January 6, 2014 6:16 pm
Updated: January 6, 2014 8:02 pm

Obedience school tries to establish stronger bond betweeen pet and owner

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TORONTO– A new program in town is taking the strain out of pet training. Paws Above, an obedience, agility and behavioural school, helps establish a stronger relationship between pet and pet owner.

Founder Ola Zalewski has trained dogs for over 15 years.  Zalewski says her training school helps address problems in pet and owner relationships in the city.

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“I wanted to create (Paws Above) not only to continue my training, but also to help with the behavioural issues I see many clients have as well,” said Zalewski.

Classes are referred to as a “social gathering” and operate as a drop-in style, allowing owners to build their own schedule.

At the “social gatherings,” dogs encounter a mix of breeds and temperaments. Zalewski leads activities like walking dogs close to other dogs and occasionally heeling for a treat.

However, treats are rare. Great Dane owner Cassandra Jones says this is one trait that attracted her to Paws Above.

“It’s incredible,” said Jones. “Just having that tight work space with other dogs and really having to be in control and work without treats as much as possible.”

Jones’ 13-month old Great Dane, Shiloh, attended Paws Above for a few weeks when she started noticing an improvement in her behaviour.

“She’s a big dog and I’ve just had some dominance issues with her, kind of bullying not only my Mom and I because of her size, but also other dogs,” said Jones.

Zalewski said behavioural issues range among the pets. The most common problem, she said, is aggression. She adds there are fearful dogs that need to interact with more human beings to build confidence.

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