"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:

January 24th-I probably shouldn't post what I want to post, so I'll give you the next installment on my journey to be a trainer. I had started fostering dogs with behavior issues...Aggression, shyness, fearfulness. I would work through the issues and find them forever families. I was approached and asked if I wanted to me a dog trainer...and, well, I couldn't say no right? so, I went to 2-weeks of 'training' and that most definitely gave me a wonderful start. I still talk to the trainer that trained me today. We often swap stories, and seek out each other's advice if we have a challenging case. I then decided that I enjoyed it so much, I eventually started learning on my own. In the mean time, I started my own adoption group and was vice-president of the organization for about 5 years before I realized that that aspect of adoption wasn't for me. LOL. I prefer dogs to paperwork and numbers. I was then asked by the director of a service dog organization if I was interested in training service dogs....well, couldn't turn down that opportunity either so I started doing that all the while still reading up and learning about training so that eventually I could pass my CPDT-KA. I passed it on my first attempt and still remember the day I opened my letter. I'm pretty sure I was on cloud 9 for a good week at least! There's more to the story, of course, but for now I'll leave it at that. For some useful information...All classes are full until February, so if your interested in reserving a spot, please contact me soon!

December 22-I just wanted to take a minute and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Happy whatever you celebrate this time of year. I know a lot of you are getting puppies for Christmas so please remember food and plants that are poisonous to pets this holiday season and to keep everyone safe. Don't forget about getting your puppy some socialization after you get your new bundle of joy. There's puppy playtimes, many choices for puppy classes and other training options to get your puppy on the path to being a well-behaved puppy! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

December 2nd-Well, I finished school. I'm just waiting to have that very expensive piece of paper in my hand. I'm now finally able to see the light of day and actually accomplish something other than work, school, and sleep! I'm working on writing my 2 case reports to be a Certified Animal Behaviorist. I'm also working with Diva, which is one of my recent adoptee's to pass her CGC and her CGCA. She too will be doing Therapy work now that I actually have time to work with her and train her. She'll be a breeze once I actually start it. I also wanted to post about training beyond puppy/beginner class. A lot of people ask why do I need more training? Well, let me ask you this. You started Fido at 10weeks right, so is he a fully trained dog at 16 weeks of page? Yeah, I thought so! Getting through adolescence with dogs can be challenging for a lot of pet owners so don't discount Intermediate and Advance classes...as these are when the fun actually begins. All dogs know the basics, but wouldn't it be great to take your dog into a pet store and have everyone else saying 'WOW! That dog is so well behaved! There's more to training beyond puppy class, continued socialization, fun tricks, service work, therapy work. There's a lot of things you can do with a dog that's well behaved and getting there takes more than puppy class! To the left is Scout. She's been in training since she's been 8wks old. She's gone through Puppy, Intermediate, and Advanced classes. She's now passed her CGC and will be going onto be a Therapy Dog. Congrats Scouty! I loved watching you grow up!

November 23rd-Well, sorry I've been silent for the past month or so but I was trying very hard to get through my externships for school without loosing my mind! Now that I have 3 more days left I can breathe(which is superly awesome) and of course write another post! I really have nothing new or exciting to post other than starting in January I'll be going to school for dog grooming. As for the nitty gritty...The next Therapy Dog Class is Tuesday, January 27th at 8pm. The next testing will be sometime in January/February. The classes are filling up quickly. The soonest I have is December 6th, so if your thinking Fluffy needs to come to class please be sure to sign-up sooner rather than later to reserve your spot! I've updated the calendar to reflect what's full and what's not so that's all accurate. Other than that, I really don't have much. I'll leave this for now and I'm sure the next post will be celebrating my excitement of no longer having to get up early(I'm not a morning person by ANY means)!

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!

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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