Puppy And Dog Training Is Now A Permitted Activity In Ontario, Canada

But Is It Wise? Are We Really Ready? Who Thought This Through? Did They Think It Through?

I’ve given it quite a bit of thought since the ‘announcement’ (which was very short on practical application details). They said we could start training puppies and dogs, but not how we could go about it and assuming the dangers are legitimate, not unrealistically endanger others (or ourselves). Saying, apply safety protocols and use common sense isn’t helpful.

As a result, I’m awaiting further instructions on how, if things are still as serious as typically described, it’s supposed to work as for the life of me I can’t figure out how it could be done in anything that would resemble a reasonable or safe manner. Whoever approved dog training, mustn’t have ever actually properly guided companion dog owners in the training of their dogs.

Typically, in an in-home setting, I work with your dog a bit while we’re getting the history so I can get a feel for the dog’s personality. Then you work with the dog, then I demonstrate something else, again working with the dog, then you. There are a couple of hours or so of this back and forth. There would be many different tactile and airborne virus exchange vectors (trading leash back and forth, petting the dog, alive, etc. that I don’t know how we’d realistically avoid.

Masks? Gloves? Testing?

While technically masks and gloves would mitigate some of the risks, they’re still in short supply. I haven’t been able to purchase any, and I’m sure many people looking for in-home dog training are in the same boat. In addition, I would think because of my potential as a vector I should get tested regularly enough to minimize risk to others, and yet access to testing is as restricted as gloves and masks.


I’m not personally too worried for myself (although I’m technically a higher risk due to age). However, assuming the consequences of contracting for a significant portion of the populace is accurate, without a better means of protecting my clients, I’d hate to become a transmission vector to others knowingly or unknowingly in less robust health, as I move from home to home as I see a lot of people each week. Beyond reasons associated with morality and ethics, I imagine there are liability issues as well. For those, I supposed a waiver might suit but even so, technically that would be based on adhering to what’s considered acceptable safety ‘protocol and practices’. How I or a client could ensure that we didn’t accidentally break a safety protocol doing something natural because we’re focusing on puppy or dog. In essence, making a waiver worthless.

With A Little Creativity, With A Highly Experienced Trainer, Puppy and Dog Training Is Still Possible In The Midst Of Covid-19

I wish I had a better answer for you if you’re determined it has to be in-home. However, don’t dismiss the thoroughness of what I have to offer with the virtual option. There are more upsides and less downsides then you would think, once you get past, “This isn’t the way the amateur dog trainers do things.”

I have been using modern technology for years for people outside of my immediate service region and from around the world. There are pros and cons to taking this approach but more pros than cons than you might think. (Have a look at the reviews from people that have chosen to train their puppies and dogs this way.)

The only two caveats I have are:

  1. You have to be comfortable using your phone to video your dog and yourself from time to time as part of my followup program.
  2. You have to be willing to work. (Puppies and dogs don’t train themselves no matter whether you’re going to a class once a week, have someone come to you once a week, or do things virtually.

What's Involved

Skype/Zoom/Google Meet etc.

There are three stages with the Skype portion acting as the laying of the foundation for the real work ahead which I will be be with you every step of the way. (At no additional charge.) (This is a very affordable option that provides excellent value.)

Part I (Getting Ready For Our Appointment)

  • Depending on the nature of your goals I will provide a list of videos I would like you to forward as they will reflect the current state of affairs from the perspective of both the goals and the dog(s) responsiveness to you.

  • You will complete a wish list. (Essentially, I want my dog to . . . and I want my dog to stop . . .) We will review this list during our consult and address each item.

  • In the event a dog is a puppy and especially if it is under 12 weeks of age I will forward instructions on how to start:

    • House training

    • Crate training
◦ Imprinting exercises/exposures designed to shape a positive and stable temperament.

    • I will make myself available to respond to questions that may arise before our scheduled appointment regarding these three time sensitive areas of behavior.

Part II - (The Virtual Part - Foundation, Approximately 2.5 hours)d

  • When dog(s) don’t listen – why?

  • The pitfalls of ‘Might Is Right’, Alpha, Pack Leader, Dominant and it’s polar opposite ‘All Positive/Purely Positive/Force-Free/Never Say No/R+…’, treat, treat, treat.

  • How puppies and dogs see the world and through that lens how they decide who is the teacher and who is the student.

  • How to use the teaching of ‘Stay,’ ‘Come’ and “Heel’ via 5 simple exercises that gently transition your dog’s current perception over to clarity as to who is the teacher and who is the student.

  • How to use routine as opposed to ’special training time’ to influence your dog’s progress.

  • Video examples of each of the exercises broken down into their base parts that you can view and review when you introduce them into your day to day routine without overwhelming either your dog(s) or yourself.

  • Review what can peripherally influence positively and negatively impact a dog’s behavior and how to use this information to positively impact your goals.

Part III - (Your Real Work Begins And So Does The Most Thorough Followup And Access To The Trainer Program On The Planet)

  • Extremely thorough and detailed session review notes are sent the morning after our meeting.

  • Not mandatory (but highly recommended) is a service I am offering at no additional charge. I will be providing you with a list (and videos) of the exercises (in your review notes) and from time to time you will video yourself and your dog as you work on these exercises. I will review these videos and return them with an edited version that will help you with your timing, use of tone and body language, make you aware of any steps you may have forgotten etc. 

  • Your session notes will also include recommendations on how to mentally and physically stimulate your dog in a manner that will positively contribute to achieving your goals.

People That Have Had Virtual Appointments With John Wade say . . .

(Both Pre Covid and Post Covid)

"Best Decision And Investment In Our Dog We Have Ever Made”

We hired John in December after purchasing a Cane Corso puppy. We don’t live in Ontario, we live in BC, so we worked with John via Skype and email. It was the best decision and investment in our dog we have ever made. John’s training is easy to put in place and follow through with. He is so helpful and always available for questions. We constantly have people commenting on how well trained our now 6 month old puppy is, and we plan to keep up with what we are doing! Our vet even asked how we were training him because he said he hadn’t seen a male of this breed submit so easily and that was so well trained. This dog does what he is told because he has been given the command, he has never had a treat and does not need to be bribed with one. No matter what he is doing – whether chasing a ball, rabbit, playing with another dog or even eating, if he is called to come, he immediately stops and comes. Our 2.5 year old daughter can walk him on a leash and he stays right beside her without pulling. This is such huge change from previous dogs we have owned and trained using the “positive reinforcement” method. Through following John’s instructions, we have never used any kind of negative force or even had to raise our voice with this dog. I cannot recommend John enough. I will never use another method to train a dog ever again. Thank you, John, for helping us give our dog his best life.
– Jasmine De Smet

"I Could Not Have Asked For More."

John is amazing. You can tell he is so passionate about his work and really cares about your success with your dog! I originally approached him for one specific problem that I felt totally overwhelmed with…well I had a skype consult with him a few weeks ago now and I already feel so much more confident handling my dog and feeling very positive about our next steps. He not only gave me the tools to correct my main concern, but gave me so much information so I’m able to address any and all behaviour issues that come up. I could not have asked for more. His approach makes so much sense to me. I wish I had found him years ago. He really offers invaluable knowledge!

K. Love

"Excellent value for money and the best investment you can make for a happy future with your dog!"

I wish there was more than a five star rating for John Wade – John brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to dog training as well as healthy doses of common sense, practical advice, and good humour all tailored specifically to your dog. The training also happens to work, based on kind repetition and not endless dog cookies. Most impressive of all is that John continues to provide unlimited support and wisdom along the way. Training your dog with John is the difference between a personal work out trainer who checks in regularly with positive encouragement and works with you towards a particular goal instead of getting a generic exercise hand-out at the gym with little further contact. Excellent value for money and the best investment you can make for a happy future with your dog!

Sue Sutherland Wood

"It's so rewarding to see the progress our dog is making."

John Wade is by far the best dog/owner trainer I have ever met. His down to earth approach in working with families and their dogs is making the process of re-training our 5 year dog easier and fun! It’s so rewarding to see the progress our dog is making. John helped us to understand the mistakes we had made in dealing with our dog in the past, and the best ways to correct both his and our behaviour. He continues to help through email and video feed back. I would recommend him to anyone who has a dog – new puppy, rescue or someone who needs to better understand how dogs think!!

B. Ridgewell

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkdin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment

2 thoughts on “Puppy And Dog Training Is Now A Permitted Activity In Ontario, Canada”

  1. Ray Blackmore

    Hi John, Ray Blackmore here…Honeybears owner rescue from Sue’s place in Myrtle Ont north of whitby. We attended a few of your classes at her farm 10 yrs ago.
    Good common sense article which seems to be lacking in this pandemic. I dont believe science has fully understood this virus, changing protocol and rules as time passes working with ” best practices ” . I am immune compromised and haven’t got out in months but that’s just my decision. As for opening up the economy I think it’s to early considering no cure or vaccine. All my Drs. Appointments are virtual now so if they wont go near their patients you are correct in doing the same. Stay safe we need experts such as yourself still around when this is over.
    Ray Blackmore

    1. Hi Ray,

      Nice to hear from you. I think that this recent move to open up certain economic aspects is more experiment than science data-driven or it’s based on science but they’re masking/misleading/reframing the purpose of the experiment. I’m not sure the motivation is economy-based either. I think they’re just trying to get it to run its course with as little damage as possible (which doesn’t mean little damage). I’m not saying that it should not be tried, but I’d rather they were honest in the way it was proposed. Less of a, it’s now safe to … and more of a let’s try this and see what happens, but everyone be clear, the risks remain the same. I always believed this couldn’t be stopped or responded to cure-wise in a timely manner. Sooner or later pretty much everyone will get exposed. It’s not like a response to a tornado-disaster. Brief disaster, emergency relief, life goes on…

      I did understand the idea or thought I did of ‘flattening’ the curve. At least slowing things down via social distancing so that those that did contract might get the medical care via a system that hadn’t been inundated by more cases than could be practically treated. I suspect now, that the ‘beast’ has been not so much contained but slow down (flattened) that they’re opening the flood gates a tad, let people contract, treat those that can be treated, let those die that can’t, then raise the flood gates again if it starts to get out of hand and keep repeating the process until it’s run its course and there’s herd immunity. Machiavellian perhaps but perhaps the only reasonable strategy? That’s what I think they’re doing, but it’s not what they say they’re doing. If they were honest I think people would better understand, Machiavellian or not, perhaps the route with the least amount of evil, out? Their way continues to erode at their credibility as not all voters are gullible and driven by fear.

      It’s a tough call no matter what they do, but being honest by the admission that they’re at best-guessing and flying by the seat of their pants on the basis of limited and often altered data and interpretation of that data that is all over the mat because of interfering political agendas, provincially, nationally, and internationally and the petri dish that is the Internet and the cultivation medium of ignorance and stupidity that so often feeds social media spreading conspiracy theories as much if not more than legitimate data.

      As a result, I’m going to err on the side of caution, less for my own sake and more for those that they seem prepared to sacrifice.

      I’m fortunate in that I can weather the storm but I feel really bad for those less mentally, financially, health-wise, etc. prepared.


      John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade
      Embracing Science and Common Sense


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top