About Us

Since 1997, when TLC was a fledgling operation helping clients in their own homes, Gloria Mitchell has been the sole trainer working with clients and their dogs.  As TLC has grown over the years, Gloria's experience with hundreds of dogs of every breed and combination of breeds, with problems big and small has given her a broad base of knowledge to draw from.   Being a good dog trainer is not enough tho.....to be effective in helping folks with their dog, a trainer must have effective coaching skills to help the human clients train and manage their own dog.


With more than 12 years experience as a corporate trainer, Gloria has an extensive background in facilitating adult learning and skills development.  Having successfully trained employees in their job skills for everything from receiptionist to forklift operator to transport truck licensing to WHMIS to computer skills, Gloria developed the ability to assess skills quickly, formulate a plan and help that person successfully meet job performance standards.  Her corporate training programs won National awards in both Health and Safety, and training innovation.   Gloria was voted "Trainer of the Year" several times by her peers in the Human Resources field.  A certified Human Resources professional, Gloria owned and operated her own consulting business for 5 years, specializing in the design of custom training programs for smaller businesses that could not afford an in-house trainer.

Tollhaven Learning Centre is the fulfillment of a life long dream for Gloria.  A place where her love of dogs and her ability to promote learning in her human clients can combine to provide a creative atmosphere to explore the human-animal bond.  We also like to have some fun along the way.


As an AAC Masters Agility Judge, a CKC Agility Judge and registered CGN Evaluator, an AKC recognized Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, a CARO licensed RallyO Judge, an obedience competitor and experienced animal handler, Gloria has 20 years experience helping people develop their relationship with their dogs, horses, birds and exotic pets.   As a seminar presenter and guest teacher, Gloria enjoys meeting new folks and offering training solutions designed to help them achieve their goals.  A published author, Gloria has had her work published in Clean Run magazine, the leading resource for all things agility.


As a kid, Gloria wasn't able to have pets of her own, due to a family member's severe allergies to animals, so she was very lucky that neighbours were more than happy to have their dogs walked by a kid who loved to do so!  As she got older, pet sitting competed with babysitting as a money making activity. Gloria also had a tendency to attract stray dogs, especially when away from home camping or travelling.


Once Gloria was able to have her first dog, a mixed breed female named Emma, she discovered the world of training and the fun of a group of folks who love spending time with their dogs.  Emma was a dog with some issues, mainly on-leash aggression and a real inability to communicate with other dogs.  Thru the 11 years of Emma's life, Gloria made many changes to her training techniques, as the general training methodologies moved away from the old "jerk and praise" use of choke chains, to "lure and feed" methods, to "clicker training" and "motivational/reward based" training...... the amazing gift of Emma's willingness to be "retrained" (Gloria was actually the one being 'retrained'!!) over the years allowed Gloria to grow in her knowledge of dog training and technical skills, a foundation that every dog since has benefitted from.

Over the past 20 years, Gloria has participated with her dogs in Agility, Competitive Obedience, Rally Obedience, Field Trials, Hunt Tests, Disc Dog, Musical Freestyle, Herding, Conformation Showing and probably some more.....always for fun and sometimes for titles.  Her dogs have acquired more than 65 working titles along the way, tho more precious than the ribbons are the memories, and the wonderful people and their pets that we've met across the country.  One brag about my oldest Kelpie, Luke....in 2011 we had an amazing weekend of agility and not only won the speed class of Steeplechase but also won the overall Ontario Regional Championship of Agility in our height class!  This is a bit unusual as the dogs who show the speed required to win the Steeplechase class are not always the strongest distance working dogs, with the consistency to win the overall championship across numerous classes.  In 2012, Luke proved that 2011 was no accident and repeated his win in both the Steeplechase and the overall 2021 Ontario Regional Champion in our height class!!  Dogs are amazing.


For Gloria, participation in dog sports brings purpose to training and joy to the relationship between handler and dog.  The explosive growth of dogsports in the last 20 years has pushed the envelope of training methods, bringing sophisticated training techniques and quality coaching within reach of dog enthusiasts everywhere.  In most dog sports, the dog and human participate in the competition based on their relationship and history of success together - there are no leashes, often no collar, no treats and sometimes limitations on how many commands can be used before starting to lose points - this means that the dog must want to participate in the activity as much as the human does!  Off leash skills, and the motivation to do the tasks are the keys to success in dogsports such as agility, obedience, RallyO, herding, schutzhund, retriever trials and more.  Working towards those goals can be an empowering, enriching and profoundly joyful experience to share with your dog.


Gloria’s extensive years of study in the psychology of learning in humans and animals; the techniques of operant conditioning and experience in designing custom training programs make her uniquely qualified as TLC’s primary trainer.


The Man Behind TLC....

A lot of my clients never get a chance to meet my husband, Brad, because he is often at work when clients visit.  Without Brad, TLC would just not be possible!  Not only does Brad fully support my passion for dogs, for helping people enjoy their dogs and my personal goals in Agility and herding, but he attends as many of my competitions as possible, he asks how each client is doing and he puts in a lot of work behind the scenes.


Altho it’s not his favourite activity , someone has to move the agility equipment to cut the grass (sometimes twice a week!), and Brad cheerfully gets it done so that we can train on a safe surface of natural turf.  Brad will help me with equipment construction and maintenance, providing the muscle or the extra hands whenever needed.  Some of our best chats are with paintbrushes in hand!


I knew when my first dog, Emma, really, really liked Brad that he would be in my life for a long time.  When he followed up his marriage proposal with the gift of my first purebred puppy as an engagement gift, I knew I had a partner that would help me pursue my dreams.  Life has handed us some curves, as it does to everyone, but it’s an amazing feeling to know you’re in it together….


All of our dogs have their own relationship with Brad, and every now and then he will step in the agility ring to run a course or two with one of the dogs.   One of our tollers, Judd, came to us at 7 years old, and quickly became Brad’s dog.  Brad did all of Judd's agility training himself, learning to use the clicker and toy rewards to teach an old dog ‘new tricks’.  They did very well together, finishing several titles and making a lot of folks smile at the utter joy of Judd’s expression as he got to play agility with his ‘Dad’.  Brad jokes that he likes to take over running our dogs as they near retirement, as their training is pretty much already there, but he’s more than capable of doing the training himself.


Brad, thank you for everything you do, for me, for the dogs, and for the friends of TLC.  I love you.  G