Skip to content

'Can't keep a waitlist': B.C. dog trainer busier than ever with pandemic puppies

A Colwood business owner has never been so busy. She says she's currently working with 60 dogs.

A Vancouver Island business owner is busting with barking clients trying to book in with her and says she’s never been so busy. 

Marjanna Wornell, canine educator and dog trainer at Middle Earth Canine Academy in Colwood, is seeing a lot of pets that were purchased during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“So many people got dogs and a lot got puppies. They’re overwhelmed by puppy behaviour and adolescent dog behaviour, so there are so many more people coming because they’re not previous dog owners,” Wornell tells Glacier Media.

She offers one-hour, one-on-one sessions out of her academy.

“I am inundated I can hardly keep up with it right now,” she says. “I am working six days a week, five classes a day, most days.”

People are booking through November and December and Wornell isn’t even able to keep a waitlist.

“I can’t keep a waitlist because I don’t have time to phone someone back,” she says. 

Most concerning for her right now is people transition back to work. She advises them to slowly introduce this change to their dog.

“People are going back to work so there is the whole issue of helping them prepare the dog for that,” she says. “I am concerned that some people are becoming overwhelmed with their dogs. Without help, they would be re-homing them.”

Wornell currently works with 60 dogs and says it's overwhelming but that she enjoys her job.

“It is my passion to help people and dogs. It has been for years. I was actually born in the year of the dog.” 

Working five days a week was always a goal but says six and seven days was not something she anticipated. 

“I have [cordoned] off time in August that is mine and nobody is getting that from me,” she says with a laugh. 

She hopes that her clients walk away with a well-mannered member of their family when they finish with her 10-session training.