Melissa posing with one of her dog clients.
Melissa began her career working with animals at the Monmouth County SPCA. During her fourteen years working in animal rescue, she gained extensive experience working with dogs of many different breeds, sizes, and personalities.
Melissa completed a rigorous, intensive program on canine behavior through the Companion Animal Science Institute (CASI), earning her diploma in canine behavior (Dip. CBST). This program helps dog training professionals build on important skills and gives them the knowledge to help their clients resolve challenging behavior problems.
Melissa graduated with distinction from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy’s Master Class Program, earning her CCDT designation. CATCH is a government and state approved school licensed by the NJ Department of Education and NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development. This certification is based on the standards of the nationally respected Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT) and The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT).
Melissa is a Fear Free Certified Professional. Fear Free has become one of the single most transformative initiatives in the history of companion animal practice, providing unparalleled education on emotional wellbeing, enrichment, and the reduction of fear, anxiety, and stress in pets.
Committed to using a force-free, reward-based approach when working with dogs, Melissa’s passion is coaching pet parents how to better communicate with and understand their canine companions.
Melissa is also a proud member of the Pet Professional Guild (The Association for Science-Based, Results-Based Force-Free Professionals) and understands the importance of continuing education.
Melissa from Jersey Shore Dogs was exactly what we were looking for when seeking help to train our 6-month-old Australian Shepherd. We wanted a trainer that would come to our home and educate us, the owners, on the best way to train Brody. Melissa was always timely and very friendly with both my husband and I and our pup, Brody! We learned so many great training methods and Brody has been so responsive! It takes patience and practice, but I am very happy with what Melissa taught us and Brody has been learning and becoming such a well-trained puppy!
We were brand new pup owners (never had a dog before), and we researched trainers locally and Matt Tuzzo and Jersey Shore Dogs came highly referred. Matt returned my call promptly and was flexible to set up our first meeting and training. And he is always a text away even after our training was completed (and still 3 months later), for any question or input as we continue to evolve with our pup. Matt made our pup extremely comfortable and at ease, and after our first two hours my wife and I felt we had a great deal of useful information that helped us to be better owners/parents and to take some of the early frustrations out of dog ownership. Matt returned a few weeks later and we worked on other training and even the basics of good leash walking. Today at 6 1/2 months, our pup is potty trained, responds to multiple commands, enjoys her walks (as do I when at first they were very frustrating), and she is at ease with strangers and new dogs. The latter is due to Matt’s recommendation to send her to puppy kindergarten, in theory to a competitor, but Matt knew the play time with multiple pups under a controlled environment with a specialist in puppy kindergarten was the best for our pup. That says a lot to me about Matt and his interest of your pup or dog first.
When I realized I wanted some outside help with training my puppy, reaching out to Matt was the best decision I could have made. Even after just that initial phone conversation, I felt so much more at ease and I could not wait for our appointment. I already started to see a positive change in Rex’s behavior while Matt was still at my house, and he even stayed past our scheduled time to show me additional ways to train and work with my dog. The homework he gave us was straightforward and easy to follow. Matt made it clear that I could e-mail him at any time with questions or if I needed clarification on something, and he meant it. I must’ve e-mailed him 10 times in the first two weeks after our session and he was always very prompt in answering. He is eager to help and offer insight in any way he can. To say Rex loved working with him would be a huge understatement!
We can’t thank Matt enough for the work he has done over the past year and a half with our rescue dog Indy. We adopted him at five months old realizing quickly that he suffered from severe separation anxiety. Matt helped us develop (and continuously tweak) a plan that helped our sweet boy manage and cope with what was previously nearly impossible. Later, we had Matt back to work on fear of strangers, with almost immediate progress post visit. Matt’s knowledge, approach, and sensitivity are second to none.