds a BA from Carleton University in Ottawa.

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 as well as a founding member and former administrator of a 500 person strong collective of professional dog walkers in Toronto. She also founded an informal Tricks Training group called the Tricky Trainer’s Collective which she has since expanded through offering open mat tricks training drop ins at THS. Beverley lives in Toronto’s west end with her two Australian Cattle Dogs, Petunia and Luke, an adopted dog from THS.

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.

Jessica Tartaglia, CPDT-KA

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 became 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

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!

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!

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
Tricks Training Group 4 Weeks – Consecutive $220
Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Private 2 Session $250
Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Follow Up Consult Private 1 Session - 1 hour $100
Problem Solving and Behaviour Modification Phone Consults Private 1 Session - 30 Minutes $50

Policies

Registration and Payment

  • Register for training classes by contacting [email protected]
  • 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected] or give us a call at 416-392-2273 ext. 2145.