Below you’ll find a list of commonly asked questions, which we hope you’ll find helpful. If you have further inquiries, please reach out to us through the Contact Form and we will be sure to answer you promptly.
1. What do you do and what do you do differently than others?
Way of Life™ Dog Training coaches people in designing ways of life with their dogs that produce deep and lasting bonds, and sound, strong, and spirited dogs. Most of our colleagues in the business work on training dogs using various forms of reinforcement, such as positive and/or negative reinforcement. By contrast, we focus on raising dogs rather than training them, and we work with you to examine and refine your way of life with your dog. While we very much enjoy helping people get started right with their new pup—thereby avoiding countless behavioural issues—we’re particularly keen on helping people address problematic behaviours of all kinds regardless of breed, background, or circumstance.
2. What are my different options for training?
We always begin with a 30-minute complimentary consultation to discuss your current situation. This is followed by a two-hour in-person or virtual assessment to get more information and to describe the Way of Life™ approach in enough detail that you’ll be able to begin applying it immediately. After that, we can work together on a session-by-session basis or through packages, our preferred mode of coaching. Packages include in-person and virtual sessions, educational materials, and 24/7 support outside of sessions. At the moment, Way of Life™ Dog Training is focused exclusively on 1:1 coaching, through single sessions or packages. We do not offer in-person group classes but occasionally offer group virtual classes. Subscribe to our newsletter here to keep informed.
3. What types and breeds of dogs do you work with?
Way of Life™ Dog Training focuses primarily on companion dogs, and we welcome dogs of all breeds, backgrounds, and behaviours. Since our primary focus is on behavioural issues, we know dogs of all walks of life can experience these issues, including rescues, pets raised since puppyhood, dogs with jobs, and dogs active in sport. The behavioural issues we address include anxiety, separation anxiety, fear, sound sensitivities, reactivity, resource guarding, aggression, and more. We do not offer service dog training or working dog training.
4. What training methods do you use?
At Way of Life™, we focus on raising dogs to develop character traits and attitudes as opposed to training dogs for specific skills and behaviours. We know that the management and leadership of the dog underlie the dog’s attitude and behaviour and that’s what we focus on. Therefore, we coach our clients in managing and leading their dogs in ways that produce great dogs. With that said, we do not condone the use of methods that involve overpowering dogs, punishing, or “dominating” them in the old school ways. We also do not use or endorse training tools such as prong collars, choke chains, electronic collars, head halters, or no-pull harnesses. Rather, our approach emphasizes the handlers and the life they create for their dogs.
5. Do you guarantee your training?
In line with principles espoused by professional dog training associations, we do not and cannot offer guarantees. Trainers and behavioural consultants provide advice and it is up to the owners who live with and handle the dog each day to implement recommendations and follow through with homework. The responsibility for success is shared between client and coach and therefore trainers cannot make guarantees. What I can guarantee, however, is that dogs reflect their ways of life and that when we work at improving the root cause of behaviour, specifically the dog’s way of life, they cannot help but change for the better. I have seen it time and again, and many clients have provided testimonials to confirm their successes.
6. How long will it take to solve my problem?
Our approach focuses on real and long-lasting change, which takes time. It may require up to a year with the Way of Life™ approach for deep change to happen from the inside out and really take hold. Because dogs respond so powerfully to their way of life, however, as soon as we begin introducing changes that improve the relationship dynamic between handler and dog, you are likely to see progress quickly. This offers my clients great encouragement that they’re on the right track.
7. Can you customize your programs?
Way of Life™ Dog Training follows a unique approach to raising dogs of all ages and of all backgrounds. Of course, our method is customized to the needs of each dog-person team and household. There are indeed tremendous variations in dogs, in people, in their relationships, and ways of life, which require we customize our approach accordingly. With that said, we value the integrity of our philosophy and method. Way of Life™ clients understand that for their dogs to be all they can be, their owners need to apply a physical and psychological process that may not always be easy but is powerful in creating real change.
8. What age can my puppy start training with you?
Many trainers believe that it’s never too soon to start training. Conversely, veterinarians are often concerned with whether puppies have received all their shots before beginning training. At Way of Life ™, we believe that it can be too soon to train a puppy but it’s never too soon to set up and structure the puppy’s way of life to maximize his/her potential to grow into a sound, strong, and spirited adult. In other words, let us begin our work before your pup even arrives!
9. What is your service area?
Currently, we are serving the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) including Toronto, Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, Bowmanville, North York, Markham, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Newmarket, Etobicoke, and Mississauga. We work with clients on site, in their homes, and in public spaces such as parks.
10. What are your dog trainer’s’ qualifications?
As the founder and head coach of Way of Life™ Dog Training, I bring a particular blend of education and expertise to the table. I am a behavioural scientist by training, holding a PhD in management and organizational behaviour, and am a tenured professor and researcher. I’ve been working with dogs as long as I’ve been an academic, nearly 20 years. I have diverse experiences with dogs, as a shelter and rescue volunteer and foster, dog owner and sport enthusiast, trainer and coach. I have been influenced and mentored by a range of individuals who have deeply shaped my perspective on dogs and our relationships with them, including veterinarians, breeders, master dog trainers, sport instructors, and my own grandmother. I am also a Certified Family Dog Mediator (FDM) and have completed countless seminars and courses. Like any academic, I continue to look for opportunities to learn.
11. I’ve heard you have a newsletter that offers useful information and free resources. Where do I sign up?
That’s right! Our seasonal newsletter is packed with tips, inspiration, and recommendations. Sign up here if you have a puppy and you’ll also receive our free Puppy Primer.
If you’ve come to us with concerns over behavioural issues, click here to sign up and you’ll receive Let’s Fix This, a free PDF on ten steps you can take right now to begin addressing any behavioural issue.