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Meet Your Trainer

Woman standing with two German Shepherds in a field

Hi! I’m Melissa and I’m the owner of and professional dog trainer at Hemlock K9. Since I’m going to be getting to know you and your pups soon, it’s only fair you know a little bit about me as well!

I began my dog training career like many dog trainers do – because my dog was a nightmare! No, my German Shepherd Bear was a very good pup – his main issue was that he was very protective and he didn’t like men coming into my apartment. He also was a bit of a countersurfer, and had an obsession with butter and socks (don’t ask me why). At the time, I had been working at the CT Historical Society in their collections and exhibits department for about 4 years, and was looking for a change. While I will always be a history nerd at heart, I’m an outdoors person. I grew up in the forests of New Hartford, and while I loved my job, I couldn’t be in the basement and in the stacks of collections all day long. So began the dog training journey.

Anyway, after deciding to change careers, I began as an apprentice at K9one at Stonehill Kennel in Goshen CT, learning under one of the most respected dog trainers in the country. My mentor, Chris Byrne, was the K-9 Bomb Detection supervisor for the World Trade Center recovery mission following September 11, 2001, and trained both police and companion canines for more than 30 years. The last few years, I worked at K9one, training everything from 8 week old lab puppies to 120 lb Cane Corso’s with severe aggression issues to 12 year old Coonhound’s with crippling anxiety. I also completed a 6 month mentorship under UK trainer Ches Pickering from Phoeonix K9, and regularly attend seminars held by some of the best dog trainers in the world including Ivan Balabanov, Jay Jack and Justin Rigney.

Simba, Kaya, Shark and I (and my gecko Stevie!) live in Avon, CT, and spend our time hiking, throwing a frisbee, or just having fun with my hooligans.

I’m so looking forward to getting to know you and your pup, and I can’t wait to help you better your communication and relationship with your dog so that you can both live your best lives together!

Meet My Pack

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