Main Street News

K9 Fit for Life Brings Dog Training Back to Ledgewood Kennel

By Published On: May 24th, 2024

Melissa Brady has always had a passion for training dogs. She’s always worked with animals, particularly horses and dogs. When she was in the tenth grade, she designed a dog training resort and spa for a class assignment. Little did she know, that would essentially become her business plan as an adult. 

“I always go back to that picture. Every time I see it, I can’t believe that I’ve actually made my dream come true. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.  

Melissa previously owned Tails and Trails, a doggy day camp and training business at Ledgewood Kennel in Millerton, NY. After running Tails and Trails for many years, Melissa ended up handing the business over to an employee that worked for her. 

She continued an entity off of that business called K9 Fit For Life, doing training, hiking and training on the trails. Last June she decided to take a break from the business.

“After all these years, I was a little burnt out and needed a break. At the end of June, it’ll be a year that I’ve been off, and I decided that I really miss it and wanted to reopen.” 

Almost a year later, Melissa has reopened K9 Fit for Life, which will once again be located at Ledgewood Kennel. 

Services offered 

At K9 Fit for Life, Melissa will be offering dog training and training on the trails, which consists of hiking and training together. She’ll also be offering a drop-off service where clients can drop off their dogs for the day and she’ll spend time working with them on manners, leash walking, obedience, and conditioning, among other things.

For the basic obedience program, sessions are for one hour each week for six consecutive weeks. Each class builds upon the other, so the dog needs to succeed and know the basics in the first lesson in order to do well in the following session the week after. 

“The program is like building a house. You have to have a really good foundation in order to be able to build the rest of the house.” 

Since she’ll be located at Ledgewood Kennel, Melissa will conduct her training on the trails right here in Millerton on the rail trail, which she said is great for training because of how many distractions there are. 

Despite the title of dog trainer, Melissa also trains the pet parents, too. 

“I can train a dog, but if it’s not continued at home, it’s never going to work,” she said. “I’m actually not just training your dog, but I’m training you too. I want to train the pet parents and family to be able to work with their own dog, otherwise it just won’t stick.” 

The importance of dog training 

Beyond the obvious reasons of why it’s so important to train a dog, Melissa said that proper training can also help families want to keep their pets.

“Many times, a family gets a dog for Christmas or another holiday and they don’t do any training. Three months later, the dog is out of control. He’s not that cute little fluff ball anymore. He’s chewing shoes and peeing all over the place, and sometimes the owners say they can’t keep a dog like this and return them to a shelter or give it away.” 

Melissa said that it’s incredibly important to start working with a dog immediately after bringing it home. Developing rules and boundaries will establish a dog that can be integrated effectively into the family and into the household with ease. 

“If you want the dog to truly be a part of the family, training is a necessity,” she said. 

Melissa also stresses that you don’t need to have all the time in the world to train your dog. She said that if you have 15 minutes every day, then you have time to train your dog. When dogs don’t get enough attention or direction, they end up developing bad habits due to a lack of leadership. 

She also understands the stress of daily life, which is why Melissa specifically designs her training plans for people who work. 

“Most of the training is just being a leader and developing good habits. If you can find 15 minutes to specifically work on training your dog, give your dog the required exercise it needs, and then have a good routine in the home, that’s all I’m expecting,” she said. 

Ask Melissa what the most rewarding part of her work is, and she’ll tell you that it’s an easy answer. 

“Most of my pet parents come to me and don’t thank me for training their dog, but for giving them the confidence to become the leader that their dog needs,” she said. “What makes me feel good is helping people achieve the goal of feeling confident in their abilities.” 

Looking ahead 

Melissa’s long term goals are to keep her business small and personal to ensure that she’s giving each of her clients the attention and help they need and deserve. 

“I’ve found in the past that when I grow too big, it’s hard for me to accommodate people and give them 100%. If I keep it small, it’s going to be better because I’ll be able to focus on what’s going to help people best,” she explained. 

She’s looking forward to encouraging and promoting healthy lifestyles for dogs and their families. It’s not only about training, but also giving pet owners the encouragement and confidence they need in order to get outside and do activities with their dogs. 

“Training is for life. If I can build pet parents up, change the way they think, and get them outside with their dogs doing activities, that’s really my entire goal.” 

To learn more about K9 Fit for Life and to get in contact with Melissa, visit their Facebook page here