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Calgary dog ​​trainers say public health restrictions are unfairly targeted at their business

CALGARY – A boom in new puppies with first-time dog owners has resulted in great demand for training services – but the province’s current health orders don’t allow indoor classes.

Owners of some Calgary dog ​​training companies say the restrictions are being applied unevenly.

“We’re only three blocks from Chinook Mall, which will be home to 2,000 people over the weekend,” said Joe Scorgie, owner of Clever Canines.

“Somehow, 15 people in my building in a 4,000-square-foot room are of more importance to the health of Albertans.”

Scorgie says that despite increased demand for its services, sales have fallen 65 percent.

Lauren Alexander, owner of the Kayenna Training Academy, says it’s important not only to exercise early, but also to have the socialization that comes with taking group classes. Without them, problems can follow a dog for a lifetime.

“The best time to train for puppies is 16 weeks and under,” she said.

“When puppies get this, you better set them up as a bombproof dog and ideal canine citizen.”

Healthcare worker and first-time dog owner Melodie Totton says she understands the need for restrictions, but she would also be comfortable in an indoor group class with all the usual precautions.

“I didn’t know how to deal with certain situations,” says Totton of her Labradoodle puppy, Gus. “I really wanted to get in, but I kept getting told, ‘It’s a delay, we can’t have groups.’ You can stand in Walmart or one of these stores and you could all the time, but you couldn’t do things like that. “

Under the current restrictions, indoor dog training does not appear to be permitted until Phase 4 of the gradual reopening.

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