January Classes Cancelled: What To Do – For Current Students

Dear Students,

The State of Emergency/Stay at Home Order starting on January 14th has changed things for us again. As a result, When Hounds Fly’s services will be shifting once again to comply with the latest provincial order and municipal guidelines.

Please continue reading below for options & next steps for your program. Most, if not all, of the answers to your questions should be here. We are anticipating a very high number of emails/help requests, and while of course we are always happy to help, you will most likely get answers much faster by reading below.

What are my next steps as a student scheduled into group classes in January?

Step 1: we will remove you from all your January classes, returning those credits. It is a tedious manual process, but should be complete by end of day today (Tuesday).

Step 2: As the state of emergency is extended, we will periodically remove registrations made into brick-and-mortar/in-person classes – please check on those and reschedule them if needed. Pay special attention to Modules 6 and 7, which should be taken last.

Step 3: Take Action –

OPTION A) Self service, book into virtual classes. Virtual classes are a fantastic way to continue your dog’s education while staying safely home. We will be running virtual Foundation Skills and Puppy Socialization classes throughout lockdown and beyond. For Puppy Socialization students, you may also choose to join our Outdoor Socially Distant Group Walk and Train sessions.

Please save this link, it’s the Virtual Class Calendar for you to book!

OPTION B) Email to request a switch to private lessons, and have your unused credit balances applied as a credit towards a private lesson package. We can help you address your particular training questions 1-on-1, outdoors & physically distanced. If you’d like to switch to private lessons, please reply to this email, and include: the email address you signed up with, your home address or nearest intersection, and your main training concerns to address. We will then match you with an instructor, and invoice you any difference in cost.

Want to know more about private lessons (cost, availability, etc)? Please read here for Fear/Anxiety/Aggression issues, and here for Foundation Skills or Puppy Socialization 1-on-1.

OPTION C) Hang on to your credits and book in once lockdown is over. We will extend your credit completion timeframe by the length of the lockdown (ie, if lockdown is 1 month long, your timeframe will be extended by 1 month).

Some last notes…

Refund policy: as a small business that for a second time will be seriously affected by restrictions to our ability to operate and cover our payroll and expenses, we would ask that you respect our long standing no-refund policy, and be open to letting us serve you in ways that we are able to.

Timing of resumption of in-person group classes: Current information states the Stay at Home order will extend at least until February 11, 2021.

Timing of replies to emails: our admin team will be doing the best they can to keep up with the high number of requests. Please be patient as we help each student to the best of our abilities!

Thank you very much for your understanding. Your careful attention to the above makes you our most favourite student!


Happy New Year, and may you and yours stay healthy and happy through these times.



Claire Kilburn

When Hounds Fly

Webinar: Train Your Own Service Dog 101 – May 21, 7PM

Service animals can be life-changing, providing much-needed freedom to their handlers. Similar to a wheelchair or portable oxygen, service animals allow their handlers to participate fully in society by mitigating effects of a disability.

There are two common ways service dogs are trained:

  • By an organization, where they are raised from birth and trained to a very high level before being placed in a home
  • By an individual, who trains their own dog with the guidance of a trainer

Both of these methods are effective, and both are completely legal and legitimate ways to obtain a service dog.

This webinar will introduce the steps to the second method, answering questions such as:

  • Who could benefit from a dog that has been trained to perform assistance tasks?
  • What resources are required, and what are the qualities of someone who could be successful at training their own service dog?
  • What qualities are required for a dog to be successful at becoming a task-trained service dog?
  • What does a training program for an owner-trained service dog entail?
  • What are the laws regarding Service Dogs and Public Access in the Province of Ontario?

Capacity is limited to 100 on a first-come first serve basis – Please arrive punctually!

If we reach capacity or you miss the live event, don’t worry, we will be recording the webinar for viewing later.

Topic: Training Your Own Service Dog 101

Time: May 21, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Cost: Free

Join Zoom Meeting:


Meeting ID: 874 3952 9722
Password: 384125

How to Select a Dog Walker, Daycare, Groomer

Dogs in Dog Walker Van

Choosing a walker, groomer, or daycare for your dog can be a bit overwhelming. There are so many options out there, and because these professions aren’t regulated, anyone could call themselves an expert. The wrong choice could be bad news for the safety and well-being of your dog. From a dog trainer’s perspective, behavioural issues can develop or worsen if the dog is regularly exposed to a daycare, grooming, or walking experience that is less than ideal.

Along with reading reviews and trusting your gut, it’s important to also screen potential dog care services with some questions. We’ve compiled a handy list here of some questions we think are important from a behavioural soundness point of view. Feel free to pick and choose the questions you feel are most important, or go ahead and ask them all!

What are your staffing ratios?

Tons of dogs per staff member means a higher chance of things getting out of control, and fewer hands on deck if there is ever an emergency. For dog walkers in Toronto, the maximum is 6 dogs at a time. For daycares, while it does depend on the facility and specific dogs, one person watching 20 dogs is going to be risky.

What are your temperament assessments like?

The doggie friends your dog is spending time with at daycare or on walks will have an effect on his/her behaviour at home. If temperament assessments aren’t thorough, or aren’t even done at all, you might want to cross them off the list. An appropriate temperament assessment would tell the staff about your dog’s behaviour around strangers, other dogs, and maybe other stressors (loud sounds, etc).

What kind of behaviour could get a dog ejected?

A dog’s dangerous behaviour should never be tolerated in a daycare or walk environment. If a dog is aggressive or constantly in a state of high arousal, they should be transferred to a more appropriate service. Daycares and walkers should have a specific set of guidelines that regulate when a dog is bumped out of group walks or playtime.

What would you do if…. What is your procedure when….

Some good situations to ask about would be medical emergencies (“do you have a first aid kit?”), dog fights, dog gets loose, and dog “misbehaving”. This last one is particularly important – make sure you check with staff about what kind of dog training they ascribe to. Aversive training techniques, such as leash pops and squirt bottles, can leave you with a dog displaying deep-seated behaviour issues. The only situation where these kinds of methods would be reasonable to use would be in a life-threatening situation (a serious dog fight, or a biting dog that won’t let go).

What kind of training do your staff members receive?

Appropriate staff training is essential. Depending on the service, this could include basic first aid, dog fight interruption, dog body language, and basic behaviour theory. Policies around safety precautions should also be common knowledge to all staff members. For dog walkers, this could include safety straps on leashes, locking carabiners, and double attachment points.

Can I visit your facility?

In the case of groomers and daycares, a clean and tidy facility is a good sign. For daycares, facilities should have enough space for the number of dogs they take on at any one time. Crowded facilities increase the risk of accidents. Dogs should also have appropriate spaces to withdraw from the action if they need to (ex, a crate). Fencing and crates should be secure and free of any sharp edges.


While this list is in no way exhaustive, it should give you a good idea of the aspects of service providers that may have an impact on your dog’s behavioural wellness. You may have to shop around a bit for the right fit, but I promise it’s worth it!

(Photo Credit: A Couple of Mutts Dog Walking)


About the Author:

Claire is an Associate Instructor with When Hounds Fly Dog Training in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in the dog training world since 2015 and has loved every second of it.

Claire is the founder of Scout Me A Dog, a consulting service dedicated specifically to helping potential dog owners on the breed selection, breeder selection, and purchasing process.