Positive Reinforcement Dog Trainer

Melissa and Moki

About Us

Melissa graduated with distinction (high honors) from the prestigious Victoria Stilwell Academy and holds a VSA-CDT certification for positive reinforcement dog training. She is the first and only VSA-CDT (Victoria Stilwell Academy-Certified Dog Trainer) dog trainer in Utah and prides herself on not using tools like shock collars, choke chains, or any fear or pain based methods. “I stick with cultivating positive communication with you and your dog. My goal is to teach you how to communicate with your dog resulting in a deeper, positive, and trusting relationship. Together, we will teach your pup what to do instead of what not to do.”

Melissa also holds AS, BS, and MPC degrees in various business, marketing and communication fields. She spends many hours a week reading, researching and learning about animal related topics from training, to rescue and more. When she’s not in training mode, she has volunteered in animal rescue for many years and enjoys teaching others in various capacities, including mentoring youth, teaching undergraduates as an adjunct college professor, creating educational content for her website, and getting outdoors to hike, camp and enjoy nature.

How Training to a T, LLC Came About

I’ve always had a passion for animals. Growing up, all of my “critters” had names starting with the letter “T”, hence the name “Training to a T” was born. One of those animals, Taz, was a Great Pyrenees puppy. His story is below.

Taz – Why I am passionate about positive reinforcement Dog Training

Taz became one of the family in the late 90’s after we took a trip to the west desert for a college class. We were out searching for latitude/longitude markers when we stumbled upon a make-shift shelter. Somebody had stacked leftover palettes in a small structure to use them for target shooting. Inside, were seven tiny Great Pyrenees puppies with no food or water. After several hours hiking around and not seeing any signs of their mother, there was no way we were leaving them. We brought them home and found homes for all of them, except Taz, who we kept.

The puppies were only four weeks old. After consulting with our vet, he determined a sheep herder had probably taken them away from their mother. Unfortunately, it is common for sheep herders to do this so their dogs will pay attention to the sheep, not the puppies. In this particular occurrence, our vet thought the sheep herder took them into the desert and abandoned them.

Taz and his litter mates didn’t receive the proper time with their mom, or the proper socialization, so he was a handful. We stuck with him throughout his life and it was during that time, I became interested in training.

If I had known the science behind dog training then, I could have helped Taz a lot more. It is in his memory, and as a tribute to him, that I want to help train dogs. I want to teach you how to communicate with your dog in a positive way, while both parties are learning and having fun.”

If you are in need of a positive reinforcement dog trainer, contact me today.

In The Media:

Melissa and her training has been featured in several news articles and magazine stories. Here are a couple for you to read.

Voyage Magazine’s Hidden Gems Series:


Canvas Rebel – Stories and Insights



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