Melissa grew up in rural Maine in a dog sledding family. She also worked with horses from the age of 8-20, including when she joined the Equestrian Teacher/Trainer Program at Lake Erie College just outside of Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in psychology. Her focus was on learning theory and animal behavior.
In 2003, she adopted a Border collie named Sadie and they competed in canine disc for 4 years. Melissa believes that all dogs should have a job, especially if they live in an urban environment. She's most interested in the differences (and similarities) between city dogs and country dogs as well as how the medical and training worlds intersect when it comes to our pups. She spends her time researching different aspects of life with dogs, and addresses controversial topics head-on from every perspective (like the Rocco Case in Somerville and The Truman Fire). She also has a way of finding the humor in almost everything. She aims to put everything in one place for her students, which is why she started writing a book Considerations for the City Dog.
Melissa earned her training certification in 2008 through the CCPDT association, is a member of the APDT, and has attended 72+ additional hours of training to better serve her students. She loves living outside of Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband, their toddler and two cats.
Melissa is currently the co-Training Director for New England Dog Training Club in Cambridge (the oldest AKC obedience club in the country) and teaches disc-dog classes wherever she can grab space. She handles behavior cases and works in tandem with the veterinarians in the area to help dogs emotional, physical and behavioral health. She is planning on sitting for the behavior certification exam in 2015.
In addition to NEDTC, she teaches at Riverdog in Somerville, MA and also at the Wakefield Animal Hospital in Wakefield, MA. She was just brought on as the canine disc instructor for Everydog, LLC - a new canine sports and training center in Woburn, Massachusetts which is in the early stages of becoming a Boston-area, positive reinforcement training center. She manages the MuttStuff Blog which features local resources, events, and training tips (like loose leash walking information), but is more active on Facebook/MuttStuff.
The family greyhound, Zeppy, died in September 2013.
Sadie Jane Dogg, the inspiration behind Muttstuff and Considerations, passed away in August of 2014.
She is available for private training, interviews, or articles pertaining to life with dogs.
She has been featured on NECN's "The Secret Life of Animals", Fox 25 Morning News, The Somerville Journal, and Dogtime, and is a Blogger for the Somerville Patch. She has also given presentations in schools aimed at preventing dog bites in children. She is working on a book to help her students cope with common questions about owning dogs in the city.