Hey there, I’m Stephen!

I’ve been a dog trainer and have worked in Montreal since 2016. Throughout the years, I’ve had the occasion to work with all types of breeds, mixes, and situations. Reactivity is a very common problem in Montreal, so I’ve seen a lot of that! My favorite thing to do, though, is to prevent it!

That’s why my favorite students are puppies and young dogs: I can help them grow into well-adjusted adults. I do this through private sessions, day training and in our Puppy and Applied Obedience group classes.

My approach to dog training

Like most, I started my adventure as a dog owner. It did not go very well… I adopted an adorable Malamute and did basically everything wrong. Frustrated and wanting to understand my mistakes, I became a volunteer at the Montreal SPCA, which resulted in my immediate change in career choice.

My goal as dog trainer is to help people prevent the terrible mistakes I made and establish healthy and pleasant relationships between humans and their furry friends. I work in prevention as much as possible, which an honest and direct communication: if I see a tiny-bit-of-maybe-behavioral-red-flag, you’ll know. I’ll also tell you why it’s important and how to work on that before it becomes a real problem. Preventing instead of fixing will save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run!

My professional journey

I started my career as a dog trainer in the De Main de Maître (now Évolution Canine) team for a few years, before joining De la Main à la Patte when they opened their centre. I’ve worked on several hundred private cases, as well as given group classes almost every week during those years.

I’ve gained experience with a lot of different situations, breeds and dog sizes: from puppies to severe aggression, passing by teenage troubles of the dog.

I’ve also worked with Wiggle Dog Walks on a few events!

In June 2022, I launched A Lick of Sense to offer dog training in Montreal!

My education

I finished my initial training in 2016 and, as all trainers should, I make a point to keep up to date on animal behavior science.

2024
  • Comment l’équipe de comportement peut-elle vous aider avec vos patients « éditions spéciales » – Académie vétérinaire Daubigny 
  • Life Skills for Puppies – Dr. Helen Zulch MRCVS
  • Preventing Separation Anxiety? Home Alone Time for Puppies and Newly Acquired Dogs – Malena DeMartini-Price
2023
  • Expedite your learning: Don’t fight extinction – Dr. Jesús Rosales-Ruiz
  • Pitfalls in Socialization: When the best Intentions Miss the Mark – Dr. Christopher Pachel
  • Stress Matters: Impact of Fear and Anxiety on Learning – Dr. Christopher Pachel
  • Chill out – incorporating conditioned relaxation techniques into behavioral therapy – Dr. Christopher Pachel
2022
  • Excel-erated Learning – Pamela J. Reid
  • Spay/Neuter of Dogs: What Every Dog Trainer Should Know – Dr. Daniela Zurr
  • Don’t bite the hand that feeds you: Human-Directed Resource Guarding – Dr. Christopher Pachel
  • Play Way! for Reactivity and Aggression Challenges! – Dr. Amy Cook
  • The Science of Aggression – Dr. Kristina Spaulding
  • Recognizing Pain in Dogs – Debbie Gross Torraca
2020
  • Exploring Advanced Animal Training Concepts – Karolina Westlund
  • Expanding your force free toolkit – Chirag Patel (parts 3 & 4)
  • Mon chien en ligne – Un événement contagieux
  • Remote Consultations for Aggression Cases – Michael Shikashio
  • Using Enrichment to treat Aggression – Emilie Strong and Allie Bender
  • When sh*t hits the fan – Defensive handling or Emergency Scenarios – Michael Shikashio
  • Beyond the Bite, Crucial Consulting skills for working aggression cases – Melanie Cerone
  • Stress vs Anxiété vs Réactivité – Joel Dehasse
  • Rethinking Puppy Classes – Adam Delderfield
  • 80 years of changing behavior – Bob Bailey
  • A journey of self – Christina Cass
  • Watching and Wondering –  The Science and Soul of Dog Training
  • It’s not the dogs, it’s the people – Irith Bloom
  • Mindset Matters – Reframing Reactivity – Janet Finlay
  • Creating Resilience and Tolerance to Frustration Through Shaping and Play
  • Aging Dogs – Lori Stevens
  • Bitey end of business – Micheal Shikashio
  • Popping the bubble! – Sarah Whitehead
  • The Art of Delivering Instructions – Theresa McKeon
2019
  • Canine Separation Anxiety – Malena DeMartini
  • Expanding your force free toolkit –  Chirag Patel (parts 1 & 2)
2018
  • Agressive behavior in dogs –  Chirag Patel
  • Behavior Medications – Jennifer Summerfield
  • But my dog isn’t motivated – Katy Sdao
  • Errorless Learning –  Susan G Friedman
  • Learning to look, looking to see –  Donna Hill
  • Leave it – Pam Dennison
  • What’s going on with adolescent dogs –  Claudia Estanislau
  • Premiers soins Animaliers – Wags and Walks 
2017
  • Anxiété de séparation – De Main De Maître
  • Protection des ressources –  De Main De Maître
  • Stratégies de renforcement avancées –  De Main De Maître
  • Concepts avancés en entraînement canin – De Main De Maître
  • Tenue de consultation – De Main De Maître  
2016
  • Formation Jacinthe Bouchard 
  • Volunteer in the Enrichment and training team at the Montreal SPCA (2016-2017)
  • Détection d’odeurs – De Main De Maître
  • Réactivité Canine – De Main De Maître
  • Résolution de problèmes de comportements – De Main De Maître
  • Séminaire sur le langage canin et les manipulations – Coeur canin

Reviews from my clients

We are so grateful for the wonderful help we received from Stephen over the past months. Our dog is very anxious and Stephen has been so patient with her and us. He is an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable educator, and we appreciated the kindness and compassion he brought to the process.
Heather for Daisy
(Google Review)
Stephen helped me and my very reactive dog feel so much better! He has a very kind, humane approach and sets realistic goals for you and your pup to achieve. He trains both human and dog to make sure you’re both ready to take on the challenges you’ll face, while always reminding you that the best thing for your dog is that you take care of yourself. I will always be grateful for the confidence he instilled in both me and my pup. I cannot recommend him any more highly!
Shruti for Gobi
(Google Review)
I can’t believe how helpful these sessions were. My rescue dog Pippa is so much more calm, confident and such a joy to walk in the neighborhood. Stephen also helped me with my confidence and my ability to work with Pippa and help her grow. I felt supported and understood the entire step of the way.
Meghan for Pippa
(Google Review)
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A little more about me

I have an 8 year old Husky called Mirage. I adopted her from the SPCA in 2016 when she was about one year old. I had to work hard for her to become the dog she is today! She had an enormous amount of energy, and not much patience.

Mirage loves other dogs, she’s a dog park regular. This also makes her a great assistant for consultations.

I’m a big, big fan of large, long haired breeds. One of these days, you’ll see me walk around with a Leonberger…

In my free time, I play video and board games. I also love attending comedy shows!

I’ve volunteered for the SPCA, and fondation Grands Frères Grandes Soeurs. I cherish my time with them a lot!