Melissa Dallier, CPDT-KA, was raised in the suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has always been a bit, well, dog obsessed. She has always been fascinated with how these creatures worked, with how we were able to have animals with big sets of teeth and no real way to communicate, live in our homes. She wanted to learn to communicate with them.
In order to become a compassionate, successful trainer, she combined her love of dogs with another interest: a love and curiosity of the human condition and why humans do what they do. Melissa studied acting and was an actor in New York City for 10 years. This combination of a love of both dogs and people can be difficult to find among people in the animal world. Many people get into this business because they love dogs and soon find out people come along for the ride, but Melissa is thrilled to work side by side with both to help them understand each other and learn to live harmoniously.
Melissa now lives in Campbell, CA, with her husband and two dogs: Moxie, a spitfire of a pit bull mix, and Rodger, a goofy shepherd mix, are active and enjoy hiking, swimming, and finding new adventures! There’s also Tobey and Sparrow, the kitties that really run the house.
Melissa is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the Dunbar Academy. She is a graduate of The Academy of Dog Behavior, where she worked closely with renowned trainer and behavior expert, Trish King, for two years. She works closely with the Humane Society Silicon Valley, where she is often called upon to help newly adopted dogs settle into their homes or help resolve behavior problems to ensure pets stay in their homes. She is also a member of their trainer referral list available to the public. Melissa considers one of her specialties “Early Puppy Socialization”, and runs the highly successful Sunday Puppy Socials at HSSV. She is committed to helping puppy owners understand the importance of proper socialization during the critical developmental stages in their puppies’ lives to assist in preventing aggression and fearful behaviors as adult dogs.
When she isn’t training her own dogs, teaching classes, or helping private clients, she is in a constant state of education, always striving to learn more about how dogs perceive the world, the most effective ways to help modify challenging behaviors, and how she can help better their lives and the lives of their owners in the least invasive and minimally aversive way.
We at A Canine Affinity love all things puppy! We are experts when it comes to the developmental needs of puppies, and this includes critical early socialization. What is Critical Early Socialization? Well, from about 6 weeks - 5 months of age, puppies are in a critical socialization period where they need to be exposed to loads of new things. This includes lots of people, other animals, environmental stimulus, tactile surfaces, sounds, body handling and more. Many people don’t understand the importance of socialization at this early age as it applies to prevention of aggression and fearful behavior in the future. As we carefully expose our puppies with positive experiences to new things during this time period their brains actually grow, creating new links to their cerebral cortex, the portion of the brain that creates learning, memory, and perceptual awareness. Exposure to the most positive experiences will create the most “links” to this portion of the brain helping them to become confident, happy, well socialized adult dogs! But if you wait too long, those links can no longer be created and it becomes more difficult for your puppy to create positive associations to new experiences and may cause fearful behavior in adulthood.
We know you want the best for your new puppy, but we also know that life gets busy or you may just not know how to go about properly socializing your new puppy so they grow up strong of mind and body. We can also help with setting up your home so your puppy doesn’t get into too much trouble, we can help with potty training, and begin to teach important basic manners and impulse control!
Worried that your puppy isn’t fully vaccinated? We know that there is concern about disease and keeping your puppy safe is our biggest priority! We take level of vaccination into account for all adventures; we will discuss this in full with you at your consultation. Learn more about the importance of early puppy socialization from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.
We will help every step of the way in a way that is most convenient to your lifestyle and schedule but also best for your puppy’s development.
Includes a 90 min consultation where we will help you get your home puppy-proofed and set up for success as well as discuss goals for your puppies future! Then, 6 one-hour sessions with you and your puppy where we will go on adventures in your home and out and about, as well as starting them on the right paw with basic manners. You will learn how to read your puppy’s body language and help them create positive associations to new people, places and things!
Includes a 90 min consultation where we will help you get your home puppy-proofed and set up for success as well as discuss goals for your puppies future! Then, for 6 one-and-a-half-hour sessions and 2 one-hour "show off" sessions we will come to your home while you are at work, busy with the kids, or generally living life, to ensure your puppy is getting the socialization they need and starting of on the right paw with training! We will take them out for adventures and make sure they know what is safe and what is not in your home.
**All Puppy Prep Packages include 5 visits to our Sunday morning puppy socials at the Humane Society Silicon Valley. (You’re presence at the puppy socials is required)**
Our private training is available in your home, out and about in your neighborhood, local parks, or wherever is convenient and will best assist in the training process.
Private training is ideal for any dog owner who wants to be involved in the training process every step of the way! Need help to resolve barking and lunging on leash, or generally improving leash manners? Need help resolving separation issues so you can leave home with a calm confident dog? From teaching your dog basic manners to assisting with a reliable off-leash recall, we will work with you to create a personalized one on one training plan in your home, at a time that is convenient for you.
If you want to know how to manage and change your dog’s behavior from start to finish, private training may be the best option!
During the initial consultation, we will take a history of your dog and their behavior, answer any questions you may have, and write up a training plan for the future based on your goals.
The While You’re Away option is versatile and can be designed to fit you and your family’s needs. We come to your home a set number of times a week, while you are at work or otherwise away, to work with your dog on your customized training plan. Then, once a week, we meet with you for a “show off session” where your dog can show off all the skills he has been learning and you learn how to maintain those skills while we aren’t there. We lay the foundation you may not have time to, leaving you with the skills to manage your newly trained dog.
While You’re Away can be ideal for the busy working family, who may not have the time needed for achieving the training goals in mind. Additionally, While You’re Away can be a great option for dogs who may need more intensive work on a behavioral issue than single private training sessions have to offer.
**3 Sessions + 1 Show Off Session per week**
Have you ever gone on a crash diet only to be disappointed when you gained back the weight a few months later? How about trying out the gym for a week or two with no results? Tried to give up a bad habit only to go back after a couple of months? Dog behavior is much the same: behavior and training needs to be maintained, proofed, and generalized to many locations and situations over time. Once you are a client of A Canine Affinity, we offer maintenance packages to ensure your dog’s behavior doesn’t slip too far back into old habits. If it already has, we can step in to get it back on track!
We can either come over while you are at work to give your dog a refresher course, or work together with you to reestablish how to achieve the behavior you want.
We accept the following payment options for private training: Cash, Check, Credit and ApplePay via Square.
Melissa is currently teaching group classes at Humane Society Silicon Valley in Milpitas.
Beginning Puppy Training for puppies 8 - 18 weeks old.
Beginning Older Puppy Training for puppies 4 1/2 months - 8 months old.
Intermediate Puppy Training for puppies 4 1/2 months and older.
Beginning Manners and Obedience for all dogs 5 months and older.
For Puppies 8-18 weeks old (on first visit)
Your puppy will learn important play skills and bite inhibition that they can take with them into their adult lives, as well as gain exposure to environmental stimulus to help build confidence, assist in development, and prevent fearful behavior in adulthood!
Puppies are in a critical stage of development between the ages of 6 weeks and 5 months. They need loads of exposure to all of the people/places/things that you want them to become confident and comfortable around as adult dogs. During this age range they are able to take in lots of new experiences, sights, sounds and accept them with some level of ease. When meeting new people and dogs, they are naturally curious and often very friendly. After the age of 5 – 6 months old, puppies aren’t as open to new experiences and aren’t as willing to try new things. If they haven’t been sufficiently exposed to different experiences at a young age they may be frightened by people they don’t know or dogs they haven’t met. New sounds or everyday objects may frighten them. We will help you start that exposure in a safe controlled environment. Learn more about the importance of early puppy socialization from the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior.