Top 5 GTA-made pet finds

With more and more Torontonians welcoming dogs into their families, the city’s brave battalions of trainers are here to help keep these furry friends happy and well-behaved.

Inspired by the trials and tribulations of training his first rescue beagle, Duke, Andre Yeu has helped lead the charge for pup education over the past dozen years, opening five training centers called When Hounds Fly, where he and his team of 20 have helped more than 12,000 dogs become better canine citizens.

“The environment that Toronto dogs live in makes training a necessity,” he says. “City dogs need to navigate crowded streets, take the TTC and get along with other dogs in off-leash dog parks and trails.”

Yeu is forever expanding his offerings. This year, he’s launching reactive-dog and agility programs as well as mentoring aspiring trainers, which includes a scholarship for BIPOC applicants to help bring more diversity to the profession.

“My relationship with Duke was built from the training work we did together, and it delights me when I see our clients having the same experience,” Yeu says. “I feel sorry for dogs and people whose relationship is more akin to taking care of a houseplant. Training together, with positive reinforcement, is what I believe really deepens bonds and understanding.”

To mark Dog Training Education Month, Yeu shares his favorite GTA-made finds for Fido.

Necklaces by Boardwalk Collective

“These beautifully made, water- and odour-proof collars and leashes are actually made by an alumnus of When Hounds Fly, right in the Beach. They look sharp and feel great to hold.”

Mini Trainers by Crumps’ Naturals

“They’re a local success story and their treats can be found in major retailers and local boutique shops. We love their Mini Trainers collection, because it lets us get a lot of training in without losing time having to cut treats ourselves.”

Hands-Free Leads by Smoochy Poochy

“These leashes are wonderful training aids. By attaching the leash to your waist, both hands are now free for training, such as handling a clicker and feeding treats. Hands-free leashes are also a must-have if you want to jog with your dog.”

Biscuits by WALTO

“A well-prepared dog trainer has a variety of treats ready for different tasks. Sometimes, though, it’s time for non-contingent reinforcement – ​​aka free cookies because you’re cute! I love these Asian-inspired treats made in small batches in Scarborough.”

Dog Soap by DO NOT EAT

“A trained dog with a strong relationship with its owner gets to enjoy off-leash freedom, but that also means coming home muddy and smelly. After a big off-leash training session, I like using the non-toxic, handcrafted, pH-balanced soaps, which are packaged plastic-free.”


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