Atlin-Siberian Husky

first day (2)

Before going to Good as Gold K9 School, recipe we enrolled Atlin into her first “puppy play” class so that she can learn to socialize with other dogs at a different training school.   After the initial play, we were to go around the room and introduce ourselves, our pups and what we hope to accomplish with our dogs.  When it came to us, I introduced us and also told everyone that I want to train Atlin and get her into Agility as I knew she would be great at it.  The trainer  laughed at us and told us that “Huskies don’t do Agility.  They don’t listen and can’t be off leash.” I was shocked and angry by the end of the class, and being stubborn (much like Atlin), I made it our goal to be one of the best trained puppies in the class.  We worked extra hard at home.  Every week she excelled at everything that was given to her and by the end of the session, Atlin was the best behaved puppy in the class and was the best listener.  One win for us! 

We then enrolled in another local obedience class-and boy, was it a waste of money!  We did not learn very much and there was a lot of waiting around and frustrated pups (Atlin included).  Once we went to all of our classes (as it was pay upfront and no refunds after the second week), we decided to find somewhere else to work on her obedience.  One of our major goals was working on Atlins’ off-leash recall.  We were told many times that Huskies are not off leash dogs and that if we want that as a goal, it is pretty much unattainable.  Again being stubborn, and knowing how much Atlin loves to run around and have freedom, we knew she would be much happier being off-leash.  We had done some work on our own, but decided we wanted to have a professional help us with this feat as Atlin is very stubborn like her parents. That is when we stumbled across Good As Gold K-9 School.

                When we had our initial meeting with Nancy, we expressed what we wanted to do with Atlin (obedience, recall and Agility), we were not met with negative comments about her being a Husky.  Nancy told us that if we wanted to do all of these things it would take a lot of hard work.  We knew this when we initially decided to get a Husky, so we weren’t surprised by the comment—and we were willing to put in the work for our little girl.  We discussed our game plan and what our end result could look like.  Due to a schedule change, we were given over to Karen to do our training and again, she did not have any negative comments or assumptions about the breed.  Once anyone meets Atlin, its hard not to fall in love with her personality.  We worked for many weeks with Karen on Atlins’ recall.  Atlin now can be off-leash and has a great recall

Then, we decided to start doing Agility with Atlin.  I would like to say that it was a long process to introduce her to the Agility equipment, but that would be a lie—it seems Atlin is a natural.  She loves the agility equipment and she can pick up on learning the new equipment extremely quickly.  She is still doing Agility, and she has a lot left to learn, but she is on a good roll, and hopefully we will be able to enter an Agility competition in the Spring.  We would not be where we are today with Atlin if it weren’t for both Nancy and Karen being so open about working with a stubborn Husky and trying whatever they need to in order to get the task done—even if that means climbing halfway through a tunnel to coax Atlin out when she has decided that the tunnel is a nice place to take a short catnap. 

Thank you two very much!  We all appreciate all your hard work!

Sam, David and Atlin.

Bella-Yellow Lab

Bella  Charlie 5

We adopted Bella from the Toronto Humane Society (THS). She was almost 1 year old at the time, and had been found after being abandoned in an empty house for three days with another dog – while pregnant! Luckily she was rescued and gave birth to and weaned 8 healthy puppies. She gave birth at a foster home and lived there for a while. Then she and the puppies moved to THS, and then ANOTHER foster home before they returned to THS for final adoption. We figure she must have been under tremendous stress, and needless to say she did a lot of living for a pup who was still a baby herself! When we visited Bella at the shelter she was excitable and anxious, but never showed any negative behavior towards any of the other dogs. We brought her home, dedicated to giving her a great life. She was still being treated with antibiotics, and was skin and bones from being pregnant while also having a parasite.

Bella was a great dog right away.. We decided to try to introduce Bella to a family member’s dog, not thinking there would be any issue. Bella was immediately snarling and aggressive, and went into a frenzy as soon as we got her near the other dog. She seemed frightened, but was way bigger than him so that didn’t make any sense to us. At that time we became very aware that Bella did NOT like other dogs. Period.  She would growl and snarl and bark and pull and just completely lose control when she could even see another dog. “Demon dog” is what we would describe her as in those moments. There was nothing we could say or do to get her attention once she entered this state. Almost immediately we inadvertently began isolating her from other dogs; we’d turn around on walks if we saw someone coming and dread the chance one would catch us by surprise. Bella’s weight and health had improved by this point. She had become a very strong 95lb dog!

We tried a couple of internet-recommended tricks and approaches. They didn’t work. A long-time family vet of ours has a mobile vet licence. We asked him to come to the house to give Bella a health workup a few months after we got her. We did this as we were worried about taking her into a vet waiting room, which may be full of other dogs meaning Bella simply couldn’t be there. He recommended Nancy. Boy, are we ever lucky he did.

We started one-on-one sessions with Nancy almost immediately. We figured Bella was always going to be aggressive towards other dogs, but hoped maybe we could learn to control it a little better. The private lessons were very affordable compared to what a lot of other trainers charge. We came to learn Nancy charged only as much as she had to, to keep her place running. She told us “What I want are happy dogs! The more lessons you can afford, the better my chances!” She is in it for the goodness of the animals (and the people by consequence!) – not to get rich. This is what makes her special and valuable as a person, not just a trainer.

Nancy taught us all sorts of things, but probably most importantly, gave us the tools we need to be able to listen to Bella. We understand her needs and how to communicate with her (most of the time!) in such a way that she is confident and happy. It turns out she is not an overly aggressive dog. She certainly is bossy and clever, but together we have all learned how to be okay around other dogs. Had you asked us at the start of our training, I would have never thought what we’ve achieved was possible. Bella even now has dog FRIENDS. She doesn’t want to befriend every dog – we can’t blame her for that! But she runs and plays and barks with other dogs, and has found her own puppy-self again after a really traumatic first year of life. All of it thanks to Nancy teaching us how to show Bella that she doesn’t have to worry anymore, and how to think about her behaviour from a dog perspective.

We still go to Nancy every week – we graduated behaviour class and learned to run agility. It turns out Bella is a natural (her owners, maybe not so much). She even has a doggie boyfriend in her class who she makes a big fuss over every week because she wants to be close to him. We never would have believed Bella’s transformation was possible and it is all specifically because of Nancy, and Good as Gold K9 School.

Anyone out there with a dog who they think is beyond help, please consider this behaviour training before giving up for good! We are living proof there is hope!

Ashley, Adam and Bella


I was referred to Karen Baxter by my Veterinarian in the fall of 2013.

I was in search of behavioural training for my Shetland Sheepdog “Odie” who recently had a court order issued for his obsessive “herding” and barking.

I found Karen to be patient and caring in her approach.  She began by observing how Odie and I behaved together and how Odie interacted with various stimulation and distractions.  She then set about producing a thorough training plan for submission to the Court in order to meet its conditions.

It was her recommendation that we work on Odie’s shortfalls through her proven behavioural modification techniques and in concert with the 12 steps of the CKC Canine Good Neighbour Certification.  With great pride and support Karen accompanied Odie and I on March 5, 2014 as we passed with “flying colours” our CKC-CGN certification.

Karen Baxter is a very affable and competent trainer.  In the short time I’ve known her she has shown consistently that she has the welfare of the dog at the very heart of her motivations in her training.

I can confidently recommend Karen Baxter as a solid and reliable trainer, and an expert in her field.


Judith McDonald (& Odie) Toronto, Ontario

Katie-Chesapeake Bay Retriever X


I enrolled two year old Katie in Good as Gold K9 School in late summer of 2006 and have attended weekly classes ever since. We have enjoyed Nancy’s agility classes and have learned so much in a friendly fun based atmosphere. Agility consists of a course containing many obstacles jumps, tunnels, climbing ‘A’ frames, chutes, elevated dog walk, hanging tires and, of course, the most difficult obstacle of all the weaves. No worries with Nancy’s instruction – you and your dog will soon master all the obstacles. A course is constructed utilizing all the obstacles and the instructor determines the order the dogs must proceed. You, as the handler, are responsible for directing your dog through the course. Nancy encourages you and is pleased with every success, however small. Nevertheless, when a mistake is made, Nancy will offer constructive instruction to improve your handling skills. bearing. Classes are all about agility with fun. 

Nancy holds ‘Fun Days’ throughout the year. These days are Agility Competitions for all dogs and all levels. I cannot run Katie (my running days are over) at the classes, or at competitions. Nancy kindly offered to run Katie for me at competitions and during some classes. Other handlers in my class have offered to run Katie from time to time I am most grateful to Nancy, Dee, and my classmates for their help and support. The kindness of these handlers is typical of all the handlers at Good as Gold. Over the past 7+ years, Katie and I have taken part in numerous competitions both outdoor and indoor. For the last two years, we have settled on Canadian Performance Dogs, held at the Red Barn in Barrie, with Nancy running Katie.  

Perhaps you are looking for somewhere to train your puppy or dog in basic obedience or agility using fun, fair and ethical training methods. For fun and exercise for you and your, entering competitions or just for enjoyment, I thoroughly recommend Good as Gold. 


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