Dog Trainer Toronto

All of the instructors at When Hounds Fly are either Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partners, or have earned their Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed designations, or hold academic degrees in animal behavior. We proudly maintain the highest standards of ANY dog training school in Toronto. We also invest heavily in continuing education and also internal skills development, and are proud to be part of mentoring the next generation of this city’s top dog training instructors.


Rachael Johnston, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP

Rachael JohnstonRachael Johnston is one of the few dog trainers in the Greater Toronto Area to have graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy of Animal Training and Behaviour, and also be certified by the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She completed her Karen Pryor Academy study under Helix Fairweather. Recent certifications of note include her becoming a Family Paws Parent Educator, and completing Dr. Susan Friedman’s Living and Learning with Animals program.

Over ten years ago, Rachael got her start in positive reinforcement training as a volunteer, a mentor and instructor at Sit Happens in Calgary. She graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy in 2009, studying under Helix Fairweather.

Rachael loves training dogs! It fills her with joy to see wagging tails and bright eyes as each dog uses their amazing mind to learn all the crazy things we humans want to teach! And it gives her just as much joy to see owners delighted by the discovery that their dogs are such intelligent and fast learners.

Previously, Rachael was the Operations Manager for Rover Achiever Pet Care and she spent six years walking groups of dogs in some of the most beautiful parks in the city. She has a Conservatory Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta.

Rachael instructs Puppy Socialization, Foundation Skills classes and Tricks classes at When Hounds Fly.



Hu Wang KPA CTPHu Wang graduated from the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training and Behavior under Laurie Luck in 2016.

Over the past three years, Hu worked as an apprentice dog trainer in Arlington, Virginia and volunteered at numerous animal shelters in the US. Hu and his wife moved to Toronto with their Beagle/Vizsla mix, Bear in the summer of 2018.

Hu has loved animals since he was a child, growing up with dogs in the family. After obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree of Art in Media Production in United Kingdom, Hu worked as a TV producer in Beijing for five years. During that time, he covered stories about dogs causing societal issues, and he realized that these issues stemmed from society’s lack of understanding of canine behaviour. He wanted to change that, so in 2015, he left the TV industry and relocated to the US to begin his career in dog training.

Hu adores Bear who he adopted in Missouri in 2015. Bear has been an amazing training buddy and provided constant support ever since. Hu and his wife have traveled across North America always with Bear by their side.

Hu instructs Puppy Socialization and Foundation Skills classes at When Hounds Fly.

His dog on Instagram:  bear_the_happy_dog_official

Erin Britton, CPDT-KA

Erin is an instructor at When Hounds Fly, teaching puppy classes and foundation skills.

Prior to joining our team as a full-time instructor, she also owned and operated her own dog walking business, A Couple of Mutts, which was voted Toronto’s Best Dog Walking Company 2017 by The Toronto Pet Daily.

Before she became a dog training instructor, she completed her Concurrent Bachelors of General Science and Education, but felt more drawn to the canine classroom than the high-school classroom.

A client’s dog, suffering from severe anxiety and OCD prompted Erin to take a strong interest in canine behaviour. Since then, she’s endlessly studied canine behaviour and psychology in order to help more dog owners truly understand what their dogs are trying to tell them. She loves making people think like their dog in order to deepen their understanding of the canine life.

Erin lives with her rescued beagle-lab mix Bob, and plays favourite aunt to many of her dog walking clients. Trick training and hiking are their favourite past-times!

Her dog on Instagram:  bobbert_j_dingdong

Claire Kilburn, CPDT-KA

Claire has been with When Hounds Fly since early 2015. She started as a classroom assistant, then soon became a member of the instructor team. Claire now teaches group classes and private lessons, and also handles administration and operations. 

While working with the team, Claire completed a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, which has helped her further her understanding of learning theory and its applications. She is devoted to her continuing education as well, which has included ClickerExpo and Fenzi Dog Sports Training Camp.

Claire waited a very long time before being able to finally bring her own dog home. She is so happy to finally have Venn, a working line Border Collie, in her life. They are training to compete in dog sports such as obedience, agility, dock diving, and disc. They also enjoy hiking together, and Venn is a great model for her photography hobby! Not to be forgotten, Claire also lives with her partner Miles and their cat Avery.

Her dog on Instagram: a.very.venn

Luca Markus, CPDT-KA

Luca (pronounced Loot-sa) joined the instructor team at When Hounds Fly in January 2021, after completing our intensive Dog Trainer Internship program in Fall 2020. She also earned her CPDT-KA certification in 2021.

Luca’s involvement with When Hounds Fly started in 2019 as a student, when she and her partner got Zoe, their mastiff-lab mix puppy. Together with Zoe, they completed our Puppy Start Right, Foundation Skills, and Canine Good Neighbour programs.

Her dog training interests have expanded to trick training, agility, and most recently, scent detection.

Prior to joining the When Hounds Fly team, Luca worked as a civil engineer, and volunteered as a bike mechanic at a non-profit DIY bike shop. Currently, she is finishing her PhD in civil engineering at the University of Toronto.

Her dog on Instagram: @zoeletsgoe

Billie Shannon, CPDT-KA

Billie joined the instructor team at When Hounds Fly in January 2021, after completing our intensive Dog Trainer Internship program in Fall 2020. She also earned her CPDT-KA certification in 2021.

Billie’s career at When Hounds Fly started as a classroom assistant, assisting our instructors in Puppy Start Right and Foundation Skills classes. Previously, she was also a playcare attendant at Unleashed in the City, a popular downtown dog daycare and walking/adventure hike company. There, she helped many puppies learn how to play appropriately, relax and settle, and recall for off-leash hikes.

Billie has had dogs her entire life, but currently is focused on her pet rats. Billie and her fiancé are passionate about rescuing and training rats – hers are very smart and love tricks!

Billie has a BA and M.Sc in Psychology, and continues to learn every day about animal behaviour. Outside of the classroom, Billie enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, and theatre acting.

Currently, she teaches Puppy Start Right and Foundation Skills classes at When Hounds Fly.

Chris Taccogna, CPDT-KA, CTDI, ABCDT

Chris Taccogna instructs Puppy Socialization and Foundation Skills classes at When Hounds Fly.

Chris believes following her passion of teaching dogs and their guardians is the most fulfilling path in life. She utilizes her teaching skills to establish clear communication between dogs and humans and her creativity to formulate solutions to unwanted behavior. Chris is committed to compassionate, evidence-based training methods which adhere to LIMA and the Humane Hierarchy principles as set forth by the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

After earning her BFA at Ontario College of Art and Design in 2013, Chris began working as a Sales Associate at Global Pet Foods where she became passionate about animal nutrition. Being surrounded by animals rekindled a long-standing desire to become a dog trainer and inspired her to attend Animal Behaviour College and earn her ABCDT certification in 2016. She then started her own dog training business and was awarded the title of “Top Three Trainers” in Brampton in 2018. She has since earned her CPDT-KA from the Certification Council of Professional Dog Trainers as well as her CTDI through Kyra Sundance’s Do More With Your Dog in 2020. Chris is a firm believer of continuing education and for that reason she began mentoring under renowned trainer Emily Larlham.  Recently, Chris was invited as a guest speaker at York University to present on the “Exploration into the Human-Dog Bond and Its Influence on Mental Health”.

Chris shares her life with one of her greatest teachers, her Boston Terrier Zombie. Zombie is one of four dogs in all of Canada to have earned his Expert Trick Dog Title (ETD).

Her dog’s handle on Instagram is:

Stephanie Tran, CPDT-KA

Stephanie TranStephanie Tran joined the When Hounds Fly team as an instructor in 2017.

She began as a volunteer classroom assistant in early 2016, in order to increase her knowledge and understanding in positive reinforcement training. She continues to read books and take online courses to further her education. She completed her Karen Pryor Academy Dog Trainer Foundations course in 2015 and Dog Emotion and Cognition course by Duke University through Coursera in 2017.

Stephanie is passionate about helping reactive dogs. Prior to joining When Hounds Fly as an instructor, she was a dog walker, providing 1-on-1 walks for dogs that have fear and aggression issues.

Prior to this, Stephanie gained a significant amount of hands-on experience with dogs of all breeds, sizes and temperaments as a full-time Animal Care Attendant at Parker Pet Care for over 3 years.

Besides her love of dogs and behaviour, Stephanie is also passionate about photography. She currently lives with her German Shepherd mix, Mila, who she adopted and rescued from Sochi, Russia. Both enjoy trick training and taking long hikes.

Her dog on Instagram: mila_therescue

Anita Rahmati

Anita joined the instructor team at When Hounds Fly in January 2021, after completing our intensive Dog Trainer Internship program in Fall 2020.

Since she was a child, she has always loved animals, but especially dogs. She became a dog parent in 2018 when she got Lady, her Cockapoo, who she brought to our Puppy Start Right classes as a student.

Shortly thereafter, she became a dog walker, which gave her invaluable insight in managing dogs of different breeds and temperaments. Her own dog’s struggle with anxiety and reactivity also was the spark that got her interested in learning about training and behaviour. In addition to completing our Internship program, she has also completed the Dog Trainer Foundations program with the Karen Pryor Academy.

Before immigrating to Canada, Anita graduated from Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering.

Her dog on Instagram: @ladythecockapoo

Anita Ritchie

Anita joined the instructor team at When Hounds Fly in January 2021, after completing our intensive Dog Trainer Internship program in Fall 2020.

Her dog Kenzie, a Norwegian Elkhound, is a proud When Hounds Fly graduate from the Puppy Start Right classes in 2016. It was during this experience, Anita realized the benefits of Positive Reinforcement training. The principles taught in the classroom helped Kenzie overcome her fearful nature and have significantly improved her quality of life. As an instructor at When Hounds Fly, Anita hopes to help other dog lovers better understand their canine companions!

Outside of the classroom, Anita enjoys spending her time with Kenzie and her husband (Cameron) on outdoor adventures and traveling, including road trips to the Canadian Rockies and the East Coast in recent years!

Anita instructs Puppy Start Right and Foundation Skills classes at When Hounds Fly.

Her dog on Instagram: kenzie.the.elkhound


Mayra Morales

Mayra joined the instructor team at When Hounds Fly in January 2021, after completing our intensive Dog Trainer Internship program in Fall 2020.

Originally from Venezuela, she has had dogs and cats since she can remember, so her love for animals started at an early age. She moved to Canada in 2009 to get a post grad certificate in television and Film and pursue a career in this area, which she accomplished.

In 2016, she became a dog parent to a Chocolate Labrador Retriever puppy, Mocha, and took the Puppy Socialization classes at When Hounds Fly. Shortly after, she moved to Vancouver, BC to continue career opportunities, where Mocha started displaying reactivity around bicycles, kids, skateboards, and dogs.

Mayra felt very overwhelmed and stressed about this situation and looked into getting private lessons with a local R+ trainer. After the first session and implementing the exercises, there was such a great change in Mocha that Mayra knew this is what she wanted to do next, helping people like her with their struggles with their dogs and solidifying the relationship between dogs and their guardians.

In 2018, Mayra got her Dog Behavior & Training Certification Level 1 at the International Academy of Canine Trainers in Delta, BC and returned to Toronto in 2019. Shortly thereafter, she started the internship program with When Hounds Fly.

Before immigrating to Canada, Mayra got her bachelor’s degree in communications from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello in Caracas, Venezuela.

Victoria Benner

Victoria is our Client Experience Administrator – if you’ve ever sent us an email, you’ll have interacted with her!

Victoria was born a true animal lover, but only began her career in the animal world when she moved from Ireland to Canada in 2010. Prior to joining the When Hounds Fly Team, she worked at an animal shelter and a busy emergency veterinary clinic. She then set up her own small dog walking and pet sitting business, which she continues to run part-time.

Her deep interest in dog training and behaviour was sparked during her time as a Canine Adoption Agent at the shelter, but really took hold when she adopted her beautiful senior dog, Patty, and they began their own training journey together.

Victoria loves nothing more than to know that she is helping pet parents on the journey to getting to know their beloved pets even better, through positive reinforcement based training.

Dr. Sarah Shapiro-Ward PhD, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, CTDI

Sarah is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (Knowledge-Assessed), a Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner (KPA CTP)  and a Do More With Your Dog Certified Trick Dog Instructor.

Sarah and her Cockapoo, Percy, have been featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Daily Mail UK, and has even been interviewed by NHK Japan for many of the amazing tricks she has clicker trained, such teaching Percy how to play Connect 4 and Jenga, and even paint on canvas!

Besides tricks, Sarah has successfully helped hundreds of dog owners with issues ranging from new puppy issues to more severe fear and aggression cases.

Before becoming a dog trainer, Sarah was an academic biochemist specialising in the digestion of prebiotics. She completed her Ph.D. in 2015 at the University of Newcastle, UK and continued her research at the University of Victoria, BC as a post doctoral researcher. While she assures us that she is happy to leave the lab behind, she continues to apply her skills of objective analysis, deconstruction and presentation to training scenarios.

Sarah is available for private lessons out of Vancouver, and phone consults/trick titling services worldwide.

Her dog on Instagram: prancing_percy

Andre Yeu, CPDT-KA, KPA CTP, Founder

Andre Yeu is one of only two Canadians to be part of the prestigious Karen Pryor Academy Faculty. In addition to leading When Hounds Fly, he teaches the flagship Dog Trainer Professional program for the Karen Pryor Academy.

He originally completed his Karen Pryor Academy certification in 2010 under Steve Benjamin.

He founded When Hounds Fly Dog Training in January 2010, starting as the only trainer in a single location, and oversaw its growth to three locations and a total of seven trainers today. Currently he teaches Puppy Socialization and Foundation Skills classes at the Queen West location.

Andre is often sought out by the media for his dog training expertise, and has appeared on television programs such as eTalk Daily, Global TV News, and he was the official dog trainer for the hit reality series, CBC’s Over The Rainbow. In print, he’s been interviewed by publications such as Canadian Living and the Toronto Star.

Andre grew up in Vancouver, and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, with Honours, from the University of British Columbia. He lives with his partner, Hyedie Hashimoto, and their rescue Beagle, Phoebe. Phoebe passed her Canine Good Neighbour test in 2018. With his previous rescue Beagle, Petey, Andre enjoyed training and competing in Rally Obedience. Petey had earned his Canine Good Neighbour and Rally Obedience Novice titles. Other than dogs, Andre is a fitness enthusiast and participates in Muay Thai and previously competed in triathlon.

On Instagram: andre_yeu