Dogs in the park - Dog behaviour problem solving
Helping solve behaviour problems in dogs since 1993
Canadian Company
For more information contact: 
Sue Alexander 
(519) 826-5315 
Good Dog Program

The “Good Dog” program is the behavioural program for good dogs with big problems. If you think your dog has a behavioural problem, this is the best option for you. Please scroll down for further details.

The Foundation of the Dogs in the Park Program

The first thing we want everyone to think about when they are working with a dog with a behaviour problem is:


If you think that your dog is presenting a danger to those in your household right now, please take immediate steps to ensure everyone’s safety before you do anything else.

If you are in doubt about what to do, please email us and we will advise you on what steps to take until you can get more detailed help. Please identify in your message that this is a behavioural emergency. In the unlikely event that you cannot get hold of us, please call your veterinarian for advice.




To keep everyone safe at all times, we help you to do three things:

  1. Manage the environment to avoid problems
  2. Change the dog’s emotional state towards the trigger’s to your dog’s behaviour problems
  3. Train new behaviours to replace old habits.

The Good Dog Program

When you contact us regarding a behaviour problem with your dog, you can expect to go through the following process.

  1. Intake and Assessment: We speak with you on the phone or by email to determine what the problem is and what factors contribute to the problem. If we feel that we can help you, we will proceed to make an appointment with you for a private consultation. Intake and assessment by phone are free of charge. In the event that your needs cannot be met by us, we will refer you to the appropriate professional who can help you. At Dogs in the Park we recognize that some problems may be medical in nature, and we work closely with veterinarians to help those who had behaviour problems for medical reasons. Should your problem require, we can request that your veterinarian refer you to a board certified Veterinary Behaviourist

  2. Private consultations: All clients start off with four weekly private lessons so that we can get started with resolving the problem most effectively. During our first session, we will take a complete history and develop a customized plan to address your problems.

  3. Group lessons: Group lessons are included in the fee that you are charged. When your dog is ready to come to group class, he can join in right away. You are welcome to attend dog class without your dog if your dog is not yet ready to participate.

  4. Group dog walks: Several times per week, students and their dogs get together to walk their dogs in a safe area, off leash. Some dogs may be muzzled for safety. Dogs are usually unrestricted in their access to other dogs, and we use a protocol to intervene when play gets too rowdy. Recalls, self control in exciting situations, the emergency down at the distance and leashing up are skills that are emphasized during the walk. This may be the most valuable group activity that you can attend because you get to observe first hand what dog behaviour looks like. Once you are a client, you are encouraged to come out to dog walk regardless of your dog's readiness to participate.

  5. Consulting with the vet: Many behaviour problems are best treated jointly by the vet and the trainer. Whenever possible we like to touch base with the veterinarian early in our relationship with you. We will at no charge meet with your vet either during an office visit or by telephone. We also provide written information to the vet about what we are doing if desired or needed.

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Our Group Classes for Good Dogs

Good Dog Class: Good dog is a class for good dogs with big problems. All participants are seated and normally double leashed, with one leash secured to a wall for safety. Dogs enter one at a time under supervision and barriers are used if needed to prevent dogs from practicing undesired behaviours such as staring. Counter conditioning and desensitization are used to teach the dogs to be less reactive towards people and dogs in their space. As participants gain control over their dogs, they begin to work on exercises such as sit, lie down, touch and tricks. When students are ready to work on walking with other dogs and people present they move up to walking class.
Walking Class: The goal of walking class is to provide a venue for dogs to walk in small groups together in an urban neighbourhood. The class consists of a warm up period where the dogs sit, lie down or touch on cue to get them acclimated to the environment and then they are sent to walk around a city block; half in one direction and half in the other direction. Students are instructed about how close they can walk to one another, what to do when they pass each other how to handle situations they didn't anticipate (such as passing pedestrians, bikes or other dogs not part of our class).

Different from most "GROWL" classes, Dogs in the Park behavioural classes teach students to work "sub-threshold" with their dogs meaning that we do not encourage dogs to practice behaviours such as staring, threat postures, growling or snarking one another. We work with the dogs and their handlers to increase their threshold slowly so that they can cope with the level of stimulation that we are providing.

Entering The Good Dog Program

After you have been accepted into the Good Dog Program, we will make your first appointment at the training hall. During this first appointment, we will go over the terms and conditions of the program, collect your training fee, and then take a comprehensive history of your dog or dogs. We will make a plan to address your dog’s immediate needs and then we will send you home with a variety of custom designed behaviour modification activities. For the first four weeks, we see clients once per week for a private meeting. The focus of private sessions is on teaching you the skills you need to teach your dog new behaviours. In our final of the first four meetings, we will assess your progress and determine what further steps should be taken with your dog. We may recommend that you continue in the Good Dog program, get tests from your veterinarian, that you refer yourself to the veterinary behaviourist or that you no longer need to work in a behaviour program at all.

The Good Dog program is billed based groups of 4 private sessions that students commit to taking. All students participating in the Good Dog program can begin attending the Good Dog group classes and walks following their first private lesson. Students must attend at least one class or walk without their dogs before they bring their dog to class or walk. Class and walk details will be provided during the first private meeting. Please note that dogs will only be integrated into group activities as they are behaviorally ready to do so.

4 privates in the training hall: $499.99 (HST included) (Our first four privates are intended to be taken on a weekly basis, and then we will re-evaluate and determine if we should meet weekly, every other week or on some other schedule)

If you would like to see our Certified Dog Behaviour Consultant on an hourly basis, the cost for this is $199.99 (HST included), with a minimum of 2 hours. On an hourly basis, we can do behaviour assessments, consult on dog behaviour programs such as therapy and service dog programs or address the needs of clients who live distant to Guelph who can only make infrequent visits.

Please note that from time to time, veterinary students, animal behaviour professionals and animal behaviour students may attend private and group classes as part of their professional development. Occasionally we have opportunities to consult with behaviour students who are obtaining their clinical hours in order to apply to a certifying program. If cost is an issue for you, please enquire and we will advise if a student consultant is available at a reduced fee.

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