Growing up, Melissa found herself at family parties, hidden upstairs with "the misbehaved pet dog", feeding him hot dogs and wondering why it felt so good to be away from all the craze of the party. She would look forward to attending social gatherings only if their were animals to engage with. Eventually Melissa began to understand that indeed she was a bit different, but not in a bad way. One day at school she was forced to "choose a career", in that moment she decided working with animals would be it.
Creating Reactive Rover Dog Walking wasn't high on the priority list for Melissa, but after adopting her socially anxious Pit Bull pup, it became clear that there was a huge educational gap with most dog walkers. Five years ago, "leash aggression" was the coined term, and there certainly was a common misunderstanding of what that really was and how to manage dogs displaying such.
Three years after creating Reactive Rover, Melissa obtained certification through the Council for Professional Dog Trainers as a CPDT-KA (certified professional dog trainer, knowledge assessed). For the past two years Marisa Scully, owner of Philly Dog Training, mentored Melissa and allowed her to trail and assist with cases related to: teaching basic manners, socialization, housebreaking, reactive dog training, biting and aggression, anxieties, fears, phobias and problem solving.
In the future, Melissa hopes to create a thorough training curriculum for dog walkers and care takers while also teaching families with dogs how to successfully implement children and babies into their existing environment. In the more distant future, Melissa also hopes to work alongside Marisa Scully to create a comprehensive training program for shelter volunteers to understand and utilize with adoptable animals in different shelter settings.