Category Archives: more classes

Smart Socialization Puppy Seminar

“Socialization: That just means having friends over and going to the dog park, right…?”

Think again!

You’ve probably heard about socialization, but do you really know what that means? Often, “common knowledge” approaches to socialization can do more damage than they do good.  Proper socialization is like a ‘behavioural vaccine’ that can protect your puppy from developing a multitude of behaviour problems as an adult.

  • Did you know that this “window of socialization” closes at a very young age?
  • Do you know what are you doing now that might be putting your puppy at risk as an adult?
  • Are you missing critical pieces of the socialization puzzle?

Come learn about Socialization, what it is, what you need to do, and what you need to avoid.

Upcoming Dates:

No planned dates at this time

This is a “people-only” seminar

Are you interested in joining Puppy Socialization Class with your puppy? Click here for more info!

Advanced Manners

Building on what you’ve learned in our Life Skills Program, the Advanced Manners Program will build your training skills beyond the basics. Learn how to proof behaviours using distractions including food, toys, people and other dogs. There will be a special focus on stay and recall in the face of distractions.

This course is ideal for those who:

  • Have a dog who is distracted by other dogs and people, but is friendly and is not reactive (barking/lunging, or stiff greetings – see below)
  • Have completed the Life Skills Program
  • Would like to create better reliability and compliance in their dog in the face of distractions, particularly social distractions
  • Want to continue to build practical daily training skills

Requirements and Prerequisites:

  • Dogs absolutely must be overtly friendly with other dogs and humans. There will be close contact interactions between dogs during this class. This class is not for dogs with social difficulties including: barking, lunging, growling, stiff approaches, snarking/snapping upon greeting a dog, hard stares at dogs, etc. If this describes your dog, please see below.
  • Completion of the Life Skills Program
  • Dogs must be at least 6mo and have had received all puppy vaccinations
  • Prerequisites include a basic understanding of the following skills as taught with clicker training:
    • Sit/Down
    • Stay
    • Recall
    • Loose leash walking
    • Hand target

Does your dog have “Big Feelings”? Is she reactive, worried, or intense in her reactions? Check out the Control Unleashed Program as well as Private Training. If you’re unsure, contact the office to set up a free assessment.

Pricing and Schedule


8 hours over 8 consecutive weeks

Starting Wednesday May 31st, 8:30-9:30

(Complete dates: May 31, June 7, 14, 21, *SKIP A WEEK*, July 5, 12, 19, 26)


Contact the office with questions and to register. An assessment may be required, free of charge, to ensure this class is suitable.

Brain Training Series

All too often, “training the dog” is about dealing with the habits we don’t like. Isn’t it time to train for fun, for enrichment, and for relationship?

The Brain Training Series is an open-enrolment series of classes – meaning you can start any time that suits your schedule. The class focuses on increasing your dog’s receptivity to you and capacity to learn in order to work through various stages of difficulty and complexity of behaviours.

The topics covered will range from perfecting individual training exercises to advanced training concepts, such as cuing, shaping and behaviour chains. Behaviours and concepts will increase in difficulty as you progress through the various Grades of this series.

The Brain Training Series can best be described as a “souped-up tricks class”!

A sneak peak at the behaviours… position changes at a distance, unroll a carpet, ring a bell, blow bubbles under water, chin rest on the ground, karate kicks, jump through a rolling hoop… progress through all the grade levels to learn all this and more!


  • Class runs Monday from 8:30-9:30, attendance in consecutive weeks skips Holiday Mondays Class is running NOW!
  • Start ANY week when space is available!
  • Work through each Grade at your own pace
  • Upon graduating your Grade, you can level-up to the next!
  • ** Classes do not run on Holiday Mondays, and the schedule will be bumped one week to accommodate this – please take this into account during your scheduling.  


Dogs and owners should:

  • Have basic experience with clicker training
  • Know basic obedience behaviours such as sit, down, stay and a hand target

What’s your prior experience?

  • Graduates of any group program with Scratch and Sniff Canine Services are welcome to join the Brain Training Series.
  • If we’ve worked privately to address fear, reactivity or aggression, or you are concerned about your dog’s behaviour, please contact the office prior to registering.
  • If you’ve taken classes elsewhere, please contact the office prior to purchasing the program to ensure it is right for you.


Five Class Package:
* to be completed in FIVE consecutive classes

Seven Class Package:
* to be completed in SEVEN consecutive classes

** Classes do not run on Holiday Mondays, and the schedule will be bumped one week to accommodate this – please take this into account during your scheduling.  

Book your spot now!

1. Contact the office to confirm your start date and schedule

2. Join the fun!

Payment is required to hold your spot in class once a start date is selected. The office will book your classes for you after registration.

Join class now with the Five Class Package

Join class now with the Seven Class Package


Behaviour Consultation and Private Training

Learn the least invasive, minimally aversive, positive reinforcement-based methods to resolve your dog’s behaviour problems. You are encouraged to attend the free Orientation session

Behaviour Consultations

Emily, a certified dog behaviour consultant, will guide you through the resolution of your dog’s problem behaviours. Consults include discussion, demonstration and hands-on work with your dog, a completely personalized training plan, and ample resources and follow-up. See below for in-home travel restrictions.

For dogs who:

    • Have bitten or are at risk of biting a person, dog or other animal
    • Show aggressive or reactive displays in response to people, dogs or other animals
    • Panic when left alone/separation anxiety (bark, howl, house soil, drool, destructive chewing when alone)
    • Are fearful, scared or anxious in response to people, dogs or other animals
    • Are fearful, scared or anxious in response to sounds, objects, or storms
    • Are protective/possessive of/aggressive around food, toys, bed, or other objects (resource guarding)
    • Do not like to be touched, handled or groomed
    • Have other similar issues rooted in emotional distress

Private Training for Manners, Obedience and Puppies

Private training for manners and obedience is tailored to your specific needs. We will work on exercises where you need them in daily life with your dog, whether in your home, in the park, or your neighbourhood. Private sessions come complete with notes, handouts and follow-up. See below for in-home travel restrictions.

You are also encouraged to consider group classes, such as the Puppy Socialization and Life Skills programs.

For dogs who:

    • Ignore their owner and will not comply with requests
    • Will not come or stay when asked
    • Jump up to greet people
    • Pull on leash when out for a walk
    • Run out the front door without permission (door dashing)
    • Want to chase inappropriate targets
    • Puppy concerns, including nipping, teething, chewing, house training, crate training, alone training, socialization guidance, problem prevention, etc.

Training Services and Pricing

• Initial Session 2hr session


After completing this session, you may choose to continue with Single Sessions or the Package of Five. This session must be used within 90 days of purchase.

• Single session 60min


After completing the Initial Session you are welcome to purchase Single SessionsThis session must be used within 90 days of purchase.

• Package of Five – 5hr total

$450+HST (Save $50!)

After completing the Initial Session you are welcome to purchase a Package of Five at a discount.  All five sessions must be completed within six months of payment.

• Puppy Class Add-On 60min

$80+HST (Save $20!)

This session is available exclusively to current students of our Puppy Socialization Class and must be purchased and used before the official end date of your puppy program.

Behaviour Consultation and Private Training Purchase

  1. Contact the office for the behaviour questionnaire
  2. Read Private Session Policy and Private Training FAQ
  3. Purchase your session to reserve your appointment booking
  4. Schedule appointments directly with the office

*TravelService Area for dog training in guelph fees apply to a limited distance outside of this service area, contact the office to see if your home is within travel distance (if not, you are welcome to come to the facility).

Please read private session policy prior to payment. This page includes general information, policy, and waiver. The Private Training FAQ addresses frequently asked questions.

Orientation Session

The Orientation is a free, no-obligation, people-only seminar that is open to everyone.

Attend as the prerequisite for group classes, a supplemental class for private training – or simply to see what we’re all about!

      • This is a people-only class, so please leave your pups at home for this session.
      • Bring indoor shoes during wet seasons.
      • Park in the Baker Street parking lot or on surrounding streets. Please do not park directly outside of the building.
      • Alert the office if you are bringing more than a “plus one”
      • Check the location on the map in advance of your Orientation. Many GPS units locate us incorrectly.
      • For Adult Dogs, over 6mo:
        • Rabies vaccination certificate is required at or prior to the first class with your dog.
      • For Puppies:
        • All puppy students are required to have a letter signed by their vet and returned to the office prior to their first class. Click here to save/print the letter. For the safety of all puppies, there are no exceptions.

*Have you adopted a dog with a “mandatory training” condition from the Guelph Humane Society or other rescue? Please contact the office prior to your Orientation date to arrange an express registration/proof of purchase so the shelter will release your new companion.

Book Your Orientation Session Online!

Fitness and your Senior Dog with Tania Costa – May 4, 2014

On Sunday, May 4, 2014, from 11am-1:30pm Scratch and Sniff Canine Services is thrilled to host a hands-on workshop by Tania Costa of the Canine Wellness Centre about physical health and wellness for your older dog.

Book a working spot and bring your dog for a personalized hands-on experience – book an audit spot to learn the techniques on other people’s dogs.

The workshop will explore:
  • Arthritis and its affect on your older dog
  • Your dog’s ideal weight
  • Principles of balance and proprioception for your older dog
  • Core strengthening exercises to help maintain muscle mass in your older dog
  • Equipment and exercises for typical muscle weakness
  • Manual therapy you can perform on your older dog

First-come-first-served, so register now to claim your spot!

  • Working spots (bring your dog) are limited $69+HST. Working Spots are now SOLD OUT. Please register for an audit spot.
  • Audit spots (working with other people and their dogs) $49+HST.
  • Priority will be given to senior dogs for working spots. Anyone is welcome to register for an audit spot.

Spots are limited, register now to avoid disappointment. Refunds are not available for registration fees.

Continue reading Fitness and your Senior Dog with Tania Costa – May 4, 2014

Control Unleashed: Creating a Focused and Confident Dog

CU book coverControl Unleashed is a 7-week program developed by Leslie McDevitt to help dogs who are easily aroused, stressed or shut down. The program, originally developed for competitive sport dogs, has been adapted exclusively to meet the needs of dog owners and their pets at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services. Control Unleashed aims to reduce emotional volatility. Other dogs are the primary distraction/trigger we will focus on in this class, but the skills learned have a broad application.

Continue reading Control Unleashed: Creating a Focused and Confident Dog

Group Training FAQ

Click the arrow to learn more.

I’ve attended an Orientation and want to register for a group class… how do I do that?

Ensure that you are making the correct class selection, and contact the office if you have any questions. Make your purchase on the online store and start booking your program! See full details on how to do that by clicking here.

When is group training the best option?

Group classes are ideal for dogs who are friendly/tolerant of people and other dogs and require training in manners/obedience. The only exception is the Control Unleashed program where behaviour modification is a primary focus. There are several training programs offered at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services. The two foundation programs, Puppy Socialization and Life Skills, run in a “modular” enrolment format and are constantly on the calendar (see below). Students may join these classes at any time. Specialty classes are offered routinely and on a rotating basis. Use the drop-down menu to view more information on the program that most interests you.

How do “Mix and Match”/modular classes work?

For both foundation classes, the Puppy Socialization Program and Life Skills, are specifically structured to allow students to mix and match their class days. The curriculums are “modular”, meaning that each individual class takes a workshop-style approach to training a specific topic. This means that the “modules” can be taken in any order, and thus students can pick and choose which days to attend class. Those who desire a fixed schedule are welcome to book the same day each week.

This format works very well for foundation classes, and allows students more freedom to book their classes as their schedule permits. Shift workers and owners who take vacation or travel for work have opportunity to attend classes with a schedule that fits their life.

When do group classes run?

Foundation group classes run constantly in several time slots each week. Orientation Sessions run weekly or bi-weekly. View the calendar for details. Specialty Class start dates are specified on each webpage.

What is your booking/cancellation policy?

Attendees of group classes are required to attend a free Orientation Session prior to starting in class with their dog. Prospective students are welcome to attend this session prior to registering in class and use it as a way to learn more about the school, training method, and classes offered.

Once payment is received for a program and a student has attended an Orientation session, you may use the online schedule to book or cancel individual classes in your program.  Cancelation of an individual class booking may be made 24 hours in advance to avoid forfeiting the class. Detailed information on booking classes will be provided to all students.

Registration for Specialty Classes is slightly different and is specified on each webpage. Please review group class policy for more information on booking and cancellation.

What happens when the school is closed?

All scheduled closures, for example holidays and continuing education events, will be blocked off on the schedule and noted on the side menu on the webpage. Group class programs will be placed on hold during this time, and no time will be lost from students’ programs.

If there is an unscheduled closure, for example due to extreme weather or illness on the part of the instructor, individuals affected will be contacted and will be given a chance to make up the missed class. I do my best not to have unplanned interruptions to the schedule.

How do I find out more about a program?

You will find detailed descriptions on each program in the Group Class drop down menu in the side menu bar.

Do you offer a guarantee?

In order to remain in compliance with the CCPDT Code of Ethics, I do not offer a guarantee.  A trainer teaches an owner how to train their dog; thus, asking a trainer for a guarantee isn’t asking for a guarantee on training methods, it’s asking for a guarantee on the one’s own behaviour inasmuch as it affects the dog. A guarantee is simply a marketing tactic – buyer beware!

What is the owner’s role in training?

Your role is invaluable! Your job will be to assure that you understand the information given to you and adhere to the training protocols laid out for you and your dog. The most successful owner is engaged, actively listens and assimilates information, asks lots of questions and requests clarification when necessary, frequently gives and requests feedback, and is overall an active partner in training. I want to work with you to help you and your dog – your dog and I can’t do it without you!

What methods of training do you use in group classes?

Respect for the dog’s physical, mental and emotional well-being is a foremost priority in any training at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services. Positive Reinforcement refers to a type of consequence: offering the dog something they want in order to increase the frequency of a behaviour. This is not a bribe because the dog is not shown up-front the “thing” they want. Consequences occur after the behaviour has happened, as opposed to a lure (or “bribe”) which is used in order to prompt a behaviour. Lures have their place, however must be used properly and must be faded out of training as soon as possible.

In class, students will learn how to “shape” behaviour, to properly use and fade a lure, to add a cue (the word “sit” for example), to capture behaviour, to properly reinforce a behaviour and to effectively manage and prevent reinforcement for undesirable behaviours. Rather than resorting to corrections to stop unwanted behaviours, owners will be coached thorough how to effectively teach an incompatible behaviour that will have the added benefit of preventing unwanted behaviours (for example, a dog cannot simultaneously sit and jump). Specific behaviours or issues addressed in each class are detailed on program webpages, found in the drop down menu above.

For those interested in Control Unleashed group programs, you are encouraged to review Private Training FAQ for information on methods used in behaviour modification training.

Private Training FAQ

Private dog training for fear, reactivity, aggression, manners, obedience and puppies.

When is private training the best option?

Private training is the best option for dealing with issues of  reactivity, fear and aggression. It is also the best option for manners/obedience for owners wanting to pursue focused training on a single topic, prefer one-on-one training and for those owners with schedules that cannot accommodate the group class program.

How much does private training cost?

All pricing is listed on the Private Training webpage.

Where are you located? What is your service area?

Private training is offered in your home or at the facility. The school is located at 37 Chapel Lane in downtown Guelph. There is a map of the school and service area for in home sessions on the Contact page. Contact the office to find out if travel to your location can be accommodated, and to determine any applicable travel fees.
* The facility will be moving in Spring 2018 to a larger facility and will remain in Guelph. Details will be announced soon.

What are your hours?

Private training may be booked during days, evenings or weekends. Specific availability varies by week.

What is your booking/cancellation policy?

Payment must be made within two days to hold your appointment time. Notice of cancellation must be made 48 hours in advance or there is a full charge for the missed session. Please read full policy here.

How many sessions/how long does it take to solve my problem?

The length of time or number of sessions that it will take to solve the issue is very much dependent on the issue, the owner and the dog. For example, an owner looking to teach a non-aggressive dog to settle at the sound of a door bell may take only a couple of sessions, however working through multiple issues involving fear or aggression will take multiple sessions. There is a discount available on multi-session packages, as outlined on the Private Training webpage. Owners acquire skills at different rates of speed and this in turn affects the dog’s progress.

Do you offer a guarantee?

In order to remain in compliance with the CCPDT Code of Ethics, I do not offer a guarantee.  A trainer teaches an owner how to train their dog; thus, asking a trainer for a guarantee isn’t asking for a guarantee on training methods, it’s asking for a guarantee on one’s own behaviour inasmuch as it affects the dog. I will guarantee that you will receive up-to-date information and instruction on force-free training methodology, support, guidance and consideration of the wants and needs of you and your dog.

What is the owner’s role in training?

Your role is invaluable! Your job will be to assure that you understand the information given to you and adhere to the training protocols laid out for you and your dog. My “dream client” is engaged, actively listens and assimilates information, asks lots of questions and requests clarification when necessary, frequently gives and requests feedback, and is overall an active partner in training. I want to work with you to help you and your dog, and I can’t do it without you!

What do I need to prepare for my session?

  • Completed Behaviour Questionnaire
    • This will be sent to you via email. Complete in detail it on your computer and return it via email in advance of your session. Do not print, complete by hand or save it as a PDF. If you experience technical difficulties please contact the office.
  • Treats
    • Prepare extraordinary treats, the smellier/grosser the better. For example: sandwich meats, dehydrated organ meats, cooked and chopped lean meat from the butcher, or tripe treats
    • NO veggies, fruit, kibble, hard biscuits, etc.
    • Chop treats no larger than the size of a pea (or smaller for tiny dogs)
    • Minimum 300 pieces
    • Choose treats that will not upset your dog’s stomach
  • Pouch
    • Purchase a fanny pack, a treat pouch from the pet store, or a rock climbing chalk pouch, or notify your trainer and one will be available for purchase.
    • NO pockets and over-the-shoulder type bags
  • Equipment
    • Have ready your regular walking equipment (leash, harness, etc) as well as any favourite toys.
  • Feeding/Exercise
    • If the session falls near a meal time, please feed only a very small portion of the meal earlier than usual. Cut back on all meals to accommodate the extra calories of training treats.
    • Exercise your dog appropriately prior to your session, however be sure not to exhaust your dog.
  • For dogs who are not friendly with people
    • For in-home sessions please secure your dog in a room out of sight from the front entrance. (i.e. in a room with a door closed, not in a crate in the front entry way). Ensure that your dog is not able to open the door or otherwise escape or injure her/himself.
    • For in-school sessions please discuss this with your trainer prior to your session.

What methods do you use for behaviour modification training?

Respect for the dog’s physical, mental and emotional well-being is a foremost priority in any training at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services. Behaviour modification training focus on creating good associations with a trigger and teaching the dog how to make good choices, particularly when under stress. This training is not about controlling the dog, it is about returning agency to the dog. A dog who feels in control of herself feels safe and secure, thus removing the root cause of most behaviour issues (fear, anxiety, stress, over-arousal, etc). Our goal is to demonstrate to your dog that she is able to make choices and more importantly to teach her how to make good ones. It is important to note that the dog is never pushed to react and then punished; modern behaviour modification training must be conducted sub-threshold in order for a dog’s behavioural and emotional reactions to change. (Learn more about what “threshold” is.)

Specific protocols include:

Positive Reinforcement

Positive Reinforcement refers to a type of consequence: offering the dog something they want in order to increase the frequency of a behaviour. This is not a bribe because the dog is not shown up-front the “thing” they want (“here’s what you get if you perform”). Consequences occur after the behaviour has happened, as opposed to a lure (or “bribe”) which is used first in order to prompt a behaviour. Lures have their place, however must be used properly and do not play a significant role in behaviour modification training. Positive reinforcement is an over-arching theme of training and provides a foundation to change a dog’s behavioural and emotional reaction to a trigger.

Classical Counter Conditioning

Classical counter conditioning is an element of classical conditioning, also known as Pavlovian conditioning. This focuses not on behaviour but on emotional response. The dog is exposed to the trigger sub-threshold (dog notices but does not react) and this exposure is paired or associated with “good stuff” and pleasant experiences. This acts to change a dog’s emotional response by changing the meaning of the trigger.


Desensitization involves incremental, sub-threshold exposure to a trigger. Desensitization is used in conjunction with other methods and is an element of any training that exposes a dog to a trigger sub-threshold. Note that desensitization is not flooding! Flooding is a very detrimental method that involves exposing a dog to the trigger at great intensity, usually for a prolonged period. Imagine having a deathly fear of scorpions and being locked in a small box filled with them! Flooding often provokes a “freeze” response (“learned helplessness”), similar to a mouse that has been caught by a cat. This is not indicative of relaxation, and the dog is not calm. For more information on this, please read this article.

Control Unleashed

Control Unleashed is a program developed by Leslie McDevitt to teach dogs how to regulate their own levels of arousal, increase focus and decrease reactivity. The exercises are based in teaching incompatible behaviours with positive reinforcement and counter conditioning a dog’s emotional response to triggers. Scratch and Sniff Canine Services offers group classes to coach students through the CU program.

Behaviour Adjustment Training

Behaviour Adjustment Training is a protocol designed by Grisha Stewart for fear, reactivity and aggression. It works by exposing the dog sub-threshold to the trigger and using a functional reward, most often distance from the trigger, to reinforce socially appropriate behaviours. The foundation of BAT training lies in the owner learning to read their dog’s body language and teaching the dog how to deal with stressful or uncomfortable situations using non-confrontational means.

Sniffer Dogs Program

Scent detection is an up-and-coming sport that’s seen a recent surge in popularity in Canada. The goal is to teach your dog to search for a particular scent, and then alert you to its location. The scent can be hidden anywhere from in one of multiple containers, to an interior room, a vehicle, or the outside of a building. This is a great way to mentally exhaust your dog, and truly learn to appreciate the unique abilities of our dogs.

The training taught in class is similar to what is used to teach working detection dogs, including bed bug dogs, border patrol dogs, conservation dogs, and drug dogs. There are also some similarities to other scent sports, such as tracking and search and rescue.

Program Details

$300+ HST, 8 consecutive weeks

Cost includes a Scent Kit.  Maximum FOUR dogs per class.

This class isn’t currently on the schedule, email the office to be added to the newsletter and check out our other classes!

Be sure that you are available for every class and complete your homework. In case of unforeseen circumstances, make-up sessions are offered at a discounted rate of $30/half hour and should be completed the same week as the class that is missed (subject to private session policy).


    • Dogs must not be a risk to people or dogs, and must be comfortable in a group class environment. Dogs with minor social issues may be accepted if the class is suitable to their behavioural needs.
    • Dogs must have received their complete puppy vaccinations and be a minimum of 16 weeks
    • For dogs over 6 months – proof of Rabies vaccination by a veterinarian is required
    • Do not attend with a dog who is sick, including vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, lethargy or fever
    • Submitting registration/payment indicates acceptance of the group class policy

Prerequisites: Dogs and owners must have basic clicker training skills as taught in the Puppy Socialization or Life Skills programs.

  • Prerequisite behaviours
    • Hand Target
  • Materials
    • Training supplies as outlined in your handouts.
    • A Scent Kit is included in the cost of the class
    • Students will be required to purchase three identical containers suitable to the size of their dog. Requirements will be reviewed at the first class.
  • If you have not attended classes at Scratch and Sniff Canine Services, please review the above prerequisite behaviours and contact the office to arrange for a free assessment, and attend the free Orientation prior to starting class.

Book your spot now!