force-free dog trainers

Here is a list of all the Nova Scotia dog trainers who use positive methods I can personally vouch for, or that have been recommended to me by people I trust in Nova Scotia.

Please do not take your dog to anyone who may hurt or frighten, or be harsh with your dog.  That means absolutely no shock collars ever, no pinch/prong collars, no choke chains.  These methods lack compassion, and don’t build trust.  Trust is a key component in the dog/human relationship.  Not only will a dog who is trained with essentially violent methods not trust you, you will never be able to trust that dog.  Especially a dog who has been subjected to a shock collar can be a ticking time bomb.  Using these methods is a failure of understanding of what actually motivates dogs to please humans.  And it’s lazy to boot…

I would also very strongly recommend against a board and train program.  You have no way to know what is happening to your dog and you are not building a relationship with your dog.  There are no quick and easy fixes in dog behavior, sorry.

Nova Scotia dog trainer, Silvia Jay
Macy and I on CTV Morning Live with Silvia Jay and Bowie- March 21st, 2017

None of this is taken lightly by me.  For about 15 years I’ve owned rescued dogs and volunteered with animal shelters.  I’ve fostered dogs, and had friends visit my home with their dogs.  I’ve frequented dog parks and visited pet stores all across Atlantic Canada with my dogs.  I took two years of agility training.  Dogs are something I know a lot about.  If people want to charge you a lot of money for a quick fix, or to sell you a device that will “correct” your dog’s behavior quickly remember how powerful money is and what people will do to get yours.  Man’s best friend deserves better than that.

Here is an excellent and educational video that debunks “dominance theory”.   Everyone who loves dogs should watch this.

Okay…so here are the good guys:

Sublime Canine

Silvia Jay



Gentle Paws

Cloverfield Behavioral Services

Unleashed Pawsabilities

Fetch Inc.

Good Dog Works (Alex Keir)

Aimee Leudey

Ditto’s Canine Learning Centre (Jane Smith)

Talking Canines (Jackie McGowan-St Croix)

Paw With Laws (Samantha Lifsches)

Cape Breton

Mary Holland-Grist – email Mary to see when she has another class starting up

Keith O’Flaherty – if you are able to connect with Keith he is great but he’s really busy!

Grant Young – for private agility training – or for the agility club

Cape Breton Post article about agility at the Millville Community Centre

Worthy of note there are very few people to recommend in Cape Breton and that is a shame.  Dogs are being shortchanged in Cape Breton and we need someone good to move down their and take the island by storm!   For behavior problems, currently I’d recommend Alex Keir in New Glasgow area as being the next closest.  Hoping to put together a seminar, perhaps in conjunction with the SPCA of some positive methods to at least introduce some possibilities to the good folks in my hometown and surrounding areas.  Come on Sydney let’s end the whole chokechain punish the dog mentality in Cape Breton it’s time! (update October 2018 was happy to post some new links for CB and have a little hope)

I will be adding more shortly…stay tuned.

If you are in Newfoundland, Linda Pike is a great trainer in the St. John’s area

in Gander, Newfoundland – Krysta Garland at Click, Play, Love comes highly recommended.  I’ve been told by locals you can see a big difference in dogs trained by her and dogs trained by other people.  And the ones trained by her are all doing very well!  Keep up the great work Krysta

For Moncton, New Brunswick people – I received a glowing recommendation from a trusted friend for Katie at Dogma Moncton