Breaking Barriers: Making Pet Training More Inclusive with Reduced Rates

| March 22, 2024
All pet parents should have the opportunity to celebrate the human-animal bond through fun and supportive positive reinforcement pet training classes.

Written by: Beverley McKee, CDBC, CPDT-KA

Professional pet training goes beyond addressing unwanted behaviours; it provides an opportunity to build your pet’s confidence, provide essential socialization experiences, provide a fun enrichment alternative to the usual walk around the block, help prevent problem behaviour from developing in the future, and strengthens your human-animal bond. Strong human animal bonds can help deter animal surrenders due to behavioural problems

Reducing the Cost and Increasing the Capacity for Subsidized Rates

Because we feel so strongly about the many benefits of proactive training, in late 2023 Toronto Humane Society’s Public Training and Behaviour Services team evaluated group training and private consultation prices and decided to reduce those prices significantly. Training classes were reduced by approximately 50% of average market value for classes led by a certified animal trainer in order to ensure that cost would not be a barrier to pet parents obtaining evidence-based training from industry expert.

At the same time, we increased our capacity to offer subsidized rates to pet parents experiencing financial hardship and rebuilt our operations model to significantly increase the number of training classes available. We reviewed our class curriculum thoroughly and fine-tuned our offerings to be sure we were meeting the needs of our community through a variety of classes, programmed both during daytime and evening hours to ensure that families who might have work hours outside of the traditional 9:00am to 5:00pm would also have opportunities to enroll.

The Impact

The response was extraordinary. Since reducing our rates we’ve more than doubled our monthly training appointments and families served through the Training and Behaviour Services and Behaviour program, and the numbers continue to grow.

In September of 2023, the program served 80 families for a total of 223 appointments as compared to 178 families for a total of 489 appointments as of February 22, 2024. This is a profound impact. Not only have we been able to serve more families, but the accessible price point has resulted in families being able to book multiple training appointments, whether those are private behaviour consultations or group class appointments. That’s a lot of animals and pet parents growing their bond!

Homer: A Success Story in Overcoming Canine Reactivity

Homer attended our Reactive Dogs class and struggled with walking past by other dogs and stay calm. After working on Engage-Disengage and creating positive association when Homer sees other dogs, he was able to learn to stay focused on his parent and walk nicely on leash. Now, Homer knows that while other people and dogs are walking past by him, he can just look at his parent and feel confident that nothing scary will happen to him.

Reducing the financial barriers to pet training is a powerful step towards encouraging humane pet guardianship. By offering more affordable options, Toronto Humane Society empowers pet parents to take an active role in their pets’ education and behavioural development. This not only benefits the individual pets and their families but also contributes to building a more compassionate and understanding community of pet parents.

Ready to Enroll in a Training Class?

We believe in building a relationship of care and trust with you and your furry friend through evidence-based positive reinforcement training. It’s not just effective; it’s an enriching experience for both you and your pet. Join us on this incredible journey of building and strengthening your unique human-animal bond. Learn more and book your classes at

This article was initially showcased in the Winter 2023 issue of Animal Talk, a quarterly publication by Toronto Humane Society. Within its pages, the magazine provides invaluable pet advice, essential animal welfare updates, and regular insights to keep our community well-informed. You can now access this edition for free on issuu.