"We loved the classes & are excited about becoming a therapy dog! We appreciate all Melissa's work to help us get there!" - Veronica

"Melissa is an awesome trainer. Our dog is changed completely for the better."-Jennifer

"Melissa does a great job explaining the lessons and working with the dogs."- Melodi

"I loved the class. Melissa is great, very helpful, and overall a great trainer."-Kayla

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Welcome! I hope what's brought you to my site is the fact that you're looking to get your dog trained, whether you've just adopted a new dog or are looking for some solutions to a few behavior problems, I've certainly got the training and the obedience classes to help you and your new pet! I've been working with adopted and rescue dogs for over 10 years and have extensive experience handling dogs with behavior issues from your typical potty training problem to aggression. My ultimate goal is to help you and your pet understand one another through positive reinforcement training. Please feel free to browse my site, and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Monet, adopted through Heartland Small
Animal Rescue.


Aurora, adopted through Allies for Greyhounds

Eve, adopted through Allies for Greyhounds of West Michigan

What I'm up to:

October 28th-I just feel like blogging today. I just want to make this known, and because *I* as a trainer get extremely frustrated. I NEVER, EVER walk into a testing, whether it's a CGC testing or TDI testing looking to fail a dog. I don't get enjoyment out of it. I don't laugh, and I don't like it. There is even a part of me that feels a little guilty and I often have to remind myself that if they don't pass, there's always another try. There is one thing for certain, before I attach my name to a certified dog of either entity I want to make sure that dog will go out and be a responsible and well behaved member of the community. I won't pass a dog because I like it or simply 'just because' if it hasn't met the requirements of whatever test they are taking. Did you know that one of my dogs failed the CGC on his first try? Little known factoid there. If YOU don't think YOUR dog will pass, I will help you get there. I don't offer to help to just to get someone to take class, that is not how I operate. I offer it as a solution so that you can confidently say my dog can pass the test. If your capable of doing it by yourself--congrats, I am not at all offended but what I am offended by is when someone says that I will only pass a dog if the take class...Not true. TDI doesn't even REQUIRE any classes before hand, so that's just being silly. And for what it's worth, all the Therapy stuff that I do is volunteer, there is no $$ to be made by me or anyone else. I do it out of love for the animals and to give back to the community...so how have you given back to your community today?

October 26th-Well, I s'pose your getting regular blog posts lately. I'm finishing up my 2nd month of my externships, and I'll only have 1 month of this crazyness left. I'm super excited! As for classes, I will be posting some dates shortly so if your interested in classes, just E-mail me and I'll get you the the times I have available. As for Therapy testing/classes. The next Therapy Class won't be until January. Stay tuned for the pertinent info on that because it's probably changing and I'd hate to say something and then confuse you all. It's too hectic with the holidays and such. The next Therapy Testing will be Saturday, November 15th and Saturday, December 20th. This one's full, there's a couple spots left in November. I don't really have anything else to report. I hope you all have a good Halloween and Happy Thanksgiving if I don't get to writing on this blog before hand.

October 1st- It's been a whole month and my externships are going very well. I reported last time that I'd give you the next installment on my journey to be a trainer...I was driving to Lafayette, IN with a friend and she mentioned that an adoption group had gotten back a dog for biting...a third time. It was at this point that no one was sure if she could be rehabbed, so I willing said I'd take her. I took her and for a year I worked with her on her biting issues and other issues. She got adopted. She's been in the same home since and is still alive, happy and kicking. Rehabbing aggression is something that I as a trainer truly enjoy doing. I enjoy the challenge and the watching the behavior change happen. So, yes, bring on the aggression cases! I've posted December's start dates. I've kinda slimmed down on the class offerings, so if your interested please sign up sooner rather than later! That's about all I have the energy to post now, so I leave you with this and hopefully I'll get another post in before the holidays!

August 31st-Well, lookie here. You get another post before my externships! Well, I have officially seen the last of a classroom for quite some time and I plan on enjoying my time free from homework, due dates, and reports. My externships officially begin on Tuesday. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time, but in 3 more months I will have my Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology! Onto other more important things. The next Therapy Dog Class will be starting Tuesday, October 7th at 8pm. The next testing won't be till December and there will probably be a couple. Keep an eye on facebook and this site as those will be posted to first! It will definitely be a Saturday at 5pm, just not sure of the date yet. November's start dates are up on the calendar. I don't really have much to report other than that, I'm very tired today so you'll have to wait for the next installment of my journey to be a trainer...It involves a dog that was returned 3x's for biting people so it'll be an exciting one for sure! 

August 14th-I'm thinking you all deserve another post before I disappear for 3 months during my externships for school...maybe not disappear off the face of this earth, but I probably won't do much blogging. For the pertinent information, I just updated the calendar. The soonest puppy class is Saturday, the 23rd at 9am and there's only 3 spots left, so I definitely recommend signing up if you'd like your spot reserved! I'll post this post on the 3rd installment of my journey to become a trainer. Pawn, Queen, and I where doing good for 2.5 months and thanks to a message board I was on I received a message...Hi, I have your dogs' last littermate to retire from racing in my kennel and he's done. He's raced 99 times, is 4 yrs old and ready to retire. His name is Bishop. Without hesitation I brought him home December 17th, 2004 and from that day forward it was me and "The Chess Pack". We did our Therapy work together, they where at my graduation from highschool and when I started college. They moved with me when I bought them a house with a nice fenced in yard and where the first ones to even enter the house before any humans and check out the yard. All 3 passed to rainbow bridge between October 2013 and February 2014. They also taught me the importance of fostering and volunteering for adoption groups, where by which we welcomed our first foster dog October 2006. I told the adoption group I wanted an easy dog...not one that pooped on the floor, or caused trouble or tried to cause a ruckus. They asked if I would take a dog named Baby...yup, sure. She was white with brindle spots. And I got everything but what I ordered(because back then before I knew anything dogs all came prepackaged. lol). She caused fights, stitches, vet visits, doctor visits with stitches for me, and gave worms to all my dogs(oh the horror's of that back then)! so I called up the group and asked what to do...I didn't like the answer I was given so I did the only thing I knew to do...start training... and more training...and more training. I took her to an obedience class. She got adopted the day she graduated(February 2007) to a family with children and has remained with that family still to this day, never having bitten anyone since. She taught me the power of training and how life-saving it can be. If there's one thing that can be said, never ever underestimate the power of proper training and what it can do not only for the dog, but for people that care for him/her too. Baby's photo is over there and that's Pawn in the photo too!

July 31st-It's been about a month...seriously. I think time flies! I do have lots of fun and exciting things to report! Firstly, I'm going to be done with school in November so it's moved up, thank god, I'm ready for a break)! The second good news is that both Giorgio and Password passed their Therapy Dog Tests...which is beyond exciting since I've only owned them 8 months! Yes, the photo is right over there. The last good news is I put up October's start dates...I'm also going to be adding a potty training seminar to the schedule once a month, no different than the puppy playtime and puppy orientation one hour classes. Classes are filling quickly, the soonest I have for a puppy class is August 11th so if you'd like a spot please contact me about it!

June 27th-I've had some free time, so you all get another posting. Exciting huh? I've recently gotten the question what I do besides training dogs...well, nothing really...actually...that's a lie. I do go to school full-time. I have 2 more classes left, July and then October and I'll be done. I train my own dogs..oh wait...that's still related to what I do anyway...I, ugh, volunteer at Memorial Hospital and that's about the extent of my outside life. My friends and I will occasionally go out Thursday and Friday nights for your normal friends night out talk time. I also spend time going to seminars, like the one I went to in Detroit this past Thursday with Dr. Ian Dunbar. He's the founder of the APDT, a vet, and an animal behaviorist. Needless to say, he was awesome to listen to and I learned loads. Here's a pic just for kicks and giggles, and you can see all the new toys I have in my hand. 2 DVD's on aggression, 1 on puppy play, and a book. There's little that can bring highlight to a trainer than those! It was great to meet and interact with other trainers and just talk 'trainer' as we all like to call it. I don't get to do that very often. We don't speak English when we 'talk trainer!' Other than that, I don't do much else. I peruse facebook, twitter, and the internet in my spare time...whatever that is. I also haven't turned on a TV in about 5 years. I much prefer my computer, ipad, iphone, and my bookshelf to turning on the tube. I'm currently reading the new Summer edition of "The Chronicle" which is an APDT magazine and the new Whole Dog Journal. So, now all my internet friends will now know that I'm truly a geek. That's okay, it works for me.

June 21st-Second part of my journey to be a trainer...I found out that I fell in love with the Greyhound breed and I could finally have my dog that I wasn't allergic too. So, I went searching for her littermates and 3 months after I adopted Pawn, September 26th 2004 I adopted her littermate Queen. Queen wasn't nearly as easy as her littermate and she taught me that perseverance when you know something's wrong is always the way to go. I don't believe in giving up on dogs or their owners for that matter. We finally found a vet after a year that could diagnose her limp, she lived her life with corns and we managed them. Her and Pawn were inseparable. It was quite apparent they had a bond unlike no other. She was sweet, loving, and had a mind of her own. We called her loner because she was always off doing something by herself. I trained her the same way I did Pawn and we volunteered for Hospice as Therapy Dogs, just the 3 of us and she loved every minute. She was a great dog, and once again she taught me far more than I could ever teach her. As for updates, the puppy/beginner classes are filling up quickly. I updated the calendar to reflect some class changes(took away a beginner and a puppy class in July and August, so no biggie) and also to reflect the classes that are full The Sunday Therapy Dog Class is full, so only Tuesday's are left. 

June 12th-I'm always looking for things to blog about, and this question has popped up a lot lately...Why did you want to become a dog trainer? umm...well...actually...I didn't! So, I thought I'd blog about my 'journey' to the realization that this is really what I was ment to do. I was 17 and a Junior in highschool when I wanted a dog. MY dog. One problem, I'm allergic to dogs. All dogs. So we went to the local pet store one day and saw Greyhounds, I touched them, petted them and I found that one in a million dog that I didn't have a severe reaction too. My family and I put in our application to adopt and we waited. and waited. We didn't want a black dog was our only requirement. The adoption group finally got back to us and said, well we have a match for you...but she's black. Okay, well, bring her over! That day and Pawn and I had that instant bond. We'd spend hours in my bedroom working with the clicker and training her to do a myriad of things, including saying I love you, bow, twirl and all her basic commands. I discovered that I didn't really care what she knew how to do, I like the teaching part of it. She was my first venture into dog training and she was an easy dog. The ones that come after her, not so much, but until next time. I'll leave you with a photo of the dog that started my journey. I will forever be grateful to her. She graced me with her presence for 10 wonderful years and taught me far more than I could have ever even thought about teaching her.  

April 24th-Butter and I were on TV supporting Memorial Hospital's Therapy Dog Program! Take a Look! http://www.wsbt.com/news/local/memorial-hospital-needs-more-fourlegged-therapists/25634898

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