Meet the Calm & Collected Canine Team

Born & raised in Ottawa, Sarah Blanchette is the owner of Calm & Collected Canine. Read her story below, or get in touch!

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Sarah Blanchette – Owner, Founder and Head Trainer & Behaviour Consultant

Sarah has had family dogs for as long as she can remember, but it was not until she got her own dog, a Pit Bull/Mastiff mix named Tony when she was 18 years old that she discovered her true passion and love for dogs. From the day she brought Tony home, she knew that she had a duty to fulfill and immediately started reading and watching videos to train and care for her dog. At around one year old, Tony changed from being a manageable, social pet, to barking and lunging at dogs when on a leash (known as leash reactivity). Sarah decided that she wanted to change this unwanted behaviour, so she attended behaviour modification training with him. It was during these classes that Sarah discovered how amazing, fun, and effective dog training truly is. Sarah worked extremely hard to change the way Tony thinks and acts, and during his transformation, she knew that she wanted to specialize in behaviour modification dog training herself. Tony went through an amazing transformation over the years and is now “calm and collected” on all walks and at home! Now, he is Sarah’s training assistant and together they help rehabilitate other people’s dogs.

Sarah is dedicated to helping other peoples’ dogs live in harmony with their families. She understands how dogs think and what is necessary to change their brain patterns in order to create a more positive state of mind. She even loves to train new puppies so that they don’t develop bad behaviours as they get older. Not only does Sarah love to work with dogs, but she also enjoys working with their owners. She prides herself on being understanding, compassionate, and personable with both the dog(s) and their owner(s). There is something truly special and gratifying about seeing the transformation of a relationship between an owner and their beloved pet.

As a professional dog trainer, Sarah always seeks out the most current dog training methods in the industry. Her ultimate goal is to “Train, Rehabilitate, and Succeed,” and she has a track record of doing just that.

She hopes that she can get to know you and your dog(s) sometime soon!

Sarah Blanchette

Shelby Blair

Val Groulx – Dog Trainer & Behaviour Consultant

Val always had a profound love for nature and animals, but when she went to her first obedience class with her family dog, she realized just how much she loved observing and trying to figure out how dogs’ brains work. At only 14 years old, she already knew she would pursue a dog training career as soon as she stepped out of her high school graduation ceremony.

Her family bred their Australian Shepherd and keep one merle female for themselves. Though, when Val saw her dog Chubby come from the litter, it was love at first sight. She knew she had to keep him for herself, so long as she could convince her mom. She promised that she would work hard to give him the best life, her mom agreed and she’s kept her end of the deal and then some.

Years later and Chubby has already helped countless dogs find their confidence. Val has a true passion for helping the dog’s who need her the most, building them up to their full potential. She has dedicated herself to learning all that she can about dogs, so that she can save as many as she can. She believes in second chances for people and dogs and that it’s never too late to put in the work to better your relationship with your dog. As she started her career, she found a love for working with fearful dogs, especially “Potcakes”. Their survivalist instincts can be challenging, but that’s why she’s drawn to them. She loves to see the progress as they discover that the world is not the scary place they once thought it was. Seeing a glimpse of their personality shine through, as she gains their trust and starts to build a relationship with them is truly the best feeling that keeps Val loving what she does.

Val understands how to listen to concerns, offer endless support and caters her approach to the needs of the dog and their families. At the end of the day she wants happy people, happy dogs and happy households. She can’t wait to make the perfect training plan for your family!

Val Groulx


Ray Harrison – Dog Trainer & Behaviour Consultant

Ray always had a lifelong passion for animals, owning and petsitting a variety of pets since childhood. He rescued injured and orphaned animals, which he quickly brought to professionals who could care for them skillfully. His family taught him to observe the wild and plant life, and awakened a passion for foraging, photography, and painting of the beauty that surrounds us in Canada.

Initially drawn to the helping professions, Ray was educated in behaviourism and training methods, and then acquired a Bachelor of Psychology. Working with vulnerable human beings, he saw the difference pets make in the lives of their owners, and worked hard to help human clients be able to stay with and care for their pets. Keeping together a family – human and furry – who have often lost so much, became a key objective for Ray in his dealings with animals and their owners.

Seeking his true calling, he travelled Canada and the United States, volunteering in wildlife research and conferences, and wintered in our far north. This path led Ray to the pet care and rescue sector. After periods of employment with the Ontario SPCA and the Ottawa Humane Society, he has joined the Calm & Collected Canine team.

Ray has a special affection for giant breeds and dogs with physical disabilities and is thorough and a skilled listener to both owners and dogs concerns. His aim in training is to allow you and your pet to have more freedom, connection, and confidence as a team. Consent, trust, and consistency are guiding principles of his work.

Ray Harrison


Myriam Dion-Pet Sitter

Myriam grew up chasing butterflies and rescuing frogs from the pool; she knew early on that she wanted her life to involve animals. Her partner in crime, Wiley the Australian Shepherd brings that wish to life, along with Keiko the cat and a handful of pet reptiles.

Throughout her professional life, Myriam has worked with a variety of species ranging from domestic pets to exotic animals, such as birds of prey and alligators. Over the years she became particularly invested in not only animal care, but even more so their behaviour and emotional welfare. When it presented itself, she seized the opportunity to help dogs and cats with difficult behaviour needs in a shelter environment, which allowed her to enhance her skill set when it came to challenging behavioural cases.

Myriam’s superior knowledge of canine behaviour has often placed her at the forefront in high-stress situations, such as safely handling highly reactive animals or working with dogs exhibiting extreme fear or aggressive behaviour with a gentle approach.

It’s her belief that the core component to achieving the best care possible for our beloved pets is to understand what they are communicating to us, and she strives to share her knowledge and expertise so that families can establish strong bonds with their furry companions based on mutual trust and respect.

Myriam Dion

Talya Niederhauser holds black and white dog in sunflower field

Tamara Stavytska – Pet sitter

From the time Tamara was just 10 years old, she set out on a mission to become a veterinarian in Ukraine. At 14 years old, she went daily to her uncle’s vet clinic and watched him perform different surgeries, examinations, and other procedures with small animals. She entered into a 4-year medical college program to gain knowledge as early as possible. Later, she entered University as a vet doctor major. In her 4th year of study, she had already completed various internships in vet clinics and attended seminars and conferences. Upon program completion, Tamara worked as a veterinarian in the intensive care unit for small animals. She enjoyed her vet career but began feeling sad and helpless seeing so many animal deaths. This pushed her to change the direction in which she wanted to help our furry friends. She decided to begin her education in dog behaviour and training, then went on to offer her behaviour consulting/training services. She enjoys every minute of it!

She currently has two female dogs: a 12-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, and a mixed-breed dog that she rescued from a comatose state. 

Tamara loves to teach pet owners how to effectively socialize their dog(s) to external(surrounding) stimuli, be it with dogs, people, noises, etc., and to teach them to relax in various environments(at home, in nature, in stores, etc.). She also enjoys working on critical commands like recall and emergency stops. She believes that it is crucial to teach owners how to understand their dog(s) body language, their biological needs, and how to properly build healthy and harmonious relationships together. 

Tamara Stavytska


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“I only have positive things to say about Sarah and her training skills and adaptability skills when it comes to dog’s behaviours and how to work with them and correct them. She customizes every session to the dog’s needs and interests and always makes sure everyone (dog included) is on the same page. Teddy and I really enjoyed our sessions with Sarah, and she was very attentive, and helped me solve Teddy’s fears and other little issues I had with him! I would recommend her to anyone, and I am excited to work with her again in the future!”

– Sarah M.

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” Choosing Sarah as a trainer for my 9 month old malamute puppy was the best decision I have made for myself, my dog and our relationship. This was my first dog, and despite doing my research, I found myself overwhelmed with the amount of work I soon learned this dog would need. Her breed is stubborn, but it didn’t help that she was a rescue and so I don’t know what the first 9 months of her life entailed. We did private lessons with Sarah who was so patient with both of us. The biggest thing Sarah taught me was how to effectively communicate with my dog what I expected of her. Within a few short weeks, she was no longer pulling on leash towards other dogs, she was no longer food guarding with humans (and doing significantly better around other animals) and most importantly has learned confidence – which has allowed her to be significantly less anxious when I’m not around. Overall, I have the best relationship with my dog, now that we have a solid base I know there’s nothing we couldn’t accomplish together, and I couldn’t thank Sarah enough for that.”

– Marissa L.

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“After numerous attempts at trying to find help for my dog reactive girl, Athena, and being told countless times that there’s no hope.. I found Sarah. Sarah helped me understand why my dog behaves the way she does and how I should be reacting to it. Sarah began training me, because it isn’t always the dog who needs training..most times it is the owners too. Sarah was able to introduce me to different tools to see which Athena responded to the best, tools I wouldn’t have used otherwise. She gave me the confidence to advocate for my dog and know how to respond to different scenarios appropriately. I am forever thankful for the training, support, and knowledge passed onto me from Sarah, because of her Athena and I have continued on with more intensive training and will continue to do so to keep her mind in a healthy and happy state! Thank you Sarah, for helping me and Athena start the journey into a happy and healthy life!”

– Morgan M.

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” Our experience with Sarah has been genuinely life changing. We decided to sign up to six weeks of training with Sarah a few months after we had finished basic obedience training with our husky. While our dog has a beautiful temperament, she is super willful and we were struggling to get her to come, walk nicely on lead and to obey commands (after she had decided she was no longer interested and ESPECIALLY if other dogs were around – forget it). Through the training program, Sarah took the time to understand our dog and to teach us the tools we needed to create solid boundaries and strong communication. Our dog now sits calmly on place while we cook and eat, knows that downtime means relaxing, listens and obeys commands (even when she would prefer to be investigating another dog/smell/noise/treat) and walks by our side on leash. Our dog boarded with Sarah when we went on holiday for two weeks. We both felt so comfortable leaving her in Sarah’s hands, as our dog is totally bonded to her and loves to spend time and learn with her. Sarah sent us daily updates and went above and beyond to train our dog with the e-collar, taking the time to adapt her approach to best suit our dog and taking her on long walks and even for activities to find out how to best reward her for all her learning. The result has been completely life changing, our dog comes when called – even when there are other dogs around and she would much prefer to keep playing. It means we can trust her off leash, completely changing our weekends and relationship with her for the better. We can’t recommend Sarah highly enough, and our dog certainly couldn’t love her more.“

 – Clare

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” We sought help from Sarah about a week after we adopted our dog Bronson. Bronson was a stray in Manitoba. He was very reactive to dogs while on leash, he would pull for the entire walk and would bark and lunge at every squirrel or rabbit we saw. We were quickly overwhelmed with his behaviours. Sarah provided us with tools and guidance. She was patient and understanding, and always went above and beyond. Today, a year after we’ve adopted Bronson, we are able to walk past dogs without him reacting, he heels when walking and has also made a lot of progress with squirrels. Sarah gave us the tools to become confident dog owners.”

– Michelle M.

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"Knowing our guy Gus and his challenges, we were quite nervous about having him spend time away from us at his board and train. But from day one, our concerns were wiped away. Sarah made the transition as easy as possible for us. While all that was very important, it paled in comparison to the work she did with Gus. Sarah put in so much time and energy learning how best to communicate with him, and trust me that is saying a lot (basenji attitude). Sharing that knowledge with us has been invaluable. Upon returning home, Sarah set us up with a solid plan and helped us tremendously with establishing new boundaries. Gus is a much more fulfilled and respectful dog because of Sarah. Thank you, Sarah!"

– Grace & Sarah

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Dog Trainer and Behaviour Consultant

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